Sacraments

DEAR FATHER | Preparing to receive Communion starts at home

Preparing to receive Jesus' Body and Blood starts at home — well before Mass. The Church teaches that Catholics should abstain from food or drink, except water, for one hour prior to receiving Communion. As we long for a drink or something to munch on while waiting for Mass, we should be reminded of our spiritual hunger to receive Jesus into our souls.

First Communion dress links generations

Paula Hrin adjusted the First Communion dress on her grandaughter, Vanessa Hrin, pointing out where her name was embroidered. In 1959, Paula’s mother, Dolores Perniciaro, made a First Communion dress for Paula; this April, Vanessa will be the 16th family member to wear the dress for her First Communion.

Paula Hrin believes that when her mother, Dolores Perniciaro, made Paula's First Communion dress nearly 60 years ago, she had no idea how special it would become.

The dress is in good shape even though it's been worn by 15 girls. It was rained on. And it was threatened by chocolate ice cream. But the dress survived and the treasured family tradition continues.

DEAR FATHER | Hope is virtue that transforms our understanding of unbaptized babies, heaven

I love my mother. She is a great, holy woman. But whenever she calls me, her first question is, "Where are you?"

When I was a bit younger, this question could make me a bit nervous. But now I understand her question had two meanings. First, it's the natural curiosity of a mother. Second, she wanted to be present with me in her thoughts and prayers in whatever I was doing at that moment.

‘Truly a treasure’

The Society of the Sacred Heart recently received a 200 year-old ciborium that St. Madeleine Sophie Barat gave to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne to bring to the New World in 1818. The ciborium went to places like Cuba and Venezuela before making its way to St. Louis. Despite St. Rose Philippine Duchesne encountering problems like pirates, the chalice survived and made it to St. Louis.

Two saints, Caribbean pirates and faith-filled Religious of the Sacred Heart.

All three — part of a fantastic journey covering five countries on three continents over two centuries — converged at the Sacred Heart Spirituality Forum recently at St. Louis University, delivering a monumental surprise to the St. Louis-based Province of the United States-Canada.

DEAR FATHER | Act of Contrition gets to the heart of confession

Is confession valid if the priest doesn't hear your Act of Contrition? 

We might remember being told as we grew up that we need to apologize to someone for something we did. Out of personal pride or perhaps anger at what they did to us, our apology was halfhearted at best. We said we were sorry, but in our heart we really weren't, and the way we said our apology most likely reflected our state of mind and heart.

DEAR FATHER | Examples of baptism of desire show more than one way to receive graces

Jesus tells Nicodemus at the beginning of St. John's Gospel, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (John 3:5).

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