Mission: The Reason the Church Exists

Liturgy that is divorced or disassociated from the mission of Jesus Christ is not Christian liturgy. In a participative community, the reason for liturgy is to prepare us for mission. We do not prepare by reading textbooks and hearing lectures. We do not watch PowerPoint presentations on how to be missionaries. We prepare as lovers do. The U.S. bishops tell […]

Anchor your parish in faith

A participative community is filled with faith. Participative communities fully live out the call of Jesus, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). The General Directory for Catechesis says, “The Christian faith is, above all, conversion to Jesus Christ, full and sincere adherence to his person, and the decision to walk in his footsteps” (53). Participative communities, then, will […]

Your parish’s divine fuel source

A participating community is energized or spirited. Go back and read the Pentecost story again (Acts 2:1-11). As you read it, keep in mind that while most Catholics know this story, very few of them have ever read it in the Bible. They know it because they’ve heard it proclaimed at Mass on Pentecost Sunday. Keep in mind that for […]

Hospitality is more than just being nice to people

A radically participative parish will have four faces it shows to the world. Strangers will see these faces on their first visit to the parish, and the parish will be “known” in the diocese for these characteristics. The four faces of a participative parish are: hospitality energy (Spirit) faith mission Hospitality Fourteen hundred years ago, St. Benedict wrote in his […]

Why do the things we do at Mass matter?

A few years ago, I was giving a workshop on how parishes could improve their liturgy. A man in the back row stood up and told us all that we were wasting our time. As long as we had a validly ordained priest who was consecrating the Body and Blood of Jesus, that was all that mattered. That should be […]

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What do Catholics believe?

Here are some solid Catholic Web sites that provide lots of information on the teachings of the Catholic Church. How to evaluate the quality of a Web site C21 Online (from Boston College) Catholic Update series (from American Catholic.org) Daily Scripture readings (from the United States Catholic Bishops) Here are some blog posts about Catholic beliefs. Jesus Christ The reason […]

7 gifts that will blow you away

Take a moment to reread the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts. It will strike you as a fearsome event: And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue […]

Glistening with holiness

The anointing with chrism is the highpoint of the confirmation ritual. Chrism is oil (usually olive oil) that has a scent mixed into it (balsam, for example). Chrism for all the parishes of a diocese is consecrated every year during Holy Week by the bishop at a ritual at the cathedral. In our day, chrism is used for anointings at […]

Handle with care—a powerful sign of love

The laying on of hands is a central action in confirmation. Jesus used his hands to heal the sick, to bless others (especially children), and to share meals with his disciples. In particular, he used his hands to take up the bread and cup at the Last Supper before he was handed over to be crucified. Upon his resurrection, Saint […]