Why can't Catholics wed outdoors?

By Heidi Schlumpf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Prayer and Sacraments Scripture and Theology
Of the four wedding invitations currently posted on my refrigerator, only one is for a ceremony to be held in a church.

The others? All will be outdoors: in a hotel garden, under a restaurant gazebo, or in a park. The beauty of God's creation seems a perfect setting for making a lifetime commitment. So why doesn't the Catholic Church allow couples to get married outside?


Why does the priest pour water into the wine and put a piece of the bread into the cup?

By David Philippart| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Prayer and Sacraments Scripture and Theology
Both actions are very ancient and began as practical necessities, but eventually the necessities disappeared and were even forgotten.

Later when Christians started to ask what these two gestures meant, they began to interpret the actions symbolically. While these symbols may never have been intended in the beginning, the better ones made sense and became part of our rich tradition.


Why do we hold hands during the Our Father?

By David Philippart| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Prayer and Sacraments Scripture and Theology
A how the practice of holdng hands at the Lord's Prayer began is like asking who invented kissing. We may never know for sure, but it's easy to guess.

Some families and households hold hands to say grace before meals. Maybe this practice migrated to church, as the Our Father is the final "grace" that we say before sharing in the Lord's Supper.


Is the mass still a sacrifice?

By Joel Schorn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Prayer and Sacraments Scripture and Theology
It's in there. At Mass Catholics pray to God to "look with favor on your church's offering and see the victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself. . . . Calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salva-tion . . . we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice."

What's an extraordinary minister of communion?

By Joseph Walsh| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Parish Life

 "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
Article Parish Life Prayer and Sacraments
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.


Feeding the hunger: The spirituality of being a communion minister

By Joseph Walsh| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Parish Life Prayer and Sacraments
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.


Why drink from the cup?

By Jim Dinn| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Prayer and Sacraments Scripture and Theology
Receiving the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist from the cup is not a requirement, but receiving the blood of Christ is a fuller sign of the mystery we celebrate.

Day of Recollection: U.S. Catholic readers share thoughts on 9/11

By Heidi Schlumpf| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Politics Prayer and Sacraments
A decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, U.S. CATHOLIC readers share their memories, regrets, concerns, and hopes. 

When Mary Ellen Kelly heard that a plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, she assumed it was an accident and rushed down the street for a better look. She was only a few hundred feet away when another plane sliced through the south tower, erupting into a fireball. She screamed and fled amid cries from the crowd of “Terrorism! It’s terrorism!”


Old habits die hard: The clothes of yore interest young religious

By Heather Grennan Gary| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Prayer and Sacraments Spirituality Young Adults
Around the time Karen Lueck entered the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1967, the community had decided to forgo its traditional habit. “Many people who had worn the habit were glad to get out of it,” she says. “They felt it kept them on a pedestal, apart from the people.”

The order reconsidered the issue several times during the 1970s and eventually reached a compromise: A few sisters chose to wear a modified habit, and the vast majority—including Lueck—opted for simple, professional clothing. (All sisters wear the order’s medal and ring.)


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