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.


Literally, “God-bearing,” this title of the Mother of God was given to the Blessed Mother in the fourth century and signified the widespread devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The term was used as part of the popular piety of the early first millennium church, and which continues to the present day in both the […]


This term, applied to the direct or hidden appearances of God in the Scriptures, is derived from the Greek, meaning literally “God in brightness.” God appearing on Mt. Sinai, in storm, in the cloud and at the transfiguration are examples.  The most ancient forms of God’s appearances are in the forces of nature, such as […]


Properly speaking, a crucifix is a cross to which there is attached, in relief, an image of the body of Christ.  However, if the figure is painted, impressed, or otherwise represented, it is classed as a crucifix. A crucifix should be placed over an altar where Mass is celebrated; it is recommended that there be […]


I.N.R.I. are the first letters of the Latin inscription which, by Pilate’s order, was placed on the cross of Christ’s crucifixion (John 19:19). The words “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” were taken from Pilate’s sentence.  It was written in Latin, the language of administration in Judaea, and also in Hebrew (Aramaic) and Greek. […]

Stained Glass

Stained glass is a widely used art form that has been adapted to the decoration of church buildings or religiously oriented structures (and sometimes homes and other buildings). Chiefly, stained glass has become an expression of religion.  Its best use is a perpetually decorative and silent proclamation of the story of God’s love. Stained glass […]


Translated from the Hebrew into Greek by seventy Jewish scholars and called the Alexandrian version, this Bible text was most widely used in the early Church.  It is commonly referred to among scholars as LXX, the Roman numeral for 70. The Septuagint was the first translation of the Hebrew Bible, and was made in the […]


In 1995 Pope John Paul II declared that the Church’s teaching on abortion “is unchanged and unchangeable.  Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his successors . . . I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since […]

Perpetual Adoration

Perpetual adoration is the worship of God, especially at the altar where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, continuously carried on by one or more persons, day and night. In several convents around the world perpetual adoration is established as an essential part of the religious life. This is also a practice in some designated parishes […]


This ancient city of Asia Minor, located in Syria on the Orontes River, was held to be one of the three great Episcopal cities in apostolic times. It was at Antioch that the name Christian arose (Acts 11:26), and there St. Peter was bishop for a time before going to Rome. In early times it […]


The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven,” which is experienced by those “who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified” (CCC 1030). The purification is necessary because nothing unclean will enter the presence of God in heaven […]