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 with “Catholic Faith” included in the subject line.

Ember Days

Before the revision of the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar in 1969, the Church celebrated Ember Days four times each year.  They were tied to the changing of the seasons, but also to the liturgical cycles of the Church. The spring Ember Days were the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the First Sunday of Lent; the summer […]

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.  […]

Christmas Season

The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which normally falls on the Sunday following the Epiphany, as it does this year. The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the oldest Christian feasts, […]


The use of “Christ,” meaning “the anointed,” the “Messiah,” as a proper name became common after the death of our Lord, particularly in the writings of St. Paul.  It might be used either before or after the name “Jesus.”  Its use by St. Paul declared the Apostle’s belief and affirmation of the divinity of Jesus. […]

Apostolic Blessing

This Benediction, or blessing, is given by the pope at the close of liturgical function at which he presides and sometimes at the close of papal audiences.  To this blessing a plenary indulgence is attached. This blessing may also be delegated by the pope to be given by others; priests attending the sick at the […]


The “breaking,” from the Latin fractio, is the act of breaking the bread of the species consecrated in the Mass.  This action of breaking is part of the communion rite. The breaking of bread, the gesture of Christ at the Last Supper, gave the entire Eucharistic action its name in apostolic times.  In addition to […]

Sign of the Cross

The sign of the cross is the most frequently used sacramental of the Church.  The sign is a repetition in motion of the symbol of our salvation, the cross on which Christ died.  The sign of the cross is made during the Mass, at blessings and generally at the opening and closing of prayer. St. […]


The liturgical season of Advent begins the Church year. The word Advent derives from the Latin word advenio, meaning coming or “to come to,” and refers to the coming of Christ.  Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. This refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas; […]

Church Calendar continued

The Church calendar is also called the “Liturgical Calendar.” A new Liturgical calendar was promulgated January 1, 1970, and in 1972 the U.S. Bishops ordered the new calendar into effect with the introduction of the Sacramentary in 1974. Within the cycle of a year, Holy Mother Church unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, not only […]

Church Calendar

The Church calendar is also called the “Liturgical Calendar.”  It has been the traditional practice of civilized peoples to have the cycle of the times of the year associated with their religious practices. This has been true of the Jewish calendar, the calendar of the Muslims, which began with the year 1 corresponding to the […]