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Denomination profile: Catholicism

As students living in a diverse community, it is very important to not take our differences for granted, but to be as well educated about the variety of religious traditions around us as the subjects we are studying.

You might be surprised to learn that, according to statistics taken by the Institutional Research Department at Eastern, 73 current undergraduate students say that they represent the Roman Catholic Church. (In comparison, 347 students consider themselves to be nondenominational.) However, according to allaboutreligion.org, there are approximately 1.03 billion Roman Catholics in the world today.

Many Roman Catholics believe that the first pope, or authority, of the Christian church was St. Peter. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus told Peter that he would be the founder of the church and lead it throughout the time immediately following Christ’s ascension. Continuing that tradition, the pope, currently Pope Benedict XVI, is considered to be the infallible and supreme authority of the church. He is the head of a hierarchy of clergy including cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and deacons, each appointed in succession.

The faith of the Roman Catholic tradition is centered on the Holy Bible as well as the Nicene Creed and the catechism, which includes the Apostle’s Creed.

Along with these writings, the staples of the Catholic faith are the holy sacraments. They include baptism, reconciliation, the Eucharist or communion, confirmation, marriage, holy orders and last rites. Christ’s presence is considered to be deeply entwined in each of the sacraments and they are therefore thought to be very holy.

If you’re interested in experiencing a new form of worship, consider visiting one of these Catholic churches in Wayne: St. Katherine of Siena, Our Lady of the Assumption or St. Isaac Jogues Parish.

Sources: infoplease.com, catholic.org, americancatholic.org, allaboutreligion.org.

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