US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Femme fidele: How women who work for the church keep the faith

By Heidi Schlumpf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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How women who work for the church keep the faith

It’s lunchtime at St. Clement Parish in Chicago, and although some of the city’s best restaurants are within walking distance, most of the staff members instead opt for microwaved leftovers and conversation with colleagues around the conference table. The building engineer and associate pastor stop by for a quick bite, but otherwise this makeshift lunchroom is Estrogen Central.

A large parish of 4,000 mostly middle- and upper-class families, St. Clement boasts 12 full-time, well-educated lay employees. Only two are men.


Survivor Stories: Seven lessons from the sex abuse crisis

By Diane Knight| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
For more than a decade, stories in the media have highlighted the problem of clergy sexual abuse of minors.

Much of the recent focus has been on Europe, though there have also been some particularly horrific new stories in this country, such as the one of Father Lawrence Murphy and his abuse of as many as 200 deaf boys in the residential school he ran in Wisconsin.

Most of these stories focus on the acts of offending priests and the fact that they were moved from parish to parish, ministry to ministry, continuing to allow them access to vulnerable children and youth.


Mass disruption: The new translations

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The new translation of the liturgy will speak volumes about the church that prays it.

November 28, 2010, the First Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning not only of a new liturgical year but a countdown to "welcoming the new Roman Missal," as the U.S. bishops' website calls its preparation program for the new translation of the Mass. Over the coming year English-speaking Catholics around the country will relearn prayers they have long been able to recite or sing by heart.


Deacons' wives' tales

By Anna Weaver| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Dung Tran remembers attending the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress several years ago and being struck by a particular scene.

"The deacons would go into the sacristy and vest with the priests, but they would come out holding hands with their wives," he says. "There's obviously a big difference there between priests and deacons."


The church's "married clergy": 40 years of Deacons

By Anna Weaver| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article
The modern deacon has been around for 40 years—and some are still finding their place in the parish.

Beverly Hills, California deacon and author Eric Stoltz often finds himself uttering the phrase, "Please don't call me Father."

Besides that gentle correction to well-meaning parishioners, Stoltz also uses the first five minutes of new baptism classes he leads to explain to his captive audience what a permanent deacon like himself does.


The need for closure: What happens when a parish shuts its doors

By J.D. Long-García| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
Parishes should have an exit strategy before shutting their doors.

The day after their farewell Mass, parishioners of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church were locked out. Archdiocesan officials had changed the locks days ahead of schedule.


Merging parishes with a minimum of misery

By J.D. Long-García| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

(This story accompanies The need for closure: What happens when a parish closes its doors.)

Whatever church leaders do, parishioners aren't going to be happy about a closure or merger. But leaders can ease the change by paying attention to a community's emotional needs and by involving parishioners in the process.


It makes a difference whether you're Catholic

By Angela C. Batie| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
Not even the deepest frustrations and disappointments can undo the sense that belonging to the Catholic Church makes a difference—for ourselves and for others. 

Let my people sing

By Father Alan Phillip, C.P. | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
It's time for the congregation to share the Sunday stage with the choir, argues a priest who wants the Mass to be sung by all. Here are a number of suggestions to help them earn their applause.

Is it OK to clap at Mass?

By David Philippart| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

There is no simple answer to whether applause is appropriate in the liturgy. It really depends on who the Catholics are and why they might be clapping!


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