Published October 1, 2020
Most Americans had never heard of People of Praise before President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Thanks to the media and the Democratic Party, many have been led to believe this community of faith-filled people is somehow sinister. It isn’t.
The Catholic Church would identify People of Praise as a “lay ecclesial movement.” Popular in Europe but not well known in the U.S., such groups allow married couples, families and single Catholics to experience their faith in a variety of more personal ways. Pope John Paul II said in 1998 that these movements “represent one of the most significant fruits of that ‘springtime in the Church’ which was foretold by the Second Vatican Council.” He added, “Their presence is encouraging because it shows that this ‘springtime’ is advancing and revealing the freshness of the Christian experience based on personal encounter with Christ.”
After attending a worship conference at the University of Notre Dame in 1971, a small group of Catholic participants felt called to form a new community that would endeavor to live as the early Christians did. This became People of Praise. The group isn’t a religious order like the Franciscans or Dominicans. Nor is it a fraternal and charitable group like the Knights of Columbus. Instead People of Praise is an association of Catholics and Protestants, most of whom live in their own homes with their families. They live and think independently, choose their own careers, engage in their own outside interests, and attend weekly services in their own communities or parishes.
Ms. FioRito is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.