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Explore Understanding Our Church, a 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.

Pope Francis: Pray, study, vote conscience
Sister Joan Pytlik, DC
We’ve already heard the pundits say there is no longer a “Catholic vote.” Should there be? Voting has gotten more complicated recently since we learn from our Catholic leaders that we should no longer rely just on voting on a single issue.
Prioritize Advent over the holiday season
Msgr. Richard Oswald
In most parishes it is customary for parish organizations and ministry groups to have a party during the month of December as Christmas approaches.
Humanae Vitae key to life-giving marriage
Father Erik Pohlmeier
July 25th marks the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. Few documents of the Church have caused a stir like this one of Pope Paul VI.
Those unable to receive the Eucharist can have spiritual communion
Abbot Jerome Kodell, OSB
In his encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia (A Eucharistic Church), of April 2003, Pope John Paul II encouraged the practice of spiritual communion, “which has been a wonderful part of Catholic life for centuries and recommended by saints who were masters of the spiritual life.”
Foundation of Catholic rituals, practices is found in Jewish tradition
Dr. Linda Webster
From the altar to the procession up the aisle, from the scriptural prayers of the liturgy to our belief in almighty God, we Catholics owe much to our Jewish brethren.
Role of deacons varies, but call to serve others is key to their ministry
Deacon John Marschewski
From the beginning, the diaconate were called to serve those in need. As we will hear in next Sunday’s first reading from Acts (Chapter 6), the original call for deacons occurred in the early stages of the Church.
Though many forms of prayer exist, most important is to just do it
Judy Hoelzeman
We Catholics pray in every way imaginable. Our prayer lives are as diverse as we are. Our different personalities, abilities and limits make our prayer intensely personal. We pray in so many ways, too, because we are influenced by two millennia of rich spirituality and holiness.
Great schism divided the Church but apostolic succession remains
Msgr. Richard Oswald
With the fall of the Roman Empire, Rome, the once mighty capitol faded, and the city of Constantinople ascended to become a great center of political and economic power. Eventually this political and economic divide would lead to a theological schism.
Though movies portray them falsely, stigmata are real signs from God
Betsy Wiederkehr Huss
Today, if you asked people, “What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘stigmata’?” you would probably receive a wide range of responses.
Some sins are worse than others, but all damage our bond with God
Father Erik Pohlmeier
A seemingly short time ago we celebrated the days of Christmas, and then quickly turned our attention from the child in the manger to the man in the desert for Lent.

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