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.


IHS is a monogram for the name of Jesus, using the first three letters of the word written in Greek.  From the third century the names of our Savior are sometimes shortened, particularly in Christian inscriptions.  Greek monograms for the sacred name continued to be used in Latin during the Middle Ages. In the Middle […]

John the Baptist

John the Baptist is the son of the priest Zechariah and Elizabeth, a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  John was born six months before Jesus.  Tradition places the home and birthplace of the Baptist six miles west of Jerusalem, where a Franciscan church marks the site. What is known of this Saint is set […]

Baptism of the Lord

At first glance, the Baptism of the Lord might seem an odd feast since the Church teaches that the sacrament of Baptism is necessary for the remission of sins, particularly Original Sin.  Therefore, why was Christ baptized?  After all, He was born without Original Sin, and He lived His entire life without sinning. We have […]


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 […]


The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ.  Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The precise year of Jesus’ birth, which some historians place between 7 and 2 BC, is unknown.  His birth is mentioned in two of the four Gospels. By the […]

Advent Traditions

In its symbolism, the Church continues to stress the penitential and preparatory nature of Advent.  Purple vestments are used, and the Gloria is omitted during Mass. The only exception is on the Third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, when rose-colored vestments can be used.  This exception is designed to encourage us to continue […]

Immaculate Conception

This Solemnity of the Church and Holy Day of Obligation calls our attention to an important doctrine.  To define what the Immaculate Conception is helps Catholics to understand what they are called to believe as a faith tradition. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without […]


The word Advent derives from the Latin advenio, meaning “to come to,” and refers to the coming of Christ.  Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Advent is also the start of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church.  Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast […]


Stewards of God’s gifts are not passive beneficiaries.  We cooperate with God in our own redemption and in the redemption of others.  We are also obliged to be stewards of the Church—collaborators and cooperators in continuing the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, which is the Church’s essential mission. This mission—proclaiming and teaching, serving and sanctifying—is […]