Understanding Our Church

Explore this treasury of Arkansas writers discussing the Catholic faith on a wide variety of topics. Find what you're looking for by browsing the whole list or search by keyword or author. All articles have been reviewed for theological accuracy. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

True stewardship gives generously from gratitude more than guilt
Eleanor Henley
Contributions to the Church, whether to the local parish or to diocesan drives, have not kept up with inflation in recent years. Catholics, as a religious denomination, give half as much as their Protestant brothers and sisters.
Novenas: Nine-day faith journeys remind us on loss, preparation
Betsy Wiederkehr Huss
Have you ever said a “novena?” Maybe as a child in parochial school, or attending Mass on nine consecutive first Fridays, or maybe you prayed one recently? These devotions of mourning, of yearning, of prayer, of hope are a part of our Church’s tradition.
Reconciliation with God reconciles us with community, Church, self
Judy Hoelzeman
When my mother started getting forgetful in her early 80s, she sometimes asked me to help her write a list of sins before she received the sacrament of reconciliation. Her idea of what was sinful and mine didn’t match, of course, so we didn’t collaborate very well on this project.
The fruit of the Spirit: The power to forgive in an outrageous world
Abbott Jerome Kodell
In March 1996 seven Trappist monks in Tibherine, Algeria, were kidnapped from their monastery at midnight by masked intruders who were later identified as Islamic militants. The decapitated bodies of the monks were produced two months later.
‘Ordinary time’ on liturgical calendar is anything but commonplace
Deacon Bo McAllister
This Sunday as we celebrate the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we find ourselves in the middle of summer break from schools and the time in our Church calendar identified as Ordinary Time.
We all share responsibility for the celebration of the Eucharist
Msgr. Richard Oswald
Writing to the people of the Church in Corinth about the proper disposition with which they should approach the Eucharist, Paul said, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and always, will lead us
Father James P. West
The Catholic Church has recently completed its celebration of the resurrection of our Lord in the Easter season. During this sacred time, we were carried into the very heart of the mysteries of our salvation, and we found comfort and peace while there.
By studying Vatican II, we can become better participants in our faith
Sister Susan McCarthy
Amazing, as it seems, it has been almost 40 years since the opening of the first session of Vatican Council II on Oct. 11, 1962. From that date until Dec. 8, 1965, the bishops of the world met each fall.
Gospels tell us truth about Christ, guide us to salvation
Charles Sullivan
The Gospels are not biographies but testimonies. They testify, based upon certain selected historical facts and events, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God who reveals the Father and brings salvation to a fallen world.
For the peace of Jerusalem, pray: ‘May those who love you prosper’
Jerre Roberts
In the past few months our attention has been riveted on the tragic events in the Middle East, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I remember the day 21 years ago, entering Jerusalem on a small bus as we prayed the words of Psalm 122.

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