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.


The essential function of presenting knowledge of the Word of God, the message of Jesus Christ, is attained through orally instructing, explaining, and admonishing the people by means of preaching. Preaching is the oral communication or instruction on the meaning of the Scriptures and other aspects of the Faith. The office of preaching has always […]

Precepts of the Church continued

The precepts of the Church are duties that the Catholic Church requires of all the faithful and are found listed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2041-2043).  Last week the first three were detailed. The fourth precept of the Church is “You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.”  […]

Precepts of the Church

The precepts of the Church are duties that the Catholic Church requires of all the faithful.  Also called the commandments of the Church, they are binding under the pain of mortal sin, but the point is not to punish. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, the binding nature “is meant to guarantee to […]

Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments, or the Commandments of God, also called the Decalogue, are the moral commands or laws given by God to Moses (Ex. 20:1–21) on Mount Sinai. It is certain that the Decalogue (which the Greek root deca, meaning ten, is combined with logos, which means Word) was made up of ten distinct commandments […]

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

This ancient Latin axiom is quoted often.  The phrase means, “The law of praying is the law of believing,” or put another way, it means the law of prayer (“the way we worship”), and the law of belief (“what we believe”). This Latin phrase addresses the centrality of worship in the life, identity and mission […]

Ex Opere Operato

Ex opere operato is a Latin expression meaning “by the work worked,” or “from the work of the work itself.” It refers to the fact that the sacraments confer grace when the sign is validly affected—not as the result of activity on the part of the minister or recipient but by the power and promise […]


The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are, “efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.  The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament.  They bear fruit in those who receive them with […]

Rogation Days

Rogation Days, like their distant cousins the Ember Days, are days set aside to observe a change in the seasons.  Rogation Days are tied to the spring planting. There are four Rogation Days: the Major Rogation, which falls on April 25, and three Minor Rogations, which are celebrated on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday immediately […]

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.  […]