- I am the Lord, your God. You shall have no other gods besides Me.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
- You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
To learn more about the Ten Commandments, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part Three, Section Two
- The Division of the Ten Commandments, by James Akin
- "Decalogue" - The Ten Commandments Today, by Father Hal Stockert
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
- You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.
- You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation.
- You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.
- The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.
To learn more about the Precepts of the Church, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2041-2043
- The Precepts of the Church, by Father Hal Stockert
- Holy Orders
- Anointing of the Sick
To learn more about the sacraments, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 2, Section 1 - The sacramental economy
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 2, Section 2 - The seven sacraments of the Church
- Catholic Community Sacraments Page
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary; he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day, he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again 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 the life everlasting. Amen.
To learn more about the Apostles' Creed, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 167
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 184
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 189-198
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 199
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
To learn more about the Hail Mary, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2676-2677
- The Hail Mary in over 150 Languages and Dialects
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
To learn more about the Lord's Prayer, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 4, Section 2
- The Lord's Prayer in over 1011 Languages and Dialects (includes pictures from the Cloister of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem)
- Father Marco Adinolfi's treatise on the Lord's Prayer
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
To learn more about the Act of Contrition, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1451-1457
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1480,1492
- The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas)
- The Ascension of Christ
- The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
- The feast of Mary the Mother of God
- The feast of the Immaculate Conception
- The Assumption
- The Feast of All Saints
To learn more about the Holy Days of Obligation, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article Three, Section Two
- Holy Days of Obligation (Catholic Information Network)
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
- Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
- Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
To learn more about the Beatitudes, try these links:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part Three, Section One, Article Two
- The Catechism of St. Pius X
What is the history of Lent and the meaning of the word?
Lent has the same roots as the word "lengthen," as in the lengthening of the time of sunshine in the spring. Easter is determined as the first Sunday that follows the first full moon of spring, which begins with the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox is March 21, and the first full moon of spring is March 25. The evenings of the triduum will be bathed in moonlight -- if there are no clouds!
The Jewish feast of Passover begins on the evening of April 24, and finishes on May 1. For eight nights Jews remember the great Exodus of Moses, and reflect on their own freedoms and what still binds them in slavery, be it their own personal weaknesses or societal afflictions. Jesus had just celebrated the Passover Seder meal when he was arrested by the Roman authorities. If you take part in a Seder, you will find many of the prayers familiar; they are part of our eucharistic prayers.
"Alleluia" is laid to rest during Lent. We do not sing the Hebrew word meaning "praise the Lord," but put it aside as a sign of our yearning for God to reveal himself fully in our lives. Small children may enjoy making an alleluia banner, then putting it in a box and "burying" it somewhere in the house, in perhaps a sock drawer or under a bed, during Lent. On Easter morning, the alleluia banner is resurrected with joy and hung outside or from the Easter table's chandelier.
What is the Paschal Triduum?
Lent ends at sundown on Holy Thursday and the most holiest of the church's feasts begins: the Paschal Triduum. Even though it is the high point of the year, most of us Catholics do not know how to pronounce these strange words. "Pasch" rhymes with task; its adjectival form is "paschal." It is derived from a Hebrew word that means passover, and reminds us that Jesus is the true sacrificial lamb, the one whose blood saved us from eternal damnation, just as the Hebrews used the blood of lambs to mark their doorways when they were Egyptian slaves to save them from God's final plague on the Egyptians.
Triduum is pronounced "tree-doo-uhm." It is a Latin word meaning "three days." So the Paschal Triduum is the three days of passover, a feast so remarkable that it spills over from one sunset and sunrise into two more.
But more importantly than learning how to pronounce these days is to reflect on how we celebrate them. Many schools and some businesses are closed on Good Friday. Do we hold these days as sacred, as time set apart?
Consider doing a great fast from sundown on Holy Thursday to Easter morning. Don't turn on the television, or the radio, or even pick up the newspaper. Let your mind be emptied of worldly news so that it can be filled with the Good News of salvation.
Fast from fats and sweets these days, so that the Easter feast tastes even more rich and satisfying, reminding us that only Jesus can fill the thirst and hunger within our souls.
And fast from the hectic life of soccer practices and club meetings and work, if at all possible. Let the world know that these days are special to your family, a time set apart for something far more significant than any worldly obligations.
What is fasting?
The U.S. Catholic bishops call for all Catholics 14 years and older to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the Fridays of Lent. Catholics between 19 and 59 are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting refers to the quantity of food eaten. Traditionally, fasting calls for only one full meal per day. These traditions are not laws binding under pain of sin, but customs from which Catholics are not lightly excused. They are expressions of our desire to be converted in our hearts, to be reconciled with each other and to love our neighbor.
Concerning other Fridays, the bishops wrote in their pastoral "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response" the following: "We call upon our people voluntarily to do penance on Friday by eating less food and by abstaining from meat. This return to a traditional practice of penance, once well observed in the U.S. church, should be accompanied by works of charity and service toward our neighbors. Every Friday should be a day signficantly devoted to prayer, penance and almsgiving for peace."
This is the fast that pleases me: to break unjust fetters, to let the oppressed go free, to share your bread with the hungry and shelter the homeless poor. If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist, the wicked word, if you give your bread to the hungry and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness. (Is 58:6-7, 10)
Does the Easter celebration end on Easter Sunday?
No, it's just the beginning! Easter Sunday starts Easter time, the 50 days from Easter until Pentecost.
To make an Easter candle for your home, use a white pillar candle. Make a cross, using five chunks of incense or cloves. With paint, draw an alpha (A) above the cross and an omega (Ω) below it. These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and symbolize Christ's eternity. Then write the numerals for the year (such as two, zero, zero, two) around the cross. The year's date reminds us that Christ, who was before time and will be after time ends, consecrates the moment in which we live right now.
- Feed the hungry.
- Give drink to the thirsty.
- Clothe the naked.
- Shelter the homeless.
- Visit the sick.
- Visit the imprisoned.
- Bury the dead.
- Help the sinner.
- Teach the ignorant.
- Counsel the doubtful.
- Comfort the sorrowful.
- Bear wrongs patiently.
- Forgive injuries.
- Pray for the living and the dead.
To learn more about the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, try this link: