US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Season's Greetings: Let's welcome Catholics home

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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If we're going to invite disaffected Catholics to come on home, let's also warm up the welcome they're likely to receive.

There's no shortage of programs to draw missing Catholics back to church, but few can boast of their efforts in a single diocese as "an increase of 92,000 souls who came home!" Such is the claim of Catholics Come Home, a new evangelization effort first tested in the Diocese of Phoenix and now expanding to 16 others, including my own Archdiocese of Chicago, which hired Catholics Come Home for a holiday TV ad campaign designed to bring back the lapsed.


It takes a parish: Msgr. Arturo Banuelas on creating a vibrant church

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The key to a thriving parish is not so much what goes on inside, says this longtime pastor, but what its members are doing beyond its walls.

Non-parishable goods: The value of a faith community can't be crunched on a balance sheet

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The value of a faith community can't be crunched on a balance sheet.

Thirteen in Miami, 52 in Cleveland, 33 in Albany, New York. No, these aren't Chrysler dealerships or Starbucks franchises closing due to the recession but parishes that will be shuttered this year in three dioceses. The diocesan announcements do, however, share something in common with their corporate counterparts: The news comes with the just about the same amount of pastoral care and sensitivity-little if any.


Death comes for the book club

By Brian Doyle | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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With so many "Catholic" writers to choose from, your parish book list might require some heavy lifting.

Final Exam: Can we reinvent Catholic schools?

By Sarah Karp | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Can we reinvent Catholic schools?

Incoming Missal

By J. Peter Nixon | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Get ready for changes to your Sunday Mass.

Parish counciling

By Gregory F. Augustine Pierce | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Lord knows these organizations need some help serving their communities.

OK, children, gather around. I'll tell you what life was like before parish councils, back when my hair was brown and my dreams were green.

The pastor pretty much ran things, and that was fine with most of us. First of all, we didn't have to go to a lot of boring meetings. Second, we were free to complain to one another (and sometimes to him) about what was wrong with the parish without feeling one iota of guilt or responsibility. Finally, we didn't have to go to a lot of boring meetings.


Make room in the pew, and smile

By Darcee Thomason | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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We were nervous walking into the new parish for the first time. My husband and I settled our three children into a pew near the rear for a quick escape if we needed. We brought a backpack of small toys and favorite books. Most of our concern stemmed from our then-6-year-old daughter, Rachel, who is severely autistic. Would she behave? Would she have a meltdown? Would the other parishioners accept our family, or would we see icy stares, hear the under-the-breath comments, be subjected to the unsolicited advice we had experienced elsewhere?


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