Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions

Traditional devotions can provoke a wide variety of reactions among contemporary Catholics. For many, the devotional life discovered during childhood has never lost its appeal. For some it has always remained on the fringes of their Catholicism. For still others it seems inconsistent with a mature faithand even vaguely superstitious. At the same time, a number of studies suggest that younger Catholics may be more open than their immediate elders to traditional devotions.

This variety of responses raises some interesting questions: What do traditional devotions have to say to contemporary Catholics? How might a devotion that has seen its popularity wax and wane (and now wax again) speak to Catholics unfamiliar with its appeal? Can devotions that often carry heavy theological and cultural baggage find a place in the post-Vatican II church? In short, what might devotions mean today?

This series for Lent and Easter focuses on the world of devotions in the life of contemporary believers. America asked a number of writers, many of them younger Catholics, to speak about a favorite devotionits history, its place in the writer’s life and its possible role in the life of contemporary believers. In this fourth part of the series we look at two: litanies and pilgrimages.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Maybe you heard about the breakdancing priests. Seeing the video sparked memories of my own experiences at Steubenville.
Suzy PekarJuly 28, 2017
Charlie Gard died on Friday, July 28 after his parents gave up a protracted legal battle with a London hospital over whether he could be successfully treated in the United States for a rare genetic condition.
Working out for the body of a god? What about the body of a convict?
Zac DavisJuly 28, 2017
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters ahead of a health care vote on July 27 on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, with McCain casting a decisive "no." (CNS photo/Aaron P. Bernstein, Reuters)
“We are relieved and delighted that the Affordable Care Act remains intact,” Sister Carol Keehan said. “We think that this is really an important moment now to hear the people on both sides of the aisle that have said we need to come together and work on making this better.”
Kevin ClarkeJuly 28, 2017