US Catholic Faith in Real Life

After Mass, community blossoms outside the sanctuary

Lay-led celebrations are the lifeblood of the church.

By Sister Rhonda Miska |
Article Your Faith

It’s so often the women, it seems. Since that first Sunday morning when the myrrh-bearing women made their way to the tomb, it’s so often the women. The ones who teach catechism to the children, prepare the casseroles for the funeral luncheons, coordinate volunteers for the homeless shelter, lead the decades of the rosary before Mass, gather on Monday mornings to count the collection from the weekend liturgies, visit those who are shut in to bring the Eucharist and companionship.  

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How to green your parish

Are parishes answering Pope Francis' call to care for our common home?

By Celeste Flores |
Article Justice

In May 2015 Pope Francis released Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home). In his second encyclical, the pope urges Catholics to be mindful of their environmental impact and to actively work for environmental justice. He says of the importance of sustainability, “Many things have to change course, but it is we human beings above all who need to change.” U.S. Catholic surveyed readers to find out how parishes across the United States are answering this call. 

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As lay ministries flourish, overworked ministers struggle with burnout

An increased demand for lay ministers means some are burning the candle at both ends.

By Teresa Coda |
Article Your Faith

Sue Antoinette, a retired youth minister in Cincinnati, spent her career being attentive to others’ needs. But she didn’t always receive the same in return. Because Antoinette worked with kids, she found that people tended to take her work less seriously. She even remembers a time when a priest patted her on the head.

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Do you parish-hop?

Parish-hopping can be a welcome solution for those without a parish to call home.

By Nicole Perone |
Article Your Faith

 

My husband, John, and I are newly married and also new residents of a smallish town in central Connecticut, working in adjoining dioceses. During this time of limbo, we frequently find ourselves at a different parish each weekend for various reasons from professional to personal. It’s a different lifestyle than we are used to, but we rejoice in the opportunity to see the best of what is happening in communities large and small, progressive and traditional, urban, suburban, and rural.

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To find the holy, minister across generations

How ministering with a parish's youngest and oldest members reveals the mystery of God.

By Jeffrey Essmann |
Article Lifestyle

When I first started going to my parish about four years ago one of the things I was looking for, other than a schedule of Masses in English (I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Upper Manhattan), was community—though I freely admit I hadn’t a clue what community meant. For me, as with so many 21st-century types, it was a fairly free-form concept, a vague desire (at times an ache) for some sense of connection, belonging, or relationship.

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To rescue a sinking church, think mission not membership

The American Catholic Church is at a crossroads. Will it choose safety or discipleship?

By Jack Jezreel |
Article Your Faith

In Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown, there is a lifesaving parish called St. William. Every week, the single Sunday liturgy in the modest church building in an impoverished neighborhood is filled to capacity with a passionate mix of young and old; black, white, and brown; and religious and lay from dozens of zip codes. 

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Why aren’t bishops elected?

Ordinary Catholics once played an important role in the selection of bishops. What changed?

By J. Peter Nixon |
Article Your Faith

In 374 the bishop of Milan’s death sparked a deep conflict over the election of his successor. Fearing a threat to public order, the local governor, a man named Ambrose, appeared at the cathedral to appeal for calm. His eloquence so impressed those assembled that they began to chant his name and demanded he become bishop. Ambrose would go on to become a doctor of the church and the man who baptized St. Augustine. 

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How Catholics pray is as diverse as the church itself

‘U.S. Catholic’ readers share how they pray.

By Shanna Johnson |
Article Your Faith

In 2018 Pew estimated that 50 million Catholic adults live in the United States. That’s a lot of Catholics—and we don’t all practice our faith the same way. From daily Mass to meditation and yoga, there are many ways to pray. U.S. Catholic surveyed readers to find out how they connect with God. 

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Do flags belong in Catholic churches?

Nothing in the church’s liturgical books or canon law regulates the display of flags in churches.

By Joel Schorn |
Article Your Faith

After September 11, 2001 and the subsequent war on terrorism, the American flag became more visible than at perhaps any other time in U.S. history. From car antennas to window decals to lapel buttons to commercials, it seems the flag is now everywhere. But what about in Catholic churches?

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