growing up catholic

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Theology of processions

The Feast of Corpus Christi is June 3, when many parishes process with the Blessed Sacrament.

Church processions are serious business. I learned this right about the time I felt like my kneecaps were going to fall off from kneeling and I was going to collapse into a puddle of perspiration under the pitiless June sun. As a Protestant, I'd been used to worship spaces with cushy chairs with cup holders for my coffee. For Catholics, though, prayer is physical.

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Mary’s encouraging parenting example

Like most parents, I've warned my children, in no uncertain terms, not to punch each other during disagreements. Recently, the 3 year-old was in trouble for taking a shot at her brother. She carefully explained, "You never told me not to hit back." She'll be a lawyer when she grows up.

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Dorothy Day and the problem of loneliness

Feeling lonely? Well, you have company. In recent surveys, a full three quarters of the population admits to struggling with loneliness.

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Penance, fried into a celebration of God’s forgiveness

Lent is a time for prayer, penance, and mounds of spaghetti on fried fish.

Look, I'm as surprised to have written that sentence as you may be to have read it. The Lenten fish fry is a cultural phenomena, and the Catholic fish fries in St. Louis are without compare. When I first encountered this curiosity, I quickly realized I was out of my depth. Sure, I have a Master of Divinity and can read Greek, but at a fish fry I'm surrounded by expert-level Catholics who continue to school me on the art of how to do Lent right.

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | What to do with unruly boys? Ask St. Don Bosco, mentor to the troubled

What to do with unruly boys? Ask St. Don Bosco, mentor to the troubled 

I recently looked in the backyard and saw my 5-year old son enthusiastically beating a tree with a giant stick. His brother, 7, was shirtless and balancing precariously on top of the swing set. The shirt, I noticed, had been discarded for good reason — it was crumpled on the ground and soaked through with mud. Where he found the mud I'll never know.

GROWING UP CATHOLIC | Happiness and joy of loving God spills over into our everyday lives

About five years ago, my wife and I were received into the Catholic Church along with our children. It was one of the happiest days of my life and is a moment that people are often curious to hear about. More precisely, they're curious about what exactly happened in the years before to lead us there. I'd love to be able to give a brilliant, intellectual explanation of my thought-process and how I'm super courageous and smart, but instead I tend to furrow my brow and stammer, "It's a long story. It's, uh, hard to explain."

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