US Catholic Faith in Real Life

First comes love...

By Heather Grennan Gary | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Careers, children, cohabitation—this isn’t your parents’ path to the altar.

Emily Barnak remembers a term that one of her cousins devised years ago to refer to a common reality among young adults and their significant others: LIS. Short for "living in sin." As in, "Are you LISing?" It comes in handy at family gatherings, when the 20- and 30-something cousins catch up on one another's lives and relationships but don't want to distress older relatives who would surely disapprove if they knew.

Marriage of convenience: Changing wedding traditions

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Catholics should find a way to welcome couples whose paths to the altar don't go straight down the center aisle.

Watch: 5 questions with Mary Jo Pedersen

U.S. Catholic | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

As a national leader in Catholic family ministry and faith formation, Mary Jo Pedersen has encouraged preventive care for marriage through workshops, publications, and retreats. She recently retired from 25 years on the staff of the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Pedersen embraces it. "Marriage is life's most important work, ultimately,” Pedersen says. “It's also a key investment in your health, your finances, your spiritual welfare. When you buy a new car, you take it in for an oil change every six months. Do you take your marriage in for a checkup every six months?”

Annulments: What never was

By Bob Zyskowski | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Mary Sue Williams and Cathy Miettunen lived just a few blocks apart in a tree-lined, middle-class neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota when both went through the Catholic Church's annulment process following their civil divorces.

Williams and Miettunen belonged to the same parish, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood, Minnesota, and both still do.

They sent their children to the same Catholic grade school, and both sacrificed to send them to the same Catholic high school.

Our love is here to stay

By A U.S. Catholic interview | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
For most Catholics marriage is their path to holiness, says this expert. The church could-and should-do more to help them on their way.


If you ask Mary Jo Pedersen the secret to a good marriage, she just might point you to a dentist. How they think about teeth, she says, is how the rest of us should think about marriage:

"You get one set of teeth, that's it. They are of great value. If you don't take care of them, you can lose them, and it's going to cost you a lot of money and a lot of pain, so you go to the dentist and you get preventive care."

A betrothal proposal

By Michael G. Lawler and Gail S. Risch | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Are cohabiting Catholics always "living in sin"? Two respected family ministry researchers argue "no" and suggest the recovery of an ancient ritual for those moving toward marriage.

What every marriage needs?

By Kevin H. Axe | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
In July of 1999, a group of marriage-imrpovement gurus made a pilgrimage to the University of Notre Dame to celebrate 50 years of the Christian Family Movement. Publisher Sheed & Ward helped mark the occasion by printing a history of this modern movement heard round the world, a revolution of a different sort that got its start on American soil.

The CFM Grandmother, Patty Crowley, still holds forth in her Chicago high-rise home on the shores of Lake Michigan. She and her late husband, Pat, were co-founders of CFM.

Would you volunteer to save your marriage?

By Steve Beirne | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Marriage enrichment is a popular topic these days.

Couples want to have the best marriages possible especially because with longer life spans we can anticipate that we will spend more years with our partner. But marriage grows and becomes richer in indirect ways. It happens while a couple is involved in projects together. You'll often hear couples married for many years say they're not sure why their particular relationship lasted while other couple's did not.

Two faiths are better than none

By Marianne Comfort | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

As they gether around the dinner table each evening, the Yala family of Oak Park, Illinois gives thanks to God in both English and Arabic. Dana bows her head and intertwines the fingers of both hands, just as she was taught as a young Catholic. Her husband, Mohamed, keeps his hands open with palms up, as he learned as a Muslim growing up in Algeria. Their daughter follows Dana's example, while their son switches from one form of sitting in prayer to the other.


"In that moment every night when we pray together we feel that we incorporate both traditions," says Dana Yala.