Being Catholic Today
As members of the Catholic Church in today's world, believers are called upon to share their faith with the wider community. As we follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we witness to the faith in how we interact with friends, family, and co-workers, how we raise our children, and how we engage the modern culture. Through the centuries, no church has done more to care for our brothers and sisters in need than the Catholic Church.
The beginning of Catholic belief is God's revelation. We believe that God loves us and desires to be in relationship with His creation. We believe that God reveals Himself in numerous ways, but particularly through the revelation of His Word, which comes to us in two forms - Sacred Scripture (written) and Tradition (unwritten). The ultimate sign of God's revelation is the Incarnation - God becoming human in the person of Jesus Christ. The Incarnation is the ultimate sign of God's love for God's people.
Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity, God revealed as three divine persons of one nature: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Church was founded by Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and carried forward through the ages by the Apostolic Tradition, the teachings of the Twelve Apostles. The Paschal Mystery - the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central mystery of every liturgical celebration, most especially the Mass, which is the "Source and Summit" of our lives as Catholics.
The Mass is the central, binding celebration of the Church. We live out the sacramental life most fully in community. Christ calls us to the forgiveness of sins and we recognize the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a way to repair sin and thereby return to right relationship with God, ourselves, and others. We are nourished and fed by the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The presence of the Risen Christ is revealed throughout the sacred liturgy and in the community gathered as the Body of Christ, in the Word, in the Priest-Presider, and most especially in the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Jesus).
As the living Body of Christ, Catholics are called to live a "countercultural" life. We are called to serve one another, just as Jesus served. We stand up for our faith and beliefs even if this means suffering in the world. The Catholic Social Teachings call us to care especially for the dignity of the human person - from the moment of conception to the end of natural life. We are called to tend to the poor, to care for our environment, to ensure just working conditions for all and to work towards an economic system that allows for the equal treatment of people.
We believe that we are united with all of the angels and saints, especially Mary, the Mother of God, and we model our lives on their their holy example. We pray to Mary and to the saints to intercede for us. Personal and communal prayer is a hallmark of the Catholic faith. We pray to strengthen our relationship with God and to grow in faith and love. We are united with all believers throughout the world - the universal Church - each week as we gather for communal prayer, the Mass.