Know Your Catholic Faith

Learn more about your Catholic faith in this weekly series written by Deacon Tom Schenk. If you would like a specific topic about the Catholic faith addressed, submit your question via email to [email protected] with “Catholic Faith” included in the subject line.

Fast and Abstinence

It is a traditional doctrine of Christian spirituality to embrace repentance and a turning away from sin and back to God.  The general law of penance, therefore, is part of the law of God for man. The Church for her part has specified certain forms of penance, both to ensure that the Catholic will do […]

Sundays of Lent

Sundays are not counted in the days of Lent; otherwise, there would be 46 days of Lent between the first day of Lent and Easter Sunday.  But why are not the Sundays included?  The answer goes back to the earliest days of the Church. Christ’s original disciples, who were Jewish, grew up with the idea […]

Forty Days of Lent

There are 46 days between Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and Easter Sunday.  But the days of Lent do not include any of the six Sundays; therefore, there are only 40 days of fasting. So why is Lent forty days?  Well, think about some of the Old Testament stories.  Noah and family were […]

Ash Wednesday

In the present Church calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of the observance of the forty days of Lent.  It takes its name from the solemn ceremony of the liturgy of the day ashes are blessed and marked on the foreheads of the faithful in the form of a cross with the accompanying words, […]


Although the Church teaches that offering some form of material support to the Church is obligatory for all Catholic adults who are able to do so, it doesn’t specify what percent of one’s income should be given.  Remember, tithing (referring to 10%) was an Old Testament obligation that was incumbent on the Jews under the […]

Presentation of the Lord

At the end of the fourth century, a woman named Etheria made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  Her journal, discovered in 1887, gives an unprecedented glimpse of liturgical life there. Among the record of celebrations she describes, one identifies the gala procession in honor of Christ’s Presentation in the Temple 40 days after the Nativity. This […]

Gospel of John

Per the NAB’s Introduction to the Gospel according to John, this gospel is quite different in character from the three synoptic gospels [i.e. Matthew, Mark and Luke].  It is highly literary and symbolic.  It does not follow the same order or reproduce the same stories as the synoptic gospels.  To a much greater degree, it […]

Ordinary Time

Besides the times of the year that have their own distinctive character, there remains in the yearly cycle thirty-three or thirty-four weeks in which no particular aspect of the mystery of Christ is celebrated, but rather the mystery of Christ itself is honored in its fullness—the Church contemplates the entire mystery of salvation—especially on Sundays.  […]

Baptism of the Lord

At first glance, the Baptism of the Lord might seem an odd feast since the Church teaches that the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for the remission of sins, particularly Original Sin.  Therefore, why was Christ baptized?  After all, He was born without Original Sin, and He lived His entire life without sinning. We have […]


The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the oldest Christian feasts, though, throughout the centuries, it has celebrated a variety of things. Epiphany comes from a Greek meaning “to reveal,” and all of the various events celebrated by the Feast of the Epiphany are revelations of Christ to humanity. […]