US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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!


Don't be indifferent to difference

By Father Gary Riebe-Estrella, S.V.D. | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article
Living with other cultures takes practice, Father Gary Riebe-Estrella, S.V.D. wrote in U.S. Catholic's July 2000 special issue on multiculturalism.

Last Sunday's bulletin had announced a parish meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday. So, at about 6:40 a number of cars began to arrive in the parish parking lot. Slowly folks began to take their places in the parish hall. A few more straggled in at about five minutes to 7. By 7 o'clock there was a healthy turnout of parishioners, except for one thing-almost everyone in the hall was white!


What makes a parish great?

By Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article
On the whole, U.S. Catholic readers sing praises for their parishes.

Sounding Boards are one person's take on a many-sided subject and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.


Facing change: Today's parishes must meet modern challenges

By Hosffman Ospino | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article
The U.S. Catholic Church today is undergoing profound cultural, social, and leadership transitions. It’s at the parish level that conflicts arise and new pastoral approaches are created.

Three Catholics—one white, one Hispanic, and one Vietnamese—walk into a church on Sunday. (If you thought that I was going to say that they walked into a bar, I know a few of those stories as well.) These Catholics and their families are members of St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which serves Catholics in three different languages: English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.


How to build a better priest

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article
The editors interview Father Robert Barron.

"For too long we've had a preferential option for mediocrity in the priesthood," laments Father Robert Barron, assistant professor of systematic theology at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. "Teilhard de Chardin said the priest calls down fire on the earth," says Barron. That's a far cry from "organizer of ministries," which is one of the dull-as-dishwater descriptions Barron remembers from his seminarian days. "Who's going to be lit on fire by a term like that?" he fumes.


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