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.

Liturgy

The word “liturgy” comes from a Greek term meaning “public work or work done on behalf of the people.”  Liturgy always referred to an organized community. A work, then, done by an individual or a group was a liturgy on behalf of the larger community.  All the worshipers are expected to participate actively in each […]

Orans

Do you ever wonder during the Our Father that is prayed at Mass whether or not the faithful should use the Orans posture (raising hands upward); or should we hold hands with the person next to us; or should we simply keep our hands folded in prayer? Of course, having dialog regarding the posture during […]

Agape

The agape, or love feast, was a memorial of the Last Supper.  It’s thought to be somewhat analogous to the Jewish Passover dinner or the Greek custom of having a “brotherhood” meal before or after a solemn event. As practiced by the early Christians, it merely recalled the Lord’s Last Supper.  It did not, as […]

Altar

According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal 296, “The altar on which the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs is also the table of the Lord to which the People of God is called together to participate in the Mass, as well as the center of the thanksgiving that […]

GIRM

The GIRM, or the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, from the Roman Missal, Third Edition, seeks to promote a more conscious, active, and full participation of the faithful in the mystery of the Eucharist. The GIRM [often pronounced “germ”] provides specific detail about each element of the Order of Mass as well as other […]

Assumption

For hundreds of years, Catholics observed the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15.   This teaching of Mary’s being taken bodily to Heaven after her death was in 1950 proclaimed a dogma of the Church, that is, the Assumption of Mary is one of the essential beliefs of the Catholic […]

Altar Relics

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 302, contains the following statement: “The practice of placing relics of Saints, even those not Martyrs, under the altar to be dedicated is fittingly retained.  However, care should be taken to ensure the authenticity of such relics.” The tradition in the Roman liturgy of placing relics of […]

Sacrarium

The sacrarium [pronounced \ sə-ˈkrer-ē-əm \] is a special sink found in the sacristy of most Catholic churches.  The drain bypasses municipal sewer systems and runs straight down into the earth. The basin often hides beneath a hinged cover.  The sacrarium, or piscina, provides for the proper disposal of sacred substances. For example, after Mass […]

Pentecost

Originally, this was the second feast in rank for the Jews, the celebration of thanksgiving for the harvest and the ending of Passover time.  Later it was also to become a celebration of the giving of the law to Moses at Sinai. In Christian recognition, Pentecost is the feast celebrated fifty days after Easter or […]

Ascension

The Ascension of the Lord was the going up into heaven of Christ by His own power, in the presence of the Apostles, the Blessed Mother and His disciples, forty days after His resurrection. St. Thomas Aquinas asserts He ascended by the virtue proper to Him as God, and by that which belongs to a […]