US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Our Ladies of Haiti

By J.D. Long-García |
A year after an earthquake killed more than 230,000, Haiti rebuilds its communities on a strong foundation: the country’s brave and faithful women.

To get to her house, Marie Josil walks through a blue tarp camp, where hundreds of Haitians set up makeshift shelters after the January 12, 2010 earthquake tumbled their homes. Where the tent city ends, the cinderblock neighborhood begins.

Her house, a two-room concrete building crammed between a pile of rubble and another home, smells of sewage. But she doesn’t notice. This is how it’s always been.

Silent flight: Christians leave the Holy Land

By Kevin Clarke |
The land of Jesus’ birth may soon be without Christians to celebrate it.

At eventide the square of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem lights up like a Christmas scene. Brightly colored lights trail around the bell tower bathing Manger Square in a warm amber glow. Tourists lean on stones that have held up weary pilgrims for centuries. The low-tech light show washing over the square is unassuming and peaceful, just right for the spot tradition says the Prince of Peace entered human history in a most humble and vulnerable form.

State of fear: Arizona's immigration law

By J.D. Long-García |
Arizona's immigration crackdown both was inspired by and inspires fear.

"Panico." That's how Joel Navarette, the coordinator of the youth group at St. Agnes Church in Phoenix, describes the reaction to SB 1070, an immigration crackdown that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law in April.

Despite opposition from the U.S. bishops, polls have shown broad local and national support of the law and desire for similar legislation in other states. 

Take the next exit: Avoid an economic traffic jam

By Kevin Clarke |
When it comes to economic growth, the express lanes are closed.

You've probably heard friends complain about tie-ups in Los Angeles or Chicago or New York that transform already long commutes into sweaty practice runs for purgatory. But nothing compares to what motorists recently endured on a roadway heading into Beijing in August's mother-of-all traffic jams: an 11-day, diesel-clouded snarl, stretching more than 62 miles and entrapping thousands of trucks and motorists trying in vain to snail into China's capital city.

From the grounds up: The future of fair trade

By Daniel P. Smith |
Can fair trade grow beyond just coffee?

Sunday Mass has ended at St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax, Virginia, and parishioners are filing out. Deb Caskey stands in waiting, a smile on her face, a mission in her soul, and a table filled with coffee and chocolate at her side.

It's "Fair Trade Sunday" at St. Mary's, and Caskey is in overdrive.

America the anxious

By Bryan Cones |
Only our better angels can guide us to interreligious understanding.

American politics always seems to turn on the next "threat" to our security, especially in an election year. Warnings about hordes of brown-skinned Spanish-speaking "illegals" had kept the nation on high alert through most of 2010, but as elections drew near and pundits and politicians saw demonizing immigrants as a loser among Hispanic voters, the search was on for a new bogeyman.

Born in the USA: Protecting the 14th Amendment

By Kevin Clarke |
American birthright citizenship is downright Constitutional.

The birther movement is at it again. No, I'm not talking about the fringe group that insists, in defiance of all evidence to the contrary, that President Barack Obama is not a native-born citizen.

Pax Romana: An interview with Andrea Riccardi

By A U.S. Catholic interview |
The founder of the international lay movement of the Sant’Egidio Community explains how his group has been able to build peace, one conflict at a time.

When Andrea Riccardi and his high school friends began to help Rome’s poorest 42 years ago, they did not intend to work beyond the city. But the movement they launched now has about 50,000 members in more than 70 countries.

Huddle masses: The history of our immigrant church

By Moises Sandoval |

Lady Liberty has seen many tempest tossed generations set foot upon these shores. With each new wave of immigrants, the American Catholic Church has become a harbor that gets wider and deeper by the year.