Dear Father

Dear Father | Twelve days of Christmas a celebration of gifts from God

Father John Mayo

What is the background and meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas? 

Dear Father | What's in a name? Take a look at our popes

Msgr. Michael Witt

Papal names make for a fascinating study of Church history. One could argue that the first pope's name was changed, by Jesus, from Simon to Peter at Caesarea Philippi. After that, popes kept their baptismal name until Mercury was elected in 533. He thought it was inappropriate for a pope to be named after a Roman god so he changed his name to John II. The next five popes went back to keeping their own name until Catelinus was elected in 561. That was either his real name or a nickname, but he didn't like it. So, Catelinus changed his name to John III.

Dear Father | Look to intent of user when it comes to religious elements in jewelry

Father John Mayo

I've seen one of the latest jewelry fashions is a sideways (horizontal) cross. Is this a good idea for Catholics? 

As a priest, I am probably the last one to ask about what is in or out in fashion. But even I have noticed the trend of women wearing necklaces or bracelets with a horizontal cross, instead of a traditional, vertical cross. Some celebrities, considered real trendsetters, proudly wear one of these sideways crosses.

Dear Father | Holy water helps us prepare to receive the sacraments

Q. What is the history of holy water? What is it used for?A. Holy water seems to always be around the life of a Catholic. It's there when we open the door of church, when we attend Mass (especially in the Easter Season), when the blessing of an object takes place and when we attend a funeral. As much as it is around, we really don't know much about it.
The Church classifies holy water as a sacramental, a sign that the Church has instituted to help dispose the faithful to receive the grace of the sacraments in a fuller way and to sanctify the various circumstances of life.

Dear Father | Catholic Bible used by all Christians until the Reformation

Q. What is the difference between Catholic and Protestant Bibles?A. Perhaps not as much as you might think. But, yes, there are differences, and that's why some Bibles are stamped "Catholic Edition," or "With Apocrypha," or another designation to distinguish them from the "Protestant Edition" (Catholic Bibles also bear the Nihil Obstat).

Dear Father | Only laws from God indicate if something is right or wrong

Q. What is the natural law?A. Catholics always have taught there are two sources of divine revelation -- Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. If there was a third, it would be the natural law.


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