God’s endless love, mercy help church be blessing for world, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Beginning a series of audience talks about the church, its identity and mission, Pope Francis said it would be "a bit like a son talking about his mother, his own family," because the church is the mother of Christ's disciples and is called to be united as a family.

When sad and slow music takes celebration out of Mass

Father Ken Doyle advises one reader who wants livelier liturgical music, and another who wonders why one must go to confession.

One thing missing from the yearly cruise: Sunday Mass

Father Ken Doyle calms the fears of a reader who can't get to Mass while while on board a cruise ship. Missing Mass for this reason isn't a mortal sin, he advises, so relax and enjoy the trip.

Pope: Piety is embracing God, others with real love, not fake devotion

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Being pious is not squeezing one's eyes shut to the world and putting on a sweet face, Pope Francis said. Piety is opening up one's heart to God and one's arms to embrace everyone as brothers and sisters.

Closing Marian month, pope says Mary is always ready to help

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Standing before a replica of the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes from France, Pope Francis told Vatican employees and other guests that Mary is a mother who never makes her children wait for a response to their prayers.

Jesus in heaven still holds our hand, shows us the way, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Although Christ ascended into heaven, he remains present in a new form through the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit in order to accompany and guide people in their daily lives, Pope Francis said.

Legionaries of Christ are not disbanded, but healing

A reader thinks the order of priests founded by an abusive priest had been dissolved, but Father Ken Doyle gives the background and current status of the order. Also, he responds to a perpetual question about Mary's perpetual virginity.

Catholic ex-husband’s remarriage more than bad form

A woman wonders whether her ex received an annulment, and what that means for her. Father Ken Doyle cuts through the canonical question, and fields another on whether a loved one anointed before death might be in purgatory.

Did that baptism 17 years ago really count?

A father wonders about his daughter's long-ago baptism but he should ask himself, "What does God think?", suggests Father Ken Doyle, who suggests the girl likely was validly baptized. Also, the priest dips into the issue of Communion by intinction.

God makes no one struggle with life’s challenges alone, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God is always by our side, never giving us more than we can handle, Pope Francis said.