father john mayo

DEAR FATHER | Station churches are part of ancient Lenten tradition

The station (or stational) churches are specific churches in the city of Rome that are designated to be visited by the pope or his delegate on a particular day of the Lenten season.

DEAR FATHER | Stewing over whether a parish is burned by a big fish fry

You raise a valid point, to wit, that the penitential nature of these two days ought not to be compromised.

However, there are a couple of points:

• Church law does define Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days on which Catholics must fast, but not all Catholics. Only those aged 18-59 are obligated to fast, and even then, those whose health would be seriously injured by a strict fast are allowed to consume as much food as necessary.

DEAR FATHER | Giving up meat during Lent is a sign of solidarity with one another

Before looking at why we abstain from meat as a common penance, we should examine why we even do penance in the first place.

DEAR FATHER | Bells at Mass bring joyful noise to the Lord, focus attention on altar

We can trace the use of bells in the liturgy back to the liturgy of the Old Testament. In the Book of Exodus, the vestments of the high priest are described in detail. Among the ornamentation on the vestments are alternating pomegranates and bells (Exodus 28:33-35).

God instructed the bells to be sewn on the vestments for two reasons.

1) They were part of the joyful noise made to the Lord, as referenced in Psalm 98:4.

DEAR FATHER | Neocatechumenal Way brings together people who live for Christ in a deeper way

In the early 1960s, successful yet dissatisfied Spanish artist Kiko Arguello sought greater spirituality. Arguello wondered about the spiritual meaning to life, or even if God existed at all. For answers, he moved into a shantytown with only a guitar and a Bible. There, he encountered violence and addiction as well as the deeper issues of interior wounds and despair.

DEAR FATHER | The Church supports the faithful in painful situations of divorce

A couple enters into marriage with great joy and hope for the future. When a marriage declines and ends in divorce, it's a painful event on so many levels. What makes it even more painful for a Catholic is the feeling that, because of this divorce, a divorcee can no longer be part of the Church at the time her support is most needed.

The Church, however, is still there for a person in this situation. As at other painful moments in life, the Church is there as the field hospital we need when we are wounded by sins or human ugliness.

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