US Catholic Faith in Real Life

A last-minute Lenten practice with lasting impact

From dust we have come and to dust we shall return. That is essentially not true for plastics.

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Justice

Practicing Catholics the world over understand the importance of giving up something for Lent. The typical Lenten sacrifice includes perennial favorites such as giving up candy or swearing off swearing, but Lenten offerings also change with the times, reflecting technological and cultural shifts. Contemporary Lenten fasting could include forgoing that extravagant morning mocha latte or abstaining from the social media that distract us from our interior lives or from “interfacing” with humanoids in the real world.

Grow your spirit in fertile soil

From seed to plant to mulch—the life cycles of a garden have a lot in common with those in our own lives.

By Rebecca Bratten Weiss | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Lifestyle Your Faith

I am in my garden, squatting in the dirt like a medieval peasant, as around me rise the complex smells of lichen and mineral, exhalations of earthworm and beetroot. The job for this day is planting sweet corn by hand, which means poking each kernel down into its own secret burrow, each tiny, wrinkled corpse into a solitary tomb, but with hope of resurrection.

Let Catholic social teaching shape your new year

Our faith is too important to let slip.

By Jessie Bazan | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

We all know the routine once Christmas enters the rearview mirror. Maybe we packed on a few holiday party pounds. Maybe we spent too much on gifts under the tree. No matter the ailment, there’s a new year just around the corner. “This is the year I keep my resolutions!” we proclaim—always in good faith to start. “No, really . . . this is it! I’m going to get healthy! I’m going to save money!”  

Catholics need to fight for national parks

Catholics need to fight for Native American’s sacred sites.

By Shireen Korkzan | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Justice News

Every summer, my family and I spend a couple of weeks driving across the country to visit destinations we have never been to before. Last July, our annual road trip included three of Utah’s five beautiful national parks—Arches, Canyonlands, and Zion.

The southern half of Utah is a remarkable work of art, and no two national parks are alike. Even though driving across Utah to visit the three national parks took up the bulk of our trip, I wanted to see everything at once.

To survive, cities need to become sustainable together

Many have talked about the 2017 floods in light of climate change, but the resulting humanitarian crises suggest another reason to rethink urban development.

By Kevin Clarke | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article News

The images of human suffering before nature’s impassive course were riveting, if heartbreaking. After days of torrential rains, thousands were in flight from their homes seeking safety on higher ground. Where was this historic flooding taking place? In late August you had your choice of storm crises to pick from across the globe.

The creation stories you probably haven’t heard

It’s time for the church to listen to indigenous people.

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

For Shantha Ready Alonso, the fight for environmental justice goes back to the 15th century, to the doctrine of discovery, a series of papal bulls that started with Pope Nicholas V. These documents, for which the Vatican has yet to apologize or repudiate, gave European nations the pope’s blessing to colonize non-Christian lands and kill native peoples.

Engineering a path of discipleship

At the heart of one engineer’s discernment is stewardship: How do we maintain our quality of life through respectful and responsible means?

By Jake Schueller | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

Growing up, two inclinations molded the majority of my activities: a passion for interacting with the natural world and an interest in building things. As a kid I spent my free time outside, endlessly nagged my dad to take me fishing, and assembled whatever I could, making castles with paper and tape as a kindergartner and building a bike from scratch as a teen. 

Biblical dominion and ‘The Handmaid's Tale’

Hulu’s new show portrays a world where the bodies of women are used and discarded, exploited much like the land and water Gilead’s people have destroyed.

By Sarah Margaret Babbs | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Culture

What if you woke up one morning and everything and everyone you knew and loved was gone? What if it happened slowly over time? In Hulu’s new series The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the 1986 book by Margaret Atwood, this is the situation in which protagonist Offred (Elizabeth Moss) finds herself. She goes to sleep in the United States of America and wakes up in the Republic of Gilead, an oppressive regime based on the perversion of scripture and patriarchy taken to the extreme.

The parish garden that brings faith down to earth

A nonprofit organization helps churches put down roots—both in the soil and the community.

By Wyatt Massey | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Justice

Every week, hands plunge into the earth at St. Benedict the African East Catholic Church in Englewood, a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Around five raised-bed plots and six container gardens church volunteers, police and fire department baseball league players, and various community members pull weeds, plant flowers, and get to know one another.

The “Garden of Eatin’ ” grows tomatoes, kale, peppers, eggplant, and salad greens. The congregation shares the crops and donates the excess to the local food pantry, says Susan Rashad, founder of the parish’s garden club. 

Earth is a sacred text

The holiness of the Eucharist is alive in the soil with which we work.

By Robert L. Ernst | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith

The smell of horses and leather filled the air as I made the last harness adjustments, stepped behind the team of willing Belgians, and drove them to the walking plow that stood at the head of the garden. Trace chains clinked against the doubletree as I hooked the plow. I joined the lines in a plowman’s knot and ducked into the loop they formed, situating the smooth leather around my back. With the loop running under my left arm, across my back and around my right shoulder, I was able to control the team while I took hold of the plow handles, worn smooth with repeated use.