Catholics United for the Faith,
Who Are They?


CONSIDER JOINING CUF   (Catholics United for the Faith)

The following is excerpted from an interview with Leon Suprenant, President of Catholics United for the Faith, by Tim Drake; reprinted from: "The National Catholic Register", 1/16-22/00 issue.

How did Catholics United for the Faith get Started?

CUF was founded in 1968 by H. Lyman Stebbins to support, defend and advance the efforts of the teaching Church. Stebbins was way ahead of his time in understanding the implications of the authentic teaching of Vatican II. There were a lot of confused, angry, frustrated and indifferent Catholics at the time, and here was a man who was taking what the Church was saying and holding the center.
He latched onto two foundational teachings of Vatican II for the laity. First, the universal call to holiness — meaning that all the baptized are called to holiness and play an important role in the Church. He did not see it as a role that replaces the Church hierarchy, but rather one which complements it. Secondly, he grasped the importance of Vatican II's encouragement of lay apostolates and recognized that we can accomplish much more by working together rather than by working as lone rangers. It was on these principles that he founded CUF.

How does Catholics United for the Faith today hold to Stebbins' original mission?

We try to think and act with the Church. CUF, now more than ever, has a role to play in the Church. Given the Holy Father's urgent call for a new evangelization, we are trying to do what we can to further that evangelization by proclaiming Christ to a new generation. We are following Pope John Paul II's call to usher in a new springtime of fidelity and hope. Our goal remains forming and teaching our members, but CUF also promotes reconciliation and collaboration in the Church; we provide our members with the tools they need to evangelize others.

In what ways does CUF accomplish this new evangelization?

CUF evangelizes in a variety of ways. Our information services, which includes our Faith Facts, Web site and toll-free Helpline all work in tandem. We have more than 150 Faith Facts, which are simple tracts that answer some of the most common or most complex questions about the faith. We distribute these tracts to anyone who has questions about the faith.
In addition, our toll-free Helpline is staffed daily and receives more than 1,000 calls each month from people with questions about the faith.
CUF started Emmaus Road Publishing in 1998 with the book Catholic For A Reason, which reached No. 5 on the Catholic best-seller list. Our fifth book just went to the printer, and we hope to publish 10 to 12 titles in the coming year as well as several new audiotape sets.
We produce the monthly magazine Lay Witness, an award-winning publication that truly reflects our mission. We authored and promote the critically acclaimed Faith and Life elementary catechism series and, more recently, we launched FOCUS, a dynamic college evangelization program headed by Curtis Martin. We are looking at additional ways of expanding our outreach in the next few years.

What kind of questions does CUF answer over the Helpline?

Every possible scenario you can imagine. People call with questions regarding problems they might have within the Church. They may call to ask about something that was said during a homily at Mass. It is not uncommon for a member to call us about a relative who has a particular problem with the Church, or an acquaintance who is struggling with questions prior to entering the Church.
The Helpline provides a personal presence — there is someone there to talk with. We take the time to listen to those who call us. Each person calls with their own unique history and context. We might recommend resources, or if their situation requires specialized assistance we might refer them to an appropriate ministry. A canon lawyer runs the Helpline with a staff that includes a former Protestant minister, teachers, theologians, etc. Some callers develop a rapport with a particular staff person and will ask for them directly. We have researched more than 1,200 issues, so we typically have something available that can answer most questions. Other questions require a bit more research. If we don't have an answer, we will conduct the research, free of charge, for members. We ask non-members for a donation to cover the cost of our time.

Can you provide some examples of the fruit of the work of Catholic United for the Faith?

We had one woman who had called us with many questions concerning the faith. She was so grateful for us because she had said that everyone else she had called seemed in a hurry to get her off the phone. She called CUF on a monthly basis. About a year later she went through an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program and entered the Church with her children. The following year, her husband joined the Church. The walls of our third-floor information services department are plastered with cards, letters, and stories like that one. These success stories make it all worthwhile. In addition, CUF is working with bishops of another church who hope to come into the Catholic Church — with their entire congregation — during the Jubilee Year.

What do you see as CUF's role in the Great Jubilee?

The jubilee is all about allowing the Lord to release us and others from the burden of sin and everything else that weighs us down. It is a time of tremendous reconciliation and healing.
Sometimes we think so globally that we overlook the opportunity to help effect that sort of reconciliation in our own lives and within our own circle of influence. We hope to help foster the ongoing conversion of our members and equip them to be ministers of reconciliation and mercy in their own families, homes and parishes. We all know fallen away or non-practicing Catholic. CUF wants to help welcome them home so that they can fully experience the Jubilee in their lives. The institutional Church can't reach people in the nooks and crannies of our homes or work places, but we can.

For information:
Catholics United for the Faith
827 N. Fourth St.
Steubenville, Ohio 43952

Phone # : (800) MY-FAITH



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