The foundation of our belief as Catholics is our relationship with Jesus Christ who stated “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
I AM THE WAY
We are all on a journey. We all seek love and peace and personal fulfillment. Some seek to achieve these personal goals through power or possessions. As Christian we know, though, that our deepest desires are only met through a relationship with Jesus Christ. “As a deer yearns for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God (Psalm 42:2). “Our heart is restless until it rests in you, O Lord” (St. Augustine). As Christians the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the guide for our journey; our destination is union with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
I AM THE TRUTH
All of us try to make sense out of our lives. Who am I? What is my role in life? How should I relate to others? These are questions that humans of every culture and of every age have asked. And in Christ we have the answer to these most basic questions. In Christ we find the ultimate truth that makes sense of our lives
The oldest and most succinct summaries of Christian belief are contained in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. These creeds state the truth about who God is, about who we are and about how we are related to God. If someone does not personally believe these statement, their lack of faith does not change the fact that these statements are true. All other teachings of the Catholic Church can be properly understood in light of this basic truth of the creeds.
I AM THE LIFE
We refer to God as “Father”, implying not only that God created us, but more importantly that God’s life exists within us. Of course, each of us, through sin, is capable of rejecting God’s life. But through Baptism we have God’s life dwelling within us.
Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me (Galatians 2:20).
What is distinctive about the “Catholic” faith?
Many of our fellow Christians, members of other Christian denominations would agree with what was said above. Yet the Catholic Church holds basic beliefs and practices that are distinctive of Catholicism.
Running through the Gospels are several passages in which Jesus gave special authority and responsibilities to his apostles.
- At the last supper Jesus said to them “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19)
- To the Apostles Jesus said “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them” John 20:23
- Jesus also said to the Apostles “Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 18:18)
And among the Apostles St. Peter was singled out for a special role
- And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)
- Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep” (John 21:15)
The Catholic Church (in the West) and the Orthodox Church (in the east) have maintained a direct, historical link with these first apostles. In Catholic theology, the term “apostolic succession” means that our bishops today can trace their “lineage” back to the apostles. In turn our priests today share in the pastoral work of the bishops, and themselves have been ordained by a bishop.
As Catholics we form a single world-wide community of faith. We all stand before God as believers. At the same time we believe that it is Church authorities who are the final arbiter of how to interpret the scripture. We respect the legitimate role of church authorities to guide us in our faith.
The central and foundational act of Christians is participation in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we join with Christ and with all the angels and saints in heaven, in giving praise to God the Father and in union with the Holy Spirit. The closing line in the Eucharistic prayer states the focus of the Eucharist, and also states our goal as Christians:
We take very seriously Jesus’s own words at the Last Supper, concerning the Eucharist. Jesus took the bread and said “This is my Body”. He took the wine and said, “This is my blood.” In the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel we find the following passage:
I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live for ever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world…… For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. (John 46:7-51, 54). When the priest repeats the words of consecration, the words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. When we take Communion, we are being totally united with the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus, the Christ
Confirmation is necessary for the completion of the baptismal grace. “By the sacrament of Confirmation, the Baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit.”
Reconciliation is the profession of sin, as sin harms our relationship with God and damages our communion with the Church, Reconciliation helps us to re-build. As we must be in good standing to receive the Holy Eucharist, confession of sins along with penance, a conversion of heart and change in actions must occur. Though only God can forgive sins, the priest acts in the person of Christ and is the sign and instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner.
Anointing of the Sick is ministered only by bishops and priests. The rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment of the seriousness of an illness is sufficient. It is common to perform the act of Anointing of the Sick before surgery and of course for the dangerously ill.
Holy Orders belong with the Sacraments at the Service of Communion, meaning they are primarily directed toward the salvation of others. The recipients (Bishops, Priests and Deacons) of these Sacraments grow in holiness through their service to others. The ordained are called to a holiness of life and attitude of humility that conforms them to Christ whose priesthood they share.
Matrimony like Holy Orders belongs with the Sacraments at the Service of Communion. The Sacrament of Marriage protects the essential purposes of Marriage; the good of the couple and the generation and education of children. A Catholic marriage must consist of consent in the presence of the Church’s minister, two witnesses and the congregation (Communion).
Scripture and Tradition
The term “tradition” refers to the fact that the teachings of Jesus have been handed down from the apostles to each generation. Early in the life of the Church these teachings were written down and over time the Christian community came to accept some of these writings as “inspired”. Over the centuries Christians have continued to reflect on the Gospel message. At times the Church has come to new insights, better ways of understanding the core message. We examine how the core Gospel message speaks to the unique circumstances of our age. However, these new insights never contradict the core message of the Gospel.
Catholics see no conflict between “scripture” and “tradition.” We hold the scriptures in highest esteem, as the divinely inspired Word of God. But we also believe the fact that the Holy Spirit guide us as we continue our efforts to understand what God is saying to us and how we might best respond to his love.
When and who founded the Catholic Church? The Catholic church began with Jesus Christ, between 4 BC-AD 30. The Catholic church is over 2,000 years old, and is the first Christian religion.
What is the hierarchy of the Catholic Church? Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons
Who is the first Pope? The first pope was the Apostle Peter.
Why are Priests called Father? The title “Father” goes back to biblical times in 1 COR.4:15, St, Paul said “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel”, priests are a symbolic parent due to the sacramental service and sacrifice to serve the community.
Why do Catholics pray to saints? Catholics pray to holy people (Saints) to ask for their intercession, meaning asking they will also pray on our behalf. Catholics venerate Saints but only pray to God.
Do Catholics worship Mary? From the cross, Jesus look at his disciple John and said “Behold your mother. And to Mary, his mother, he said “Behold you son”. Today we join St. John in proclaiming Mary as our mother, and by a deep love for and devotion to her.
Mary herself is a model of holiness. When the angel appeared to her, she said “So be it.” She was with Jesus and the apostles as he preached, she was with Jesus as he was crucified, and she was present in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came as tongues of fire. Mary is not “god” and we do not worship her, but we do have the deepest love and reverence for this individual who plays such an integral and important role in the incarnation.
What does Theology mean? “Theology is rooted in two Greek words: Theos, meaning God, and logos, meaning reason. Theology is using our reason to study and know more about God and how he has shown himself to the world
Why can’t non- Catholics receive the Holy Communion? The Holy Communion is a symbol of unity among all Catholics who believe in the True Presence, therefore only those who believe may participate.
Is Catholic Mass the same around the world every time? Yes, regardless of where you might be or which church you are visiting, the mass will be the same.
How do I become a Catholic?
It is very easy to get started, simply come to Mass and speak with Father Karl or Deacon Matt, let them know you would like to become a Catholic. If you would prefer to call first, please call 417-865-1112 or simply fill out the form below, the director of religious education will contact you.
Christian Initiation of Adults
Are you an individual who has never been baptized but who now senses that God is calling you?
Are you someone who was baptized as a child or infant, be never really introduced to Christian practice?
Are you someone who has been baptized in another Christian denomination and is now looking at the Catholic Church?
If you fit any of these categories, we would like to work with you, to help you discern what God is calling you to do. We have classes that typically start in September and end around Easter, but at the same time we want to start working with you whenever you sense the action of the Spirit.
Stages of initiation
Inquiry: You bring your questions. We ask no commitments of you. We are here to assist you in whatever way we can. Our focus at this time is on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Initial Commitment: At some point we ask the “inquirer” whether or not he or she would like to be received into the Catholic Church.
Catechumens- Those seeking Baptism: A catechumen is an individual who has never been baptized and now seeks to join the Catholic church. Preparation involves participation in the RCIA (Rites of Christian Initiation) classed that meet on Tuesday evenings. The ‘Sacraments of Initiation are then celebrated at the Easter Vigil.
Previously baptized but not active in any denomination: These individuals typically participate in the full RCIA preparation process. However, at the Easter Vigil they make are not baptized but “are received into the full communion with the Catholic Church, confirmed and participate fully in the Eucharist.
Profession of Faith: If someone has previously been baptized in water and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church accepts that Baptism as a valid Baptism. These individuals are then asked to make a Profession of Faith, be confirmed, and receive First Holy Communion. This process is frequently done at the Easter Vigil, but we have some latitude in scheduling this at other times.
Catechesis: This is a Catholic term for “Christian Education”. At this time we provide a broad introduction to major themes of Catholic belief, such as the sacraments and Christian moral principles.
Commitment: As the period of catechesis ends, we ask the participant whether he or she is ready to become a member of the Catholic Church, and to pledge to live their lives according to God’s plan.
We see all of this as a process. We want to work with you, at your own pace.
Sacraments of Initiation for Youth
Children under the age of of 7: Parents of children under the age of 7 should contact the pastor to arrange for their child’s Baptism.
Students in the second grade are introduced to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Fall semester and Sacrament of Eucharist in the Spring semester.
At present Bishop Rice confers the Sacrament of Confirmation here at St. Joseph’s in that fall of odd-numbered years. The Confirmation Preparation program begins with students in grades 7 and 8, with Confirmation when they are in grades 8 and 9.
Process not Program
YES . . .
Yes, we have an organized formation program for those interested in learning more about and becoming part of the Catholic Church.
Yes, we would like to “form” our class each September.
Yes, we meet on Tuesday evenings, starting in mid-September, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Yes, we typically celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, the evening before Easter.
BUT . . . .
But, individuals often have schedule conflicts that make Tuesday evening classes impossible.
But, the Holy Spirit speaks to people according to the Spirit’s time line, not our own artificial schedule.
SO . . . .
So, we are more interested in the PROCESS of helping you explore what God is saying to you.
So, we will be as flexible as we can in working around your needs.
Yes, PROCESS is more important that PROGRAM!!!
Jesus said: I am the Way and the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Matthew 11: 28-30)
There are numerous resources available to explore, whether Catholic or just want to learn more about the faith.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is a national membership organization drawing Bishops together to promote the greater good of the Catholic Church.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau is the regional office operated by our bishop
Formed.org provides the very best Catholic content from more than 60 organizations to help parishes, families and individuals explore their faith anywhere. Supporting thousands of movies, children’s programs, ebooks, audio, parish programs and studies direct to your browser, mobile or connected device. Our parish buys an annual subscription that covers all members. Learn more about accessing this content at home.
CatholicsComeHome.org provides a wide variety of content for Catholics and those considering Catholicism.