US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Sit down and be quiet: How to practice contemplative meditation

When you try to pray, do you fidget? Do you keep starting a grocery list in your head? Don’t worry. Just give God 20 minutes.

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Your Faith

When Father William Meninger left his post in the Diocese of Yakima, Washington in 1963 to join the Trappists at St. Joseph Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, he told his mother, “That’s it, Mom. I’ll never be outside again.”

It didn’t quite turn out that way. One day in 1974 Meninger dusted off an old book in the monastery library, a book that would set him and some of his fellow monks on a whole new path. The book was The Cloud of Unknowing, an anonymous 14th-century manual on contemplative meditation. Meninger says, “I was amazed at the practicality of it.”

Private practices: The real prayer lives of Catholics

By Heather Grennan Gary |
Article Your Faith
Pray tell, when was the last time you actually talked to anyone about your prayer life? Six Catholics open up about how they talk—and listen—to God each day.

Paranormal activity: Do Catholics believe in ghosts?

By Tim Townsend |
Article Your Faith
Catholics believe in life after death, but things get complicated when those departed spirits start creeping across your living room.

About 10 years ago, Marla Fisher and her husband, Everett, were leaving their Pasadena, Texas ranch-style home for a weekend getaway. As Everett backed out of the driveway, Marla remembered that she’d left her curling iron in the bathroom, and she went back to retrieve it.

Don't fear the climb: Thoughts on getting older

By Bryan Cones |
Article Your Faith
There’s something appropriate about turning 40 in a place where you might get eaten by a grizzly.

The mountains don’t care about you,” says the forest ranger, having just finished his bear-safety talk for probably the third time that day. In case you don’t already know: Hang your food at night; only prepare meals in designated areas; and whatever you do, do not run from a bear (it activates the chasing instinct). These are rules to live by in the wilds of backcountry Montana, where one should also be on the lookout for mountain lions—far less predictable than grizzly bears.

I hate to admit it: Why young adults are keeping their faith to themselves

By Meghan Murphy-Gill |
Article Your Faith
Being a practicing Catholic has become a covert operation for some young adults, who are choosing to keep their faith to themselves rather than explain the church’s public stance on certain controversial issues.

So what about that yoga practice?

By Heather Grennan Gary |
Article Your Faith
Ten ways to determine if a practice is compatible with your Catholic faith.

Just because a spiritual practice comes from outside the Christian tradition doesn’t automatically mean it conflicts with church teaching—nor does it automatically mean the opposite. If you’re not so sure about your son’s meditation practice, your friend’s devotion to reiki, or if you can, in good faith, take that yoga class, your goal should be to wisely discern the answer.  

Thinking about drawing from other religions? Here are some tips to get you started

By Heather Grennan Gary |
Article Your Faith

Susan Pudelek spent two decades working in interreligious contexts, including a stint on the staff of the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. In her current work as director of pilgrimage ministry at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii in Chicago, she oversees occasional interreligious workshops and events. For those who want to learn about or participate in practices of other religions, she offers these guidelines.

1. The more grounded you are in your own religion, the more you have to offer others.

Spiritual exercises: Can other religious practices strengthen your Catholic core?

By Heather Grennan Gary |
Article Your Faith
Catholics searching for ways to experience their faith in both body and soul often look to other religious practices. But do they stretch their faith too thin?

Christine French attends Mass every Sunday, sings in the choir, volunteers with Vacation Bible School, and participates in a Bible study. She’s also a committed yogi who, whenever she’s in her hometown of Omaha, makes a beeline to her favorite yoga studio.

We were called Sister

By Joan Sauro, C.S.J. |
Article Your Faith
Much has changed about religious life but at its heart the mission remains the same.

We were called Immaculata. We were called Concepta. We were called Chrysostom, Eusebius, and Stanislaus, after a Polish boy-saint. We were called Bernard, John, and Thomas after our fathers and Theresa, Elizabeth, and Maureen after our mothers. We were called Paul Kathryn and Robert Rita, pleasing both parents. We were called Serena, signifying calm dispositions. We were called Seraphine, trusting an angelic nature would ensue. We were called Jerome, after a crotchety biblical scholar.