US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Out of sight, out of mind

By Joseph Kelly | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Once ubiquitous, the parish priest is disappearing into thin air, with troubling effects on young Catholic imaginations.

A few years ago while teaching, I realized that my students, mostly Catholic high school graduates, considered bishops to be distant administrators and not teachers. This attitude initially puzzled me, but I soon realized that, because of the decline in priestly vocations, most had been taught solely by laypeople and did not view clerics as teachers.

Picturing the perfect priest

By Heather Grennan Gary | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Our readers have some strong ideas about how to build a better clergy--from training to ordination requirements to personal traits that make a priest great.

All you priests, seminarians, and those consid-ering the ordained life out there may want to sit down, put your feet up, and take a deep breath before you read any further. The results of our special survey, "What do you want in a priest?" are in. More than 800 readers and other Catholics weighed in with their opinions, and many of their wish lists make the Easter Vigil look short in comparison.

One size pastor doesn't fit all parishes

By Jennifer Willems | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Multiple parish pastoring became an issue in the United States in the late 1980s and early 90s as the number of priests started to decline, according to Mark Mogilka, who was the director of stewardship and pastoral services for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin for 16 years.

"Some bishops proclaimed, ‘We will never close a parish,’ but that forces your hand," he explains. "You have to increase the number of multiple parish pastoring situations."

Roamin' Collar: Multi-parish priests

By Jennifer Willems | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Pastors across the country serve two, three, and even seven parishes. With innovation and flexibility, parishes are learning as they go.

Seniors need some class: Let's have religious ed for our church elders

By John J. Donovan | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
Jesus taught adults, so why are parishes so focused on educating young children when the older members could really use the lessons? 

Sounding Boards are one person's take on a many-sided subject and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.

Priestly people skills

By Christina Capecchi | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Your Faith
Many consider fervent “JPII priests” a clear byproduct of today’s seminaries—which leads them to wonder what kind of social training seminarians receive.

Men of the same cloth? Old priests vs. new priests

By Christina Capecchi | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
As wing tips and clerical collars replace sandals and golf shirts, parishes react to a new style of priest.

When the alarm clock rings, Father James Moore, 33, pops out of bed. He brews coffee, makes his bed, and launches into prayer.

Down the hall, Father Bart Hutcherson, 48, likes to set two alarms half an hour apart to ease into the morning. He doesn’t bother making his bed.  

Homegrown clergy: The case for a new kind of priesthood

By Bishop Fritz Lobinger | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Mmusong is a small but vibrant Catholic community of about 700 high in the mountains of South Africa. On Sundays the simple church building is full, but most of the time not for Mass, only for a service of the Word.

Mass is something rare in Mmusong. The priest of the distant parish center serves nine communities, and he is able to celebrate Mass in Mmusong only once a month.

Season's Greetings: Let's welcome Catholics home

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
If we're going to invite disaffected Catholics to come on home, let's also warm up the welcome they're likely to receive.

There's no shortage of programs to draw missing Catholics back to church, but few can boast of their efforts in a single diocese as "an increase of 92,000 souls who came home!" Such is the claim of Catholics Come Home, a new evangelization effort first tested in the Diocese of Phoenix and now expanding to 16 others, including my own Archdiocese of Chicago, which hired Catholics Come Home for a holiday TV ad campaign designed to bring back the lapsed.