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.

Attending Mass

The moral obligation to attend Mass has been Church law since the fourth century.  But rather than think of it as something we “have to do,” rather we should think of Mass as valuable time spent with our loving God and with others. When we go to Mass, we begin to see that we are […]


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 […]


The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament started in the third century B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt.  The name Septuagint comes from the Greek word for “seventy”; hence the symbol LXX in roman numerals. It refers to the seventy-two Jewish translators brought to Egypt by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 B.C.) to translate the Hebrew Bible […]


The historical term abbot is used to denote the head of a religious community of men. While several large religious institutes, for example, the Benedictines, have preserved the title, others, such as the Dominicans and Jesuits, use other terms (prior and rector, respectively) to describe the same office. Most abbots are not bishops, but over […]

Early Church

The first segment of time delineated by ecclesiastical historians in their attempt to analyze the nearly two millennia of the Church’s existence is called the Early Church.  Scholars generally mark this period as beginning on Pentecost Sunday (circa A.D. 30) and concluding with the Edict of Milan in 313. These three centuries are usually subdivided […]

General Intercessions

In liturgical tradition this is one of the terms to distinguish the intercessory prayers offered during the Eucharist celebration. These intercessory prayers are also referred as the Prayer of the Faithful or the Universal Prayer. Typically, these prayers are in the litany form of petitions offered by the deacon (or another in his absence) with […]


A candidate for a religious order who has been accepted for admission but who undergoes a period of pre-novitiate formation to be prepared for entry into the more solemn formation period of the novitiate itself. The duration, format and religious garb of the period of postulancy vary widely from one community to another. In religious […]


Tetragrammaton is a term of Greek origin, meaning literally, “four letters.”  This technical name is given to the four Hebrew letters “JHVH” or “YHVH” of God’s proper name, Yahweh, disclosed by God to Moses out of the burning bush in Exodus 3. Vowels were added to the four consonants of the name of God to […]

Corpus Christi

The Feast of Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (as it is often called today), goes back to the 13th century, but it celebrates something far older: the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. While Holy Thursday is also a celebration of this mystery, the solemn nature of […]


The Holy Trinity is the title given to the three Persons in One God.  But how in the world can anyone explain that? The answer is that we in this world cannot.   It is a mystery beyond our comprehension.  How can there be three separate persons—The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit—but yet still […]