Christ, not priest or faithful, is at center of the liturgy, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A liturgy is not Christian if Christ is not the center of the celebration, Pope Benedict XVI said. “The conviction must grow in us every day that the liturgy is not 'our' or 'my' doing, but is God's acting in us and with us,” he said Oct. 3. The pope spoke […]

Rosary key to evangelization, helping families, says Marian expert

ROME (CNS) -- As the church is set to begin the Year of Faith and a synod on the new evangelization, the rosary can play a key role in strengthening and spreading the word of God, said a leading American expert in Marian studies.

On crying babies and offering Mass for a deceased atheist

Q. Not too long ago, I moved to a different town and now attend a new parish. I have a question about the behavior of children at Mass. In my old parish, the priest would stop Mass and have the ushers assist a mother with a crying baby to a separate (and soundproof) “cry room,” […]

Advice on church dress code and a man’s last wishes for Communion

Q. I attend a small parish in a small town. I moved here recently and am surprised at the low-cut tops, short shorts and short skirts worn by women at Mass. Isn't there some kind of dress code? (Iowa) A. On the topic of proper dress for Mass, there are probably as many different opinions as there are readers of this column.

Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer intentions for October

General Intention:  New Evangelization: That the New Evangelization may progress in the oldest Christian countries. Missionary Intention: World Mission Day: That the celebration of World Mission Day may result in a renewed commitment to evangelization.

In yourself and in the Church, look at the good that outweighs the bad

I want you to look in the mirror and tell me what you see. Do you see a generous, giving person that tries hard to be good? Do you see the many sacrifices you've made for others and the noble instincts that have inspired your loving service? In many ways, you are a saint and you don't know it. But before I go on, let me ask another question. Do you also see the dark side of your personality, the part you wouldn't want printed in any newspaper? The truth is that when you look in the mirror, you are looking at both sides of yourself: the good and the bad.

What’s with the unity candle in a Catholic wedding?

Q. I've heard that the Vatican does not approve of the lighting of the unity candle at wedding ceremonies. Is this true? (Albany, N.Y.) A. For those unfamiliar with it, the ritual of the unity candle is sometimes inserted into a Catholic wedding ceremony following the exchange of vows and rings. The bride and groom each take a smaller lighted candle. Using those candles, they together light the larger candle in the middle. That's referred to as the "unity candle."

Our prayer requests help us as much as those we pray for


When compassion and fatigue collide at the parish

Every day brings a new parade of mental illness to our rectory door. We see schizophrenia, manic-depression, schizoaffective disorder, major depression, drug addiction and just plain craziness. They come by phone, by car, by foot, by bicycle and by email. Here they come with all their troubles. They dump them at our doorstep and say, "Fix it." The problem is that much of the time we can't fix it.

Time it takes to join the Church depends on the person

Q. I would like to know the appropriate duration for receiving instructions in the RCIA program. Some have told me that it is three years, other say less. (Ibadan, Nigeria) A. The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is a process of education, faith-sharing and rituals for welcoming new members into the Catholic Church. […]