US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Following Saint Francis in today's world

Saint Francis

By John Litwinovich |
To the well-known saint, the most important human right is the right to love.

We live in a society that highly values perceived rights. People advocate for equal rights, a right to life, a right to die, a right to choose, a right to bear arms and a vast array of other tenets, some of them engraved in our Bill of Rights. Most advocates adorn their righteous causes with cloaks of freedom, fairness, or equality. Many of them are deeply caring and committed in their efforts.

Good shepherd: Father Stan Rother

By John Rosengren |

On my first visit to Guatemala, I stayed with a priest who brought me to the neighboring village of Santiago Atitlán, where he told me the story of Father Stan Rother. The American missionary, caught in the middle of Guatemala’s civil war, wound up on a death list because the military government interpreted his charitable acts as subversive. Rother fled back home to Oklahoma for a brief exile but then decided to return to his parish. The pastor could not abandon his flock. “The shepherd cannot run,” he explained to friends.

Magic act

By Angelo Stagnaro |
With a little sleight of hand and a lot of laughter, John Bosco connected people to the art of joy.

All in a Day’s work: Dorothy Day

By Robert Ellsberg |

On Aug. 6, 1976 Dorothy Day was invited to address the World Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia. The date of her talk was, of course, the Feast of the Transfiguration. But it was also, at least on the Catholic Worker calendar, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Consequently we were astonished to learn that the Congress had scheduled for that day—of all days—a Mass to commemorate the armed forces.

Another side of paradise: The continuing work of Mother Marianne Cope and Father Damien De Veuster in Kalaupapa

By Mimi Forsyth |
Is Kalaupapa the world's most isolated spot? That's what Hawaii's King Kamehameha V thought in 1865, when he signed a law banishing people with advanced stages of leprosy (now called Hansen's Disease) to the north shore of the island of Molokai.

Amazon Warrior

By Kathy Coffey |
Even unto death, Dorothy Stang had no fear in her fight for the poor and the rain forest, and her example inspires us to join the battle.

Just when I thought I’d outgrown mentors, a friend introduced me to David Stang. His enthusiasm for his favorite subject, his sister Dorothy, is contagious.

Stay with me

By Miguel Arias |
By grieving with the Blessed Mother, we comfort all mothers who mourn.

In my hometown of San José de Gracia in Jalisco, Mexico, church celebrations marked the pace of our lives. Though liturgical reform took time to arrive, the practices of popular Catholicism kept our faith alive and active. These celebrations belonged to the people—to our mothers and fathers, to our ancestors, and to our rezanderos (laypeople who lead the prayer).

Famous last words

By Alice Camille |
Seven prominent religious and community leaders from different Christian traditions reflect on Jesus' Seven Last Words from the cross.

The final words of a dying person are precious to those left behind. When time is short, one has a chance to speak only of the most important things--love, forgiveness, faith. The last words are often the summation of a life, cherished and pondered long after the loved one has died. The final testament of a human life can be known in these words.

How I almost missed Good Friday

By James Philipps |
Philips describes how Easter season often brings feelings of conviction and discomfort over his self-centeredness.

What's so good about Good Friday?

By Heidi Schlumpf |

It's almost as if Mel Gibson's The Passion has come to life. In Chicago's largely Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood, some 7,000 people gather at Providence of God Parish for the beginning of the Via Crucis or "Way of the Cross" every Good Friday. This is no symbolic walk through the park, however; "Pontius Pilate" is dressed in Roman garb, as are the soldiers who accompany "Jesus" the 12 blocks to Harrison Park, where he will be literally tied to a cross.