US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Hail Mary -- The wisdom of a subversive devotion

By Rosemary Luling Haughton | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Coming in from the bright sunlight, a woman kneels before an altar in the dimness of the church; she has lit a small candle, and with many other small candles the light is reflected off glinting fabrics and jewels adorning the statue of the Mother of God. Crowned, lifted up, peaceful of gaze, she holds the Child on her lap, yet he is less noticeable. It is the great Mother to whom prayers are addressed, by women living in cultures-and a church-that gives little respect and less power to women. What does she think, the woman who lights the candle and prays to Mary?

How I almost missed Good Friday

By James Philipps | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

It must have been about the time I was chopping up the melon for my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter's breakfast that the angst set in. Here it was Good Friday, and I hadn't done a single liturgical or sacramental thing during the entire expanse of Lent despite the best of intentions that I had at the beginning of the season.

Into the mystic with John: An interview with Demetrius Dumm, O.S.B.

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

You've taught scripture for virtually all of your adult life. What led you to devote your life to it?

When I was growing up, the Bible was not an honored book in our household. We kept it in the attic. My mother was convinced that reading the Bible had caused her uncle Gus to leave the church, so that was the end of that. Nothing in my early life moved me toward studying the Bible. I was chosen to study scripture when I made my vows in the monastery in 1943, and I was delighted.

Keep in touch with your faith

By Pamela Edwards | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Every Sunday after Mass, I pat Jesus big toe. Let me hasten to explain that Jesus is made of wood. Like the little boy who preferred his mother over prayer to shield him against things that go bump in the night, I too, prefer "God with the skin on."

Incarnation is all-important to Catholics. We, like the apostle Thomas, long to put our fingers in Christ's side; we want to feel the nail holes in his hands and feet.

Keeping up appearances

By Mary Catt | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Between the ages of 8 and 10, I spent considerable time hoping for a Marian apparition. In the mid-1960s, Lourdes and Fatima were still on the lips of Catholics. I had read the books, seen the movies, been dabbed with holy water from the sites. I was Catholic, a holy communicant. I wanted it all. I wanted an apparition of my own.

Ritual rewards

By Kathy Saunders | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

What Mary Hansen rmembers about her father's sudden death 22 years ago was praying the rosary at St. Anthony's Church in Tigard, Oregon. She and her family were surrounded by members of the parish whom they had known all of their lives. It was her family church and the place she had attended school. "It was soothing," she says of the funeral prayer service. "It had a very calming affect on the rest of the family." Her father, Emil Van Goethem, died of a heart attack at the age of 75. Praying together as a family helped Hansen, now 50, say goodbye to her dad.

The Mass is a genius . . .

By Brian Doyle | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare


Because each and every Mass celebrated over the course of many centuries in many lands under every conceivable condition in every conceivable surrounding and language has gathered a random aggregate of people together for a miracle meal in the name of the Christ, and the whole point of Christ and the church that grew up in his name is to gather random aggregates of people in communion with the divine.

So the Mass is a constant and consistent microcosm of meaning.

What do you get out of Mass?

By Mary Lynn Hendrickson | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

No doubt U.S. Catholic Reader C. Wall of Woodstock, Illinois speaks for many when she succinctly sums up what does and doesn't make for a good experience of the Mass. Good: "My family by my side, great homily, with a community I know." And the clinkers? "Poor, long, aimless homilies. Music I can't sing along with."

Not-so-special delivery

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Sometimes the toxic waste is not just in babies' diapers.

The samples reviewed by the researchers at the Washington based Environmental Working Group contained on average more than 200 contaminants. Among them mercury, gasoline, waste by-products from coal and garbage burning, toxic traces of eight petroleum-based chemicals, carcinogenic residue from dozens of widely used flame retardants, pesticides, and much more.