US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Hold the applause: Save the praise for God alone

By Gregory F. Augustine Pierce | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Editors' note: Sounding Board is one person’s take on a many-sided subject and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.

We’re all part of the Body of Christ, so why are a select few soaking up all the attention at Mass?

At the end of the Christmas Eve Mass at my parish last year, the pastor said, “We’re going to have to sing one more song before we leave.” I looked at my wife, Kathy, and whispered, “Oh, no. They’re going to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus.”

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.

Web Only: More from Phyllis Zagano on women deacons

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

With so many lay ecclesial ministers and directors of religious education out there, many of whom are women, why would a bishop “need” a woman as a deacon?

If I were a bishop, I would want a cadre of people I have trained and ordained, and to whom I have given faculties. The ordained women deacons would be catechists and would prepare people for sacraments. After they have prepared women and men to marry or to be received in the church, these deacons could actually perform the ceremony.

Where did the new Mass translations come from?

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
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
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
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.

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.

Fake it till you make it: St. Genesius, patron of actors

By Dan Cawthon | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
St. Genesius isn’t just the patron of high school thespians. We can all learn something about acting like Christ from this legendary actor.

Anyone who was a member of a Catholic high school or college drama club during the 1950s and ’60s no doubt knows about St. Genesius—the patron saint of actors. According to legend, he was an actor during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the third century. To win the emperor’s favor, he took on a role satirizing a Christian about to be baptized.

The other Irish saint

By Karen Rushen O’Brien | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Raise a pint and air out your linens—St. Brigid is coming.

Early in our marriage my husband, Stephen, an Irish immigrant to the United States, was having trouble sleeping. He was happy enough with his new life in Chicago, but a combination of culture shock concerning all things American and simply missing the familiar ways of his homeland left him vaguely restless and disoriented, a state that appeared to manifest itself most powerfully at night, once the lights went out and the noise of the day died away.