The practice of Catholicism acknowledges and respects the human capacity for rational thought as a profoundly important gift from God. It encourages its adherents to pursue the truth in whatever form it may take and wherever it may be discovered. Catholics acknowledge the official leadership position of the minister who has been ordained and, in a more specific sense, the role of the bishops and the pope. More explanation is available on the iglesias catolicas cerca de mi.
- Catholics believe all believers are called to some vocation and support shared leadership.
- Catholics respect and highly regard the great people of faith who came before them, known as saints, and extraordinarily, they honor and revere Mary, the mother of Jesus.
- Catholics are devoted to the idea that the world can be made a better place through active participation in the struggle for justice and peace.
Recently, person was allowed to attend a workshop on Catholic identification that Joe Paprocki, an author, and national consultant, presented. Joe encouraged the people in his audience to think about their own lives and experiences to conclude what it means to be a genuine Catholic. He did this in a delightfully entertaining way. Participants discussed and performed various rituals, symbols, and movements characteristic of the Catholic faith. Joe guided us through the remainder of the day, illuminating for the participants the essence of what it means to be Catholic and helping us to derive a richer meaning from the events we had just experienced.
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Even though our “vintage” spanned several decades, it seemed like most people in the room could connect to the images and memories shared because of how enthusiastically they responded.
However, You couldn’t help but ponder if the same could be said about the young families that our organization assists. What everyday religious experiences do they share? My experience has shown me that young Catholic families are frequently unsure of how to define what it means to be Catholic in the modern world. As a parish preacher, I must recognize the possibility that the people I serve have had very different life experiences than those I have had. What aspects of the Catholic character remain the same over time, and how does this play out in the lives of younger Catholics?
Joe Paprocki identifies some essential characteristics that define what it means to be Catholic in his book, Practice Makes Catholic. These characteristics are described in more detail below. I want to encourage you to consider how these qualities manifest themselves in the young parents and children you work with.
A feeling of sacramentality
It’s possible that modern families don’t have sacred water fonts in each room or don’t say the rosary together. They may have no concept of what a novena is. They may have no idea how the ecclesiastical year is structured. They will have palms, will be conversant in the use of ashes, and may make use of an Advent arrangement. This year, I wanted to teach families about the Epiphany blessing of the house, so I provided chalk, a prayer, and some instructions, and I encouraged families to learn more about it. How can the depth and meaning of ritual and symbol be shared with families in a manner that does not come across as threatening?