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Things to Know


  • The Papal Artifacts Collection by Father Richard Kunst, Curator"
    A growing collection of old, rare, and unique papal items, from documents to papal clothing.
  • What are the items used at Mass?
  • The Precepts of the Church
    The 5 Precepts of the Catholic Church 1. You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor. We must “sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord” (Sunday), as well as the principal feast days, known as Catholic holy days of obligation. is requires attending Mass, “and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.” 2. You shall confess your sins at least once a year. We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.” 3. You shall receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season. This “guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.” 4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church. “e fourth precept ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” 5. You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church. “The fith precept means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.”
  • The Ten Commandments
    While the entire Judeo-Christian tradition uses the same Scriptural content for the Ten Commandments, their exact division and numbering varies. The Catholic tradition uses the division of the Commandments established by St. Augustine. 1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve. 2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. 3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. 4. Honor your father and your mother. 5. You shall not kill. 6. You shall not commit adultery. 7. You shall not steal. 8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. 10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. Again, the Ten Commandments are a description of the basic freedom from sin that is necessary to live as a Christian. They are a minimum level of living, below which we must not go. The Ten Commandments and Catholicism have been bound together since the time of Christ. In fact, Jesus refers to the Ten Commandments and assures their validity in his dialog with the rich young man in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt 19:16-21). (Catechism #2052). It’s important to note that each Commandment is simply a summary of a whole category of actions. Don’t be legalistic, searching for a way around them because their wording doesn’t fit you perfectly! • For example, “bearing false witness against your neighbor” covers any kind of falsehood: perjury, lying, slander, detraction, rash judgment, etc. The Catholic Ten Commandments are linked together to form a coherent whole. If you break one of them, you’re guilty of breaking all of them (Catechism, #2069). The Commandments express man’s fundamental duties to God and neighbor. As such, they represent grave obligations. To violate them knowingly & willingly in a significant way is to commit mortal sin. (Catechism, #2702-3) The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a detailed description of the Catholic Ten Commandments. Read it!
  • 11 Names for Mass given by the Catechism
    The Mass is extremely important to the Christian life. As such, the Church has developed a number of different names to refer to it, all of which capture some important aspect of it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists and explains 11 such names (CCC 1328-1332). There are more names than that in our tradition, but these are particularly important. Here are the 11 names for Mass given by the Catechism: 1) Eucharist The Greek word this comes from means “thanksgiving.” The Mass is an act of thanksgiving to God – the best we can give! 2) Lord’s Supper The Catechism gives two explanations of this name: first, because of the Mass’ connection to Christ’s “Last Supper”; second, because the Mass anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven. 3) Breaking of the Bread First, because Jesus used a part of the Jewish Passover tradition that involves the breaking of bread to institute the Eucharist. Second, because his disciples on the road to Emmaus “recognized him in the breaking of the bread.” (cf. Luke 24.35) Lastly, because this is how early Christians referred to the Mass (cf. Acts 2.42) 4) Eucharistic Assembly Because the Mass is ordinarily celebrated with a group of Christians, visibly manifesting the Church. 5) Memorial Because in the Mass we remember and make present Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice on the cross. 6) Holy Sacrifice Because Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is made present during Mass, allowing us to unite our selves with him in offering to the Father. 7) Holy and Divine Liturgy Because of all the liturgies in the Church’s life, the Mass is the most important one. 8) Sacred Mysteries Because the Mass contains the greatest mysteries of the Christian life: God’s revelation, the incarnation, Christ’s death and resurrection, and communion. 9) Most Blessed Sacrament Because of all the 7 Sacraments, the Eucharist – the centerpiece of the Mass – the most important. This is because the Eucharist is Christ himself! 10) Holy Communion Because when we receive the Eucharist, we are mystically uniting ourselves to Christ and his Body. 11) Holy Mass “Because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God’s will in their daily lives.”
  • Lenten Regulations
    1. The days of both Fast and Abstinence during Lent are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the “paschal fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily His Resurrection. The other Fridays of Lent are days of Abstinence. On a day of Fast, only one (1) full meal is permitted, and two (2) smaller meals, which, if added together, would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast. On a day of Abstinence, no meat may be eaten. Those who have reached the age of 14 are obliged by the law of abstinence. 2. The obligation to observe the laws of Fast and Abstinence “substantially”, or as a whole, is a serious obligation. 3.The Fridays of the year, outside of Lent, are designated as days of penance, but each individual may substitute for the traditional abstinence from meat some other practice of voluntary self-denial as penance. 4.The time for fulfilling the Paschal Precept (Easter Duty*) extends from the First Sunday of Lent, February 18, 2018 to the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, May 27, 2018. *Canon 920, 1. All the faithful, after they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year.
  • What are Sacramentals?
    "What are Sacramentals?" While they are similar in name, Sacraments and Sacramentals have a unique and distinct role in the life of the Catholic Church. The seven Sacraments are outward signs that give grace to those who receive them in a worthy manner. Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church which bear a resemblance to the Sacraments. They prepare us to receive the fruit of the Sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life. Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the Sacraments do, but by the Church's prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. ​ The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the theology of the sacramental in this way: “Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy. Sacramentals are instituted for the sanctification of certain ministries of the Church, certain states of life, a great variety of circumstances in Christian life, and the use of many things helpful to man. In accordance with bishops' pastoral decisions, they can also respond to the needs, culture, and special history of the Christian people of a particular region or time. They always include a prayer, often accompanied by a specific sign, such as the laying on of hands, the sign of the cross, or the sprinkling of holy water (which recalls Baptism). ​ Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a ‘blessing,' and to bless.Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons). Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church's prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. ‘For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. There is scarcely any proper use of material things which cannot be thus directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God.'” – (CCC, 1667 – 1670) Among Sacramentals, Blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. They include both praise of God for His works and gifts, and the Church's intercession that they may be able to use God's gifts according to the spirit of the Gospel. For example, the blessing at meals is a chance to offer God a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. It makes holy the mere need for nutrition and is a reminder of the most blessed meal, the Eucharist. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, medals, etc.
  • The Altar
    The altar is a fixed, freestanding table, the central focus for the celebration of the Eucharist. It is both altar and table. As altar, it is the place of sacrifice, where Christ, who was sacrificed on the cross for us, becomes present again under the sacramental form of bread and wine. As table, it gathers the people of God to share the Body and Blood of Christ, their holiest meal, which recalls the passover and grants a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. The altar is traditionally made of stone, but it may be constructed of another solid, well-crafted material such as wood or metal, which establishes its beauty and dignity. Its rectangular shape suited the liturgy before the Second Vatican Council, when the Scriptures were read from the sides of the altar. Today’s altar is often more square to accommodate the priest, the bread and the wine. But it should always be clear among church furnishings that the altar is the center of focus. When the altar of a church is consecrated, the bishop anoints its top with chrism. Chrism is the perfumed oil we reserve for the sacraments that are celebrated only once in one’s lifetime: baptism, confirmation and ordination. The consecration of an altar sets it apart permanently for its sacred purpose. In conjunction with this anointing, the altar also represents Jesus, whose title “Christ” means “anointed.” The proper reverence upon entering a church is to bow to the altar, unless the tabernacle is centrally located, in which case one genuflects to the tabernacle. In the past, the altar was located against the rear wall, and the priest celebrated Mass with his back to the people. Additional altars were often located in chapels around the church, permitting other priests to celebrate separate Masses at the same time. Today a church should have one altar, freestanding so the priest may walk completely around it. It should be permanently fixed to reflect the stability of our faith (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 299).
  • Altar Cloths
    The altar used for Mass is covered with a cloth. At home and in restaurants we often cover our tables, especially for a banquet or meal of some importance. Similarly, the altar is covered because of “the banquet in which the Body and Blood of the Lord are offered” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 304). But the altar is covered for another reason: “out of reverence for the celebration of the memorial of the Lord.” We dignify the altar where we will solemnly remember the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. When a new altar is dedicated for a church, it is sprinkled with holy water, smeared with chrism, incensed and then covered with a cloth. Many of these symbols also appear in the baptismal liturgy, suggesting that the altar is covered in a garment just as the faithful are, as a sign of eternal life. There are no rules governing the material to be used. the size, shape and decoration of the cloth are to be “in keeping with the altar’s design.” At least one white cloth must be used. In the United States, cloths of other colors may also adorn the altar, but the topmost must be white. It may cover the top only; it need not dangle over the other cloths.After the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the altar cloths are completely removed. The Good Friday liturgy begins with a bare altar. A cloth is placed on the altar just before the communion rite, but it is removed again immediately after the Good Friday service, and the altar stands bare until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
  • Sit, Stand, Kneel: The Symbolic Meaning of All that Moving at Mass!"
    Sitting Sitting is a posture of listening. Catholics sit for the first reading (often from the Old Testament), the Psalm (often actually sung), and the second reading (New Testament, not from the Gospel). We also sit for the offering, and the homily (sermon). We sit, ready to hear and receive. We sit to listen. Standing For Prayer: Standing has been a posture of prayer for Jewish people since before the time of Jesus. Standing during prayer is also seen throughout different parts of the Bible. So, as Catholics, we continue to utilize this posture for prayer today. Some examples of when we stand during Mass for prayer: When we pray the opening prayer (led by the Priest) say the Lord’s Prayer (as a congregation), and the Prayers of the Faithful (the prayer requests for the congregation). For the Creed: We stand as we say in unison what Christians have believed from the earliest times, in the form of the Nicene or Apostles Creed. We stand to affirm our unity and our beliefs together as Christians. For the Gospel: Standing is also a sign of respect. We have many readings from the Bible during Mass, but we stand for the Gospel out of particular respect, since these are the words and deeds of Jesus himself. For the Procession: We stand at the beginning and end of Mass, also as a sign of respect as the celebrant (Priest or Bishop who is celebrating the Mass) processes in to begin the Mass, and processes out once the Mass has ended. Kneeling When we enter Mass, we genuflect, where we bend and touch one of our knees to the floor. We are humbly acknowledging Jesus in the tabernacle, in the Eucharist. Catholics believe that Jesus is fully present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist, which is Holy Communion. We believe when Jesus said “This is my body,” that he meant it literally. Jesus is veiled behind the appearance of bread and wine, but His presence is fully and truly there. This is something that the very earliest Christians believed, and continue to believe right through to the present day in Catholicism. So we acknowledge that by genuflection. Kneeling is a posture of respect and adoration. Another time when we kneel is during the preparation for and before/after reception of the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion). We kneel, again, because we believe Jesus is fully and truly present in Communion. If you believed you were literally in the presence of Christ himself, falling to your knees would be a natural thing to do- probably even falling flat on your face. So, we always kneel during this part of Mass, and we remain kneeling until the elements are put back away in the tabenacle, and the tabernacle is closed. The postures of Mass can, reflect your state of mind, or it can help put you in the right one. If you are sitting, standing and kneeling during Mass at all othe right times, but your heart isn’t in it, or you are distracted, or not focusing on the reason why you are in a particular posture, then you lose the bemefit of what the postures are meant to accomplish. But if you come into Mass and you genuflect towards the tabernacle, because you are humbly acknowledging Christ’s presence there, and if you sit, intent on listening with your mind, body, and soul, and if you stand, heart focused on prayer, and if you kneel acknowledging the presence of your Savior, then, you’ve got something As in all of the structures within Mass, and within Catholicism as a whole, there are so many tools to help move your heart, mind, and soul closer in relationship with Jesus. But you can’t just go through the motions. And if you truly engage, and accept and embrace the meaning behind what you are doing, the graces and joys and richness available to you in Mass and in the Catholic Church are immensely beautiful, and only bring you nearer to your Savior.
  • Ordinary Time
    Ordinary Time Ordinary Time I - after the Baptism: Monday after the Feast of the Baptism through Shrove Tuesday. After the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Ordinary Time begins. Ordinary does not mean plain. The name comes from “ordinalis” meaning "showing order, denoting an order of succession.” It is used in this sense to refer to the order of the counted weeks. That is to say, it is a season of counted weeks. ​ Ordinary Time after the Baptism focuses on the early life and childhood of Christ, and then on His public ministry. The liturgical color of Ordinary Time is green; however, as in all seasons, other appropriate colors are worn on particular feast days. (For example, white is typically worn for Marian feast days, except in some Spanish countries where blue is an approved liturgical color.) ​ ​ Ordinary Time II - after Pentecost: The day after Pentecost through the final day before Advent. This is the second period of Ordinary Time and is the longest liturgical season. Ordinary Time resumes after Pentecost and runs until the final Saturday before Advent. This period of Ordinary Time focuses on Christ’s reign as King of kings, and on the age of the Church. ​ This is the age we live in now, which is the time between the age of the Apostles and the age of Christ’s second and final coming for which we are ever preparing. The final Sunday in Ordinary Time is the Feast of Christ the King; the Saturday after this feast is the final day of Ordinary time. ​ The liturgical color of Ordinary Time II is green; however, as in all seasons, other appropriate colors are worn on particular feast days. ​
  • 6 Ways to get the most out of Mass
  • Marian Calendar
  • The Ambry
    An ambry is the cabinet where holy oils are stored. Every church has one, though many people don’t know what its called. Three Oils are kept in the ambry - - the oil for anointing the sick, the oil for anointing catechumens, and chrism for baptism, confirmation, priesthood, and the consecration of altars and walls. The bishop blesses these oils in large containers at the Chrism Mass every year during Holy Week. Then the oil is poured into smaller vessels and brought to all the parishes of the diocese. The ambry is replenished with fresh oil every year. The shape and size of ambries varies quite a bit. The church gives very few specific instructions about its appearance. After the Chrism Mass, the Bishop instructs the presbyters in the sacristy about the “reverent use and safe custody of the holy oils.” After a priest anointsthe sick, he isinstructed to return the extra oil to a place “where it is reverently kept.” According to Canon Law, pastors should carefully keep all oils “in a fitting manner.” With those vague instructions the design for an Ambry needs only to be appropriate for its sacred contents and safe from vandalism, theft or some other harm. The Ambry may be visible or concealed. Many churches have an Ambry built into a wall of the sacristy. At St. Margaret of Cortona, you will find the Ambry on a pedestal near the Baptismal Font as you enter the church through the main doors. We have a great respect for the sacraments in which we use these holy oils. By keeping them in dignifies vessels and displaying them in a handsome case, the faithful can better regard their significance. Canon law also permits a priest to carry the oil of the sick with him in case of necessity. Most priests carry a small container in the glove compartment of their car. ​ This picture is the actual Ambry at St. Margart of Cortona Parish in Little Ferry, NJ. ​
  • When lighting a candle
    When you light a candle for another person or for your very personal intention always remember that the candle prolongs your prayer. As long as the candle is burning, your prayer is rising to God. Like the candle is spreading light and warmth, so you can imagine that with your prayer, your love and the love of God is flowing towards the person for whom you pray. Your prayer makes the life of the person brighter and warmer. Your prayer brightens your vision so that with greater confidence you can look upon the person and see with the eyes of the Love of God. When you pray for a pesonal intention light will enter the darkness;hope fills you. You may trust that God himself looks upon you and HIS merciful love overshadows you. A candle radiates a gentle light. In the dim light of a candle you will look upon people and on your own life with gentleness. In calmness you will also be able to look at your own faults to have them healed by God.
  • 15 Promises of the Virgin Mary
  • Angels
    Angels The English word “angel” comes from the Greek angelos, which means “messenger.” In the Hebrew Scriptures, with two exceptions, the Hebrew word for angel is malak and also means “messenger.” Although “angel” nearly always applies to heavenly beings when used in the Bible, it occasionally applies to human messengers. The most significant angel is Gabriel, who appears to Daniel, Zachary and Mary. We celebrate the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael on September 29. On October 2 we celebrate the feast of our Guardian Angels, who watch over and safeguard all God’s creatures. “No evil shall befall you, no affliction come near your tent, for God commands the angels to guard you in all your ways. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:10–12). ​ Explanation of the 9 Choirs of Angels 1. Seraphim Name means the burning ones, and they are Attendants at the Throne of God. They praise God singing, “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-7) 2. Cherubim Name means the Fullness of Wisdom, and theyContemplate God’s providence. Assigned to protect special places. (Exodus 25:18-21; Ezekiel 10:14; Revelation 4-6) 3. Thrones Represent the steadfastness of the love of God. The contemplate God’s power and judgment, and they appear as the most unlike the others when revealed. (Ezekiel 10:17; Colossians 1:16; Daniel 7:9) 4. Dominions Lord over the lower choirs and humanity. They take illumination from the higher hierarchies and govern the universe. (Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16) 5. Virtues Run the operation of movement in the universe. They are often associated with planets, elements, seasons, and nature. (Ephesians 1:21) 6. Powers Assist in governing the natural order. They are warrior angels tasked with fighting the war against the demonic choirs. (Ephesians 1:21, Ephesians 6:12) 7. Principalities Princes of the lowest triad assigned to care and guard communities, kingdoms, states, and parishes. They are associated with transitions in power. (Ephesians 3:10, Ephesians 1:21) 8. Archangels Leader angels assigned to communicate and carryout God’s important plans for man. Michael, Gabriel, and Rafael are the only 3 names we know. (Jude 9, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, The book of Tobit) 9. Angels Angels are closest to the material world and humanity. The lowest choir is where we get the majority of our personal guardian angels. (Luke 22:43, Matthew 18:10, Hebrews 13:2) ​
  • What is a Sacrament?
    A sacrament is an outward sign of an invisible spiritual reality. Because humans are a unity of a physical body and a spiritual soul, God uses the means of physical objects and rituals to convey spiritual truths that we cannot detect using our senses. The sacraments are seven in number and have their source in the saving work of Jesus in his passion, death, and resurrection, and were established by Him for the sanctification of every member of His Church.
  • Sacraments and Sacramentals
  • Emergency Contact Numbers
  • Parts of the Creed
  • Structure of the Mass
  • Symbols of the Church
  • Two Tables
  • Why Do Catholics Kneel?
  • Guidelines for the Reception of Holy Communion For Catholics
    As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (Code of Canon Law, canon 916). ​ A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all. ​ For our fellow Christians We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 §4). Members of Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic Discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of Communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 §3). ​ For those not receiving Holy Communion All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another. ​ For non-Christians We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family. Copyright © 1996, United States Catholic Conference. All rights reserved.
  • Proper Reverence for Mass
  • 5 Ways to Pray Better that Don’t Require More Time
    1. When you wake up or go to bed, read a Bible verse. • Start with the Gospels • Gradually build yourself to reading five or ten minutes a day. 2. Focus on the Mass • Every response you say during Mass is a prayer • Uniting your heart to the Eucharist being consecrated is a prayer • Receiving Christ into your heart during Communion is a prayer • Deepen your prayer life by being attentive at Mass. • Show up a few minutes early for Mass and pray / read the Scripture readings. 3. Pray one decade of the Rosary • Start with one decade: an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be and build yourself up from thereto - two decades a day, then three until you have said the complete Rosary. 4. Make a Prayer space in your home. “Jesus said that when you pray, go to your inner room and shut the door” • Make a Prayer space - a simple chair - a little table - a lighted candle • The point is to make your time and space for prayer feel distinctive. By doing this, your prayer time will become a kind of micro-retreat. • The more deliberate you make your prayer time feel - the more fruit you’ll see in your life 5. Celebrate your favorite feast days. • Sure we celebrate the big ones like Christmas and Easter - but you can celebrate your own Baptism Day, your favorite saint’s feast day, and Church solemnities . It is a great way to weave your faith into the rest of your life. ​ Pick One Way and Stick with It. Deepening your prayer life isn’t about making more time. You can’t actually “make” time. But you can use your time well. Stick with one or two prayer habits. Let yourself grow. These prayer habits are so simple, yet they can make you grow deeper into prayer. Try one and see how God uses it to take you deeper, too!
  • 5 Reasons You Need a Prayer Partner
    Sharing is caring! Why you need a prayer partner. How to find a prayer partner. How to be a prayer partner. Tips to help you while you wait for an answer to prayer. ​ Waiting for an answer to prayer is hard. Waiting a long time for an answer to prayer is harder. Waiting a long time by yourself for an answer to prayer is hardest. ​ Sometimes it seems like no one keeps anything private anymore. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram it’s easy to feel like everyone shares everything. But that’s far from the truth. Almost everyone you meet, like you, is fighting a private battle ​ You Need a Prayer Partner Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12 1. To Encourage You – A prayer partner can remind you of what you’re doing well and that you are loved. 2. To Remind You to Hope – A prayer partner can help you hang on when you’re discouraged and feeling like all is lost. 3. To Keep You Accountable – A prayer partner can remind you to stay in God’s Word, God’s will, and to keep praying. 4. To Stand in Agreement with You – A prayer partner can multiply your prayers – “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” Matthew 18:18 5. To Keep You Focused on Jesus – A prayer partner can remind us that Jesus is able to meet our needs and answer our prayers – Let us keep looking to Jesus. Our faith comes from Him and He is the One Who makes it perfect. Hebrews 12:2 ​ How to Find a Prayer Partner 1. Pray that God will lead you to the right prayer partner. 2. Look for someone who is committed to Bible Study and prayer. 3. Choose someone who is able to keep your prayer needs private. 4. Unless your prayer partner is your fiancé or spouse, choose someone of the same sex. 5. Join a small group at your church to make friends and find other prayers. ​ How to Be a Prayer Partner 1. Pray daily for your prayer partner. 2. Remember – People may not need your advice; they may simply need you to listen and to pray.
  • First Saturday Devotion
  • Our Sunday Obligation
    “Much obliged” is an old fashioned phrase first noted in the Old Oxford English Dictionary in the sixteenth century. Over the centuries, the phrase has lost some of its richness. Originally, it meant to be bound to a person by ties of gratitude. Today, the phrase is more often used as an automatic response to someone who has performed a perfunctory service. Unfortunately, this practice does not convey the sense of truly being bound to each other by gratitude. What a loss! Because of that loss, many people understand the word obligation as a burden rather than a commitment and duty that flows from a relationship. Obligation is a form of indebtedness that comes from within the heart of a relationship. Think of the obligations that make for a rich family life. A parent does not say, “I wonder if I have to feed my children this week?” Husbands and wives carry out a myriad of obligatory tasks in service to each other during the course of a week and never ask, “Do I have to?” In loving relationships, we are grateful for the gift of each other and we express that gratitude by doing right actions because we want to do so. Obligatory behaviors grow out of communication, intimacy, and personal and communal relationships. These examples can help us reflect on our “obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2041). ​ The heart of Sunday obligation is gratitude. The word Eucharist means “to give thanks.” We gather each week because we are “much obliged” to God — for everything. This obligation is not an automatic response to someone who has performed a perfunctory service.We come together to “give thanks” to God, our Father who is the source of all life and creation, and to Jesus, God’s Son who gave us eternal life through his death on the Cross that is made present in every Mass as we participate again in Christ’s death and Resurrection through the Eucharist. Each time we “attend Mass,” we bring our lives, our very selves, to the Eucharist. We gather together as a community, grateful to have each other as fellow pilgrims in faith and grateful to be nourished by the body and blood of Christ. Just as the relationships and obligations in families are nurtured and strengthened by intimacy and communion, so too does our participation in the Eucharist nurture and strengthen our relationship with the Trinity. Food nourishes our body in the same way that our participation in Holy Communion nourishes our spirit and unites us together as individuals and as a community in Christ. Acting on our Sunday obligation of being “much obliged” gives us reason to be “more obliged” in the most authentic sense of obligation. ​ Questions for Reflection • In what ways do I live out my Sunday obligation? • What impact does my participation in the Eucharist have on my daily life? • Where will I fulfill my Sunday obligation to attend Mass this summer?
  • Catholics believe Christ is fully present in the Eucharist
  • Jesus Himself Said This
  • Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
  • The Eucharist
  • St. Augustine
  • The Infinite Value of the Holy Mass
  • Synod Corner
  • Where is the Eucharist mentioned in the Bible?
    The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church a memorial of his death and resurrection. The Institution of the Eucharist is written down in the four Gospels below: Matthew 26:26-30 Mark 14:22-26 Luke 22:14-20 John 6:22-59 (The Bread of Life Discourse) ​ ​ Why does Jesus give himself to us as food and drink? Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as spiritual nourishment because he loves us. By eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, we become united to the person of Christ through his humanity. "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him" (Jn 6:56). In being united to the humanity of Christ, we are at the same time united to his divinity. Our mortal and corruptible natures are transformed by being joined to the source of life. ​ Is the Eucharist a symbol? The transformed bread and wine are truly the Body and Blood of Christ and are not merely symbols. When Christ said “This is my body” and “This is my blood,” the bread and wine are transubstantiated. Though the bread and wine appear the same to our human faculties, they are actually the real body and blood of Jesus. ​ The Liturgy of the Eucharist The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts and the altar. As the ministers prepare the altar, representatives of the people bring forward the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ. The celebrant blesses and praises God for these gifts and places them on the altar, the place of the Eucharistic sacrifice. In addition to the bread and wine, monetary gifts for the support of the Church and the care of the poor may be brought forward. The Prayer over the Offerings concludes this preparation and disposes all for the Eucharistic Prayer. ​ In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present -- body, blood, soul, and divinity -- under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist. ​ The Eucharistic Prayer The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ's perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father. The introductory dialogue establishes that this prayer is the prayer of the baptized and ordained, is offered in the presence of God, and has thanksgiving as its central focus. Following this dialogue, the celebrant begins the Preface, which consists of four different Eucharistic Prayers. After these prayers, communion is then given. ​ The following timeline follows the traditional Liturgy of the Eucharist: • Presentation of the Gifts and Preparation of the Altar • Prayer over the Offering • Eucharistic Prayer • Preface • Holy, Holy, Holy • First half of prayer, including Consecration • Mystery of Faith • Second half of prayer, ending with Doxology • The Lord's Prayer • Sign of Peace • Lamb of God • Communion • Prayer after Communion ​ Conclusion By his Real Presence in the Eucharist Christ fulfils his promise to be with us "always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:20). As St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "It is the law of friendship that friends should live together. . . . Christ has not left us without his bodily presence in this our pilgrimage, but he joins us to himself in this sacrament in the reality of his body and blood" ( Summa Theologiae, III q. 75, a. 1). With this gift of Christ's presence in our midst, the Church is truly blessed. As Jesus told his disciples, referring to his presence among them, "Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it" (Mt 13:17). In the Eucharist the Church both receives the gift of Jesus Christ and gives grateful thanks to God for such a blessing. This thanksgiving is the only proper response, for through this gift of himself in the celebration of the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine Christ gives us the gift of eternal life. ​ Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. . . . Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. (Jn 6:53-57)
  • Help Families Affected in Ukraine ​
    As Ukrainians flee their homes due to the conflict with Russia, CRS partner Caritas Poland assists Ukrainians crossing into Poland for safety. Click here to go to the Catholic Relief Services website to make a donation ​
  • What did music sound like in the early Church?
    ​ What did music sound like in the early Church? ​ Did they use harps and cymbals like King David? ​ Music in the early Church was a quiet affair, as we can easily understand when we think of the Roman persecutions that lasted 300 years. Catholics could hardly sing and play instruments at full volume during that time! ​ The Eastern Church—in Syria and Greece—wrote and sang hymns early on, but it was not until St. Hilary of Poitiers and St. Ambrose of Milan in the latter half of the 4th century that hymns traveled westward. ​ St. Hilary spent time among the Eastern Churches, and their hymns inspired him to write similar songs in Latin, set to a classic Latin meter. ​ ​After St. Hilary, St. Ambrose of Milan took up writing music. He modified the classic Latin meter to make his hymns appeal more readily to the laity. He used the hymns primarily as a weapon against heresy—especially the rampant Arianism—combining correct theology with elegant and appealing language. His hymns were so instrumental that he is known as the “Father of Church-song,” and hymns which followed his methods are called “Ambrosian Chant.” ​ Ambrose encouraged the laity to sing during the liturgy, as a joyful and solemn addition to prayer. For centuries, the song of the Church continued to be simple, beautiful hymns unaccompanied by any instrument. ​ The first instrument admitted into Church music was an ancestor of the pipe organ. Legend says that it was introduced by Pope Vitalian in the mid-6th century, but it did not become a popular ecclesiastical instrument until the 12th century—about a millennium after singing in church became widespread! ​ The influence of music in the Church continues to be strongly felt.
  • Prayers Every Catholic Should Memorize
    Prayers Every Catholic Should Memorize ​ Almost all of us know some rote prayers. The one we pray before taking a road trip asking our guardian angels to watch over us. Or the one we pray during Mass as we join our voices with the rest of the congregation, asking the Father to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. But those prayers only scratch the surface! ​ ​These prayers you should know! The ‘Memorare’ Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen. ​ The Jesus Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner Morning Offering O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart; the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, the reunion of Christians; and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen. ​ St. Michael Prayer St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen ​ Eternal Rest Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. ​ Hail Holy Queen Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O most holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen ​ Anima Christi Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within your wounds hide me. Never permit me to be parted from you. From the evil Enemy defend me. At the hour of my death call me and bid me come to you, that with your Saints I may praise you for age upon age. Amen. Nicene Creed I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. Apostles’ Creed I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen ​ ​
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