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.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday occurs as the Sunday feast before Easter.  This day is also called Passion Sunday. On this Sunday palm leaves are blessed and carried in a procession that follows the blessing ceremony.  The liturgy recalls the entry of Christ into Jerusalem to accomplish his Paschal Mystery. The Gospel for the day’s liturgy is the […]

Stations of the Cross

For Roman Catholics throughout the world, the Stations of the Cross are synonymous with Lent, Holy Week and, especially, Good Friday. The Stations of the Cross began as the practice of pious pilgrims to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary. Later, for the many who wanted to pass along […]

Scrutiny

The scrutiny rites, held on the last three Sundays of Lent, are ancient and may, at first, seem strange.  These very special rites are celebrated at liturgies where the Elect are present. The Elect are those preparing for Baptism, usually performed at the Easter Vigil.  Part of the journey of the Elect to the font […]

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 […]

Fast and Abstinence

In the United States, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has affirmed the policy on fasting and abstinence. Thus, the rules for fasting and abstinence in the United States during Lent are: 1) Every person 14 years of age or older must abstain from meat (and items made with meat) on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday […]

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, […]

Cycle A

During the current Church calendar, the Gospel of Matthew will be used in our Sunday liturgy. Next year and the year following, the Church uses the Gospels of Mark and Luke for Cycles B and C, respectively. This order of use, Matthew, Mark and Luke, are how the Gospel are so arranged as the first […]

Becoming One Body

The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.  We come together as a community to worship, and as Catholics we are given the richness of God’s saving graces through participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is not a reenactment of an event, but a participation in the once-for-all sacrifice that […]

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 […]