US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Is your parish sustainable?

Are Catholics taking seriously Pope Francis' call to combat climate change?

By The Editors |
Article Lifestyle

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.”

Have parishes taken this message seriously?


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. 


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. 


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?


Does the church have too many ministries?

The church's multitude of ministries hinders parish involvement, says this Catholic.

By Patricia Morrison |
Article Your Faith

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the daily running of the typical parish was a fairly straightforward and Spartan process.

OK, lest I be thought an ossified curmudgeon, let me clarify that statement with some (albeit heavily abridged) church history: Almost as soon as the Holy Spirit propelled the church into the neighborhood, the organizational instincts of its members sprang into play.


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. 

My brain rarely connected with what I heard from the altar. Most weeks, as I sat in the pew, my mind wandered, and I played mental games to pass the time, such as discovering how many of the alphabet’s letters were in that week’s bulletin. (If it was all 26, I won.) 


It’s OK to be late to Mass

Showing up is what matters, says this priest.

By John Molyneux, C.M.F. |
Article Your Faith

During his weekly general audience last December, Pope Francis addressed the issue of punctuality at Mass. He said: “It is not a good habit to be looking at the clock” and calculating how much of the beginning of the Mass would be OK to miss and still fulfill one’s obligation. Get to Mass early—not late, he said, because it is during the introductory rites that “we begin to adore God in community” and “to prepare the heart for this celebration with the community.”


As the church changes, Latino lay men and women take the lead

Dioceses around the country are seeking effective ways to empower more Latino lay leaders.

By Michael Sean Winters |
Article News

For Iris Fernandez, faith is a priority. A Puerto Rican lay ecclesial minister in Norwich, Connecticut, Fernandez works full-time for the state. But her off-work hours are spent pursuing her passion for her faith—and that comes bubbling to the surface easily. 


Listen to the rural church

Our country relies on rural communities for everything from food to manufactured goods, yet many rural Catholics feel like second-class citizens.

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
Article Justice

“Rural matters,” says James Ennis, executive director of Catholic Rural Life. For 94 years, this organization has bridged the gap between urban and rural Catholics and served the unique needs of the Catholic Church in rural America.


Is your parish creating new Catholics?

Maybe it's time to rethink RCIA.

By Diana Macalintal |
Article Your Faith

When Rocio showed up at our parish, she knew nothing about the Catholic Church. All she knew was that her life was filled with darkness and she hungered for something more. It was January, and our RCIA sessions had begun months before. So our catechetical team asked Rocio to come to Mass each Sunday and hang out with the community. We hoped this would keep her interested until she could join the next RCIA in the fall and we could teach her about becoming a Catholic.