What makes a saint? For starters, longing to see God’s face

As All Saints Day approaches, columnist Michelle Francl-Donnay ponders the communion of saints and the fruits of holiness -- virtues, good works, mercy and justice. Are they what happen to a saint along the way? Where does sainthood begin? Perhaps not with the determination to be virtuous, but with a spark of grace struck in a soul.

How many times a day can one receive Communion?

Q. What are the church's guidelines for someone receiving Communion more than once a day? Some examples are: attending Mass on a Saturday morning, a Saturday evening vigil Mass and Mass again on Sunday morning; also, attending a weekday Mass in the morning and then a healing Mass that same evening.

In times of trouble, pope says, call on the communion of saints

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Trials and doubts are part of everyone’s faith journey, “even mine,” Pope Francis said, but Christians know they can get through the hard times with help from God, other Christians and those in heaven. “Who hasn’t experienced insecurities, losses and even doubts in the journey of faith?” the pope asked. “It’s […]

Pope says hope is not mere optimism but a link to eternal life

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christian hope is not mere optimism or a “positive attitude” toward the world but a vital link to eternal salvation, Pope Francis said. The pope spoke Oct. 29 during a morning Mass he celebrated in the Vatican guesthouse, where he lives. The congregation included a visiting group of Mexican priests celebrating […]

Baptism for the child of nonpracticing Catholics

Q. About a year ago, I listened to a priest tell the story of how a relative of his asked him to baptize their infant child. The priest refused because the parents had not been attending Mass. Later, the parents started coming to Mass again, and the baptism was performed. I was under the impression that we believe that, for a child to get into heaven, the child has to have been baptized. What are the church's guidelines for baptism? Is it common for a priest to refuse a request for baptism if he feels that the parents are unworthy?

Mary is model of faith, charity, union with Christ, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Seeing Mary as a model of faith teaches Christians that total dedication to Jesus does not take them away from real life, because faith is lived through the chores and cares of everyday existence, Pope Francis said.

To understand God, get down on your knees, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God’s love and the salvation offered in Jesus cannot be understood using intelligence alone and, in fact, trying to make it all reasonable can make one crazy, Pope Francis said. “When intelligence tries to explain a mystery, it always — always — becomes crazy,” the pope said Oct. 22 in the […]

Doctrine of infallibility; woman’s blog on scriptural readings

Q. What is the church's foundation for declaring itself to be infallible when the pope speaks "ex cathedra" and with the entire magisterium supporting him? I understand that the church made this declaration around 1870 A.D., and it seems a little curious to arrive at that conclusion nearly 2,000 years after the life of Christ. How many teachings on faith and morals have been declared infallible, and what are some of them? And if something has not been defined as infallible, are we free to question and discuss? (Hudson, Wis.) Q. Is there anything wrong with a woman writing a reflection on the readings for the Mass each day on her own personal blog? I am the volunteer coordinator for Catholic ministry at a local women's prison and teach an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class for those inquiring into the faith. I believe that I know the basics of our faith very well, and I am loyal to the magisterium of the church. I know that only ordained clergy can give a homily in the context of a Mass, but does what I am doing violate any rules? (Indianapolis)

Heartfelt prayer keeps faith from becoming ideology, pope says at Mass

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When Christianity becomes an ideology rather than a faith based on a relationship with God, its followers become proud and rigid, Pope Francis said. When Christianity becomes an ideology, “Jesus isn’t there, nor is his tenderness, love and meekness. And ideologies are always rigid, always,” the pope said Oct. 17 in […]

Live the faith, share it, teach it, pope tells evangelization council

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Evangelization requires people who joyfully and lovingly live their faith, are not afraid to go out to share it and know how to transmit to others the essential teachings of the church, Pope Francis said. The world needs “the oxygen of the Gospel, the breath of the spirit of the risen […]