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.

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, […]

Becoming One Body

The early Christians believed that to belong to Jesus was to belong to His Church.  Do we? They believed that just as we were all born from our mother’s womb—so we are invited by God, in and through Jesus Christ, to be born again into the Church, the new humanity, which is being re-created in […]

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 […]


Dulia is a theological term signifying the honor paid to the saints.  The comparison term latria means worship given to God alone. St. Augustine distinguishes these two terms as: “one which is due to men [humankind]—which in Greek is called dulia; the other, latria, which is the service pertaining to the worship of God.” St. […]


Sacred Relics must not be worshipped because only God must be worshipped and adored.  Instead, the veneration given to them was Dulia. In addition, Saint Jerome declared, “We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the Creator, but we venerate the relics […]

Epiphany of the Lord

The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the oldest Christian feasts, though, throughout the centuries, it has celebrated a variety of things. Epiphany comes from a Greek meaning “to reveal,” and all of the various events celebrated by the Feast of the Epiphany are revelations of Christ to humanity. […]

Holy Family

The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph.  Veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century. The Feast Day of the Holy Family is the first Sunday after Christmas, or if that Sunday falls on the 1st, then it is celebrated on December 30th, which […]


On December 25 the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas. Throughout Advent the Church waited, prepared and longed for the coming of our Savior.  On December 25 she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy.  “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  The Son of […]

Christmas Season

There is no way to know the exact day on which Jesus was actually born.  However, Jesus’ birth has been celebrated on December 25 since the early fourth century, when most of the Roman Empire adopted the Christian religion.  It replaced the mid-winter Roman festival of “the birth of the sun god,” which was celebrated […]