Prayers to Saint Veronica

Saint Veronica

Saint Veronica is known for having served Christ on his way to Calvary and his image appeared on her cloth. We are reminded to treat people with utmost respect and kindness because as we do for others we do for Him!

Prayer to the Holy Face

O Jesus, who, in Thy cruel Passion
didst become the 'reproach of men
and the Man of Sorrows,' I worship
Thy divine Face. Once it shone with
the beauty and sweetness of the Divinity;
but now, for my sake, it is become as
'the face of a leper.' Yet, in that disfigured
Countenance, I recognize Thy infinite love,
and I am consumed with the desire
of making Thee loved by all mankind.
The tears that flowed so abundantly
from Thy Eyes are to me as precious
pearls that I delight to gather, that with
their worth I may ransom the souls of
poor sinners. O Jesus, whose Face is
the sole beauty that ravishes my heart,
I may not see here below the sweetness
of Thy glance, nor feel the ineffable
tenderness of Thy kiss, I bow to
Thy Will—but I pray Thee to imprint in me
Thy divine likeness, and I implore Thee
so to inflame me with Thy love,
that it may quickly consume me,
and that I may soon reach the vision
of Thy glorious Face in heaven.
Amen.

This prayer card and medal serve as perfect daily reminders to treat everyone with respect and kindness.

Saint Veronica with Jesus Holy Face Prayer Card
Saint Veronica with Jesus Holy Face Prayer Card Button

Prayer to Saint Veronica

O My Jesus, Saint Veronica served You
on the way to Calvary by wiping
Your beloved face with a towel on
which Your sacred image then appeared.
She protected this treasure, and whenever
people touched it, they were miraculously
healed. I ask her to pray for the growth
of my ability to see Your sacred image
in others, to recognize their hurts, to
stop and join them on their difficult
journeys, and to feel the same compassion
for them as she did for You. Show me
how to wipe their faces, serve their needs,
and heal their wounds, reminding me
that as I do this for them, I also do this
for You. Saint Veronica, pray for me.
Amen.​

If you like this prayer, you'll love this prayer card!

Saint Veronica Prayer Card with medal
Saint Veronica Prayer Card with medal button

How To Use Holy Water: 10 Ways To Use Holy Water To Sanctify Your Life

Growing up in the Catholic Faith you probably wondered about the water basins put up at the entrance of the church and why the water contained inside it is considered holy. Holy Water is an important part of the Catholic Religion and there are many uses for it. To better appreciate its significance in various Catholic traditions and practices, let’s first understand its history and the meaning of Holy Water.

What is Holy Water?

In the Catholic Faith, Holy Water is water that has been blessed by a priest or bishop. It is a symbol of the sacrament of baptism. Catholic churches typically keep some in a baptistery font and in a stoup or a smaller font found near the entrance of the church.

It is common practice for Roman Catholics to dip their fingers in the stoup and bless themselves with the holy water as they enter the church. Aside from this, there are many other uses for Holy Water.

How to Use Holy Water

Holy Water should not just be exclusively kept in the church. We can actually take a bottle with us and find different uses for it. Here are 10 ways that you can use Holy Water to sanctify different aspects of our lives:

1. Bless religious items

Many Catholics own statues, prayer booklets and rosaries and use these in their daily life. We can bring these items to the church so that the priest can bless them. This is a meaningful way of honoring the things we use in our spiritual lives and to be able to bring home something that has been blessed by the church.

2. Bless mass-goers

The priest usually blesses the attendees of mass during the beginning and end of mass. This tradition is an important reminder that even when we leave the church at the end of mass, we are still the blessed children of God and must act in His service.

3. Bless a new house

Buying a new house or moving to a new home is an event worth celebrating and many Catholics mark this occasion by hosting a house blessing. This is a good way for the priest to bring positivity and peace into the new living quarters. At the same time, this gives the homeowners the opportunity to give thanks to the Lord for the gift of a new house.

4. Bless the workplace

We can have our workplace blessed for the same reason that we have our homes blessed. We want to give it spiritual protection so that it becomes a place of positivity and peace. Our office is a place where we can bring glory to God through our work so it is understandable that we want it to be blessed as well.

5. Bless pets

Our pets are part of our family and they are part of God’s creation. It is common for some Catholics to have their pets blessed once a year, particularly during the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, animal-lovers and veterinarians. Some local churches also hosts a baptism ceremony where pet owners can bring their pets to be blessed.

6. Drive away evil

St. Teresa of Avila said it herself, “From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again.” Holy Water has long been considered a weapon against evil spirits and demons. Priests use it during exorcism rites and to drive away evil from people and from homes.

7. Inspire us to ask forgiveness

As a sacramental, this water is meant to inspire faithfulness in us. Whenever we dip our fingers in the water basins at our churches, we should not just do so out of blind devotion. Let us be mindful of our sins and sincerely repent. Holy water is a wonderful reminder of Jesus’s power to cleanse us of our sins and make us pure again.

Holy water is a wonderful reminder of Jesus’s power to cleanse us of our sins and make us pure again.

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8. Prepare us to receive the sacraments

Holy Water prepares us to receive the sacraments by calling to mind the day we were baptized. Our baptism is a very important day in our lives as Catholics because it symbolizes our spiritual rebirth. Our old self died as we were immersed in the water and when we were raised out of the water, we were reborn in Christ.

9. Cure for ailing body parts

Particularly the Holy Water from Lourdes, is well known to have miraculous healing power. If you have friends or family suffering from any aches and illnesses, bless them with a bottle of Holy Water which they could use in the comforts of their own homes.

10. Bless the car

Road safety is very important and what better way to equip ourselves on the road than to seek spiritual protection through the blessing of Holy Water. We can either bless our cars ourselves or request a priest to do it.



Carry your faith with a beautiful Holy Water Bottle!


How do you plan to use Holy Water?

How has Holy Water affected your life as a Catholic devotee?

Prayers to Saint Benedict

Saint Benedict is the patron saint of monks and poison sufferers. Benedict was the founder of Western monasticism, and wrote a set of guidelines for monks to follow. Many opposed his Benedictine principles, and he was once given a goblet of poison, which he blessed and made safe. He is buried with his twin sister, Saint Scholastica.

Prayer to Saint Benedict

God our Father, You
made St. Benedict an
outstanding guide to teach
men how to live in Your
service.
Grant that by preferring
Your love to everything else,
we may walk in the way of
your commandments.
Grant this through Christ
our Lord. Amen.​

Saint Benedict
Saint Benedict

Prayer to St. Benedict

Dear St. Benedict, you are a
"blessing" indeed, as your
name indicates. Practicing what
you preached, you founded the
monastic tradition of the West by
joining prayer to labor for
God - both liturgical and private
prayer. Help all religious to
follow their Rule and be true to
their vocation. May they labor
and pray for the world to the
greater glory of God.

God our Father, You made St.
Benedict an outstanding
guide to teach men who to live
in Your service, Grant that by
preferring Your love to every-
thing else, we may walk in the
way of Your commandments.

We ask this through Christ our
Lord. Amen.

Saint Benedict

Prayers to Saint Maria Goretti

Saint Maria Goretti

Saint Maria Goretti is known for her intercession for mercy, forgiveness, love, purity and chastity. She is our patron saint of the youth and rape victims. She was born to a poor Italian family and at the age of twelve was attacked by her teenage neighbor. He tried to rape her and when unsuccessful, he stabbed her fourteen times and killed her.

She forgave him on her deathbed and returned to him in a vision, upon which he converted to the Faith.

Saint Maria Goretti

Heroic and angelic Saint Maria
Goretti, we kneel before you to
honor your persevering fortitude and 
to beg your gracious aid. Teach us 
a deep love for the precepts of our 
Holy Church; help us to see in them 
the very voice of our Father in Heaven. 
May we preserve without stain 
our white baptismal robe of
innocence. May we who have lost
this innocence kneel humbly in Holy 
Penance, and with the absolution of 
the priest, may the torrent of 
Christ's precious Blood flow into our 
souls and give us a new courage to 
carry the burning light of God's love 
through the dangerous highways of 
this life until Christ our king shall call 
us to the courts of Heaven. Amen.

These beautiful prayer cards can serve as daily reminders of your faith.

Saint Maria Goretti
Saint Maria Goretti

Prayers to Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas the Apostle is the patron saint of Architects and the Blind. His birthdate and death date remains unknown but we celebrate his feast day on July 3rd. Thomas first did not believe of the resurrection of Jesus, until he saw and touched the nail wounds. When offered, he refused and said "My Lord and My God!" At Lake Tiberias, St. Thomas is said to have been at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus when a miraculous catch of fish occurred. 

Prayer to Saint Thomas the Apostle

O Glorious Saint Thomas,
your grief for Jesus was such 
that it would not let you believe 
he had risen unless you actually 
saw him and touched his wounds.

But your love for Jesus
was equally great and it led you
to give up your life for him.
Pray for us that we may grieve
for our sins which were the cause of Christ's sufferings.
Help us to spend ourselves in his service

and so earn the title of "blessed"

which Jesus applied to those who would believe
in him without seeing him.
Amen.  

If you like this prayer, you'll love this Saint Thomas Prayer Card!

Saint Thomas

Prayers to Saint Peter the Apostle

Saint Peter the Apostle is the patron saint of Butchers and Fisherman. St. Peter (Simon Peter) is most known for his three-time denial to Jesus and also known as the Church's first pope. He was crucified upside down for his beliefs.

Novena to Saint Peter

O Holy Apostle,

because you are the Rock

upon which Almighty God

has built His church;

obtain for me I pray you,

lively faith, firm hope

and burning love;
complete detachment from myself, 
contempt of the world,

patience in adversity,

humility in prosperity,
recollection in prayer,

purity of heart,
a right intention in all my works, 
diligence in fulfilling

the duties of my state of life, 

constancy in my resolutions,

resignation to the will of God

and perseverance in the grace of God

even unto death;
that so, by means of your intercession
and your glorious merits, 
I may be worthy

to appear before the chief

and eternal Shepherd of souls,
Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and
the Holy Spirit lives and reigns for ever. 
Amen.

If you like this Novena, you will love these Saint Peter Prayer Cards!

Saint Peter
Saint Peter

Prayers to Saint Paul

Saint Paul

Saint Paul is the patron saint of Publishers and Reporters. St. Paul is one of the twelve apostles and considered one of the most important of the apostles.

LOVE

is patient, love is kind.
Love is not jealous, 
it does not put on airs, 
It is not snobbish. Love 
is never rude, it is not 
self-seeking, it is not
prone to anger; neither
does it brood over injuries.
Love does not rejoice in
what is wrong, but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love's
forbearance, its truth,
its hope, its power to
endure.
 

One of the most beautiful things ever written about love in the bible comes from Saint Paul.

Saint Paul

Prayer to Saint Paul

O glorious St. Paul, who from a
persecutor of Christianity, didst 
become a most ardent apostle of
zeal; and who, to make known 
the Saviour Jesus Christ unto the 
ends of the world, didst suffer 
with joy imprisonment, scourging, 
stoning, ship-wrecks and 
persecutions of every kind, and 
in the end didst shed thy blood to 
the last drop, obtain for us the 
grace to receive, as favors of the 
Divine Mercy, infirmities,
tribulations and misfortunes
of the present life, so that the
vicissitudes of this our exile will 
not render us cold in the service 
of God, but will render us always 
more faithful and more fervent. 
Amen.

If you like this prayer, you'll love this prayer card!

Saint Paul

Do you know how the Catholic Reformation changed the Catholic Church?

The Counter Reformation was a period of spiritual, moral and intellectual revival which the Catholic Church engaged with in response to the Protest Reformation. Sometimes called the Catholic Revival or Catholic Reformation, this movement began in 1545 during the start of the Council of Trent and ended in 1648 during the end of the Thirty Years’ War.

The Roots of the Catholic Reformation

During the 14th century, the Catholic Church became affected by the increasingly secular culture that defined the Renaissance Era. To promote the preaching of the gospel and encourage people to return to Catholic morality, the Church reformed many of its religious orders including the Benedictines, Cistercians and Franciscans. However, many deep seated problems that threatened the very structure of the Church still existed.

In 1512, the Fifth Lateran Council initiated a series of reforms for secular priests. These priests were clergy who were part of a regular diocese rather than a religious order. The council resulted in one highly influential convert, Alexander Farnese, the cardinal who would become Pope Paul III in 1534.

Before the Fifth Lateran Council, Cardinal Farnese had lived a compromised way of life. He kept a mistress for many years with whom he had four children. The council motivated him to change his way of life just before Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation.

The Council of Trent

The Catholic world was shaken to the core in 1517 when Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses. In response to the ensuing unrest, Pope Paul III convened the Council of Trent from 1545 to 1563. The purpose of the council was to defend major Catholic Faith doctrines that Luther and later protestants attacked.

Martin Luther

The council was also established to address many structural problems that existed within the Church. One such problem included popes like Cardinal Farnese who were notorious for their scandalous lifestyles and others such as those who came from the Medici Family of Florence. A significant number of bishops and priests had started to follow their negative precedents.

The Council of Trent introduced new intellectual and spiritual disciplines designed to help future generations of priests to live morally upright lives and not commit the same sins as their predecessors. These reforms shaped the modern seminary system which is still in practice today.

The council also put an end to the practice of appointing secular rulers as bishops as well as the sale of indulgences. Martin Luther had used the latter as a reason to attack the Church’s teachings about Purgatory.

The Council of Trent also resulted in the creation of a new catechism which clarified the teachings of the Catholic Church and called for reforms in mass. Pope Pius V who succeeded as pope three years after the council ended made these reforms in Catholic Mass. The Mass of Pope Pius V, known today as the Traditional Latin Mass, is thus considered one of the significant products of the Counter Reformation.

New Religious Orders and Political Events

Aside from reforming existing religious orders and the products of the Council of Trent, the Catholic Reformation caused many new religious orders to emerge. The most famous of these orders was the Society of Jesus, commonly known today as the Jesuits.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

The Society of Jesus was founded by St. Ignatius Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. The Jesuits practiced the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and also adopted a special vow of obedience to the pope which ensured their theological orthodoxy.

The Jesuits quickly became an influential order and a powerful religious and intellectual force, founding many seminaries, schools and universities around the world. They were also responsible for paving the way for missionary work beyond Europe, particularly in Asia, Canada, South America and the Upper Midwest of the United States.

Established in 1542, the Roman Inquisition became the chief enforcer of Catholic doctrine during the Counter Reformation. The Italian Jesuit and cardinal St. Robert Bellarmine was a key figure in the Inquisition. His significant contributions include his efforts to reconcile Galileo’s scientific views and the Church’s teachings and his role in the trial of Giordano Bruno.

The Counter Reformation also shaped the political climate of the times. One major political charged incident was the sinking of the Spanish Armada in 1588 which was the response of Protestant Queen Elizabeth I against Philip II, the Catholic King of Spain, who plotted to aggressively reinstate the Catholic religion in England. The rise of Protestantism was also directly tied to the rise of the nation states.

Important Figures of the Catholic Reformation

Many people shaped the course of the Catholic Reformation. Some of the most important figures of this time include St. Charles Borromeo, St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

Saint Charles Borromeo

Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint John of the Cross

St. Charles Borromeo, the cardinal-archbishop of Milan, lived between 1538 to 1584. He founded seminaries and schools across Northern Italy and journeyed throughout the area to visit parishes and preach. He also inspired priests under his authority to stay committed to a life of holiness.

St. Francis de Sales was the bishop of Geneva who lived between 1567 to 1622. By living out the principle of “preaching the Truth in charity,” he was able to win back many Calvinists and get them back to the Catholic Faith. His efforts also focused on keeping Catholics faithful in the church by preaching and calling them to live a devout life. He encouraged people to make prayer, meditation and scripture reading a part of their daily lives.

St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross were both doctors of the Church who were responsible for reforming the Carmelite Order. They called Catholics to deeper prayer and genuine commitment to the will of God.

The Story of Saint John the Baptist – Feast Day June 24th

The Story of Saint John the Baptist - Feast Day June 24th | Catholic Faith Store
The Story of Saint John the Baptist - Feast Day June 24th | Catholic Faith Store

Saint John the Baptist is an important figure not just in the Catholic Faith but in different world religions. The patron saint of baptism, bird dealers, converts, lambs, monastics, printers, tailors and more, he is honored as a priest, prophet, saint and a forerunner of Jesus Christ. The exemplary life and ministry of John the Baptist offers a treasure trove of lessons for how we can live as Christians and practice our Catholic Faith. Let us revisit his story so that we may glean insights from his example.

Miraculous Birth

Saint John the Baptist was born in the late first century BC somewhere in Judea. His birth was nothing less than miraculous because his mother, Elizabeth, was too old to bear children.

The Angel Gabriel visited Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, and gave them the good news that they would have a son and that they are to name him John. Zachariah did not believe this was possible and for this lack of faith he was rendered mute. He only spoke again when his son was born and named John, all in fulfilment of God’s will.

When Mary visited Elizabeth while she was still pregnant with John the Baptist, John leaped in her womb. Elizabeth then realized that Mary was pregnant with Jesus, the Son of God.

During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, she cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord* should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.Blessed are you who believed* that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  Luke 1:39-45

The Ministry of John the Baptist

John the Baptist was well known as a contemporary of Jesus Christ. He was well known for his public ministry which began around 30 AD. He was active in the region of the lower Jordan Valley and would attract large crowds across the province of Judea and the Jordan River.

John the Baptist wore a camel hair robe which was the traditional clothing of the prophets. He also ate locusts and wild honey which either represented his strict compliance to Jewish Purity Laws or the ascetic lifestyle of the Nazarites.

The message that John the Baptist preached was that God’s judgement upon the world was imminent and to prepare for this coming judgment, people must repent their sins, be baptized and live virtuously.

He had a close inner circle of disciples who followed his teaching and his followers stood out for their devoted fasting and special prayers.

The Baptism of Jesus Christ

Jesus went to John the Baptist in the River Jordan in order to be baptized. After the baptism of Jesus, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him.And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son,* with whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus considered John the Baptist the last and greatest of the prophets and as someone who foresaw the coming of God’s kingdom.

The Death of Saint John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist became even more popular after he baptized Jesus Christ. This alarmed King Herod, the ruler of Galilee and central Transjordan, who ordered the prophet to be arrested and imprisoned.

John spoke against Herod’s marriage to Herodias, his half-brother’s divorced wife, after divorcing his own first wife, the daughter of King Aretas IV of the Nabataeans. This was illegal in light of Jewish Law. John’s condemnation of Herod’s marriage presented a political threat as Herod feared that this would stir his subjects to oppose him.

John the Baptist was beheaded sometime between 33 and 36 AD. This happened after Herod asked his daughter, Salome, to make any request. As revenge for John the Baptist’s condemnation of her mother’s marriage, Salome asked for John’s head.

The feast day of John the Baptist is June 24 and the anniversary of his death is on August 29.

Lessons from the Story of Saint John the Baptist

John’s unwavering faith in Jesus Christ is something that all of us should emulate. He could have believed and worshipped in any other pagan gods before Jesus’ arrival and yet he remained steadfast in his faith that the one true Messiah was coming. He remained faithful in the midst of doubt and possible persecution from people who did not share his beliefs.

John’s mission and ministry are also inspiring reminders that we should live out our faith.

The good news of salvation must be preached and practiced not just on Sundays but in every second of our lives.

We must be good examples to the people around us. Our lives are our ministry and a testament of how deep our faith truly is.

What is the Church’s Stance on the Death Penalty? Do you agree?

What is the Church’s Stance on the Death Penalty? Do you agree? | Catholic Faith Store

The death penalty is a very controversial topic especially within the religious community. The Catholic Church’s stand on capital punishment has been varied. In the past, theological writers like Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have categorized the death penalty as a form of “lawful slaying” and a means of protecting innocent people.

In the Summa Contra Gentiles, Thomas Aquinas wrote:

“The common good of the whole society is greater and better than the good of any particular person. "The life of certain pestiferous men is an impediment to the common good which is the concord of human society. Therefore, certain men must be removed by death from the society of men." This is likened to the physician who must amputate a diseased limb, or a cancer, for the good of the whole person.”

More recently, however, the Church has adopted a disapproving view on death penalty. Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis have proposed the abolition of capital punishment with the former describing it as “cruel and unnecessary.”

What is the Catholic Church’s stance on the death penalty?

Pope Francis said during his message for the Sixth World Congress Against the Death Penalty that the death penalty “contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society and his merciful justice” and that growing opposition to the practice is a “sign of hope.”

The traditional Catechism of the Church states that a nation has the right to wage just war and that every individual has the right to self-defense. However, does that mean that any and all uses of force is justifiable?

In “A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops emphasizes that the state has the option to impose the death penalty upon criminals who have been convicted of heinous crimes only if this is the only available means to protect society from a grave threat to human life.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also confirms this with the statement:

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect peoples safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

In “The Gospel of Life,” John Paul II wrote, “[Punishment] ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

More recently, the Church has been more vocal and clear in its negative stance against the death penalty. In a letter written to the President of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty, Pope Francis emphasized the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty, calling it “inadmissible,” regardless of the seriousness of the committed crime. He describes the punishment as an “offense against the inviolability of life and the dignity of the human person which contradicts God’s plan for man and society and his merciful justice.”

Pope Francis’ stand is centered on hope. According to him the penal justice system must always allow for the accused to be once again reinserted into society because “there’s no fitting punishment without hope.”

God’s Commandments

What is the Church’s Stance on the Death Penalty? Do you agree?  | Catholic Faith Store

Aside from Pope Francis’ vehement condemnation of the death penalty, we can gather some insights from the Bible and use these to shed light on this controversial issue.

The fifth of the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses clearly states “You shall not kill.” (Exodus 20:13). Jesus also said that “to love your neighbor as yourself” is one of two greatest commandments.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:31-32

The Catholic Church emphasizes that all life is sacred. From the start, life involves creative action from God, it is a gift from our Heavenly Father.

God is an all-knowing and all-powerful God and it is wonderful to know that He has known and loved us from even before we were born. He extends this unconditional love to each and every one of us, regardless of what sins we have committed. He even sent his only son Jesus Christ to give his life in exchange for humanity’s sins.

What do you think of the Catholic Church’s stand on the death penalty? How do your notions of faith and forgiveness come into play in your views of this polarizing topic?

How to Choose Godparents

How to Choose Godparents | Catholic Faith Store

​To Choose Godparents... An Important Decision

Thanks to fairy tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, the concept of godparents is often taken to mean magical beings who grant wishes or make our lives easier. The role our godparents have in our journey here on earth is actually so much more significant so we must be careful in the people we choose to take up that role.

How to Choose Godparents | Catholic Faith Store

​Historical and Spiritual Importance of Godparents

​​The early Christians faced persecution during the formative years of Christianity (circa 300 AD). Getting caught practicing their faith could mean death so they needed to careful about conducting their religious activities. This was how the initial role of godparents came to existence. They were accountable for ensuring the credibility of anyone joining the faith.

​Godparents were also responsible for preserving Christian doctrine and ensuring that it was not infiltrated by pagans. Last but not the least, godparents were essential spiritual guides for children whose Christian parents were persecuted and martyred. The godparents were the ones expected to raise the orphaned child.

​In about 800 AD, infant baptism became a common practice and this tradition shaped the contemporary role of godparents. Godparents or the sponsors of the baptized infant were accountable for helping parents guide their children in their journey of faith.

​Being a godparent is therefore more than just fulfilling a centuries old Catholic tradition. The real role of godparents is revealed in the years following the godchild’s baptism.

​It is a lifelong commitment of nurturing the spiritual formation of the godchild.

​How to Choose Godparents

​Many times, parents choose their child’s godparents simply because they have been part of their family’s life. Considering the influence and custodial responsibility that godparents have over their godchild, much more thought must be put into choosing a godfather or godmother. So how does one go about this task?

​5 Important Questions Parents Must Ask

  • ​Does the person faithfully believe and practice the teachings of the Catholic Church?
  • ​Does this person understand the seriousness of a godparent's responsibilities, especially in the aspect of faith and morality?
  • ​Does this person have the solid moral character necessary to become a good role model for the child?
  • Is this person reliable enough to maintain a long-term relationship with the godchild?
  • Is this person prayerful?

​Requirements of the Catholic Church

​​The Catholic Church also has a set of specific requirements for people who are to fulfill the role of godparent. At least one of the godparents must be a member of the Catholic Church. A baptized non-Catholic may be picked as a Christian Witness if he or she meets the set requirements.

​The Catholic Church also has a set of specific requirements for people who are to fulfill the role of godparent. At least one of the godparents must be a member of the Catholic Church. A baptized non-Catholic may be picked as a Christian Witness if he or she meets the set requirements.

​Requirements for the Catholic Godparent

  • 1
    ​He or she should have received the three sacraments of initiation which are baptism, confirmation and the eucharist
  • 2
    ​He or she must be living a morally upright life
  • 3
    ​He or she has no penalties in the church
  • 4
    He or she must not be the parent of the child
  • 5
    He or she must be mature enough to uphold the responsibilities associated with the role. This is usually interpreted as an age requirement or at least 16 years old. The priest may allow someone younger than 16 to be a a godparent, if he or she meets the other requirements

​Requirements for the non-Catholic Christian Witness

  • 1
    ​He or she must be at least 16 years old
  • 2
    ​He or she must be a baptized Christian
  • 3
    ​He or she must be living a morally upright life
  • 4
    He or she must not be the parent of the child
  • 5
    He or she cannot be a Catholic who has left the church

​Godparents Role as Godchildren Grow

​Praying Together

How to Choose Godparents | Catholic Faith Store

We sometimes forget the spiritual role that godparents have in the lives of their children. The most fundamental way to fulfill this role is through prayer so always make your godchild a part of your daily prayers. Regularly check in on your godchild to ask about his or her needs and struggles and pray about them.

​Acknowledging Special Days & Events

​In an ideal situation, a child’s godparents must be available to guide a child during different important life events like birthdays, first communions, graduations and school programs.This may not always be possible but a godparent can be part of these milestones in other ways like sending greeting cards with words of wisdom and Bible verses or giving meaningful gifts that their godchild can use to deepen their faith such as rosary beads and Christian books.

​Spending Time Together

You can best teach your godchild important spiritual lessons for life if you are able to build a trusting and loving relationship with them. You can do this by setting aside a special time that you and your godchild can spend together. Make this bonding moment fun so that it is something that your godchild can look forward to. You can then make this simple activity much more meaningful by incorporating a spiritual element to it like reading Bible verses or talking about the lives of saints. Be creative in how you reach out to your godchild.

Godparents have a very influential role not just in the lives of their godchildren but also in the family and even society as a whole. How did your godparents shape your life?

​Godparents have a very influential role not just in the lives of their godchildren but also in the family and even society as a whole

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​Gift giving is an important part of the recognition of baptism, both for the child and for godparents.

Prayers to Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony of Padua is the patron saint of lost articles and the poor. Also known as the Evangelical Doctor, Anthony was from a wealthy family but became a Franciscan Priest for Christ. He was a gifted speaker, and it is said that when his remains were uncovered the whole body was decomposed apart from the tongue.

Unfailing Prayer to Saint Anthony

"Blessed by God in His Angels and His Saints"
​O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of
Saints, your love for God and Charity
for his creatures, made you worthy,
when on earth, to possess
miraculous powers. Miracles waited 
on your word, which you were ever 
ready to speak for those in trouble or
anxiety. Encouraged by this thought,
I implore of you to obtain for me
(mention your request), The answer
to my prayer may require a miracle,
even so, you are the Saint of
Miracles. O gentle and loving St.
Anthony, whose heart was ever full
of human sympathy, whisper my
petition into the ears of the Sweet
Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded
in your arms, and the gratitude of my
heart will ever be yours. Amen.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

When all seems lost, remember this unfailing prayer to Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony

Prayer to Saint Anthony

O gentle St. Anthony, by your holy and
apostolic life, you led countless souls to the love
of our Divine Lord. I implore you, obtain for
me and my loved ones His guidance, you who
have the power to lead straying sheep back to
the fold of Christ, and to find articles that are
lost. On earth your heart was filled with
compassion for those in distress or sorrow.
Please bring my request before the Child
Jesus, Who loved to rest in your arms, and
I believe that you will help me to remain 
always close to our Divine Lord.
O miraculous Wonder Worker, in this hour
of need obtain what I ask of you. 
Amen.

Keep your faith close with this prayer card and medal set!

Saint Anthony

Prayer to Saint Anthony

O St. Anthony! Saint of
Miracles! Saint of Help! I,
also have need of thy
assistance; I have need of
this special favor (mention
your favor).
I carry thy image bear-
ing thy illustrious name
on it and I call on thee to
do justice for me at all
times.
Therefore, console me
in my present necessity
and grant me the help
that, with full confidence,
I hope for. Amen.

Say your request.
Make the sign of the cross.

If you like this prayer, you'll love this beautiful prayer card!

Saint Anthony

The Meaning of Living By Faith

The Meaning of Living By Faith | Catholic Faith Store

What does living by faith mean?

Faith is at the center of our lives as Catholics but what does living by faith truly mean? Living by faith in today’s world can be quite a challenge especially because contemporary culture conditions us to value hard facts and accuracy and faith is quite the opposite of these things. Faith requires a certain degree of uncertainty and surrender. It can be quite intimidating when we think about it.

The Meaning of Living By Faith | Catholic Faith Store

For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.” Romans 1:17

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Our faith is not something that is limited to religious activities such as mass or when we pray. Our faith should be part of our daily life and identities. We must put it into action and live it in our day to day decisions and activities.

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He wants us to live lives filled with grace, spiritual purpose and growth. However, we all have free will which gives us the freedom to do what we want. This can be tricky because sometimes we are confronted with problems in which the solutions are not clear cut. It is in times of uncertainty that our faith is put to the test. During these difficult moments, we must trust in God to lead us to make the right choices and this is where our living faith comes into the picture.

Practical tips on how we can live by faith

1. Devote time to study God’s Word

Living by faith is not about making assumptions based on feelings about what God wants us to do. It involves knowing what He wants for us which is only possible if we commit to diligent study His word and laws. With this said, we must make it a priority to read and study the Bible.

Devote regular time each day to read God’s Word. You could start by allocating an hour in the morning, a great way to start your day or in the evening right before you go to bed. 

Don’t passively read the Bible verses, take time to reflect upon them and how they apply to your daily life and struggles. There are devotional and Catholic Faith books that can serve as a study guide or can complement your Bible readings.

2. Pray

Prayer lets us communicate with God and seek out His will for us. Some of us only pray when we need something but this should not be the case. We want to keep in touch with our loved ones and it should be the same with God. We can only be mindful of His presence and will for us if we are in constant communication with Him so pray daily.

Make prayer a habit by allocating time each day to doing it. The following are some prayer routines that you can do alone or with your family:

  • Before you start your day Pray the Morning Offering 
  • Throughout the day Pray the Angelus
  • Pray the Rosary while commuting or during your break times at work
  • Pray before meals
  • Pray before going to sleep

3. Think of eternity

To live by faith has a more profound meaning when we put it in the context of eternity. When we are mindful that all of our actions, from the smallest act to any life-changing decisions, will ripple into eternity, we become less self-centered and more focused on the long-term.

The Meaning of Living By Faith | Catholic Faith Store

It’s a common struggle for all of us to integrate the different areas of our lives into one spiritually cohesive whole. For example, it may be easy for us to be kind and forgiving during Sundays when we are surrounded by fellow Christians but it can be very challenging to do this outside the church when we are surrounded by people who are different from us. If we really think about it, our life should not be compartmentalized but, rather, centered wholly on Christ and focused toward eternity. This spiritual outlook should therefore manifest in every bit of our lives.

Whenever you are about to make a decision, always start with the end in mind. Don’t just think about the here and now but what what implications your actions will have on your spiritual journey.

4. Serve others

We strengthen our faith when we put it into action and one way to do this is by serving others. Jesus is a prime example of a servant leader. He led by serving others and shepherding them into a life in God. His death on the cross is the ultimate act of sacrifice and humility. The world will certainly be a much better and more compassionate place if each of us learned to think about others first.

When we have a servant’s heart, we let go of our selfish drive and put the needs of other people first. Christ possessed these qualities and wants us to have them, too. Here are some ways that we can develop these character traits:

  • Volunteer in your church
  • Participate in community work
  • Organize outreaches in less privileged areas

What does it mean to you to live by faith?

How do you live out your Catholic Faith?

Catholic Prayers: Why do Catholics use statues, paintings, and light candles as part of their faith?

Catholic Prayers | Catholic Faith Store

Do you light candles after you say your Catholic prayers? Whenever you go to mass, do you notice the religious statues and beautiful paintings that adorn the church? Have you ever wondered what these artifacts and traditions mean and what value they hold to our faith?

Why do we use statues, paintings and light candles?

We use statues, paintings and other artistic creations and artifacts to bring to mind the person or thing that is being represented in them. Some of us like looking at photographs of our mothers to remember her and the different memories we have together. In the same way, it helps us bring to mind the image of Jesus Christ and the saints and their deeds when we look at images that depict them.

Throughout the years, Catholics have also used different visual representations as a way of teaching. In the early beginnings of the Catholic Church, images and statues were useful for reaching out to people who could not read. Visual art and depictions are generally more accessible and more easily understood compared to written texts hence these became effective mediums of instructions.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent

The Council of Trent was a significant ecumenical (pertaining to the whole Christian Church) council which took place between 1545 and 1564. The council commissioned the Catechism of the Council of Trent to set forth on different doctrines one of which includes the topic of idolatry.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent published 1566 describes “idolatry” as “worshipping idols and images as God, or believing that they possess any divinity or virtue entitling them to our worship, by praying to, or reposing confidence in them.

”Since the early years of Christianity, images of Jesus, Mary and the saints have been used for decoration and devotion. This sometimes creates confusion among non-Catholics and even Catholic devotees who might think that this tradition is a form of idolatry.

The Council of Trent explains this Catholic practice clearly this way:

“The images of Christ, the Virgin Mother of God, and the other saints are kept and honored in churches not because it is believed that there is any divinity or power in these images, or that anything may be asked of them or any faith put in them. The honor shown to them is really being given to the person whom they represent. Through these images which we kiss, and before which we bow with bared heads, we worship Christ and not the saints whose likeness they display.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), states clearly, "Idolatry is a perversion of man’s innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who ‘transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God’"

It’s a common practice for us to bow down or kneel in front of statues of Jesus Christ and the saints while reciting our Catholic prayers and as a way of showing our respect. Non-Catholics usually accuse Catholics of violating God’s second commandment against the worshipping idols because of our use of statues, paintings or even the practice of lighting candles.

You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;you shall not bow down before them or serve them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their ancestors’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation. Exodus 20:4-5

​Non-Catholics also cite Deuteronomy 5:9 as a way to renounce this tradition because in the verse, God instructs people to “not bow down” to idols. Veneration is different from the sin of idolatry. Although bowing can be used as a posture in worship, not all acts of bowing are expressions of worship.

For example, in Japan, bowing may be considered the Western equivalent of a handshake. People in Japan bow to greet and express respect. Similarly, a person may show reverence to a king by kneeling without actually worshipping the said king as a God. So it is the same with Catholics who kneel in front of a statue while praying is not really worshipping the statue or regarding it as a God.

It’s All About Faith

At the end of the day, it’s all about our faith and where we are directing it.

Here are some personal questions you can ask to give more clarity on the topic of faith and idolatry:

  • Do I believe that statues and paintings are God or are am I using these representations to aid me in visually remembering Christ and the saints in heaven?
  • Am I worshipping statues and paintings or are they just a means for me to be mindful of the presence of God when I say my Catholic prayers or do any other acts of devotion?

2017 is the Centennial Celebration of the Apparition of Fatima

100th Anniversary of the Apparition of Fatima | Catholic Faith Store

The Apparition of Fatima was a miraculous incident that took place between May 13 and October 13, 1917 in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to three shepherd children. Let’s look back to this wondrous miracle as we commemorate its 100th year anniversary.

​The Apparition of Fatima

On the spring of 1917, Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto reported seeing apparitions of an angel. The first appearance happened on May 13, 1917 and it would mark the beginning of a series of miraculous events known as the Apparition of Fatima.

The Blessed Mother appeared in Fatima, a little village in Portugal which had remained faithful to the Catholic Church in the midst of recent political persecutions. This was a time of widespread terror and turmoil and the children urged that prayer would finally end the Great War. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared a total of six times to them.

The Catholic Church has declared the Apparition of Fatima as worthy of belief and it commemorates the event every May 13.

The Message of Fatima

Our Lady came with an important message from God for every man, woman and child. The message was about a promise of peace for the whole world and salvation for many souls if people listened and obeyed to the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.

Our Lady of Fatima’s message is filled with anguish and concern as she knows that we are living in perilous times. We are all in grave danger and she is here to help us and offer her wise advice. Her message is also part prophecy that will soon take place in the world depending on our response to it.

War, according to the Blessed Virgin, is one of the punishments of sin. Aside from conflict, God would rebuke the world through hunger, persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father, the Pope. All of this would come to pass unless we would live in accordance to God’s commands.

Pope John Paul II described the message of Fatima as “more relevant and more urgent” in our current times than when Our Lady first appeared.

Top 10 Things We Need to Know About Fatima

  • Mary’s message to the world was to pray the Rosary, make amends for sins, and to become devoted to her Immaculate Heart.
  • Blessed Mary promises that if her requests at Fatima are carried out there will be peace in the world, an end to wars, and souls will be saved.
  • Not all of the requests of Our Lady of Fatima have been honored.
  • The Blessed Lady warns the shepherd children that if her requests aren’t honored, many souls will be lost.
  • As Mary predicted, the following came true: the end of World War I, the emergence of Russia as a world power and the start of World War II under the pontificate of Pius XI.
  • We should believe what happened at Fatima because many of Mary's predictions came true.
  • Mary instructed that the faithful can devote themselves to her Immaculate Heart by doing the following on the first Saturday of five consecutive months:

    - Confess their sins
    - Receive Communion
    - Recite the Rosary
    - Keep her company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.

  • While Fatima happened 100 years ago, the message of Mary to pray for the salvation of souls and for peace in the world still applies today.
  • Since the fall of communism, there have been few conversions to Catholicism in Russia.
  • After the Fatima apparitions, Lucia dos Santos became a nun first in Spain and later, in 1948 as a Carmelte in Portugal. Sr. Lucia died on February 13, 2005 at the age of 97.

    The Miracle of Fatima

    Our Lady told the three shepherd children that God would perform a miracle so that the people would believe in the apparitions. Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta prophesied the date, time and place that the miracle would occur in the name of the Blessed Virgin. About 70,000 people witnessed the miracle of Fatima on October 13, 1917.

    The astounding phenomenon involved the sun which was said to have danced on that day. All the people who attended could perfectly stare at the sun without blinking or even hurting their eyes. As they watched the sun, it suddenly rotated, changed in size, moved close to the people and then moved far away again.Every single person who was at the site testified to seeing the sun dance. Even non-believers who were in attendance dropped down to their knees to repent and beg for forgiveness.

    To this day, Our Lady of Fatima continues to perform miraculous wonders. One example is the Fatima water which is known for healing different illnesses and helping people in poor health. The Bishop once told people to dig near the location where Our Lady appeared at the Cova de Iria (the Cove of Peace) in Fatima.

    Water sprang up at the spot and now it is sent from the town of Fatima to different parts of the world. Many people also go on pilgrimages to Fatima in order to experience the healing wonders of the Fatima water.

    100th Year Anniversary of the Apparition of Fatima

    100th Anniversary of the Apparition of Fatima | Catholic Faith Store

    The year 2017 is the centennial celebration of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother to the three shepherd children. The message of Fatima reminds us of many important truths at the heart of the Catholic Faith including the Trinity, the Eucharist, penance, the Rosary and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.

    Her message reminds us that there is hope for humanity and that, despite all the terror and trouble taking place in our times, we can still change the world for the better. We need to trust in God and pray to him for deliverance. Above all, we must continually strengthen our faith and live each day with gratitude, compassion and humility.

    Fatima is one of the most significant of all Marian apparitions. We honor this miraculous event with a feast day on May 13, in the same way that we honor two other important Marian apparitions: Guadalupe on December 12 and Lourdes on February 11.

    On May 13, 1981, the same day as the first Fatima apparition, Pople John Paul II survived an assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square. The Pope credited his survival to the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima. The assassin’s bullet is now inserted in the crown worn by Our Lady which is housed in the Fatima Shrine. Fatima is also linked to the fall of Russian communism more than 25 years ago.

    In 2002, Pope John Paul II added Our Lady of Fatima’s feast day to the general Roman calendar.

    The 100th anniversary of the apparition drew in multitudes of faithful devotees all eager to show their love for the Blessed Mother through pilgrimages, celebrations and other expressions of faith. This is indeed a singular event not just in history but also in our personal lives as Catholics. How did you commemorate the meaningful miracle of Our Lady of Fatima?

    Our Lady of Fatima Medal

    Our Lady of Fatima Statue 24 Inch

    Our Lady of Fatima Framed Print

    Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima Medal Sterling Silver

    Learn More:​

    ​Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Fatima

    The 6 Apparitions of Fatima

    The Fatima Century: Lethal and Blessed​

    Why Did Mary Appear to Children at Fatima?​

    Prayers to Saint Joan of Arc

    Saint Joan of Arc is the patron saint of Soldiers and France. England controlled most of the land that is now France in the early 1400s. At this time, Joan of Arc was a farm girl who was appointed by Saints Margaret of Antioch, Michael the Archangel, and Catherine of Alexandria to find the true king of France. She led an army to defend France, and when she was captured the new King Charles made no move to rescue her. She was burned at the stake after being accused of witchcraft. She was later cleared of all charges.

    Prayer to Saint Joan of Arc

    In the face of your enemies,
    in the face of harassment, ridicule, and doubt, 
    you held firm in your faith.
    Even in your abandonment, 
    alone and without friends, you held firm in your faith.
    Even as you faced your own mortality,
    you held firm in your faith.
    I pray that I may be as bold
    in my beliefs as you, St. Joan.
    I ask that you ride alongside me
    in my own battles.
    Help me be mindful that what is
    worthwhile can be won when I persist.
    Help me hold firm in my faith.
    Help me believe in my ability
    to act well and wisely. Amen.

    Protect yourself and your loved ones with this medal and prayer card set!

    Saint Joan of Arc

    Prayer to Saint Joan of Arc

    Most extraordinary soldier, you insistently
    proclaim "Let God be served first!" You 
    began by winning many victories and received
    the plaudits of princes, but then you were
    given to the enemy and cruelty put to death.
    Instill in us the desire to serve God first and
    perform out earthly tasks with that idea ever
    in our minds.
    Amen.

    This medal and prayer card set can serve as a daily reminder to serve God first.

    Saint Joan of Arc

    Is going to Church every Sunday necessary for Catholics?

    Is going to Church every Sunday necessary for Catholics? | Catholic Faith Store
    Is going to Church every Sunday necessary for Catholics? | Catholic Faith Store

    Going to church every Sunday is one of the most basic traditions that we associate with our Catholic faith. We have been taught to go to church and attend mass at an early age but is it really necessary for Catholics? Is going to church every Sunday still relevant in today’s times?

    Why Should We Go To Church?

    God and Jesus Christ commanded us

    When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” Luke 22:14-19

    In the third commandment, God tells us to “Remember the sabbath day” and to “keep it holy.” When we go to church on Sunday, we humbly obey this important command and acknowledge the value of the sabbath not just in the Catholic faith but in our personal lives.

    Jesus, too, put great importance in going to church. Before His crucifixion, he instituted the first mass at the Last Supper. By attending mass, we commemorate the Lord’s Supper and recognize the great sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us.

    The Holy Eucharist is an important symbol of our Catholic Faith and we get the wonderful opportunity to receive it during Mass. The bread and win, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ so when we partake of the Holy Eucharist, we are actually receiving Jesus Christ.

    The Catholic Church commanded us

    And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 16:18-19

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church prescribes that we must attend mass on Sundays and all Holy Days of Obligation. This is one of the precepts of the Church and we must keep in mind that the Church speaks with the authority of Jesus Christ. The Church is God’s instrument of faith and morality here on earth so we are to obey its instructions.

    Aside from going to church, we also required to receive the Holy Communion at least once every year during the Easter season and make the necessary preparations before we partake of it.

    We grow as individuals

    But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness,* and all these things will be given you besides. Matthew 6:33

    Going to church is not just a basic Catholic tenet, it is a way for us to nurture our faith and grow spiritually. We are very fortunate that we are able to freely access our churches and attend mass any time we want to. The early Christians were subject to great torture because of their religious beliefs. They were persecuted yet, despite all the hardships they had to face, they persisted and continued to practice their faith.

    Is going to Church every Sunday necessary for Catholics? |  Catholic Faith Store

    Like the early Christians, we must also be passionate in the way we express our belief in God and one of that is to seek His presence during Mass. By going to church, we open ourselves up to God and receive His word through our local priest. God’s Word is food for our soul and we are nourished by it.

    We grow as one spiritual family

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

    Being part of a church means we become part of God’s spiritual family. We are all made to be social beings. “No man is an island” as the popular saying goes. When we go to mass, we grow not just as an individual Catholic but as a member of a bigger Catholic community. It is similar to us being a student of a school. Our education would not be complete without the help of our professors, school administrators and classmates. In the same way, each of us makes up the entire church and together we help one another reach our full potential. We are accountable for one another, we worship God together and we rebuke one another if we sin. Our spiritual journey is certainly more enriching and insightful when it is shared with other people who share our beliefs.

    What Should We Do In Church?

    When we understand the true purpose and privilege of going to church, we begin to look forward to it. We no longer feel as if attending mass is a commandment that we are required to fulfill but a beautiful opportunity to worship God, express our love for him and connect with our fellow Christians.

    Here are some of the things we can do to make our time in the church more meaningful:

    Learn from God’s Word

    The Church can be a place to have a life-changing experience. God’s Word, as delivered by our priest, is a treasure trove of lessons we can use for navigating our life. Don’t just passively listen to the church sermon, find practical ways to apply it in your life.

    Worship from the heart

    Music and songs are a traditional part of mass. These songs are a beautiful way for us to express our love to our Heavenly Father. Feel God’s presence the next time you sing at mass. Use this time to truly worship and reveal our heartfelt devotion to the Almighty.

    Fellowship with other church-goers

    After the mass, connect with your fellow church-goers. This is a wonderful time to fellowship with fellow Christians and share what we have learned from the Sunday gathering. Remember that our church is our spiritual family and like any family, we should foster our connection with one another.

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    Origins and History of the Catholic Church

    Origins and History of the Catholic Church | Catholic Faith Store
    Origins and History of the Catholic Church | Catholic Faith Store

    According to the 2017 Annuario Pontifico (Pontifical Yearbook), there are about 1.287 billion Catholics in the world in 2015. As a major world religion, the Catholic Church provides many interesting insights into the religious history of the world. We, as members of the Catholic Faith, will find it useful to know about the history of the Catholic Church so that we can better appreciate its teachings and traditions.

    Here is a brief overview of the history of the Catholic Church from its founding during Jesus’ time to the current day.

    The Apostolic Era and the Papacy

    Apostles
    And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

    Christianity is founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived and traveled around the province of Judea in the first century AD in order to spread the Word of God. He would later establish the earliest form of the Christian Church through the Apostle Peter. The appointment of Peter as the “rock” upon which Christ will build his church is one of the most important factors that led to to emergence of the Catholic Church.

    The Catholic Church considers the Pope to be a successor of Peter who is seen by scholars to be the first Pope. Peter’s role was essential in the introduction of the papacy in the church.

    Jesus’ appointment of the twelve Apostles was also a formative event in the history of the Catholic Church. He commanded them to fulfill the Great Commission which is to share his teachings to the rest of the world. According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the college of bishops are the successors of the Apostles.

    The Roman Empire

    The Roman Empire saw many significant developments and changes which in turn influenced the early history of the Catholic Church. In the area of infrastructure, the empire’s expanding network of roads coupled with the Pax Romana made traveling safe and much more convenient. The empire also propagated a common culture rooted in Greek origins. All of these developments were instrumental in the spread of Christianity.

    One quality that made Christianity unique from most of the other religions practiced in the Roman Empire is its strict renunciation of other gods. This practice, adopted from Judaism, would later create friction in Roman Society. Christians refused to participate in pagan celebrations which were integral to public life in Rome. This caused non-Christians to fear that the emerging religion was offensive to their gods and thereby threatening to the progress of the empire. This outlook led to the persecution of the early Christians.

    In 313 AD, Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity via the Edict of Milan and declared Constantinople the new capital of the empire in 330.

    In 380, Nicene Christianity became the state church of the Roman Empire through the Edict of Thessalonica and this position would last until the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

    The five sees of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria emerged throughout the period of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Emperor Justinian I formalized this pentarchy in the middle of the sixth century.

    During the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the See of Constantinople was elevated to a position that was second only in terms of power and eminence to the Bishop of Rome.

    The period between 350 to 500 saw a steady increase in the influence of the bishops or popes of Rome. Their authority was constantly sought after by orthodox leaders to resolve theological disputes.

    In the era called the Byzantine Papacy which lasted from 537 to 752, Emperor Justinian founded a form of caesaropapism which let him control and regulate every aspect of both the state and church. This move let him reestablish imperial power not just over Rome but in other parts of the West. The popes of Rome, as a result, needed to seek the emperor’s approval for consecration which were selected from his own Greek-speaking subjects. This setup led to a melting pot of Western and Eastern Christian traditions which manifested in art and liturgy.

    In the following centuries, the Roman Empire would suffer various invasions of Germanic tribes. These tribes adopted the Arian form of Christianity which was declared heretical by the Catholic Church. The impending religious conflict between Germanic leaders and their Catholic subjects was prevented in 497 when the Frankish ruler, Clovis I, converted to orthodox Catholicism.

    Medieval and Renaissance

    The Catholic Church exerted major influence over Western Civilization from Late Antiquity to the beginning of the modern age. The Church advocated various movements in art, architecture and music particularly of the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque styles. During the Medieval Age, huge Gothic cathedrals became testaments to the magnificence of the Catholic Faith.

    The College of Cardinals was established during this era, particularly in the 11th century. This was made possible through the efforts of Hildebrand of Sovana. The College of Cardinals has been responsible for electing popes since the year 1061 with Pope Alexander II as the first elected pope.In 1095, the First Crusade was launched to suppress renewed Muslim invasions in the Byzantine Empire and to regain control over the Holy Land. Pope Urban II initiated the crusade after Byzantine emperor Alexius I sought his help.

    In the 11th century, the Greek Church separated from the Latin Church in what is known as the East-West Schism. This separation was caused partly by conflicting interests over papal authority.

    Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzman started mendicant orders in the 13th century. These religious orders focused on evangelizing and ministering to the poor and required advocates to adopt a lifestyle of poverty. These mendicant orders also pursued the studia conventualia and the studia generalia which were influential in transforming cathedral schools and palaces into prominent European universities.

    The 14th century was marked by increased conflicts between the church and the state. Clement V moved in the fortified southern French city of Avignon in order to escape the social tension in Rome. He was the first of seven popes to live in Avignon and marked the era known as the Avignon Papacy.

    The Council of Florence took place in 1438 which aimed to reunite the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The dialogue that took place moved several eastern church to reunite which formed the Eastern Catholic Churches.

    Age of Discovery

    The Age of Discovery took place in the 15th century and was marked by Western Europe’s aggressive propagation of its political and cultural influence around the world. Spain and Portugal were global superpowers during this time and their strong Catholic influence caused the religion to spread to the Americas, Asia and Oceania.

    Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation

    In 1517, the Augustinian Friar Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five Theses in which he protested many fundamental points found in Catholic Doctrine and the sale of indulgences. Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin and other reformers also criticized many Catholic teachings and traditions. These challenges paved the way for the Protestant Reformation which in turn resulted in various Christian denominations collectively known as Protestantism.

    The English Reformation which led to the formation of Protestant Anglicanism occurred during the reign of Henry VIII. The religious movement has political roots which was triggered when the pope denied the king’s petition for a declaration of nullity for his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry VIII defied the pope by passing the Acts of Supremacy and declared himself the head of the Church of England.

    The Reformation caused conflicts between the Catholic Emperor Charles V and the Protestant Schmalkaldic League. The Peace of Augsburg marked the end of the first nine-year war in 1555. However, continued tensions resulted in the Thirty Years’ War that began in 1618, which was a more devastating conflict.

    The Catholic Church’s response to the Protestant movement came in the form of the Council of Trent which also spearheaded the Counter-Reformation. The Council of Trent emphasized many key teachings of the Catholic Church such as transubstantiation and the requirement of love and hope in order to attain salvation.

    Age of Enlightenment

    The Age of Enlightenment was marked by a pronounced skepticism against the power and influence of the Catholic Church over Western society. Prominent writers like Voltaire wrote scathing critiques of the church and religion in general.

    In 1788, the French Revolution transferred the power from the Church to the State. Many churches were destroyed and the so-called Cult of Reason emerged. In 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte finally reestablished the Catholic Church in France through the Concordat of 1801. The end of the Napoleonic Wars saw a reemergence of the Catholic faith and the return of the Papal States.

    Modern Period

    Origins and History of the Catholic Church | Catholic Faith Store

    The First Vatican Council took place in 1870 and it affirmed the doctrine of papal infallibility when exercises in specifically defined pronouncements. This caused great controversy which, coupled with other issues, resulted in a breakaway movement known as the Old Catholic Church.

    The papacy’s millennial temporal power ended in 1870 when the Papal States were incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. Pope Pius IX rejected the Italian Law of Guarantees and ended up being a “prisoner in the Vatican.”

    The 1929 Lateran Treaties resolved the conflict in which the Holy See finally recognized Italian sovereignty over the former Papal States. On the other hand, Italy also acknowledged papal sovereignty over Vatican City as a new independent state.

    Twentieth Century

    Many changes in Catholic practices were enacted during the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. Pope John XXIII initiated the second council which modernized many existing traditions in the church. Some of the most significant changes include mass being delivered in local languages and encouraging church-goers to be “fully conscious and active” in their participation of liturgical practices.

    Pope John Paul II was elected pope in 1978. He was the first non-Italian pope to be selected in 455 years and his 27-year term as pope was among the longest in history. He was credited by Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev for hastening the fall of Communism in Europe. He was also well known for using modern media like television and radio for spreading Catholic teachings.

    Twenty First Century

    Pope Benedict XVI was elected the new pope after the death of John Paul II in 2005. Pope Benedict was known for upholding traditional Christian values over secularization and for using the Tridentine Mass found in the Roman Missal of 1962. He resigned in 2013 citing his advanced age as the reason. He was the first pope to resign in almost 600 years.

    The current pope of the Catholic Church is Pope Francis. He succeeded Pope Benedict and in 2013 and is the first pope to come from the Americas and the first from outside Europe since Gregory III of Syria. Pope Francis is well-known and well-loved for his humble outlook, compassion for the poor, the environment and his focus on interfaith dialogue. He is also notable for being less formal in his approach to the papacy compared to former popes.

    Pope Francis is also credited for his efforts to “further close the nearly 1,000 year estrangement with the Orthodox Churches.” On February 12, 2016, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow issued a joint declaration that called for the restoration of Christian unity between their two churches. This historical event has been the first high-level meeting between the two churches since the Great Schism of 1054.

    Prayers to Saint Rita

    Saint Rita

    Saint Rita wanted to become a nun, but was instead forced into marriage. She gave birth to two sons. After the death of her sons, and the murder of her husband, she was finally to able join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia where she spent the rest of her life doing God's work.

    Prayer to Saint Rita 

    O God, who did vouchsafe
    to communicate so great
    grace to Saint Rita that she
    imitated Thine example in the
    love of enemies and bore in
    her heart and on her
    countenance the sacred marks
    of Thy love and passion: 
    grant, we ask You, by
    her merits and intercession,
    that we may love our enemies
    and ever contemplate with
    deep contrition the sorrows of
    Your Passion: Who lives and
    reigns world without end.
    Amen.

    If you like this prayer, you'll love these prayer cards!

    Saint Rita
    Saint Rita

    Prayer to Saint Rita
    Saint of Loneliness and Impossible Dreams

    O Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, whose pleadings before thy Divine Lord are almost irresistible, who for thy lavishness in granting favors hast been called the Advocate of the Hopeless and even of the Impossible; St. Rita, so humble, so pure, so mortified, so patient and of such compassionate love for thy Crucified Jesus that thou couldst obtain from Him whatsoever thou askest, on account of which all confidently have recourse to thee expecting, if not always relief, at least comfort; be propitious to our petition, showing thy power with God on behalf of thy suppliant; be lavish to us, as thou hast been in so many wonderful cases, for the greater glory of God, for the spreading of thine own devotion, and for the consolation of those who trust in thee.

    We promise, if our petition is granted, to glorify thee by making know thy favor, to bless and sing thy praises forever. Relying then upon thy merits and power before the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray thee grant that
    [here mention your request].

    Ask for Saint Rita's intercession with the beautiful prayer on the back of this prayer card. 

    Saint Rita

    Mother Mary’s Importance in the Catholic Faith

    The month of May is the perfect time to celebrate our devotion to Mother Mary. During May, in line with Mother’s Day, we commemorate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s extraordinary role as a mother to both Jesus Christ and the whole Catholic Church.

    Mother Mary's Importance in the Catholic Faith

    In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

    Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” - Luke 1:26-34

    Why is Mary Important in the Catholic Faith?

    Mary is a central figure in the Catholic Faith and her life illustrates how our Almighty Father works in our lives. Mary came from a simple background and yet she was called by God to fulfill a very extraordinary role; that of becoming the mother of Jesus Christ.

    This role was no easy feat. During Mary’s time, women did not have equal standing as men in society. Second, when Jesus was born, King Herod ordered infants everywhere to be slaughtered so Mary had to flee to Egypt to escape the massacre and save her child.

    Despite the hardships she had to go through, Mary became an instrument of faith and stayed committed in her role of bringing to life God’s promised son.

    In our Catholic Faith, we are taught the three core values of Mary. These were embodied by the Holy Mother in the way she lived her life. As her children, we, too, should aspire to embrace these values in our own lives and in the way we treat others.

    1. The Value of Humility

    Humility is one of the most fundamental values we should have as Christians. We can only receive Christ when we are humble and meek. Mary teaches us that pride and selfishness is something that we must avoid. She had an extraordinary role as the Mother of God and yet she remained humble in her ways and continued to serve the Lord with devotion.

    Washing feet

    We live in a world that is self-obsessed and this makes us be self-centered in our decisions. We do things that make us happy even if it hurts others.

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    Being humble is not always easy. The Marian value of humility teaches us to put others first. When we are humble, we let go of our selfish, human ways and become in tune with the ways and will of God.

    2. The Value of Simplicity

    Mary lived her life in the simplest way. Despite having found favor in the Lord, she accepted what was given to her with grace and humility. Our world puts a premium on material wealth. We become blinded by material pursuits, the latest gadgets, fancy cars and expensive vacations. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying these gifts per se, it is important to remember that being obsessed with these things can distract us from God. It makes us believe that true happiness can be found in the physical world rather than in the spiritual.

    Being simple encourages us to trust more in God and to use His divine standards as our yardstick for life rather than our own shallow and superficial standards.

    Mother Mary with Christ

    We are reminded that this world is not our permanent abode and that eternity is waiting for us at the end of our earthly journey.

    Finally, when we live simply, we become closer to the people who are needy because we understand their plight. We learn to have God’s heart for those people in need.

    By living simply, we realize that there is more to life than pursuing meaningless ambitions.

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    3. The Value of Charity

    Charity

    Charity is at the heart of everything that Mary did. Being a mother involves being charitable and deeply generous in one’s actions. It is an act of sacrifice. In our Catholic Religion, “love” and “charity” are often frequently interchanged and with good reason since the value of charity is a kind of love. Charity is a theological virtue that lets us love God above all things.

    Practicing all other Catholic virtues is animated and inspired by charity and it is the value that binds everything together in perfect harmony.

    By being charitable, we exhibit other fruits of the spirit like joy, peace and mercy. We receive more when we give. It is an act of sacrifice that nourishes our soul.


    ​How do we celebrate our love for Mother Mary?

    In our Catholic Faith, devotion to the Blessed Virgin is called the Marian Devotion. We practice several traditions and events during the month of May to express the love we have for our Holy Mother. This is a wonderful time to give thanks to Mary for the grace and bounty that we received after Lent.

    We offer beautiful garlands and vibrant flowers as a way to praise Mary as the Queen of Heavens and the Earth. We also respect and honor her through religiously praying the rosary.

    In the Philippines for example, there is the popular “Flores de Mayo” which is celebrated every third week of May. During this festive event, towns across the Philippines parade the image of the Blessed Virgin adorned by fresh and beautiful flowers. For many Catholic devotees, this is an opportune time to offer their intentions and prayers and they do this during the parade.

    Crowning Mother Mary

    Mother Mary is a beautiful example of how God can transform us from ordinary people to extraordinary ones. Aside from being an important symbol in the Catholic Faith, Mary is a significant influence in our personal journey as Catholics. Take a look at these beautiful Mary inspired gifts.


    How has Mother Mary touched your life? 

    How do you express your love and devotion to our Holy Mother?

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