The Catholic Parishes in Waterloo wish to create a vibrant Catholic faith community in which Catholics of any age, previous religious experience, or attachment to the Church can continue to experience and celebrate the living presence of Jesus Christ as they grow in their understanding of God's love and their relationship to the Catholic faith community. Please let us know how we can help you continue to grow in your relationship to Jesus and your participation in the Body of Christ on Earth.
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The Catholic Parishes in Waterloo welcome individuals, couples and families who are moving into the metro area and are interested in joining a Catholic faith community.
You can find a schedule of Masses, a Parish Directory, basic information about our parishes, and a timeline of local Catholic history on this website. If you plan to enroll your children in a Catholic school, you can find information about Cedar Valley Catholic Schools here and information about faith formation opportunities for children and youth here. Local parish websites will give you more information about the parish and access to the weekly parish bulletins, which provide a good indication of activities and opportunities in the parish.
Many Catholics join the parish closest to where they live, but Catholics are not required to join the parish closest to their home. Many choose a neighboring parish because they feel more comfortable there, have more in common with other members, like the opportunities for spiritual growth and community service, or because it has a Catholic school or child care facility where their children are enrolled.
We invite newcomers to visit our parishes, to attend Sunday Mass, and to talk with the pastor or members of the parish staff when they are choosing a local parish. When you have chosen a parish, contact the parish office so that your membership can be recorded and the parish will be able to stay in touch with you. When you register in a parish you will also have an opportunity to share your gifts by indicating what activities, ministries or leadership opportunities you wish to participate in. If it is available, ask the parish if you can participate in a gifts discernment process, which will help you identify your natural gifts and talents for parish life. Use this guide in to help you decide how you can be more active in the parish you choose.
You can find more helpful advice about choosing a parish here.
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The Catholic parishes in Waterloo are committed to providing life-long faith formation and enrichment opportunities for Catholics of all ages. We want to encourage, support and guide Catholics in this never-ending process of growing in their faith and in their ability to live intentionally as disciples of Jesus Christ. Two good ways to start is by taking the Catholic Faith Inventory, which will help you know what you identify areas in which you might want to learn more, and reviewing the Stages of Faith Development, which will help you identify where you are now in your faith journey. If you have not been Confirmed, you should consider participating in a preparation program for adults and young adults who wish to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation.
Opportunities for continuing education and formation, such as our Busy Catholic's Guide to Catholic Living, are available on a regular basis throughout the year and are offered in a variety of formats which recognize the diversity of adult experience and the variety of adult needs. These formation and enrichment opportunities value individual life experience, respect the diversity of personal convictions, and welcome the wisdom of every participant.
Information about opportunities for adult and young adult education and formation are published in the weekly parish bulletins, on our website and on our Facebook page.
Many practicing Catholics deepen their understanding of the faith by serving as companions, sponsors or team members in the Rites of Christian Initiation and Reception for Adults; these programs for non-Catholics who are preparing to join the Catholic Church are also excellent opportunities for Catholics to learn more about their faith. Other adults discover that their own understanding of the faith grows a lot when they serve as catechists in faith formation programs for children and young adults.
Adults who are looking for a more extensive and comprehensive formation experience may consider enrolling in the Archdiocese of Dubuque's two-year IMPACT lay formation program or participating in a variety of online education opportunities offered by Catholic universities and colleges.
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The Catholic parishes in Waterloo are committed to providing life-long spiritual growth opportunities for Catholics of all ages. We want to encourage, support and guide Catholics in this never-ending process of growing in their faith and in their ability to live intentionally as disciples of Jesus Christ.
The most important components of spiritual growth are regular attendance at Mass, participation in the sacraments, and prayer. In addition to weekend and daily Mass, there are a variety of opportunities for small group and public prayer in the local community. We offer daily opportunities for personal morning prayer, a daily reading, and evening prayer on our Facebook page. If you have not been Confirmed, the parishes offer a preparation program for adults and young adults who wish to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation.
The parishes also offer a variety of opportunities for spiritual growth on a regular basis throughout the year, especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent; these opportunities are available in a variety of formats which recognize the diversity of adult experience and the variety of adult needs. Our Companions on the Journey faith-sharing groups offer an opportunity for regular spiritual guidance in a small group format.
Cedar Valley Catholic Evangelization Outreach hosts the Catholic Witness Hour, where you can join other Catholic adults and young adults for a free simple supper and a witness talk about personal faith. There are a variety of personal and spiritual renewal opportunities available throughout the year such as Christian Experience Weekends or the Men's and Women'sconferences and the Impact formation program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Near-by retreat centers offer additional opportunities for spiritual growth and personal spiritual direction.
Before deciding what kind of opportunities will help you grow, take this short quiz to identify your dominant spirituality type and review the Stages of Faith Development, which will help you identify where you are now in your faith journey.
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The Catholic parishes in Waterloo have made a serious commitment to the religious formation of children and youth. We envision this commitment as a partnership which requires the active participation of both the family and the faith community. This shared responsibility begins when an infant or child is baptized and continues throughout the child's growth toward adulthood. The mutual responsibilities of parents and the faith community are explained in our Baptism Covenant. Parents are invited to take an active part in the child's on-going faith formation and their immediate preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation.
The parishes support Cedar Valley Catholic Schools which provide a quality, faith-focused education for students in pre-school through grade 12, child care for children ages 3 to 5, and after-school child care for children in pre-school through grade 5. In addition, the Catholic Parishes provide a full-range of religious formation opportunities for children and youth who do not attend a Catholic school, including the Liturgy of the Word during Sunday Mass, formal religious formation for children in grades K-8, religious formation for high school students and a youth ministry program for middle and senior high students.
There are a number of things you can do to continue growing in your own understanding of the faith and your ability to pass it on to your children, such as participating in parent formation programs like Faithful Parenting, taking advantage of other adult formation and enrichment opportunities, serving as companions, sponsors or team members in the Rites of Christian Initiation and Reception for Adults, or volunteering to be acatechist in faith formation programs for children and young adults. You can show your child your faith in action by getting active in parish life, participating in parish events, and volunteering for community service, or joining a small prayer group.
If you are married, the most important thing you can do to nurture your child's faith is to work at maintaining a happy and healthy marriage and participating as a couple in the sacramental and spiritual life of the parish. If you are divorced and remarried, consider appealing for an Annulment and having your marriage blessed. Use this Couple's Checklist to assess the health of your marriage and consider participating in marriage enrichment programs like First Tuesday and Marriage Encounter.
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Young adults often feel like they don't belong or don't "fit in" the typical Catholic parish when a large number of members are older or have children who are involved in a Catholic school or religious formation community. Nevertheless, the Catholic parishes in Waterloo welcome young adults and want to make our faith communities comfortable and welcoming for people of all ages
We encourage young adults to become more active and to invite other young adults to join them in parish activities, various ministries or leadership opportunities, community service and opportunities for prayer, formation, enrichment and spiritual growth offered by the parishes.
The directors of adult and young adult formation welcome the opportunity to work with small groups of single or married young adults who want to form a faith-sharing, bible study, or prayer group. Young adults may use our Facebook page to contact and communicate with other young adult Catholics who share their spiritual needs and interests. Cedar Valley Catholic Evangelization Outreach hosts the Catholic Witness Hour, where you can join other Catholic adults and young adults for free simple supper and a witness talk about personal faith. You can find more information and resources for "Emerging Catholics" in our weekly guide to What's Catholic Online.
Additional opportunities for young adult faith formation, enrichment and spiritual growth are available at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center at UNI. Young adults who are looking for a more extensive and comprehensive formation experience may consider enrolling in the Archdiocese of Dubuque's two-year IMPACT lay formation program or participating in a variety of online education opportunities offered by Catholic universities and colleges. Our young adult webpage includes links to a variety of Catholic websites specifically designed for young adult Catholics.
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The Catholic parishes in Waterloo welcome individuals and families who are interested in joining the Catholic faith community or are interested in learning more about the Catholic faith.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the Rite of Christian Reception of Adults are the normal ways in which non-Catholics can learn more about the Catholic faith and prepare to join the Catholic Church. Both Rites offer a combination of personal preparation and spiritual discernment in a small group format, as well as private consultation with the parish's Director of Initiation and public liturgical ceremonies which celebrate the individual's gradual incorporation into the Catholic faith community.
We encourage individuals who are interested in the Catholic faith to visit our parishes, to attend Sunday Mass, and to talk with our pastors, parish staff, or active members. The Catholic Church is a broad and universal faith community which incorporates a wide variety of individuals and groups who may differ by ethnic and cultural background, religious experience, political and theological convictions, and spiritual traditions. We understand that Catholic adults and young adults are at various stages in their faith development and in some cases may have difficulty understanding or accepting everything the Church teaches.
Non-members are welcome at any time in our continuing formation and enrichment opportunities for adults and young adults.
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The Catholic parishes in Waterloo welcome inactive, alienated and former Catholics who are interested in resuming active participation in the spiritual and sacramental life of the Catholic Church.
Inactive Catholics can resume participating in Sunday Mass whenever they are ready to do so. As a general rule they should celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) before receiving Holy Communion, and at some point they should notify the parish office where they plan to participate so that parish records can be updated. (Individuals who have formally renounced their membership in the Catholic Church, officially joined another church, or have married or remarried outside the Church should contact a pastor or parish staff member.)
The parishes provide a variety of opportunities like Listening Sessions for inactive, alienated, and former Catholics who wish to discuss their past, present or future relationship to the Catholic faith community in a safe, non-threatening environment. This discussion can be helpful even if you do not know when, where or if you wish to resume active participation in the Catholic Church.
If you have been away from the Church for some time, you should consider taking advantage of opportunities for continuing education and formation, participating in a retreat or renewal experience like a Christian Experience Weekend, or enrolling in the Rite of Christian Reception. You may find it helpful to review the Stages of Faith Development, which will help you identify where you are in your personal faith journey, or to analyze your relationship to the Catholic Church by using this assessment tool. You will find a guide to getting involved in parish life here.
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If you are a divorced Catholic, the most important thing you should know is that divorced persons are not excommunicated from the Church and are always welcome in the Catholic faith community.
A Catholic who is divorced and not remarried is a Catholic in good standing, and is entitled to participate fully in all aspects of the spiritual and sacramental life of the Church. So is a Catholic who is divorced, has obtained a Decree of Invalidity (an "annulment"), and has validly remarried in the Church.
A Catholic who is divorced and remarried without a Decree of Invalidity is still a member of the Church and may participate in a limited way in the spiritual and sacramental life of the Church.
Divorce is a devastating personal and spiritual experience under the best of circumstances. Opportunities such as Divorce and Beyond can help you cope with some of these personal and spiritual challenges. Petitioning for a Decree of Invalidity (an "annulment") can also help you bring spiritual and emotional closure to a former marriage, and frees you to remarry in the church. (An annulment does not deny that a previous civil marriage existed, and does not in any way affect the legal or religious status of your children.) Participating in opportunities for prayer and spiritual growth, although they do not explicitly address the needs of a divorced person, can also help you recover from the emotional and spiritual wounds of divorce. If you have bad feelings about the Catholic Church because of your divorce, you may find it helpful to use this guide to assess your relationship to the Church at the present time.
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The Church realizes that parents may need to limit the number of children they have, and the Church approves of some forms of family planning which are based on a woman's natural cycle of fertile and infertile periods.
If you are using a form of birth control not approved by the Church, or are trying to decide what to do in the future, you should study why the Church believes some forms of birth control (such as IUDs, sterilization, condoms or the pill) are morally deficient. There may be circumstances which reduce a couple's moral culpability for choosing one of these forms, but the decision to do so should be made after careful discern-ment, prayer and consultation with a pastor, confessor or spiritual director.
Catholic couples who feel the need to limit the size of their family should always consider the personal and moral reasons for doing so. There are morally acceptable reasons for limiting the number of children you have, including your personal, emotional, and material limitations, but material comfort, convenience, security or affluence alone are not sufficient moral reasons.
Catholic couples who wish to limit the size of their family for morally acceptable reasons should consider using a form of natural family planning approved by the Church.
Couples using a form of birth control not approved by the Church should continue to participate as fully as possible in the spiritual and sacramental life of the Church. They should pray for the grace to more fully understand and accept the Church's teaching; and be willing to re-examine their choice of birth control as their understanding, attitude or circumstances change.
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Many individuals and the Catholic community at large continue to suffer the devastating consequences of sexual abuse by priests and other church personnel. Our parishes and the Archdiocese of Dubuque are committed to preventing any future abuse by priests or other church employees. The Archdiocese is committed to providing whatever encouragement, support and services are necessary to help victims begin healing the personal, emotional and spiritual wounds left by the abuse inflicted on them in the past.