During the month of April we pray in a special way for those who enter the faith at the commencement of the Easter season. Many Catholics regard welcoming new members into the Church as a high point in the liturgical year, especially given the recently reported on trends of religious disaffiliation. In today’s world of competing idols, young people in particular are losing sight of their vocational call and the ability to coherently discuss faith.
One of the great gifts of the Catholic Church is that its universality allows the mysteries of the faith to be expressed in endless ways in the beauty of different cultures. We see this perhaps most readily in traditions of visual art, but we also see it in the traditions of devotional prayer and popular (as in “of the people”) piety that have developed in particular parts of the world. The season of Lent and Holy Week has given rise to numerous beautiful practices: think of how many different ways one can pray the Stations of the Cross, for example. This practice encompasses a broad range of possibilities—from meditating as a community on Christ’s Passion in a parish church with Scripture, poetry, and music, to staging a full re-enactment of Jesus’ journey to Calvary in a performance of “Living Stations of the Cross” with actors, costumes, and props.
Today is the feast day of St. Óscar Romero, fourth Archbishop of San Salvador. Like many saints in the Church, Romero’s feast day marks his dies natales, or birth day into eternal life—in other words, the day of his death. 41 years ago today, Romero was shot and killed as he was celebrating Mass. Romero was known for his impassioned preaching and his outspokenness against corruption, violence, and oppression. Here are three pieces to help you learn more about this remarkable martyr for the faith.
Throughout the season of Lent, countless people will be engaged in a process of preparation to either receive the sacraments of initiation or to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. They will be accompanied in their preparation by those who are already initiated, who are themselves preparing to renew their baptismal promises at Easter.
March marks the annual observance of Women’s History Month, and in today’s world, it can be difficult to know how to talk about gender, feminism, women’s empowerment, or the question of identity. In learning how to do so, it can be helpful to start with exploring how the Church has responded to these concerns, especially in recent years.