Why do Catholics cover crucifixes and statues during Holy Week?

Veils over sacred images keep our minds on the promise of Easter.   It seems strange that during the most sacred time of year Catholics cover everything that is beautiful in their churches, even the crucifix. Shouldn’t we be looking at the painful scene at Calvary while we listen to the Passion narrative on Palm Sunday? Veiling… Continue reading Why do Catholics cover crucifixes and statues during Holy Week?

Why does Lent last 40 days?

The number 40 has deep biblical roots.   Each year the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church celebrates Lent with 40 days of prayer and fasting before the great celebration of Easter. This number is very symbolic and has deep ties to multiple biblical events. Number 40 in the Bible   The first mention of… Continue reading Why does Lent last 40 days?

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Are there really sins that cannot ever be pardoned?

Full Question:   Are there sins that cannot be pardoned? ANSWER:   “but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences.” Mark 3:29. IMPLICATION:   The above texts are words of Christ on this subject, showing that there are “Unpardonable sins”, which are sins against the Holy… Continue reading Are there really sins that cannot ever be pardoned?

When did Christians start praying the Hail Mary?

While the prayer is essentially straight from the Bible, Christians did not put the two verses together until the 11th century.   In the Gospel of Luke, we find the two principal verses that make up the frequently used “Hail Mary” prayer. The first part of the prayer is derived from the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel… Continue reading When did Christians start praying the Hail Mary?

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What is the symbolism of ashes on Ash Wednesday?

Ashes have a long tradition in the Catholic Church, finding its roots in the Old Testament.   Ash Wednesday in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is focused, not surprisingly, on the imposition of ashes on all the faithful who attend Mass or a prayer service. This ceremony is relatively brief, but has rich symbolism that… Continue reading What is the symbolism of ashes on Ash Wednesday?

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Was St. Luke a medical doctor?

St. Luke the Evangelist is described as a “physician” and used medical terms in his Gospel.   Credited as writing one of the four Gospels, St. Luke is often described as a the patron saint of doctors and physicians. Why is that? Traditionally, St. Luke is believed to be a “physician,” according to the practice of Greek… Continue reading Was St. Luke a medical doctor?

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What did St. Joseph actually do as a carpenter?

Art tells one story, history says another.   Often certain biblical phrases don’t get translated very well. Take for example the common translation of Matthew 13:55. The people of Nazareth question Jesus’ divine power by asking, “Is he not the carpenter’s son?” This is, of course, in reference to Joseph, who is traditionally known as… Continue reading What did St. Joseph actually do as a carpenter?

How did St. Joseph die?

His departure is known as the perfect example of a “happy death.”   Little is known factually concerning the life of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus. He is mentioned only a few times in the Gospels, and never says a word.   However, most biblical scholars believe Joseph died prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. This… Continue reading How did St. Joseph die?

How old was St. Joseph when Jesus was born?

Was he an old widower or a strapping young man?   We don’t hear much about St. Joseph in the Bible. He is simply described as the “husband of Mary,” a “carpenter,” and a “just man” in the Gospel accounts. Neither his age nor his death is ever mentioned in Scripture. However, various traditions help… Continue reading How old was St. Joseph when Jesus was born?

Why is Saint Joseph depicted as an old man in art?

The main sources of our familiar artistic depictions of St. Joseph are, interestingly, not canonical.   The Patron of the Universal Church is barely mentioned in the Gospels. In fact, John and Mark do not mention him at all, and Luke only refers to St. Joseph twice –once in Jesus’ genealogy, to establish his belonging to… Continue reading Why is Saint Joseph depicted as an old man in art?