Faith Formation Sessions

The Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Ten Gifts of the Catholic Faith!

Over one hundred parishes/schools/organizations of the Archdiocese of Dubuque submitted lists of their reasons for being Catholic. These were compiled into one archdiocesan list of ten beautiful gifts of the Catholic faith, each pointing to the source of our faith, Jesus Christ!

Here they are, from one to ten!

1. Jesus in the Eucharist: The Eucharist is our Number ONE gift of the Catholic faith! No surprise here as we believe the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our faith. “Eucharist” was the overwhelming response, whether described as “Real Presence,” “the Body and Blood of Jesus,” “Communion,” or “the Mass.” Catholics are Eucharistic people; we believe the Eucharist feeds, forms, strengthens, and sends us as the one Body of Christ.

2. Sacraments: We value the sacraments as the foundation of our faith. Most stated “sacraments” while others included, “the seven sacraments.” Interestingly, more than several noted the “Sacrament of Reconciliation,” “confession,” and “Christ’s forgiveness in the sacraments.” Many of the faithful have experienced the strength and power of sacramental grace. Some noted our “sacramental worldview” and others submitted “sacramental nature.” Catholics believe God continues to be present in our world, especially through the sacraments.

3. Community: Though we live in an individualistic society, Catholics appreciate their communal faith. “Community,” “communal,” “family,” “familial,” and “unity” were used to describe our faith life. As Catholics, faith is more than Jesus and me—it is Jesus and we! Our community consists of those who are baptized into the body of Christ. As Catholics, we gather around the altar, around the family dinner table, and in service around the community meal. We know we’re in this together!

4. Apostolic: A great majority of our members appreciate the two thousand year history of our Catholic faith. Many noted the Catholic Church began when Christ handed Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Others wrote of the importance of “apostolic succession,” “our bishops,” or “going back to Christ.” Included in this gift are the terms, “pope,” “papacy,” and “priesthood.” As Catholics, we value the continuous leadership from the time of Christ to the present (by the way, several mentioned Pope Francis as a GREAT gift of our Catholic faith today—and we concur!)

5. Blessed Mother, Mary: We believe when Jesus was dying on the cross, He gave His mother to John (and to us), therefore we recognize Mary as our Blessed Mother. Catholics have an affection for Mary, and honor her as Jesus’ mother, the first disciple, and one who intercedes for us. We know Jesus answered Mary’s request at the wedding feast at Cana, therefore we trust Jesus to answer her requests on our behalf.

6. Sacred Teaching, Scripture & Tradition: Members of the Archdiocese of Dubuque value the strong teachings of the Catholic Church. Many noted these teachings are not arbitrary, but are rooted firmly in Scripture and Tradition. As Catholic Christians, we are formed by these “strong, stable teachings.” We appreciate “Tradition,” “the magisterium,” “the teaching authority of the Church,” and “The Catechism of the Catholic Church.” We were pleasantly surprised to read, “lifelong formation” and “continuous learning.” Some mentioned “religious education,” while many appreciate the strong history of Catholic schools.

7. Catholic Social Teaching, Justice & Service: We believe our Christian faith leads to justice and service. We appreciate Catholic Social Teaching, which gives us the foundation for taking Christ’s presence into the world. Several people wrote specifically, “Catholic Social Teaching,” while many used phrases such as “care for the poor” “respect for life” “outreach and service” and “charitable organizations.” Some noted our strong stance for the weak and the vulnerable, based on the dignity of the human person as created in the image and likeness of God.

8. Prayers & Devotions: Do you pray the rosary or say a novena? Do you wear a scapular? Dip you hands into the baptismal font and bless yourself? Do you say grace before meals? Do you spend time in silent adoration? Do you receive ashes on Ash Wednesday? Pray the Stations of the Cross? Do you? Do you? Do you?  We could go on and on describing our Catholic prayers and devotionals (we’ve had 2000 years to develop them!) As Catholics we cherish these spiritual practices that lead us closer to God.

9. Saints: Members of our archdiocese love the saints! Are you surprised with roses from St. Therese of Liseiux or do you receive spiritual wisdom from St. John of the Cross? Then “saints” was probably on your Ten Gifts list, along with thousands of others. Many responses referred to the “communion of saints” and the great “cloud of witnesses.” The saints inspire us as Catholics and connect us to the faithful who have gone before us, like St. John XXII and St. John Paul II!

10. Universal: The members of our Archdiocese appreciate belonging to a universal church. We are, of course, Catholic, which means universal. Yet people described universal in a variety of ways. Some simply wrote the word “worldwide,” while others expressed the joy of attending mass in any country, in any language—knowing it is the same liturgical celebration. Some described universal as the diversity and colorfulness of the expressions of our faith. Others noted that all are welcomed in the Catholic Church–no matter one’s race, language, culture, country, or economic status.

These are our Top Ten Gifts of the Catholic Faith!

Members of our archdiocese took this project to heart and submitted answers that reflect the core values of our distinctively Catholic faith. Not on the list are the basics of our faith that pertain to all Christians: the Trinity; a relationship with Jesus Christ; Scripture as the Word of God, etc.

Again, we thank each parish/school/organization/member of the Archdiocese of Dubuque who participated in the Top Ten Gifts of the Catholic Faith!