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12 reasons I enjoy being Catholic

Kudos to Kathy Coffey whose article titled: "Ten Reason to be Catholic" was the springboard for me posting my 12 reasons.... many of them the same :)

I ENJOY BEING A CATHOLIC BECAUSE ...

  1. We are the community that remembers Jesus

    I see this especially in the surrendered lives of those who show us Christ's face, His hands and eyes and words and compassionate touch. We call it the Mystical Body, but it means that we recognize Jesus in the laughter and voices of those around us; little kids, retired folks, teenagers, all those in whom Christ continues to take flesh.

    While all Christian communities remember Jesus, Catholics do so in a particular, liturgical way. When someone we love has died, we usually try to recapture memories of that person through our senses. We remember Grandma's tortillas, or the song that Grandpa sang off-key. One of my friends whose husband died broke down when she smelled his after-shave lingering in his shirts.

    We remember Jesus in the same way. We remember Him as we enter into the un-bloody sacrifice of Calvary in daily Mass:

    • the sound of His voice telling stories;
    • teaching us through the Word of God read to us
    • His words as He breathes onto bread and wine which transforms them into His Own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

In Scripture, we find him still in the simplest human activities, eating and drinking, gathering with friends and telling stories.

Personally, I set a reminder every Friday at 3:00pm. When that reminder goes off, I say a small prayer of thanksgiving or I say one decade of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy ( it takes less than a minute to complete! )


  1. Catholicism has universality

    We Irish have our gifts, but mariachi music isn't one of them. So I've been grateful to the people with Spanish and African-American backgrounds for the richness, the color, the vibrancy they bring to our faith. No one tradition has the resources to meet the challenges of the next century. Yet in the Church, we find the pluralism that the human race will need to survive.

    What universality means in practical terms is that on Wednesday night I can visit a poor parish where the people come through pouring rain to sit on folding chairs in a gym with a leaky roof. Then on Saturday, I can fly to a mega-church which cost millions, a parish with the highest concentration of M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s in the country. In both places, we explore the same, unchanging Sunday Gospel and re enter into that ONE unbloody sacrifice of Calvary, that crosses all the differences.

    Whether a Catholic is in the USA, Spain, England, Italy, Russia or anywhere on the face of the earth, generally, one hears the same gospels and enters into the same unbloody sacrifice of Calvary. Whether one attends an Ordo liturgy or Tridentine liturgy, it is the same worldwide for that type of liturgy; it is universal, it is Roman Catholic!

    A range of liturgies in different languages makes the universality of the Church visible. Within that universality, you will find the liturgies of the Church celebrated in:
    • French
    • Italian
    • Portuguese
    • Vietnamese
    • Polish
    • Creole/French-Creole
    • and others


  1. Catholics make bold claims .... and they are true!
  • The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
  • The Church is infallible on issues of faith and morals because the Holy Spirit protects the Church from officially teaching error.
  • Our Blessed Mother is our spiritual Mother because St. John represented mankind

    Sometimes these startle people of other traditions. "Who do you think you are?" they might ask. We answer, seriously and repeatedly, that we are Christ's full and complete presence on earth today. We cooperate with God to build God's kingdom in this world. In the Eucharist, we consume the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ and so partake in Divine nature. We may sound arrogant, but this is what Jesus meant when he said, "You will do greater things than I have done." How's that for a bold claim?

  1. Catholics always have something to celebrate:

    • Catholic Education Week in January
    • St. Joseph in March
    • Our Blessed Mother Mary in May
    • The Sacred Heart of Jesus in June
    • The Precious Blood in July
    • Guardian Angels in October
    • The Communion of Saints in November
    • Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadeloupe
    • St. Nicholas and Santa Lucia in Advent
    • Mardi Gras, "burying the Alleluia" on Ash Wednesday
    • Resurrecting the Alleluia on Easter
    • Pentecost
    • The Marian feasts -- the list seems infinite.

I would say that on out of 365 days in a year about 80 percent of them, we honor some Saint. For me personally, if no Saint is being honored by the Church, I go back to my pre Vatican II Tridentine Calendar and celebrate the Saint on that calendar.

I have vivid memories of retreats to my Benedictine friends in Harvard, Massachusetts. I was always impressed with the amount of partying these monks did after the Easter Vigil Mass. They had people, sandwiches, drinks, and desserts. These guys knew how to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord! One year I remember going to bed at 4:00am on Easter Sunday morning!

Even now where I'm a parishioner at St. Patrick's.  We are blessed to have Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, day and night.

The simplest way to put it is:

"Catholics, day and night, are just party animals on Earth AND in Heaven!"

This is in contrast the Jehovah Witness members who are not allowed to celebrate Halloween, Christmas, or even their own birthdays. What a dreary, gray existence without a feast of fast to brighten up life!


  1. We draw on a rich spirituality

    I know of no other tradition that celebrates the sacredness of the ordinary as we do. All our sacraments name and claim the divine depth that sustains ordinary life. So our symbols that speak most eloquently are drawn from the most usual earthy things: wheat and vine, water, oil, touch. Such a sacramental theology says that even when we are not aware of it, a wondrous grace and mystery surround us always.

    A Church that puts the Eucharist at its center and, for those in a state of grace, rewards the seeker, the hungry, those who don't have their acts together, who don't know all the answers, but who need to come back and are always invited to return to the altar of the Lord.

    Part of this rich spirituality consists of the various religious orders within our Church. Contrary to what some Christians have been told, these are not divisions within the Church.

    No, these men and women have decided to live their WHOLE life for Our Lord Jesus by following an excellent model of Jesus' holiness. Some of these saints include:

    • St. Benedict (The Benedictines {OSB} )
    • St. Dominic (The Dominicans {OP} )
    • St. Francis (The Franciscans {OFM} )
    • St. Augustine ( The Augustinian's {OSA} )
    • St. Alphonsus ( Redemptorists { C.S.S.R.} )

    The Church declares these saints to be excellent models of holiness and encourages the faithful to follow their pattern of living. These saints and founders set forth a different path of holy living with Jesus being the ultimate model, NOT the saint or founder.

    Some decide to live there live out in an order dedicated to Our Blessed Lord or Our Blessed Mother:

    • Our Lady of Mount Carmel ( The Carmelites {O.Carm.} )
    • Legionaries of Christ - dedicated to Jesus ( {LC} )
    • The Jesuits - another order dedicated to Jesus ( {SJ} )
    • The Marists - An order dedicated to Our Blessed Mother ( {SM} )

  1. We care for the poor and needy.

    Each locale boasts its own examples, but across the United States homeless shelters, hospices, soup kitchens, battered women's shelters, AIDS treatment centers, literacy programs, day-care centers, hospitals, and schools are sponsored and staffed by the Catholic Church. In many parts of the country we sponsor immigration services and tutoring in English. Internationally the work for justice continues though agencies like Catholic Relief Services, Maryknoll and Jesuit Refugee Services. When it comes to a solid reputation, Catholic Charities is known to always give the biggest bang for the buck. I believe only 6% of any contribution goes to administration.

    These clear actions and positions are balanced by the humility to admit we can't do it all. As the prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero said, "our limitations are an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and complete our work."



  2. The Church is a human family so we have our share of tensions, family fights and scandals, but The Faith remains pure.

    This may seem odd, but I relish an image of Church like a huge tent or umbrella under which everyone can fit. Sometimes we seem to be splitting our seams, but we all still stay because this is where we belong; this is home. It is a tension into which we can relax, a struggle that can be lived.

    Somehow the Catholic Church holds it all in balance: the treasures of the Vatican art galleries and the poverty of the Franciscans; the exuberance of the charismatic's and the quietness of Eucharistic Adoration at a Benedictine Abbey; drums, guitars, trombones; and, Gregorian chant. Any other Church would have a million splinter groups. We contain it all. As James Joyce says, the Catholic Church means "here comes everybody." Sister Jose Hobday says her dad joined the Catholic Church because it had more riffraff than any other.

    But riffraff shouldn't get to our faith. I heard it said "We are a hospital for sinners and a museum for saints" - All in ONE Church!

    To our embarrassment, sometimes those sinners are priests and bishops into whom we have put great faith. But some have scandalized or, worse, abused us by their deeds, actions, or lack of
    action.

    When I think of the sexual crisis in the Church today, I'm not here to make any excuses. As the eldest and oldest in the Christian Faith, we have to clean up our act. But we have to remember, this isn't the first time scandal has entered the Church. Just read Church history! Just read the Old Testament! Sinners then, sinners now. The key to keep in mind that despite the "Judas behavior" in the Church, the Church's FAITH remains un changed and develops over time so the faithful in the Church can better evangelize it and those outside the Church can better understand it.




  3. There is a ministry and place for everyone in the world.

    I have been in three to five different parishes since my youth. One thing I've noticed in each parish are the myriad of ministries. The Catholic Church has a ministry for every calling anyone has in the world.

    Our job is simple: Daily regular prayer ( my favorite is the Rosary ) and if possible weekly adoration. With time, the Lord will show us the ministry He is calling us to in the Church. I've been involved in at least three ministries: Usher, Adoration Coordinator and Soup kitchen. I have made many new friends and acquaintances through all of them. I've been at some Churches that have up to 30 ministries!



  4. We have splendid heroes and heroines as models of holiness to follow.

    One difference between a sacred culture and our contemporary culture is that the sacred culture holds up its heroes. These are the people worth imitating. The Franciscans in California, for instance, named their missions (and eventually the cities) Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rose, San Diego.

    Another model of holiness, one of my favorites, is St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western Monasticism.

    Catholics have an array of heroes and heroines to follow going all the way back to the Early Church Fathers who lived from 33AD to 800AD. All one has to do is read what they taught and preached to find out.... IT WAS CATHOLIC!



  5. Through the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus allows me to work with him.

    Through the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus allows me to work with Him to bring all mankind into the fullness of truth, the fullness of salvation, the fullness of love. These aren't my works. No, these are the Lord's works, working through my body and mind in a similar way that The Lord uses the priest's body to consecrate the sacraments of the Church. I am NOT divine in nature, but God allows me to partake in His Divine work of saving mankind through the various ministries He calls me to work in.

    As my pastor has said, "Through the Eucharist, the Lord meets us 'right where we are' and assists us in growing in holiness from there."



  6. Because suffering, from the Catholic perspective, is a "Win-Win"

    One of the things I enjoy most about being Catholic is that once you understand the Catholic view of redemptive suffering it's a "Win-Win". Yes, it was finished with Christ and what is finished is finished. Nevertheless the Holy Scriptures show us that Jesus has chosen to have us partake in his body in a mystical way, and therefore in his suffering in a mystical way. St. Paul tells us:
    For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ9and be given a place in him, with the uprightness I have gained not from the Law, but through faith in Christ, an uprightness from God, based on faith,10that I may come to know him and the power of his resurrection, and partake of his sufferings by being molded to the pattern of his death,11striving towards the goal of resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have secured it already, nor yet reached my goal, but I am still pursuing it in the attempt to take hold of the prize for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:8-12

    As Catholics when we share in the joys of life, we share in Our Lord's joy; when we share in the pain and sufferings of life, we then share in his sufferings. Unlike other faiths, the Catholic view of suffering is not meaningless, but cleansing and redemptive. Suffering burns away the self-love we have committed by sin. But what if suffering comes our way when we are in a state of grace and living a holy life? Is that suffering in vain? Not from the Catholic view. We believe not only in the Church on earth {the Church Militant}, but also the Church Suffering {in Purgatory} and the Church Triumphant {In Heaven}. It is these points in time where we can offer our sufferings for the Church Suffering in Purgatory. We are a family on earth, in Purgatory and in Heaven. Just because we have a personal relationship with Jesus here on earth doesn't exclude a family relationship with others in the Church weather it be with the Church Suffering or Triumphant.


    I've remember times when I've been in bed with a bad winter cold. Usually I have a 101 degree temperature, coughing with a throat that feels like I'm swallowing razor blades. At those times I'll be saying to myself:
    "Boy this hurts...Praise the Lord...Boy this hurts...Praise the Lord."

    Why? Because although the human side of me feels the pain and suffering {Boy this hurts}, because through the Eucharist I partake in Divine Nature and offer my sufferings for the benefit of the Poor Souls in Purgatory, I say {Praise the Lord}! I praise the Lord because in His Divine Plan of Redemption he allows me to assist my other family members suffering in Purgatory. WOW what a great family idea!



  7. If I fall through sin, the Lord is there to pick me up and make me new again.

    Seeing that I, like any human, am tempted by Satan and fall from grace from time to time, the Lord is always there to pick me up. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation He instituted, I can be assured that when I hear the priest say:

    "Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

    I am re-justified and made new in Christ. And unlike the 600 + laws of the Old Testament, the New Testament sacraments He established are so easy, and more powerful as long as I strive to make a strong firm purpose of amendment and do the assigned penance the priest gives me.

    WHAT A DEAL!!!

    Thinking about joining the Church but your sins are too serious?
    Thinking about coming back to the Church?

  8. Don't be afraid! Search out a holy priest who will assist you on your journey.

You've started your walk into the Church but found scandal where you are?

    Find another priest and another parish then report what you found to that local bishop.

Welcome home!

Mike Humphrey
AskACatholic.com Web Administrator

P.S. There is one more reason why I enjoy being Catholic:

We have a sense of humor! Over the 10 years AskACatholic.com/CPATS.ORG has been on the web, guess which page on this web site is the fourth most popular page?
{ click here }

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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