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.

Respectful questions, discussion in theology club opens young minds
Edward C. Dodge
John was talking about dark matter and dark energy in space. He was talking physics, clearly having learned a lot from the priest who taught him the course.
Memorable vacations can be times of reflection and gratitude to God
Father Erik Pohlmeier
What word comes to your mind when you think of summer? High on the list is probably “heat” and whether that is good or bad depends on where you come down on the thermostat wars. If you are like Bishop Anthony B. Taylor, then the warmer the better.
Call no one 'father': Jesus warning about self-glorification, not a priest's title
Father Jerome Kodell, OSB
Catholics get nervous when they hear Jesus’ words about the use of the titles "rabbi," "father" and "master," especially this verse: “Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9) Some other Christians accuse Catholics of disobeying this mandate when they ca
Pilgrimages open our hearts, minds to find God in all things
Chris Thomas
The wind came sweeping down the plains and, yes, the waving wheat sure smelled sweet as I sat in a park on the edge of an Okarche, Oklahoma, field.
Catholic hospitals rooted in care for poor, acting as Jesus did
Father Jason Tyler
If someone asked you to name two types of Catholic institutions other than local parishes, you would likely think quickly of Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals. Especially in the United States, we are blessed with many Catholic schools and hospitals.
Lessons in John 21: Jesus gives us spiritual guide for following him
Paula Standridge
Jesus appeared to his disciples several times between his resurrection and ascension into heaven. One of those appearances was at the shore of the sea of Tiberius.
Prepare before Mass so heart is open to really hear homily
Judy Hoelzeman
If I went to a different Mass on Sunday than my parents did, this question usually waited for me when I got home: “What did Father say in the sermon?” I’d think: “Oh no, if only I had listened instead of whispering with my best friend Anne.”
Questions for Catholics to answer ahead of primary elections
Sister Joan Pytlik, DC
With primary elections May 22, and early voting starting May 7, I’m reminded of how pollsters used to speak of the “Catholic vote,” and now say you cannot pigeon-hole Catholics.
Some saint designations inspire us to contemplate our own labels
Kelli Nugent
Occasionally I find myself pondering curious things about the Catholic faith. Recently, I has been thinking about the designations given to the saints, such as martyr, confessor, virgin, etc. In some cases, the designation is evident, but not always.
Foot washing not just a service, but a model Jesus asks us to follow
Betsy Wiederkehr Huss
Did you know the washing of feet on Holy Thursday is not mandatory? Did you know a kiss to the feet used to be involved? How about 13 being the designated number of people getting their feet washed?