Dear Father

DEAR FATHER | Consecrated religious are set apart to the service of God

Msgr. Matthew Mitas

What does the word 'consecrated' mean when we refer to consecrated religious life? 

President Abraham Lincoln gave us a fairly good working definition of "consecrate" in the most famous discourse in presidential history in his remarks at the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg: to dedicate something as hallowed (by God). The word itself derives from the Latin sacrare, meaning "to devote or make holy, to set apart."

DEAR FATHER | Making sense of baptism when it comes to the living and the dead

Msgr. Matthew Mitas

In
1 Corinthians, St. Paul refers to “baptism for the dead.” To what was
he referring? Doesn’t the Church teach that baptism is only for the
living?

The passage to which you refer is 1 Corinthians 15:29, in which St. Paul writes of people who get themselves baptized "for the dead." We aren't 100 percent sure of what he's referring, and perhaps less certain about what he's actually saying.

Let's make sense of it by looking at the words.

Dear Father | Fasting helps expedite our inner reform

Msgr. Matthew Mitas

Does the Eucharistic fast begin an hour before the start of Mass, or an hour before one actually receives Communion? Why do we fast before Communion, anyway? 

Catholics are asked to fast for an hour before receiving Holy Communion. In practical terms, on a typical Sunday, Communion is distributed about 40 minutes after Mass starts and it takes, on average, 20 minutes to go from your front door to the front door of church. So, you could eat breakfast right before leaving for church and still fulfill the legal requirements for the eucharistic fast.

DEAR FATHER | Catholic Church allows cremation, but prefers burials

What does the Church teach on cremation? Has this teaching remained the same? If not, why the change? 

In the days of the Roman Empire, cremation was a common practice. One of the few exceptions to this practice was people of the Jewish faith. They held fast to their custom of burying the bodies of the dead.

DEAR FATHER | When saints intercede for a specific need

Msgr. Matthew Mitas

How are patron saints chosen?

DEAR FATHER | Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in reading the Bible

Father John Mayo

What is a good way to begin reading the Bible?

All of us probably have a Bible somewhere at home. It sits, quietly calling us whenever we see it or think to pick it up and to read its Good News.

Before reading it, examine it to make sure it is a Catholic Bible. If it isn't, some books might be missing that the Catholic Church accepts but other denominations of Christianity don't.

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