The key to parish life: Hello and welcome

What do people want in a parish? A friendly and welcoming atmosphere, for starters. Our package of stories on parish life across the U.S. -- including at Sacred Heart Parish in Royersford -- explores the qualities of healthy parishes.

Parishes: Called to welcome ‘as Christ has welcomed you’

The pastoral council at Sacred Heart Parish in Royersford suggested a welcoming ministry, and it's now in full flight at the Montgomery County parish. See how this parish and others are making parishioners and guests feel at home.

Parish pastor calls for hospitality, good preaching and good music

A ministry of hospitality isn't the only thing a parish needs, but it's the first thing one parish started when it was founded, writes its founding pastor. He "road tests" his homilies with small groups before Sunday Masses.

Early Christians gathered in homes, not churches, professor says

Jesus mostly preached to large crowds outdoors, and the apostles used private homes for liturgies. The generation that knew Jesus never saw a church building, which would take two centuries to rise.

Jesus shows how the Father wants us to follow the law, beyond its letter

In the Sermon on the Mount in this Sunday’s Gospel, the call to love goes beyond a righteousness based on retribution, writes Msgr. Joseph Prior. God loves and forgives; he calls us to do the same.

Readings of the holy Mass – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Read or listen to the readings before Mass with the resources below from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, using the New American Bible, Revised Edition.

When distractions come during prayer, don’t dwell on them

A reader who worries whether distractions are sinful can find comfort in the advice of Father Ken Doyle, who shares the wisdom of the saints. Father Doyle also counsels a parishioner on making donations.

Healthier, stronger marriages rooted in deep faith

There are important actions couple can take to strengthen their love. Those include going to Mass together as a couple and a family, and finding inspiration in the Bible. See our package of faith resources on marriage from our partner, Catholic News Service.

Going to Mass together: The glue of our marriage

Writer Kelly Bothum knows it would be easier to skip Mass when the kids are squirmy and tension with her husband is still simmering. Keep going, she advises. Your marriage will thank you. Much like exercise, "I always feel better after I go."

How a marriage strengthens and grows

Pope Francis has said that as metal is melted and reformed, so the crucible of family life changes a young couple. Looking back years later, they can see how they have transformed and matured, although they barely felt it.