“This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church.
We are proud to profess it, in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
–from the Rite of Confirmation
The Vatican. Priests. Nuns. Rosaries. Knights of Columbus. The Inquisition. Saints. Mary. The Pope.
When you hear the word “Catholic, “ what comes to mind? All of the above things are often called “Catholic,” but none of them, singly or as a group, really tell us what it means to be Catholic. What lies beneath? From what do all of these things arise? What is at the core of Catholicism?
First, Catholicism is a Christian religion. It shares many common beliefs and practices with other Christian religions: the Trinity, prayer, the Bible, and Jesus Christ. This isn’t at all surprising. Catholicism is the earliest of all of the Christian faith traditions; the other Christian traditions, for one reason or another, split from it beginning in the 16th century. Most of them disagree with not only the Catholic faith, but with each other over a multitude of doctrines and disciplines. Catholicism, though, retains a direct line of apostolic and doctrinal succession to Christ himself.
Second, because of this, the Catholic Church is able to offer a message that comes from God’s revelation of himself in Jesus Christ two thousand years ago. This incredible message is nothing less than this: God, in His abiding love for his sons and daughters, has broken into history to save and redeem us. As Pope Francis stated it, “Jesus Christ loves you: he gave his life for you; and he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”
All of the other beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church are rooted in this message and serve as a means to free us from our failings and to unite us with Jesus Christ.
That is our faith.
Learning about the Faith
The Parish of St. Ann offers a variety of programs, experiences, and opportunities for learning about our faith, for anyone from kindergarten age up to adult. If you’d like to see what programs are available, click below.
A sacrament is a rite that is performed to convey God’s saving grace to the recipient, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The sacraments were instituted by Jesus during His life and entrusted to His Church.
The Mass is the central liturgical act of worship of the Roman Catholic Church, which culminates in celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. It is considered as “the source and summit of the Christian life.” To learn more, click below.
In the Catholic Church, the saints are ordinary people like you and me who made it to heaven. They’ve done nothing that you and I cannot do, if we persevere in following Jesus Christ and living our lives according to His teaching.
Sacred Scripture] is truly divine, because it belongs to God truly and genuinely: God himself inspired it, God confirmed it, God spoke it through the sacred writers Moses, the Prophets, the Evangelists, the Apostles and, above all, through his Son, our only Lord, in both the Old and the New Testament.
(Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter _Patres Ecclesiae_,
January 2, 1980)
We read the Bible is to encounter God, and to uncover and understand the revelation he has given us, and so to grow in faith.
Scripture is a living thing, meant for people in all times and places. God speaks through it now just as much as he did when it was written.
To learn more about the Bible, click below: