What is the difference between Catholics and other Christians?
Catholics ARE Christians! Anyone who believes in the teachings of Christ is considered a Christian. Catholics are the practicing members of the Catholic Church, led by the Pope. Jesus Himself gave the authority of the church to St. Peter and his successors, the popes. The current pope is Pope Francis; he resides in Vatican City.
What do Catholics believe?
Some core Catholic beliefs include:
God created human beings as a physical sign of His love. However, the sin of Adam and Eve, our first parents, (called Original Sin) took away the relationship of love and trust with God.Throughout history, God worked with humans to restore that love and trust through a series of covenants (special relationships based on mutual promises) with Noah, Abraham, and the people of Israel.God sent His son, Jesus, as a savior for the human race. He was the perfect sacrifice and following His death, Heaven's gates were opened for all the just.God reveals Himself in the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the heart of the Church's life. We literally receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the appearance of bread and wine.Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church with Peter. God revealed religious truth to the Apostles which is called Sacred Tradition and is entrusted with the Pope (the Apostles' successor) and all the bishops of the Church.The Bible, or Sacred Scripture, is another source of God's revealed truth for Catholics. The Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the Bible to write what God wants us to know for our salvation.Many Catholic beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed and Apostles' Creed.Source: Singer-Towns, B. (2013). The Catholic Faith Handbook.(3rd ed.). St. Mary's Press: Winona.
Why do Catholics have so many rules?
Just as our society has rules and laws to create order, so too does the Catholic Church. The "rules" and teachings of Christ are not meant to restrict or confine us; rather, they are in place to guide us to a better relationship with Christ while we are here on earth and help us obtain divine life with Him in heaven. The Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai, help us to attain human fulfillment and union with God. The Precepts of the Church help us to remember our Catholic duties in our day-to-day lives.
How do I become a Catholic?
RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is the process by which adult converts are received into full communion with the Catholic Church. It takes place in four stages:
(1) Pre-Catechumenate or Inquiry Phase. Normally started in September and gathers information, answers questions and corrects misunderstandings,(2) Catechumenate phase, which is the process of spiritual formation and introduction to Catholic parish life,(3) Election phase, meaning the candidate is fit for the sacraments of Initiation at Easter. This rite stars on the first Sunday of Lent and includes scrutinies, presentations, and anointing,(4) Final Initiation phase takes place at the Easter Vigil, when the catechumens are baptized, confirmed, and receive their First Holy Communion.
Note: Some parishes make a distinction between the unbaptized (catechumens) and those baptized in another church (candidates for full communion).
Source: Stravinskas, P. (1991). Catholic encyclopedia. pp.836. Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington, Indiana.
If you are interested in becoming a Catholic in our area, please contact one of the four parishes.
What are some resources for daily scripture?
There are a number of applications you might download to your computer, phone, or tablet. You can access daily scripture readings on your computer here. Some popular daily scripture reading apps include Laudate and iBrievery; both are free to download and use. If downloading to your phone, iPod, or tablet, go to the App Store on your device and search for the mentioned app; follow the directions for installation on your device.
If reading is difficult for you or you prefer to just have the scriptures read aloud, they are available here. You can also watch videos that reflect upon the daily readings at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site. Meditations by Pope Francis are available to read on the Vatican's website.