US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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
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
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
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
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.

Who's the boss?

By Father Paul Boudreau | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The priest shortage is generating some creative solutions to parish staffing, but they require a little flexibility and a healthy sense of humor on the part of everyone involved. 

Out of sight, out of mind

By Joseph Kelly | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Once ubiquitous, the parish priest is disappearing into thin air, with troubling effects on young Catholic imaginations.

A few years ago while teaching, I realized that my students, mostly Catholic high school graduates, considered bishops to be distant administrators and not teachers. This attitude initially puzzled me, but I soon realized that, because of the decline in priestly vocations, most had been taught solely by laypeople and did not view clerics as teachers.