Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for April

Pope Francis' universal prayer intention for April is: "That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources." His intention for evangelization is: "That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness."

Pope to priests: Draw people to confession, be available, show mercy

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Don't be too lax or too harsh during confession and always make sure people know when the sacrament of reconciliation is available, Pope Francis told priest confessors March 28.

Only way to know how much God loves you is to give him a try, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For people who believe their sins make it impossible for God to forgive them, the pope said, "Well, try! If you want to discover the tenderness of this father, go to him and find out, then come and tell me about it."

Be patient when your Lenten pledge to pray goes the way of ashes

Easter might still feel a long way off, and already we may have run out of energy for our Lenten practices. Columnist Michelle Francl-Donnay keeps walking with the desert saints and Pope Francis to find a fresh beginning.

Deacon is not a Communion referee

Father Ken Doyle answers a reader's question about whether a deacon should refuse Communion for a person believed to be in an invalid marriage. Catholic teaching is clear, but who can know the actual circumstances of the marriage or a possible annulment?

Whatever became of the mysterious St. Valentine?

Columnist Father Ken Doyle clears up the question of why Mass is not celebrated for the legendary saint of Roman times. Also, in a case that raises eyebrows in the parish of a now-married priest, Father Doyle cautions against harsh judgment.

Think fasting is tough twice a year? Try it every day

Columnist Michelle Francl-Donnay struggled with hunger on Ash Wednesday while thinking about how many people, including children in the U.S., go hungry all the time. The early Christian monks of the desert speak to us today of fasting for body and soul.

Annulments and the myth of money

Columnist Father Ken Doyle debunks the myth that getting a declaration of nullity after divorce depends on how much money is paid. Also, divorce alone is not a barrier to receiving holy Communion.

‘Monk’s mirror’ helps us pray the short, sharp Jesus Prayer

Columnist Michelle Francl-Donnay takes us further into the desert experience of Lent with the ascetics’ advice to see our sins and humbly pray to God for mercy.

Yes, you can still make the sign of the cross near a church

That old custom -- it dates back to the third century -- still exists, writes columnist Father Ken Doyle. He also answers a sticky question about divorced men checking out the dating website CatholicMatch.com.