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.

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 […]

John the Baptist

The feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist dates from the Fourth Century in both the East and West.  This feast is one of the oldest in the liturgy of the Church, which came to be celebrated in accord with Luke 1:36, six months before the Lord’s birth. John was the son of […]

Early Church Fathers

The early Church Fathers are an irreplaceable link to early Christianity.  Not only are they indispensable witnesses for the teachings of the apostolic Church, but they are also indispensable witnesses for the authorship and authenticity of the Scriptures. They testified that the Apostles preached what they preached, and wrote what they wrote.  Some were eyewitnesses […]

Receiving Communion

When we receive Christ in Holy Communion, we are united to the Risen Christ and come to share in his divine life.  While the appearances of bread and wine remain, the Risen Lord Jesus is actually present as the consecrated bread and wine become He who is actually received in Holy Communion—Body and Blood, soul […]

Real Presence

For nearly 2,000 years the Catholic Church has taught that Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the Eucharist—under the appearance of bread and wine, Christ is completely present in His body and blood, soul and divinity. What does it mean that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread […]


Catacombs were subterranean cemeteries that served a double purpose: that of burial for Christians who had died or been martyred, and a place to which Christians could resort to conduct devotions, administer sacraments, and celebrate the Eucharist in secrecy because of persecution. It was customary to celebrate the mystery of the Eucharist, the Mass, using […]


Originally, this was the second feast in rank for the Jews, the celebration of thanksgiving for the harvest and the ending of Passover time.  Later it was also to become a celebration of the giving of the law to Moses at Sinai. In Christian recognition, Pentecost is the feast celebrated fifty days after Easter or […]

Ascension of the Lord

The ecclesiastical Provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha and Philadelphia have retained the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord on the proper Thursday; all other Provinces have transferred this Solemnity to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. This solemnity celebrates the elevation of Christ into heaven by His own power in the presence […]