US Catholic Faith in Real Life

10 simple ways to keep faith and family central this Christmas

Help children find the holy in all parts of the holiday season.

By Annemarie Scobey |
Article Lifestyle

It is hard for a baby in a manger to compete with eight reindeer and Santa holding a huge pack of gifts. The anticipatory pause of Advent—quiet and dark blue—has a difficult time holding a candle to the glitter and colorful lights of a city’s exuberant holiday decorations. But what if we don’t need to compete? What if we can help our children find the holy in all parts of the holiday season?

What John Mellencamp has to teach parents

Thrills aren’t just for kids.

By Annemarie Scobey |
Article Lifestyle Your Faith

Little ditty about Jack and Diane. Two American kids growin’ up in the heartland. John Mellencamp’s popular song makes me uneasy. Whenever it comes on the radio as I’m making the bed or driving the kids to school, I stop and listen. And the refrain that comes shortly after that famous beginning always startles me. Makes me swallow hard. Makes me bite my lip and check to see if it is true for me yet. 

Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of livin’ is gone. 

How to find Advent in the Christmas chaos

Slow down and be present to the Christmas joy that surrounds you.

By Annemarie Scobey |
Article Your Faith

You won’t hear Christmas carols in church during the Advent season, but you will hear them everywhere else. How do we keep Advent a time of quiet preparation in the midst of a world that started singing “Joy to the World” the day after Thanksgiving?

One answer is to pull out your own Advent from the Christmas pieces that surround you. Slow down and be present to what you are hearing and allow the truth in the messages to ready your soul and lead you to find your family’s Advent in the midst of this busy season.

This November, live out this spiritual work of mercy

How to teach your kids to show up for those who are sorrowful.

By Annemarie Scobey |
Article Lifestyle

Beginning with All Saints’ Day and ending with the final leaves falling off the trees before winter, November is a fitting reminder that death is part of the cycle of life. During this month, many churches invite their parishioners to put pictures of deceased loved ones on display. November—somber, gray, and serious—calls us to reflect on how we can bring comfort to those in our midst who have suffered a loss. “Comfort the sorrowful” is one of the seven spiritual works of mercy.

Let Catherine of Siena find her way into your Toyota Sienna

‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.’

By Annemarie Scobey |
Article Your Faith

St. Catherine of Siena. Our Toyota Sienna minivan has an extra “n,” and on our busiest days I could be known as Annemarie of Sienna. (I did not include “Saint” before my name.) But I admired St. Catherine of Siena long before I needed three rows of seats to transport our family. 

St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” 

Playing guns: Kids being kids or something to worry about?

How should parents react when toddlers start ‘playing guns’?

By Jennon Bell Hoffmann |
Article Lifestyle

On a recent afternoon, as I pushed my toddler on a swing, I watched a pair of 8-year-old boys chase each other with sticks, yelling “Bang! You’re dead! I shot you!” It was so commonplace that the scene didn’t register as anything uneasy until an hour later, when I learned of yet another shooting on the evening news; sadly, also commonplace. It struck me that in a few years, I’ll be sending my toddler to school, where she’ll learn duck-and-cover and active shooter drills.

The good enough family

The family photos we show to the world on social media or Christmas cards don’t show the true state of family life.

By Catherine O'Connell-Cahill |
Article Lifestyle

No one wants to admit to having mice, because they think it reflects badly on their housekeeping skills. As if the mice are outside saying, “Hey, did you see that? They dropped a crumb on their kitchen floor. Let’s get in there!”

Catholics have not cornered the market on truth

There’s a piece of truth in Catholicism, but that doesn’t diminish the truth found in other religions.

By Annemarie Scobey |
Article Your Faith

When our son Liam, now 20, was in second grade, I have a clear memory of his focus on Catholicism. It was the year of his first communion, and in his Catholic school discussions of the faith, sacraments, and the connection to his life permeated every activity. 

Should you force your kids to go to Mass?

One parent reflects on why she doesn’t make Mass mandatory for her children.

By Claire Zulkey |
Article Your Faith


As a child I attended a K-8 Catholic school and went to church with my family every Sunday. For me, Mass was a thing to get through so that we could go home and have donuts for breakfast, what I thought of as the reward for going to church.

Can anyone be a godparent?

Godparents used to pay a much more prominent role in new Catholics’ faith formation.

By Father James Field |
Article Your Faith

Our culture subscribes to some notions of “godparent” that don’t exactly advance the pastoral plan of the church for this essential ministry. Even people who are unaffiliated or neutral in matters of religion often ask someone dear to them to be a godparent for a newborn. Sometimes it’s a way of affirming a longtime friend. It may also be a way of identifying who among the parents’ extended family might care for their child should calamity strike.