Our Faith

Who are Catholics? What do we believe?

Catholics are the largest single denomination among religions in the United States. We have certain basic beliefs and practices which unite us with other Catholics throughout the world. Many of our beliefs can be found in other Christian religions, but some are distinctively Catholic. 

We believe that God is the Creator of all things and that Jesus is the Son of God who was born on this earth. Therefore, we believe that Jesus has two natures: divine and human. Jesus preached God's message and brought God's love to people. Jesus died and rose from the dead. Catholics believe that Jesus' presence continues in the world through the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that there is one God who is present in three Divine persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Our belief is that the Church has the authority to teach and continue to discern the will of God through the pope and the bishops. Catholics believe that the Scriptures contain sacred revelation from God which forms the basis of our beliefs and our moral code. Besides being people of the Bible, we are also a people of tradition. Tradition, for Catholics is more than a long history; we base our teachings also on the faith experiences of the many people who have made up the Catholic Church over the past twenty centuries.

We ritualize what we believe through our celebrations of the seven sacraments of the Church. Through the sacraments we are connected to the sacredness of life. 


The sacraments of the Catholic Church are:

This sacrament deepens the process of initiation into the faith which began at Baptism. It brings additional strength for the journey and strengthens the connection with the faith community. The candidate is anointed with oil as a sign of strength as a Christian.

We celebrate a ritual enactment of Jesus' Last Supper. The priest repeats the words of Jesus and the bread and wine are changed into the actual body and blood of Christ. This sacrament is sometimes referred to as Holy Communion.

This is an initiation rite which begins our journey by connecting us to a community of faith. It is a ritual which includes pouring on of water, lighting a candle for life and the presence of sponsors who promise to guide the person on their journey of faith

Previously called "Extreme Unction," this is a sacrament of healing for either physical, emotional or spiritual illness. It is meant to strengthen the spirit of those who are about to have serious surgery, are seriously ill or are elderly and frail.

Catholics also have a special devotion and reverence for Mary, the mother of Jesus. We believe that Mary was chosen for this responsibility and was born free from original sin which is present in all others who have been born. There are special celebrations of Mary's life and role throughout our Church year.

We believe that there is a continuation of life after the death of our bodies. It is our belief that after our mortal body dies, our soul lives on. If our life has been one of good rather than evil, if we have tended to the least of God's creatures, if we have come to know and love God, then it is our belief that we will spend eternity in the presence of our God....

The sacrament of Holy Orders is the activity by which a man commits his life to serve the Church. Holy orders is a three-fold sacrament in that it includes ordination to the diaconate, the priesthood and to the office of bishop. The deacon is ordained for service and can perform marriages, baptisms, assist at the altar during Mass and performs other rituals in the Church. When a man is ordained to the priesthood he is given the responsibility and the power to offer Mass (the Eucharist), forgive sins, administer the other sacraments and care for the spiritual lives of the people he serves. When a bishop is ordained, he accepts the responsibility to administer his diocese and has the personal jurisdiction as a successor of the apostles over the people in his diocese.

Marriage is a lasting relationship between a woman and a man which is seen as an extension of the covenant relationship between God and his people. In Catholic marriages there are three persons involved: husband, wife and Jesus Christ. Catholic teaching is that marriage is for life.

The sacrament is also called Confession or reconciliation. Catholics are able to bring themselves back into full grace through the forgiveness of their sins. A process of self-reflection to identify some patterns of behavior which "miss the mark" leads Catholics to confess their sins to a priest. Then the priest, in Christ's name, offers forgiveness for those sins.

Also in this Section

Learn more about our local shepherd Cardinal DiNardo, his auxiliary Bishop Dell'Oro, and our retired bishops.

We are a multicultural Church with active members from every continent of the world. We pray and celebrate in over 14 languages in 146 parishes. We participate in activities of social justice, support the good works of persons in other countries, prepare our children and young people to be responsible members of the community — and we do all this in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.