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.


A popular Catholic service is Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is ordinarily an afternoon or evening devotion and consists in the singing of certain hymns, or litanies, or canticles, before the Blessed Sacrament, which is exposed upon the altar in a monstrance and is surrounded with numerous lighted candles. Incense is frequently used during […]


This popular prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary was composed by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153).  Its title is the first word of the Latin version. The prayer was made popular through the efforts of a French priest, Claude Berrnard, early in the seventeen century. This is a great prayer, and is as follows:  “Remember, […]

Church Membership

In the larger sense, all of those persons who are baptized are members of the Church founded by Christ.  Its more reserved interpretation includes all those who are baptized and united with the Roman Catholic Church. In his encyclical, On the Mystical Body of Christ (1943), Pope Pius XII declared:  “Actually, only those are to […]


Is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ an historical event that really happened, or is it only a myth, as many atheists claim? While no one witnessed the actual resurrection, many people swore they saw the risen Christ after his death, and their lives were never the same.  Archaeological discoveries continue to support the Bible’s historical […]

Paschal Mystery

The Paschal Mystery is a core doctrine of the Church, one of the essential beliefs of all Christians. Though all doctrines are important, it can also be said that some doctrines define the very heart of the Christian faith. The Paschal Mystery is one of those doctrines, making it similar to the doctrines of the […]


The Alleluia comes to us from the Hebrew, and it means “praise Yahweh.”  Traditionally, it is as the chief term of praise of the choirs of angels as they worship around the throne of God in Heaven.  It is, therefore, a term of great joy, and our use of the Alleluia during Mass is a […]


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 […]