US Catholic Faith in Real Life

When doubt creeps in for parents, can they still raise faithful kids?

To give children a meaningful faith formation, parents must do some soul-searching for themselves.

By Claire Zulkey |
Article Your Faith

In 2012, for baptism preparation, my husband and I brought our 3-month-old son down to a musty church basement where a nun played us a 20-year-old religious videotape. It was hardly rigorous, but gathering with a half-dozen other families representing at least four separate nationalities at this urban church, all of us struggling with but also enjoying our new children, felt right. We were bringing our firstborn child into our family, which in turn all of us in that basement were a part of. The message warmed my heart, despite the video’s dated haircuts and clothes. 

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Commitment to action helps kids change the world

Want your kids to make activism a part of their lives? Then let them see you in service—starting in toddlerhood.

By Melissa Walker |
Article Justice Lifestyle

One day as we were walking home from kindergarten, my 5-year-old daughter sighed loudly as a plastic bag blew past her feet on the sidewalk. “What is it?” I asked. “The oceans,” she said with a world-weary sigh. “I’m worried about all the sea creatures. Especially the whale shark.” 

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Mass is boring when you’re 8

Silence is a particularly difficult ask of an 8-year-old boy.

By Molly Jo Rose |
blog Lifestyle Your Faith

Until I had children, I didn’t understand Mass as an athletic event. Before we even get to the homily, a point when many Mass-goers get to sit and relax, I have perspiration on my upper lip and forehead. My arm muscles burn from balancing an ever-curious baby on my hip and wrangling a 3-year-old who would like very much to escape the pew and race down the aisle to the altar. While these two Littles keep me and my husband hopping, it’s our 8-year-old whose constant pursuit of distraction makes me feel like I’ve run a marathon by the time the recessional hymn begins.

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For one couple together 75 years, love defies death

What does ‘until death do us part’ mean for those left behind?

By Bill McNamara |
Article Lifestyle

After 75 years of inimitable companionship—not to mention inspiration and children—my wife Kay said, “Enough,” (though not aloud) and started tending to last things. With her typical low-key demeanor—you know, that “thy-will-be-done” reticence common to certain women—she responded to the final summons from the author of life in a manner suggesting she was privy to the script. This was a couple of long years ago. 

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The way my son plays

Sometimes I don’t get my son, with his rough-and-tumble play and love of wrestling with his dad.

By Molly Jo Rose |
Article Lifestyle

Thwack. The kickball ricochets off the front of our house and the arguing begins. “Safe!” yells Henry. “Run to second!” yells Thomas. “I got you out!” yells Nate. “You’re all cheaters!” yells my son. Each declaration ratchets up to earsplitting levels. I watch from the window as they abandon the kickball and start to circle each other like lions weeding out the weak. By the time I finally throw open the door to intervene their passions are running so high and their fits of opinion are so strong only dogs can understand their shrieks.

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The college freshman’s spiritual packing list

Some things you can’t find at Bed Bath & Beyond.

By Jessie Bazan |
Article Lifestyle

I basically lived at Bed Bath & Beyond in the weeks before moving to college. From memo boards to mini fridges, shower caddies to twin XL sheets, the home goods giant had everything I could possibly need—or at least everything my school’s residential life office told me I needed. Most of it turned out to be helpful at one point or another. (The pink toolbox was a lifesaver on move-out day.) But the items I treasured most in my dorm room were not made of colorful plastic. Instead they pointed me towards something even more important than a college degree: my faith life.

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Celebrate the gifts of this hour

Time never stops moving, so take a few minutes to celebrate the things that make life feel full.

By Molly Jo Rose |
blog Lifestyle

I don’t know how old I was when I was first introduced to Henry David Thoreau’s admonition “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,” but it must have been fairly young because it stuck to me in the rudimentary way of childhood when you accept fully the premise of a thing, when you swallow it down wholesale and it becomes you.

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Take a cue from God and rest

Taking vacation is a vital part of our spiritual life.

By Jonathan Ryan |
Article Lifestyle

I should take them to Utah.

Like all of my crazy ideas, this one popped into my head while I took my morning shower. As a divorced dad who lives six hours away from his kids, I’m constantly looking for new and creative ways to be in their lives.

A huge fan of the West, I wanted to see my kids’ faces when they first saw the rolling plains of Kansas, the towering Rocky Mountains, and the strange rock formations jutting out from the desert floor near Moab. Seeing their faces would be worth whatever meltdowns we might face on a 20-hour drive.

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What fathers can learn from God the Father

I’ve started praying to God father to Father, instead of child to Father.

By Kevin H. Axe |
Article Your Faith

Although my wife isn’t sure a man can be a feminist, I’m a male feminist. I got to be this way both through conviction and self-defense—I live with three women (the other two are ages 9 and 5). As a male feminist I’m aware that God the Father is not male. Or female. Maybe both.

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Father is a complex metaphor for God

God isn’t a “Wait until your father gets home…” dad, but rather offers unconditional love.

By Heidi Russell |
Article Lifestyle Your Faith

While recent decades have seen feminine images of God spread even to mainstream media like Time magazine, our image of God the Father has remained, well, patriarchal. 

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