US Catholic Faith in Real Life

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.

Picturing the perfect priest

By Heather Grennan Gary | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Our readers have some strong ideas about how to build a better clergy--from training to ordination requirements to personal traits that make a priest great.

All you priests, seminarians, and those consid-ering the ordained life out there may want to sit down, put your feet up, and take a deep breath before you read any further. The results of our special survey, "What do you want in a priest?" are in. More than 800 readers and other Catholics weighed in with their opinions, and many of their wish lists make the Easter Vigil look short in comparison.

One size pastor doesn't fit all parishes

By Jennifer Willems | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Multiple parish pastoring became an issue in the United States in the late 1980s and early 90s as the number of priests started to decline, according to Mark Mogilka, who was the director of stewardship and pastoral services for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin for 16 years.

"Some bishops proclaimed, ‘We will never close a parish,’ but that forces your hand," he explains. "You have to increase the number of multiple parish pastoring situations."

Roamin' Collar: Multi-parish priests

By Jennifer Willems | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Pastors across the country serve two, three, and even seven parishes. With innovation and flexibility, parishes are learning as they go.