US Catholic Faith in Real Life

When do the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?

By Father James Field | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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The question of exactly when the eucharistic gifts become Christ's Body and Blood has commanded attention and debate for centuries.

From the supper at Emmaus, disciples have cherished the Eucharist as the clearest sign of the Risen Lord's abiding presence.


Dancing with the stars: An interview with astronomer George Coyne, S.J.

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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With 10,000 billion billion heavenly bodies in the cosmic ballroom, God has created a grand universe of possibilities.

As a priest and an astronomer, Jesuit Father George Coyne bridges the worlds of faith and science, but he’s quick to acknowledge that they serve two different purposes. “I can’t know if there is a God or if there is not a God by science,” he says.


Where did the new Mass translations come from?

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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How did we arrive at this translation of the Mass?

As Catholics in the United States get accustomed to new responses and prayers at Sunday Mass, many will probably ask: Why did the Mass change? The answers have to do with changes to the Latin text upon which the English translation is based and on the rules according to which the translations are made.


Has hell frozen over?

By J. Peter Nixon | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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Church teaching has shifted away from damnation and now focuses on salvation. Is that a good thing?

To a young girl attending Catholic school in the 1940s, eternal damnation was no abstract concept. “The nuns really terrified us,” says Pat Conroy, who grew up in Maryland. The list of potential transgressions—from eating meat on Fridays to missing Mass on Sundays—was long. “It seemed like almost anything was enough to send you to hell. I became so scrupulous and worried about everything I did.”


Why do we anoint the sick?

By Victoria M. Tufano | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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One of the great mysteries of our faith is the incarnation, our core belief that the eternal and almighty God became a human being, a man who could and did suffer just as we do.

During his ministry on earth, Jesus had a particular concern for sick people; he healed them not just with a word of power, but also with a human and compassionate touch.


When do the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?

By James Field | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article
The question of exactly when the eucharistic gifts become Christ's Body and Blood has commanded attention and debate for centuries.

From the supper at Emmaus, disciples have cherished the Eucharist as the clearest sign of the Risen Lord's abiding presence.


Why can't Catholics wed outdoors?

By Heidi Schlumpf | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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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
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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
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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
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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."

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