Bread of life. A memoir.

ridmjbni9For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. –1 Corinthians 11:26

I first received the bread on May 3, 1992, at the age of eight. The first person to give me the bread was Father Joe.

Father Joe used to say to me: “We forget who we are. But God never forgets.” He would say this when he wanted me to consider the priesthood.

In the beginning, I ate the bread in the church where I was baptized. Later, I ate the bread at liturgies in our high school gym, all vast and white and smelling like rubber and paint.

I have eaten the bread under a tent in rainy darkness, with hundreds of other students from Jesuit colleges. It was spiritual food for the next morning, when we took up our white-painted crosses, which bore murdered people’s names and ages, and protested in front of the School of the Americas.

I have never eaten the bread in my dad’s church. I am Catholic; they are Lutheran. It’s interesting watching everybody else in church do what you can’t. You feel fidgety. You’re sure they’re all looking at you.  Continue reading

Guerrilla Communion: DIT (do it together!)

by Kate Conmy and Katie Jones

Build justice-seeking Catholic community around your dinner table!

Guerrilla CommunionFor the past 10 months, some progressive Catholics in the Washington, DC area have been gathering for monthly potluck dinners. The event is called Guerrilla Communion (here here to Kate for the jazzy name!), and its purpose is simple: to gather progressive Catholics around a table just to be together. Typically, we’ll have 20 people or so show up with some chili, or hummus, or a six-pack or two. We eat, share stories, get to know each other, and go home. We bring with us ties to a host of church justice organizations – Call To Action, Women’s Ordination Conference, New Ways Ministry, Catholics United, DignityUSA, Catholics for Choice, NETWORK, Pax Christi, the volunteer corps, various parishes – but ultimately come just as ourselves. There is a special kind of cross-pollination that happens over a plate of rice and beans that can be downright transformational.
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On the Transubstantiation … and Other Things

At the Call To Action conference a few weeks ago, there was a point at which Garry Wills threw a question out from the main stage that felt like an old-school litmus test of who among us was still “really” Catholic. The question was:

Who here believes, truly believes, that the bread and wine become body and blood at the Eucharist–and that the bread and wine, as substances, go away?

Surprisingly few hands went up. Mine was among them. Sort of. I wanted to ask, Can you restate the question? Continue reading