US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Can we use real bread at Mass?

By John Switzer| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

A seminary pal of mine once remarked that he had no difficulty believing that Christ is present in holy communion. What he did question was the proposition that it was actually bread being used as a host.

Believe it or not, the hosts we use at Mass qualify as “real bread,” but they aren’t very good bread—at least not in any ordinary, earthly sense of the word. In accordance with one particular tradition of Western Christianity, canon law requires that the bread be unleavened (made without yeast).

How do you pray?


Read: Together on Retreat

By Caitlyn Schmid| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

By James Martin, S.J. (HarperOne, 2013)

Brokenness is in the Body of Christ

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The church needs to open its doors to the broken bodies of Christ.

Of all the body parts I didn’t expect my busted knee to affect, it was my eyes. But I’m here to tell you that the first thing that changes when you’re hobbling around is what you see. Specifically, what I see are obstacles: stairs, curbs, uneven pavement, short drops—all of which, if not negotiated properly, result in exquisite little bursts of pain.

What are novenas?

By Santiago Cortes-Sjoberg| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
For 16 years I prayed them with my entire family before Christmas.

I prayed them as a teenager, for the repose of the soul of parents of friends; I prayed them as a teacher with students to honor the school’s patroness, St. Rita of Cascia, on the days before her feast day; and just this year I prayed privately to Our Lady of Guadalupe in preparation for important meetings on U.S. Hispanic ministry. Novenas have been part of my life from its beginning and part of the life of the church since its very first centuries.

Poorly worded: Can we have a Mass that speaks to real people?

By Father William J. O’Malley, S.J.| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
The translators of the new Mass prayers have neglected one cardinal rule: Consider your audience.

As the days dwindled before their triumphal entry, the new liturgical changes had not yet risen to even an underwhelming response. “One in being” in the creed pretty much satisfied the mass of still-loyal Catholics, since they neither understood what it meant nor cared enough to Google it. And its replacement, “consubstantial,” is hollower and even less intriguing. Parishioners’ only real problem is why such stuff even matters.

You’re cut off: No more cup for the people?

By Bryan Cones| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

UPDATE: Since this article was published, the diocese of Phoenix has overturned its initial decision about eliminating communion from the cup. Read this blog post for more information.

What's an extraordinary minister of communion?

By Joseph Walsh| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

 "Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion" is the formal title of laypeople who distribute the Eucharist during Mass. As the title implies, there are also "ordinary ministers" - those who are literally "ordained" to the ministry namely bishops, priests, and deacons. These ministers are usually the first in order to distribute the Body and Blood of Christ, the deacon being the customary distributor of the cup.

Feeding the hunger: The spirituality of being a communion minister

By Joseph Walsh| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Offering Christ's Body and Blood to fellow parishioners helps this Catholic find a fuller Communion.

"The eyes have it!" Spelled a bit differently, this phrase is a standard for reporting a positive outcome of a debate. In the act of distributing the Holy Eucharist, it means something different: that there has been a human connection as the true presence of Jesus is being celebrated and distributed.

Born-again Catholics: Evangelicals crossing the Tiber

By J. Peter Nixon| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Former denizens of evangelical arenas are finding new homes in the age-old sanctuaries of Catholicism.

It took Mark Shea four tries to become a Catholic.

Raised without any religious instruction, Shea had embraced evangelical Christianity as a college student at the University of Washington in the late 1970s. “There was a little non-denominational group that came together on the dorm floor next to mine,” Shea says. “We got together for Bible study, Saturday night praise and worship, that sort of thing.”