The Catholic Layman’s Guide, by Father Rudolph G Bandas

The Catholic Layman's Guide, by Father Rudolph G BandasIntroduction

Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. His is our Truth through the Creed; our Way, through the Commandments; our Life through prayer, the Mass, and the Sacraments. These great supernatural realities of our faith direct our conduct and enter intimately into our daily life. For the “just man liveth by faith” (Romans 1:17) and “by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). Saint Paul reminds us that “not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Romans 2:13). A right of ordering of one’s life, however, presupposes a proper enlightenment of the mind. The will reacts to what the mind proposes to it. The purpose of the present booklet is to recall to mens’ minds, in a brief and simple manner, what we must believe, what we must do, and what supernatural means we must use, in order to attain eternal salvation. May it be a welcome visitor in every home and may it bring forth fruit a hundred fold. – Fahter R G Bandas

The Goal of My Existence

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His justice” (Matthew 6:33).

“What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul” (Matthew 16:26).

“O God, Thou has made us for Thyself, and our heart will be restless until it rests in Thee” (Saint Augustine of Hippo).

In order that we may obtain the goal of our existence and be eternally happy with God in heaven, we must:

• Know God by accepting through faith all that God has revealed.

• Serve God by keeping all the Commandments which He has given us.

• Use the means of graces, the Sacraments, which God has instituted for our salvation.

The Sign of the Cross

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

How to Make the Sign of the Cross

We make the sign of the cross by touching with the right hand:

• the forehead saying “In the Name of the Father;”

• then the breast, adding “and of the Son;”

• and then from the left shoulder to the right, while saying “and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

The sign of the cross shows that we are Christians because it expresses our belief in the chief mysteries of our Catholic faith: the mystery of the Blessed Trinity and the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption. The words we say show that God is one in Three Divine Persons. The cross we make reminds us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for us on the Cross.

The sign of the cross is made before and after prayer, meals, sleep, when receiving a blessing, in times of temptation and danger. The sign of the Cross is made 51 times in the Mass.

How to Make a Genuflection

In making a genuflection with one knee, three things are to be observed.

• bend the right knee to the floor alongside the ankle of the left foot

• hold the head and the upper part of the body erect, not inclined

• rise again without delay

In genuflecting with both knees bend the right knee first and then the left; thereupon make a medium bow of the body and rise.

A genuflection is made before an altar at which the Blessed Sacrament is kept. A double genuflection (with both knees) is made before the Blessed Sacrament when exposed at Benediction, Holy Hour, Forty Hours, Corpus Christi, etc.

A bow is made at the mention of the name of Jesus, at the Glory be, and to a crucifix on an altar where the Blessed Sacrament is not kept. Striking of the breast goes with the words expressive of sorrow for sin as, for example, the Confiteor (“I confess”) and the Domine non sum dignus (“Lord, I am not worthy”).

Prayers We Should Know

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace!
The Lord is with thee;
Blessed are thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father, Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

The Confiteor

I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the Saints, to pray to the Lord our God for me.

May Almighty God have mercy on me, and forgive me my sins, and bring me to everlasting life. Amen.

May the Almighty and Merciful Lord grant me pardon, absolution, and remission of all my sins. Amen.

Glory Be to the Father

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art One God in three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou has revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.

Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain the pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

Act of Charity

O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and deserving of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all, because they offend Thee, My God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

The Angelus

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary,
And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
   (Hail Mary)
Behold the handmaid of the Lord!
Be it done unto me according to thy word.
   (Hail Mary)
And the Word was made flesh
And dwelt among us.
   (Hail Mary)
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
Thy grace into our hearts,
that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by His Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection,
through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Regina Coeli

Queen of heaven, rejoice, Alleluia.
For He whom thou didst deserve to bear, Alleluia.
Hath risen as He said, Alleluia.
Pray for us to God, Alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary! Alleluia.

R. Because the Lord is truly risen, Alleluia.

LET US PRAY

O God, who by the resurrection of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, has vouchsafed to make glad the whole world, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may attain the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn then, O most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate! Despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Grace Before Meals

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Grace After Meals

We give thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, who livest and reignest forever. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Prayer to My Guardian Angel

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

Morning Offering

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee all my prayers, works and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of Thy Sacred Heart, in union with the holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation of my sins, for the intention of all our associates, and in particular for (your special intentions). Amen.

Your Parish Priest

“There is a man in ever parish,” says Lamartine, “who, having no family, belongs to a family that is world-wide; who is called in as a witness, a counsellor and an actor in all most important affairs of civil life. No one comes into the world or goes hence without his ministrations. He takes the child from the arms of his mother and parts with him only at the grave. He blesses and consecrates the cradle, the bridal chamber, the bed of death and the bier. He is one whom innocent children grow to love, to venerate and to reverence; whom even those who know him not salute as Father; at whose feet Christians fall down and lay bare the inmost thoughts of their souls and weep their most sacred tears. He is one whose mission it is to console the afflicted and soften the pains of body and soul; who is an intermediary between the affluent and the indigent; to whose door come alike the rich and the poor – the rich to give alms in secret, and the poor to receive them without blushing. He belongs to no social class, because he belongs equally to all – to the lower by his poverty and not unfrequently by his humble birth; to the upper by his culture and his knowledge, and by the elevated sentiments which a religion, itself all charity, inspires and imposes. He is one, in fine, who knows all, has a right to speak unreservedly, and whose speech, inspired from on high, falls on the minds and hearts of all with the authority of one who is divinely sent, and with the constraining power of one who has an unclouded faith.” – Father P. Millet, S.J.

God gives you the 365 days of the year. How much of this time do you give back to God by spending it in His service? If Our Lord appeared at the door to those who are rushing out of church before Mass is over and asked them “How much do you wish Me to bless you during the coming week,” how many would say, “Lord, as little as possible”? We keep the Lord’s day on Sunday because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead and the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles. But many by their conduct on Sunday drive the Holy Ghost out of their soul and crucify Christ anew.

Christ Our Truth

I am Catholic…

• Because the founder of the Catholic Church is the God-Man Christ, Who was foretold by the prophets, and Who proved the divine character of His mission and teaching by wonderful miracles, especially by His own Resurrection from the dead.

• Because Christ established upon Peter and the Apostles the Church, one, holy, universal, apostolic, with which He declared He would remain all days to the consummation of the world, and against which the gates of hell would not prevail.

• Because Christ gave this society certain well defined doctrines which all men everywhere must believe under pain of damnation, to which they may not add and from which they may not subtract.

• Because Christ the Author of all holiness, promised to guard this society from error and preserve it until the end of time.

• Because the Catholic church possesses all the marks of this Church established by Christ:

••• The Catholic Church is ONE because she everywhere professes the same faith, has the same sacrifice and sacraments, and is governed by one and the same visible head, the Pope. All non-Catholic sects lack unity. Because of the principle of private judgment they are continually splitting and subdividing. They have no central authority to hold them together. Their doctrines and practices are changing from day to day.

••• The Catholic Church is HOLY because its Founder, Jesus Christ, is all-holy; because its doctrines are holy; because its means of sanctification, the sacraments, are holy; because it produces holy men and saints.

••• The Catholic Church is UNIVERSAL because it subsists throughout the ages, teaches all nations, and maintains all the truths given to it by Christ. The sects are not spread over the whole world but rather localized, nor do they teach everything that Our Lord taught the Apostles.

••• The Catholic Church is APOSTOLIC because it was founded on Christ’s Apostles, because it is governed by their doctrines through their lawful successors, and because it never ceases to teach their doctrine. The sects cannot trace their origin to Christ or to the Apostles.

• I am a Catholic, finally, because God Who is Supreme Truth and Holiness could not possibly be the Author of the countless sects with their mutually destructive and contradictory teachings and practices.

Necessity of Faith

Faith is absolutely necessary for salvation: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6); “He that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16).

Suppose a person who is ignorant of his religion were dying, and you had only a few minutes to instruct him; how many truths would he be obliged to accept by faith before he could hope to save his soul?

These four:

• There is but one God, Creator of earth and heaven.

• In God there are three Divine Persons: God, the Father – God, the Son – God, the Holy Ghost.

• The Second Person became Man and died for us.

• God rewards the good with heaven, and punishes the wicked in hell.

The fact that such a man would be asked to make an act of faith in four truths does not mean that the other truths of our religion are unimportant. These four truths contain implicitly all the other truths and in danger of death faith in them suffices. We ourselves should make frequent acts of faith in these four truths by reciting often the Act of Faith which contains all four.

Of course, faith alone is not sufficient for salvation. In addition, we must be baptized, or absolved from sin in the Sacrament of Penance, or make an act of perfect contrition, and perform good works.

Qualities of Faith

Our faith should have the following characteristics:

• We must believe all the truths which the Catholic church teaches. To believe some truths and reject others would be an insult to God whose infallible word covers each and every truth revealed by Him.

• We should believe without any hesitation or doubt. Let us often recall that God struck Zachary dumb for doubting the words of the Angel.

• We should manifest our faith by our daily conduct, that is we should be guided in our daily actions by the truths which we accept on faith.

• We should be ready to surrender all, even our life, rather than deny our faith.

Loss of Faith

The following are the most frequent causes of the loss of faith:

• Pride and unwillingness to subject our mind to God’s truths.

• Neglect of one’s prayers and of making frequent acts of faith.

• Neglect of one’s religious duties; not listening to sermons.

• A wicked life which gradually leads us to think and believe as we live.

• Companionship with irreligious people, scoffers at religion, infidels, atheists.

• Marriage with non-Catholics.

What Everyone Must Believe

Everyone must believe that there is one God and only one God; that He is infinite, eternal and unchangeable; omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent; infinitely good, holy, just, merciful and all-wise; that He created the universe, and everything that is in it, without anyone’s help and without the use of pre-existing matter – in other words, that He created the world by His omnipotent word out of nothing.

We must believe that there are three persons in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; that the first is unbegotten and proceeds from no one; that the second proceeds from the first as Eternal Word by intellectual generation; that the third proceeds by love from the first and second as from one principle; that all three Persons are coeternal, coequal and consubstantial, all possessing the same wisdom, goodness, power, majesty and dignity; that the words “first,” “second,” and “third” (Persons) merely indicate the order in which one proceeds from the other from all eternity.

We must also believe that God created an invisible world of spiritual beings called Angels; that the Angels are endowed with an intellect and free-will and with superior knowledge and power; that they were consituted in sanctifying grace and placed on probation; that some rebelled against God and were cast into hell whence they come forth as demons to tempt men on earth; that the others, who remained faithful, were taken into the Beatific Vision and are sent by God as our guardians and protectors.

We must believe that Adam, the first man, the parent and head of the whole human race, was constituted in a state of innocence and holiness; that he was endowed with the supernatural gifts of the Indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in his soul, sanctifying grace, the virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost; that he was also endowed with such extraordinary gifts as freedom from concupiscence, freedom from ignorance, freedom from sufferings and death; that tempted by Satan, a fallen Angel, he freely threw away these great gifts in the Fall; that by committing a mortal sin of pride and disobedience he lost these gifts not only for himself but for the whole human race; that all of Adam’s descendants are born in the state of original sin with guilt on their soul and deprived of the gifts.

We must believe that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became man to make up for the injury to the infinite majesty of God by a finite creature; that Christ is truly God coequal and consubstantial with the Father by whom He was eternally uttered and begotten; that He is also true Man having a true human nature consisting of a body and a human soul; that Christ is our prophet, priest and king, that is, teaches us, makes us holy, and rules us.

We must believe that Christ did not have a human father but that Saint Joseph was only His foster-father; that His Mother was immaculately conceived, that is, by a singular privilege and in view of the merits of Christ, free from all stain of sin and full of grace from the first moment of her conception; that Mary was a Virgin at the conception of Christ since Christ’s body in her womb was formed through the supernatural and miraculous working of the Holy Ghost; that Mary was a Virgin at the birth of Christ, and that she always remained a Virgin after the birth of Christ.

Everyone must believe that Christ liberated us from sin; that He redeemed us by His love and obedience which took the form of sufferings and death; that by His love and obedience He expiated the guilt of sin, and by His Passion and Death the penalty of sin; that at each stage of His redeeming work Christ acted as our Head and Representative so that we expiate our sins and regain our supernatural heritage in and by Him; that the precise period in history in which these events took place was under Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea; that the reality of Christ’s death was attested by His Burial.

We must believe that Christ after His death descended into “hell” which was not the hell of the damned nor purgatory, but the Limbo of the Just where the patriarchs, prophets, and the Just of the Old Testament after having expiated their venial sins and temporal penalties, were awaiting the coming of the Redeemer to open to them the gates of heaven; that Our Lord preached to these souls in Limbo the glad tidings of their approaching deliverance; that all the while that Christ was in Limbo His Divine Person remained united to both His Soul and to His Body in the grave.

We must believe that on Easter Sunday morning, the third day after His burial, Christ made Himself alive again, that is, rose from the dead, and kept appearing for forty days to His apostles and to many others in proof of this fact; that His Resurrection is the final and all-convincing proof that Jesus was what He claimed to be, namely God; that the merits which the Redeemer won for us by His Passion and Death are stored up in the Risen Christ Who distributes these graces to us through prayer and through the channels of the seven sacraments; that it is the Risen Christ who dwells in our tabernacles; that our own resurrection and entrance into heaven is made possible only because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

We must believe that after He spent forty days upon earth Christ of His own power ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, and enjoys equal power and honor with Him; that thence He sent, as He promised, the Holy Spirit to guide the Apostles and their successors until the end of time; that as the Godman, by continually showing His glorious wounds to the Blessed Trinity, He is making constant intercession for us.

We must believe that the Risen Christ will come from heaven in glory at the end of the world to judge the living and the dead; that on this day both the good and bad will rise from the dead and in their risen bodies be consigned to eternal glory or to eternal punishment; that at this final or general judgment men will be judged in so far as they are members of society and that their eternal lot will be made known to all; that there is a particular judgment, which takes place immediately after death, at which the person is judged as a particular individual and at which his lot is irrevocably determined.

We must believe that there is a Third Person in the Blessed Trinity, the “Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceeded from the Father and the Son, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets;” that the Holy Ghost is the Author of our sanctification and spiritual perfection, and that He dwells in the just as in His own temple.

We must believe that Our Blessed Lord, before He ascended into heaven, founded a society, the Catholic Church, to carry on His work among men; that the Church is made up of those who, being baptized, profess the doctrine of Jesus Christ, share in the same sacraments, and in their religious life are ruled by their lawful bishops under a single and supreme leader, the Pope.

We must believe that the Church is

  • APOSTOLIC, because it was founded by Christ on the Apostles and is governed by their successors
  • ONE, because all its members are one in the same faith, have the same sacraments and sacrifice, the same visible head, the Pope
  • HOLY, because its Founder, Jesus Christ is all-holy, its doctrines are holy, its means of sanctification are holy its members are holy
  • UNIVERSAL or CATHOLIC, because it will carry out until the end of time Christ’s command to teach the truth to all nations

We must also believe that the Church is

• INDEFECTIBLE, because it will last, as Christ founded it, until the end of time

• INFALLIBLE, because, by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, it cannot err when it teaches or believes a doctrine of faith and morals

We must believe that the “Roman Pontiff, when he speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, fulfilling the charge of Pontiff and Teacher of Christians, and in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held by the universal Church, possesses in its fullness, by the divine assistance which has been promised to him in the person of the blessed Peter, that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished His Church to be provided, when defining His doctrine touching faith or morals; and consequently, that such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irrevocable essentially, and not in virtue of the consent of the Church.” (Vatican Council)

We must believe that the sources from which the Church derives and infallibly proposes to us her teachings on faith and morals are the Scriptures and Tradition.

We must believe that Christ instituted a Sacrifice as a memorial of His Passion and Death; that this Sacrifice, called the Mass, is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross because the Victim is the same, and the principal priest, Jesus Christ, is the same, but that only the manner of offering is different.

We must believe that Christ instituted seven Sacraments, seven outward signs to give grace, viz:

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Holy Eucharist
  • Penance
  • Extreme Unction
  • Holy Orders
  • Matrimony

We must believe that in the Church Catholic and Universal there is an interchange of assistance and interest between the Church Militant on earth, the Church Suffering in purgatory, and the Church Triumphant in heaven; that the Saints can aid those on earth and in purgatory; that the Souls in purgatory intercede for those on earth; that the members of the Church on earth can aid each other and the Souls in purgatory by their prayers and good works; that this interchange of interest and assistance is known as the Communion of Saints.

We must believe that the Church has the power of forgiving sin, and the power of granting Indulgences for the remission of the temporal penalties due to sin; that Baptism and Penance are the Sacraments instituted by Christ for the forgiveness of sins; that Baptism remits all the sins of which the person is guilty; that Penance removes the sins committed after baptism.

We must believe in the existence of divine grace which is a supernatural gift granted by God to angels and men with a view to eternal life; that Increate Grace is the Blessed Trinity Itself dwelling in our soul; that sanctifying grace is a permanent quality entering into the soul and making it pleasing to God; that actual grace is a supernatural help granted to us by God for the enlightenment of the mind and strengthening of the will for the performance of good works; that all graces were merited for us by Christ and are communicated to us through prayer and the Sacraments.

We must believe that all men will rise from the dead on the last day; that the bodies of all men will be restored to life, but that their manner of life will be very different; that the bodies of the just will be glorious and beautiful; that the bodies of the wicked will be incorruptible but devoid of all splendor; that these risen bodies will live forever in a state of absolute bliss if they belong to the just – in a state of misery, if they belong to the wicked.

Finally, we must believe that God has prepared “life everlasting” or a special bliss for those who served Him faithfully on earth and died in union with Him through sanctifying grace; that the first and foremost cause of this bliss will be the beatific vision and love of the Triune God; that we shall also enjoy the company of our loved ones, of the Blessed Virgin, the angels and the saints of God; that this happiness will not be equal in all but proportionate to the intensity of their love of God while they were on earth; that this heavenly joy will never diminish or come to an end.

Mysteries of the Rosary

The Five Joyful Mysteries

  1. The Annunciation
  2. The Visitation
  3. The Birth of Our Lord
  4. The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
  5. The Finding of Our Lord in the Temple

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. The Agony of Our Lord in the Garden
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar
  3. The Crowning with Thorns
  4. The Carrying of the Cross
  5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord

The Five Glorious Mysteries

  1. The Resurrection of Our Lord
  2. The Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven
  3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles
  4. The Assumption of Our Blessed Mother into Heaven
  5. The Coronation of Our Blessed Mother in Heaven

Christ Our Life

The Sacraments

BAPTISM, which gives our soul the Blessed Trinity and sanctifying grace, blots out all sin, makes us children of God and heirs of heaven.

CONFIRMATION, which gives us the Holy Ghost and His gifts in a fuller measure, and makes us soldiers of Christ, in order to enable us to overcome all difficulties to virtue, profess our faith fearlessly, and defend the Church.

HOLY EUCHARIST, which contains, really and truly, the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, under the appearances of bread and wine.

PENANCE, which through the absolution of the priest remits sins committed after baptism.

EXTREME UNCTION, which through the priest’s prayers and anointing with holy oil, gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body when we are in danger of death from sickness, accident, or old age.

HOLY ORDERS, which give men the powers and graces to perform the sacred tasks of bishops, priests, deacons, and other ministers of the Church.

MATRIMONY, by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge the duties of their state faithfully until death.

How to Baptize in Case of Necessity

Pour ordinary water on the forehead of the person to be baptized, and say while pouring it:

“I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

N.B. Any person of either sex who has reached the use of reason can baptize in case of necessity, but the same person must say the words while pouring the water.

The Structure of the Mass

The Mass is divided into two parts: MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS, which extends from the beginning to the Offertory, and MASS OF THE FAITHFUL, which extends from the Offertory to the end.

The Mass of the Catechumens was so called because it was open to all who might wish to come – especially to the catechumens. The catechumens (those instructed orally) were adult pagans preparing for baptism and for reception into the Church. They were dismissed before the Offertory and only the baptized faithful were allowed to remain for the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Both the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful are divided into two parts according to the double aspect of prayer: We go to God, and God comes to us.

The prayer part of the Mass of the Catechumens (from the prayers at the foot of the altar to the Epistle) is our going to God, our gift to God; the Epistle and Gospel are God’s coming to us, God’s instructions to us; in other words God speaks to us, after our soul has been properly disposed by prayer.

In the Mass of the Faithful, the sacrifice-offering (Offertory and Consecration) is our gift to God; the sacrifice-Bread (Holy Communion) is God’s gift to man.

The following outline will perhaps clarify the structure of the Mass. The parts printed in italic letters are taken from the Proper of the Season if the Mass is that of a Sunday or of a day in one of the Church seasons; from the Proper (or Common) of saints if it is a feast of the Saint. The rest is found in the Ordinary. Parts with asterisk are either interchanged according to the season or are sometimes left out.

Mass of Catechumens

  • Prayer Part (We speak to God)
    • Prayers at the foot of altar
    • Introit
    • Kyrie
    • * Gloria
    • Collects
  • Instruction Part (God speaks to us)
    • Epistle
    • * Gradual
    • * Alleluia
    • * Tract
    • * Sequence
    • Prayer before Gospel
    • Gospel
    • * Nicene Creed

MASS OF THE FAITHFUL
SACRIFICE-OBLATION

  • Oblation (We give to God)
    • Offertory Verse
    • Offering of bread
    • Wine and water
    • Offering of wine
    • Lavabo
    • Pray brethren
    • Secrets
    • Preface (variations)
    • Canon up to “Pater Noster”
  • Sacrifice Banquet (God gives to Us)
    • “Pater Noster”
    • The Peace of the Lord
    • Lamb of God
    • Priest’s Communion
    • Communion of people
    • First ablution
    • Second ablution
    • Communion Verse
    • Post-Communion
    • * Dismissal
    • * Blessing
    • Last Gospel

A Papal Mass is that in which the Pope is the celebrant.

A Pontifical Mass is a solemn high Mass celebrated by a bishop.

A Mass is called Coram Episcopo (from the Latin words coram meaning “in the presence of” and Episcopus meaning “bishop”) when it is offered in the presence of a bishop and when the bishop takes some part in the Mass, such as reading the Mass of the Catechumens.

A Solemn High Mass is a Mass sung with the assistance of a deacon, subdeacon and other ministers.

High Mass is sung by a priest without the aid of a deacon or sub-deacon; it is also called a Chanted Mass.

The Low Mass is celebrated without music and is read in different tones throughout by the priest. It is sometimes called a Private Mass.

A Missa Recitata or a Dialogue Mass is a Low Mass in which the response ordinarily made by the Mass server are made by the whole or at least a part of the congregation.

A Parochial Mass is the principal Mass offered in a parish church on Sundays and great festivals, and is offered for the welfare of the parish.

On certain days, if the feast of that day is of minor importance in the church’s calendar, the priest is permitted to say a Votive Mass which does not correspond to the feast of the saint of the day. He may say a Mass of the Holy Ghost, of the Sacred Heart, or some other as he wishes or as the one wishes who gave the offering for the Mass.

The Nuptial Mass is a votive Mass containing special prayers which invoke God’s blessing on those entering the married state. On certain important days when the Mass of the feast of that day must be said, the nuptial Mass is only commemorated, that is, parts of it are added to the Mass which must be said.

The Mass of the dead is called the Requiem Mass from the opening words of the introit: “Requiem aeternam dona eis. Domine” – “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.” It is said in black vestments.

On Good Friday of Holy Week a Special Mass is said called the Mass of the Presanctified: strictly speaking it is not a Mass because there is no offertory or consecration. The action centers about the Host which the priest consecrated at Mass the previous day, Holy Thursday, and which has been preserved in a repository for special adoration until it is consumed at the Mass of the Presanctified.

Holy Communion

COMMUNION UNDER ONE KIND

Christ is received whole and entire under either the appearance of bread or the appearance of wine because – being risen from the dead – He is in a living state and so Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity are united in their integrity within either of the consecrated species (I Corinthians 11:27). In Saint John’s Gospel the same effects are promised to Communion under one or both kinds: “He that eateth this bread shall live forever.” (John 6:59).

The following are the reasons why the Church approves of administering Communion under one kind:

• The danger of spreading disease by the common use of a chalice.

• Objection of communicants to drinking out of the same chalice.

• Danger of irreverence to the Blessed Sacrament through spilling of the Precious Blood.

• Impossibility of procuring sufficient pure wine.

• Difficulty of preserving wine.

• Inconvenience and delay in administering both species to large numbers.

Conditions Necessary for A Worthy Reception of Holy Communion

• The communicant must be in a state of grace.

• The communicant must be fasting from midnight.

Before one can be said to have broken the Eucharistic fast the following conditions must be fulfilled:

• That which is taken must come from the outside: Blood from a bleeding gum, nose or lips does not break the fast.

• The particle must be taken as food or drink or medicine: A few drops of mouth wash or snowflakes swallowed accidentally would not break the fast.

• The particle swallowed must be something digestible: A piece of thread, a hair, a splinter of wood would not break the fast.

• The fast must be broken after midnight which must be determined by a reliable watch or time piece.

In case of doubt whether or not we have committed a mortal sin since our last confession, or whether or not we have broken the Eucharistic fast, we may go to Communion.

Benediction Services

Benediction is a ceremonial service of the Church in which we receive blessing of our Lord.

The priest, vested in a surplice, stole and cope ascends the steps of the altar, takes the Blessed Sacrament out of the tabernacle. He then descends to the bottom step and kneels while the people or the choir sing some approved Hymn to the Blessed Sacrament, generally, the “O Salutaris Hostia.”

O saving victim opening wide
The gate of Heaven to man below!
Our foes press on from every side,
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
To Thy great Name be endless praise,
Immortal Godhead one in Three!
O, grant us endless length of days
In our true native land with Thee.

During this hymn the priest places incense, a granulated aromatic resin blessed by the Church, into the censor. He then incenses the Blessed Sacrament and the rising smoke acts as a symbol of our prayers ascending to God.

Then prayers such as the Litany to the Sacred Heart or the Rosary may be said. If they are not said the choir or the people sing the next hymn, the “Tantum Ergo.”

“Lowly bending, deep adoring,
Lo! the Sacrament we hail;
Types and shadows have their ending,
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying
Where the feeble senses fail.
Glory, honor, might, dominion,
To our God on high shall be;
To the Father, Son, and Spirit
Ever blessed Trinity,
Praise be given and power eternal
Unto all eternity. Amen.”

When the hymn is finished the priest chants this Prayer:

“Thou didst give them bread from heaven.”

The choir answers:

“Containing in itself all sweetness.”

The priest chants:

“Oh God, who under this wonderful Sacrament hast left us a memorial of Thy passion; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy body and blood that we may ever feel within us the fruit of Thy Redemption. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.”

After the prayer is sung the humeral veil is placed on the priest’s shoulders and he then goes up the altar steps. Taking the monstrance he turns and makes the sign of the cross over the people while they make the sign of the cross upon themselves.

The priest replaces the monstrance, descends to the bottom of the steps and while kneeling recites the Divine Praises:

  • Blessed be God.
  • Blessed be His holy Name.
  • Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
  • Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
  • Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
  • Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
  • Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
  • Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
  • Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
  • Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
  • Blessed be God in His angels and His saints.

After this, the Blessed Sacrament is put back into the tabernacle by the priest. When the doors of the tabernacle have been closed the congregation arises and sings or the choir sings some approved hymn or generally the psalm, “Laudate Dominum”, which is translated:

ANTIPHON: “Let us adore forever the Most Holy Sacrament.”

PSALM: “Praise ye the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him all ye people. Because His mercy is confirmed upon us and the truth of the Lord remaineth forever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end. Amen.”

Sacred Vessels

Chalice: A gold or silver cup for the wine to be consecrated in the Mass.

Paten: A circular disk of silver or gold – like a small plate placed upon the chalice and used to hold the host in the celebration of the Mass.

Ciborium: A sacred vessel, resembling the chalice in shape containing the consecrated Hosts for the communion of the faithful.

Monstrance (or ostrensorium): A sacred vessel into which is inserted the luna with a consecrated Host for Benediction and for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Luna (or lunette): It is a receptacle which holds the Sacred Host in an upright position in the monstrance.

Pyx: A small vessel used in carrying the Holy Eucharist to the sick. It is a small ciborium shaped much like a watch case. It is kept in a silk-lined leather case, called a burse, with a small purificator and corporal.

Cruets: Small vessels or flasks, made of glass, crystal or metal, and containing the water and wine used at Mass.

Censor: A covered vessel, suspended from chains so that it can easily be swung to and fro, used to burn incense at Benediction. Solemn High Mass, funerals and other functions.

Sacred Vestments

Cassock: A close fitting garment, worn by clerics, reaching to the heels and fastened down the front with buttons. The word comes from the Italian “casacca” meaning “great coat.”

Biretta: A stiff square cap with three ridges and tuft on the top worn by the clergy.

Amice: A rectangular piece of white linen cloth which the priest draws over his head and shoulders and wears under the alb when saying Mass.

Alb: A full length white linen vestment used at Mass and secured by a girdle.

Cincture: A double cord girdle worn by clerics around the waist to gather up and hold the alb in place close to the body and thus secure easy movement of the feet.

Maniple: A vestment about a yard long and three inches wide, worn on the left arm of those in major orders during Mass, so that it falls in equal length on both sides. The ends of the maniple are trimmed with fringe or tassels.

Stole: A sacred vestment in the form of a long ornamental band of silk worn around the neck during Mass and the administration of the Sacraments.

Chasuble: The uppermost vestment, covering all the rest, worn by the priest at Mass.

Cope: A long vestment, reaching to the heels, open in front, fastened at the breast with a clasp, semicircular in shape, and worn by the priest in nearly all public functions in which the chasuble is not used.

Humeral Veil: From Latin “humerus,” meaning shoulder. It is an oblong veil (about 8 by 3 feet) worn over the shoulders by the Subdeacon at a Solemn Mass, by a priest at the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and during processions.

Surplice: A white linen garment worn over the cassock at the administration of the sacraments and assistance at liturgical services.

The Color of Vestments

Color symbolizes the character of the function in liturgical ceremonies and indicates the dispositions with which the Church desires the faithful to observe the fasts and the seasons of the year.

Rose color is used on the Third Sunday of Advent and the Fourth Sunday of Lent, because these Sundays are somewhat joyful in the midst of penitential seasons (rose color is less penitential than purple) and because the Mass of these two Sundays opens with the word, “rejoice.” Though various colors may appear on the same vestments, one liturgical color must always predominate.

White, the color of light, is a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored). It is used on feasts of the Holy Trinity, Our Divine Lord, Our Blessed Lady, the Angels, confessors, holy women not martyrs, and on Sundays after Easter. It is used in the administration of the sacrqments, except penance and Extreme Unction, and also for all the sacramentals which are not joined with an exorcism.

Red, the language of fire and blood, is a symbol of love and of the sacrifice of the martyrs. It is also a reminder of Christ’s Passion and of the Blood which He shed upon the cross. Red is prescribed for Pentecost Sunday, Mass of the Holy Ghost, the feast of Our Lord’s Passion (Cross) , and for feasts of the Apostles and Martyrs.

Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used on the Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost. This last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for a reward.

Violet, symbolizes penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. It is used in the Masses of Advent, from Septuagesima Sunday to Easter, for vigils outside of Easter, and at Rogations. It is used for the first part of the rite of baptism, in administering the sacraments of penance and extreme unction, and for all exorcisms. It is used on the feast of the Holy Innocents as an expression of our sorrow and sympathy for the bereaved mothers of Bethlehem. Violet is also used on Ember days.

Black, is the symbol of mourning, total darkness, or death. It is used at Masses of the dead and on Good Friday.

The Sacrament of Penance

What we must do to receive the Sacrament worthily –

  • examine our conscience
  • be sorry for our sins
  • resolve never to sin again
  • confess our mortal sins according to number and circumstances; it is well also to confess our doubtful and venial sins
  • perform the penance given us by the priest

Reminders

  • Talk sufficiently loud in the confessional so that the priest can hear you.
  • Do not talk so loud that those outside the confessional can hear you.
  • If you have not understood the penance, ask the priest to repeat it.
  • While the priest is giving you absolution recite the act of contrition.
  • Do not leave the confessional until the priest says “God bless you” or closes the slide.
  • If you have overheard anyone’s confession you are bound to secrecy as much as the priest.
  • If you are hard of hearing, ask to go to confession in the sacristy.

What to Do in Case of Accident When A Priest Is Not Present

Make an act of perfect contrition for all the sins of your whole life, joining to it the desire to receive the Sacrament of Penance.

If you know a priest can be conveniently called in case of auto accident, etc., inquire if victim (or victims) is Catholic and call a priest at once.

Express often in your life the desire that, if you should die suddenly and the priest should arrive when you are already unconscious, he might nevertheless administer to you the Sacraments of Penance and Extreme Unction.

Indulgences

An indulgence is a full (plenary) or partial remission of the temporal punishments due to sins already forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance. Christ said to Peter: “Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall also be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19).

Conditions for Gaining an Indulgence

The person desiring to gain the indulgence must:

Be in a state of grace: it is sufficient if the last work prescribed be performed in a state of grace since it is at that moment that the indulgence is gained.

Have the intention to gain the indulgence: a person may make a general intention to gain all the indulgences granted for the performance of good works. This intention will be effective at all times until it is withdrawn.

The works must be performed in the manner prescribed: the works must be performed exactly and completely, and by the person himself. The indulgence is gained as soon as the last work is performed. A plenary indulgence is usually gained only once a day, a partial indulgence may be gained repeatedly by a repetition of the prescribed works.

Confession and Communion: The confession which may be demanded for any of the indulgences, can be made within eight days immediately preceding the day to which the indulgence is attached; Holy Communion may be received the day previous, and both, confession and Communion, can also be made during the octave of the feast.

To gain the indulgences granted for triduums, or exercise for a week, etc., the confession and Communion can be made within eight days immediately following the conclusion of the exercises.

The faithful who are in the habit to confess at least twice a month unless legitimately impeded, or who receive holy Communion daily in the state of grace and with a good and holy intention, though they may abstain from receiving once or twice a week, can gain all indulgences without actual confession for which otherwise confession would be a necessary condition except jubilee indulgences.

Confession and Communion can, of course, be made on the day itself.

Prayer for the intention of the Holy Father: To satisfy this condition, it is sufficient to add to the prescribed works one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory for the intention of the Holy Father. In case of the Toties-quoties indulgences, six Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glorys are absolutely necessary, for each visit to the church. Purely mental prayer is not sufficient, but the prayer must be vocal.

Visits to a church, when prescribed, may be made from noon of the preceding day until midnight of the day appointed for the indulgence.

Application of Indulgences

Unless otherwise stated, all indulgences may be gained for ourselves. No person gaining an indulgence can apply it to other living persons; to the poor souls in purgatory all indulgences conceded by the Roman Pontiff can be applied, unless the contrary is stated in the indult.

Special Indulgences

Holy Eucharist

The faithful gain an indulgence of 300 days every time they visit the Blessed Sacrament, or in passing the church make any act of reverence. They gain an indulgence of seven years each time they say “my Lord and my God” at the elevation or before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.

They gain an indulgence of 10 years for each visit to the Blessed Sacrament if with a contrite heart they recite 5 Our Fathers, 5 Hail Marys, and 5 Glorys, and add one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory for the intention of the Holy Father.

If they make a visit each day for a week, and go to confession and Communion, they gain a plenary indulgence.

The faithful gain a plenary indulgence once a day during the Forty Hours, if they go to Confession and Communion, visit the Blessed Sacrament publicly exposed, recite 5 Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorys, and add one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory for the intention of the Holy Father.

The faithful gain a plenary indulgence by assisting for a full hour at the Holy Hour, provided they receive the Sacraments and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Rosary

The faithful can gain a plenary indulgence every time they recite the Rosary (five decades) before the Blessed Sacrament either enclosed in the Tabernacle or exposed. Conditions: confession and Communion.

Stations of the Cross

The faithful gain a plenary indulgence each time they make the Stations of the Cross. They should make an act of perfect contrition before beginning the Stations and meditate briefly and as well as they can on the Passion of Our Lord during the Stations. If they make the Stations privately they must move from Station to Station; if they make them publicly, it is sufficient if they answer the prayers from their places.

All Souls’ Day

On All Souls’ Day the faithful may gain a plenary indulgence, but only for the poor souls in purgatory, as often as they visit a church and say six Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glorys, for the intention of the Holy Father.

Preparation of the Sick Room

The sick room should be neat and clean. The face, hands, and feet of the sick person should be bathed. On a table, covered with a white cloth, should be placed the following articles; crucifix; two blessed candles; a vessel containing holy water; a glass of fresh water, a spoon; a white napkin to be used by the sick person while receiving Holy Communion; a plate with seven small balls of cotton to be used in removing the oil from the anointed parts of the body; a plate containing several small pieces of bread and slices of lemon to cleanse the oil from the priest’s fingers.

The priest should be met in silence at the door with a lighted candle and escorted to the sick room. All should kneel out of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament which is brought into the home.

Call the priest as soon as the person is seriously ill. Do not wait till the last minute. Call the priest while the sick person is still able to derive full benefit from the sacraments. Remember that the sacrament of Extreme Unction cures the soul, and, if it be God’s will, also the body.

Impediments to Marriage

Impediments are of two kinds: prohibitive and diriment.

A prohibitive (hindering) impediment makes a marriage unlawful but not invalid; a person marrying despite a prohibitive impediment commits a sin but is really married. The following marriages are valid but unlawful –

  • marriage without the preliminary publication of the three banns
  • marriage with a validly baptized non-Catholic
  • marriage solemnized without permission within the forbidden times: from the first Sunday in Advent to Christmas, inclusive, and from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, inclusive
  • civil adoption if the civil law declares the marriage unlawful

When the bishop considers there is a serious reason to excuse the parties from the law he may dispense from these impediments, and the marriage will then be both valid and lawful.

A diriment (destroying) impediment makes a marriage both unlawful and invalid; a person marrying despite a diriment impediment commits a grave sin, is not married in the eyes of God, and has no right to act as a married person. The following are some of the diriment impediments –

  • Substantial error, for example, if a twin-sister were deceitfully substituted for the woman whom the man thinks he is marrying.
  • A previous valid marriage prevents either party of that union, even though civil divorce has been granted, to marry as long as the other party is living.
  • Difference of worship which exists where one party is Catholic, baptized in the Catholic Church, and the other party is unbaptized. The Church may dispense from this impediment but only for serious reasons.
  • Defects of age. Canon law demands that for a valid marriage the boy must be at least sixteen years of age and the girl at least fourteen.
  • Grave fear and violence render a marriage invalid.
  • Physical impotency or the inability to perform the marital act. If this impotency exists before marriage and is absolutely incurable, it renders a marriage invalid. The inability to bear children or sterility is not an impediment.
  • Consanguinity or blood relationship. Thus a man cannot marry a woman from whom he descends. Again a brother cannot marry a sister (first degree) . In all these cases the Church grants no dispensation. For weighty reasons she may grant dispensation for a marriage between first cousins (second degree) and second cousins (third degree).
  • Spiritual relationship. A sponsor at baptism may not marry the God-child, and a person administering baptism may not marry the person baptized. For serious reasons the Church dispenses from this impediment.
  • Affinity of blood relationship of a previous wife or husband. A man may not marry his step-daughter, or mother-in-law or any ancestor or descendant of his deceased wife. For such cases no dispensation is granted. If there are strong reasons he may obtain a dispensation and marry her sister, first cousin, aunt or niece. A dispensation – in those cases where the Church grants it – cannot be granted except for the most serious reasons.
  • Civil adoption if the civil law declares the marriage invalid.

Why We Use Holy Water

Holy water is water blessed by the priest with solemn prayer to beg God’s blessing and protection from the powers of darkness and from all dangers of soul and body upon those who use it. Its use inspires in our soul the desire to be washed and purified from our sins through the Blood of Jesus Christ and so blots out our venial sins. It also serves to remind us of the graces which we received when the waters of baptism were poured upon us, and of the obligations we assumed when we received the Sacrament.

An indulgence of three hundred days is granted every time we use holy water, provided the following conditions are observed: The sign of the cross must be made with the holy water, the person must have contrition for his sins, and he must say the words: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

The Qualities Which Our Actions Must Have To Help Us Reach Heaven

• The action must be free, since no one can be rewarded or punished if he is not responsible for his acts.

• The action must be good, since God obviously cannot reward an evil act.

• The action must be performed in a state of sanctifying grace since we cannot be rewarded by God as long as we are in a state of mortal sin and God’s enemies.

Prayers for Peace

O God, from whom are holy desires, right counsels, and just works, give to thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be disposed to obey Thy commandments, and the fear of enemies being removed, our times, by Thy protection, may be peaceful. Through our Lord, etc.

O God, who permittest not the nations who believe in thee to be overwhelmed by any peril, vouchsafe to receive the prayers and offerings of thy people, that in thy mercy thou wouldst grant peace to Christendom and make it secure against all its enemies. Through our Lord, etc.

O God, the author and lover of peace, to know whom is to live, to serve whom is to reign, shield thy suppliants from all assaults, that we who trust in thy protection may fear no foe. Through our Lord, etc.

Reverence for the Holy Name

We know from what country a man comes by the language he speaks. If he speaks Russian we know that he or his ancestors came from Russia. But to what country or place do cursing and swearing belong? Cursing, swearing, blasphemy are the language of hell. It is in hell that the demons and damned souls curse God, curse the day they were created, curse them who taught them to curse. Those who on earth use similar language proclaim that they wish to be candidates for hell.

We are Christians because we acknowledge Christ as our Leader, as God. How then can Christians misuse and abuse the name of Jesus Christ as they so frequently do? What would a Mohammedan think if he heard some of our Catholics, some members of the Holy Name Society, curse and swear as they do? Would he not shake his head in dismay? Would he not say: “either these men are hypocrites or they are the most vicious people on earth”?

The tongue was the first member of our body to be blessed in baptism and dedicated to God’s service. Every morning we pray “hallowed be thy name”; do we mean it? Do we live up to this prayer? In Holy Communion our tongue is consecrated by the Body and Blood of Christ. Shall we then use that same tongue as an instrument for cursing, swearing and filthy language?

The Church has granted an indulgence of 300 days to the invocation “Jesus”; 300 days to the ejaculation “My Jesus, mercy”; 500 days to the ejaculation “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me” and 7 years to the invocation “Jesus, Mary, Joseph.” Those who at the moment of death to pronounce the name of Jesus orally or at least mentally, and accept death from the hands of God as a penalty of their sins, receive a plenary indulgence.

Christ Our Way

The Two Great Commandments

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Commandments of God
The commandments of God are these ten:

  1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
  2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  3. Remember thou keep holy the Lord’s day.
  4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  5. Thou shalt not kill.
  6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  7. Thou shalt not steal.
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

Six Precepts of the Church

  1. To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holydays of obligation.
  2. To fast and to abstain on the days appointed.
  3. To confess our sins at least once a year.
  4. To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.
  5. To contribute to the support of the Church.
  6. To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

Holy Days of Obligation

  1. Christmas (December 25)
  2. The Circumcision (January 1)
  3. Ascension Thursday (Forty days after Easter)
  4. The Assumption (August 15)
  5. All Saints’ Day (November 1)
  6. The Immaculate Conception (December 8)

The Eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10)

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.
  3. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  4. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be filled.
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  6. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
  7. Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.
  8. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Corporal Works of Mercy

  1. to feed the hungry
  2. to give drink to the thirsty
  3. to clothe the naked
  4. to shelter the homeless
  5. to visit the sick
  6. to visit the imprisoned
  7. to bury the dead

Spiritual Works of Mercy

  1. to counsel the doubtful
  2. to instruct the ignorant
  3. to admonish the sinner
  4. to comfort the sorrowful
  5. to forgive injuries
  6. to bear wrongs patiently
  7. to pray for the living and dead

What We Must Do

We must worship God by faith, hope and charity; by adoration, thanksgiving, expiation and supplication. We must be zealous for God’s honor; obedient and resigned to His holy will. We must participate in a becoming manner in services of religion.

We must avoid: Infidelity, apostasy, heresy, schism; indifference in matters of faith, derision of religion; taking part in non-Catholic worship and joining forbidden societies; reading irreligious books, and spreading irreligious literature; simony and sacrilege; charms, spells, fortune-telling, divination, and spiritistic seances; despair, presumption and false confidence; scandal, and hatred of God.

We must praise, invoke, profess and confess the Holy Name of God; procure honor for the Divine Name in all places and at all times; speak with reverence of God, of the saints, and of holy things; be truthful in taking oaths, and faithful to our vows.

We must avoid irreverence towards God’s Holy Name; cursing, blasphemy and swearing; false, unlawful and unnecessary oaths; breaking or deferring of lawful vows; perjury.

We must sanctify the Lord’s Day and holydays of obligation by hearing Mass and, if possible, also by receiving the Sacraments; on those days we should also, if convenient, attend other divine services, read books of devotion, perform works of mercy and piety.

We must not miss Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation; we must avoid servile work on those days, we must not force others to work on such days without necessity; we must not profane these days especially by intemperance, drunkenness, sinful excursions, boisterous parties, objectionable dances.

We must reverence our parents, obey them, be grateful to them, wish them well from our hearts, assist them in their necessities, take care of them in their old age, bear with their faults and weaknesses, follow their advice and admonition and pray for them.

Parents must bring up their children in the knowledge and fear of the Lord, educate them, watch over their bodily health, watch the company they keep and the books they read, correct them when necessary and set good example.

We must honor and love our spiritual superiors, submit to their direction, pray for them and provide for their support.

Husbands and wives must be gentle to one another and considerate of one another.

Employers must allow reasonable time for religious duties to their employees, take care of them in sickenss, treat them kindly, and pay them a living wage.

The employee must fulfill his contract honestly and faithfully.

We must show respect, fidelity, and obedience towards our civil government, assist it in dangers and necessities, pay the taxes imposed.

Civil officials must possess the necessary knowledge, perform the duties of their office, promote the public welfare and punish evil.

We must not show anger or hatred against our parents, provoke them, grieve them, insult them, neglect them in their necessities, disobey their lawful commands, mistreat them, speak ill of them.

Parents must not hate their children, curse them, scandalize them; show partiality; be harsh or cruel in correction; defer their children’s baptism, send them to Protestant or dangerous schools, interfere with their children’s vocation.

We must not speak ill of our spiritual superiors, oppose them, lower their character, cause divisions and trouble in the community by our conduct toward them.

Husbands and wives must not be sulky and unreasonably jealous, use injurious words, put obstacles in the fulfillment of each other’s religious duties.

Employers must not give bad example to their employees, withhold lawful wages, treat them harshly, dismiss them arbitrarily.

The employee must not waste his time, neglect his duties, destroy property by carelessness, steal the property of the employer.

We must avoid treason, violence, rebellion and conspiracy toward the civil government.

Civil rulers must avoid injustice and partiality.

We must live in peace and union with our neighbor; settle disputes quickly and peacefully; accept offers of reconciliation, promote our neighbor’s spiritual and corporal welfare; take reasonable care of our life and health.

We must avoid: violence in thought, word and act; refusing to speak to others when addressed; ignoring offers of reconciliation; sadness at another’s prosperity; rejoicing over another’s misfortune; cherishing an unforgiving spirit; desire of revenge; ridicule; contempt; insults; harshness; tyranny; fights; murder; suicide; exposing life or limb to danger without sufficient cause; carelessness in safeguarding poisons, dangerous drugs, weapons; gluttony, drunkenness; bad example and scandal.

We must overcome all temptations to impurity by at once resisting them, imploring the help of God, and turning our thoughts to some other subject; we must be decent and modest in all our thoughts, looks, touches, words, and actions; have frequent recourse to prayer, confession, Holy Communion, and have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We must avoid unchaste desires, thoughts, looks, words, jests touches, actions; we must shun everything that leads to sins of impurity – idleness, sinful curiosity, immodest dress; obscene books, plays, movies, magazines, pictures, objects; night escapades and to free relations with the other sex; revelry and drunkenness; fornication and adultery.

We must give every man his due, respect what belongs to others, be contented with what we have and not be envious of the possessions of others; we must live up to our promises, to our business engagements, and pay our just debts.

We must avoid: Cheating, defrauding, stealing; demanding unjust prices; using false weights and measures; adulterating wares; careless or wilful injury to the property of others; keeping borrowed goods; culpable delay in making restitution or paying lawful debts; disregarding just contracts; helping thieves; keeping stolen goods and money; accepting bribes; gambling that leaves us incapable of fulfilling our obligations.

We must speak the truth at all times and in all things; we must be careful about the honor and reputation of every one; we must keep ourselves free from all pride, envy, hatred, and vengeance; we must mortify our tongue; we must repair the harm done to others and ask for pardon; we must retract all calumny and slander.

We must avoid hypocrisy, rash judgment and lying; groundless suspicions and accusations of others; perjury and frauds; detraction, slander, and calumny or the encouraging of these; telling of secrets we are bound to keep; delaying to restore the good name we have injured and blackened.

We must assist at Mass on all Sundays and holydays of obligation.

We must fast and abstain on the days appointed.

We must confess our sins at least once a year.

We must receive Holy Communion during the Easter time (during the interval between the first Sunday in Lent and Trinity Sunday).

We must contribute to the support of the Church according to our means.

We must not marry non-Catholics, or anyone related to us within the third degree of kindred; we must not marry secretly or within the forbidden time.

What We Should Know About Sin

Sin is a wilful violation of the law of God by desire, intention, thought, word, action or omission.

Sin is mortal when we wilfully violate the law of God in a matter which we know or believe of great importance. Venial sin is a less serious violation of the law of God. It does not expel the Blessed Trinity and sanctifying grace from the soul. It is remitted more easily and can be forgiven even outside of confession.

Mortal Sin

  • Conditions necessary to make a sin mortal:
    • it must be a matter of grave importance
    • we must think or reflect upon it sufficiently
    • we must fully will or consent to commit it
  • Malice of mortal sin:
    • It is a revolt against the Creator, upon Whom we wholly depend and towards Whom we must all tend, a misuse and abuse of the gifts which He gave us.
    • It is a revolt against God the Son, Who redeemed us; an act which would nail Christ to the Cross again.
    • It is a revolt against God the Holy Ghost Who sanctifies us, a violent expulsion of His presence from the soul.
  • What God thinks of mortal sin:
    • He created hell for the bad angels who committed one mortal sin of pride.
    • He drove Adam and Eve out of Paradise, and punished all their descendants, after our first parents committed a sin of pride and disobedience.
    • He brought the deluge upon the human race, destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, because of man’s sin.
    • He sent His Son to suffer and die for our sins.
    • He created hell, a place of eternal separation from God and His saints, because of man’s sins.
  • The effects of mortal sin:
    • It expels the Blessed Trinity and sanctifying grace from the soul.
    • It deprives us of the friendship and love of God.
    • It turns us away from God and makes us His enemies.
    • It fills our conscience with remorse, uneasiness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness.
    • It deprives us of all merits and of our heirship to heaven.
    • It brings damnation upon us if we die unrepentant.

Venial Sins
Malice of venial sin: Venial sin is an offense against God, and, after mortal sin, the greatest of all evils.

Effects of venial sin:

  • It makes us less fervent in the service of God.
  • It deprives us of many graces which God would have given us.
  • It weakens our power to resist sin.
  • It predisposes to mortal sin.
  • It merits God’s punishment in this life or in purgatory.

Different Kinds of Sin

  • Seven capital or deadly sins:
    • Pride: an unrestrained appreciation of our own worth
    • Avarice: an immoderate desire for earthly goods
    • Lust: a hankering after impure pleasures
    • Anger: an inordinate desire of revenge
    • Gluttony: an unrestrained use of food and drink
    • Envy: sorrow over the good fortune of our neighbor
    • Sloth: laziness to do right, or carelessness to do right and to practice virtue because of the trouble attached to it
  • Sins against the Holy Ghost:
    • presuming to gain salvation without meriting it
    • despair of salvation
    • impugning truths which have been made known to us
    • envy of another’s spiritual good
    • stubbornness in sin
    • final impenitence or obstinacy in one’s sins
  • Sins crying to Heaven for vengeance:
    • wilful murder
    • sodomy
    • oppression of the poor
    • cheating laborers of their wages
  • Nine ways of aiding another in sin:
    • commanding another to sin
    • advising another to sin
    • consenting to another’s sin
    • praising or flattering another for his sin
    • participating in another’s sin or enjoying the result of another’s sin
    • silence or inaction when sin could have been prevented
    • defense of the wrong done
    • concealment of wrong-doing
    • provoking another to commit sin

How to Avoid Sin

  • Say your morning prayers and ask God to help and protect you during the day.
  • Say your night prayers, ask forgiveness for the sins of the day and ask God to protect you during the night.
  • Remember that no matter what you think or say or do God sees and knows it all.
  • Remember that when you are alone you are least alone since God and your guardian angel are with you.
  • Recall that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost and that it is destined for a glorious resurrection.
  • Keep yourself occupied with work or play; resist the very first suggestion of sin and turn your mind to some other subject.
  • Keep away from things, places and persons which are for you an occasion of sin.

Lenten Regulations As Revised 1952

During this period the Church imposes the obligation of abstinence and fast to foster the spirit of penace and reparation for sin, to promote self-denial and mortification and cultivate the imitation of Christ in the sufferings of His Sacred Passion.

On account of the continued distress and hardship experienced by millions of the children of the Church, this considerate Mother has authorized the Bishops of the world to make use of special faculties granted by the Sacred Congregation of the Council January 28, 1949, in order to modify the terms of the law governing abstinence and fast so that the observance of Lent will now differ from that prescribed in previous years.

The INDULT for the laboring class first granted to the Bishops of the United States March 15, 1895, and renewed at intervals of ten or five years has now expired and hereafter there will be no further special dispensations for the laboring class as distinct from others.

Liberal concessions are made to all persons under the new faculties modifying abstinence and fast.

The law of ABSTINENCE governs all persons over seven years of age. On abstinence days no meat or soup or gravy derived from meat may be used.

The abstinence days are all Fridays, Ash Wednesday, the Vigils of the Assumption and Christmas and Holy Saturday till noon.

The law of FAST binds all persons over twenty-one and under fifty-nine years of age.

On days of FAST only one full meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals at which butter, cheese and eggs are allowed may be taken in sufficient quantity to enable everyone to fulfill their obligations in their occupations but together they must be less than one full normal meal.

The days of fast are the week-days of Lent, Ember Days, the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption, All Saints and Christmas. Meat may be taken at the principal meal on a day of fast except Fridays, Ash Wednesday and the Vigils of the Assumption and Christmas and Holy Saturday morning. Eating between meals is not permitted but liquids including plain milk and fruit juices are allowed.

Whenever health or ability to work would be seriously affected the law does not oblige.

In doubt concerning fast or abstinence a person may consult his parish priest or confessor.

On Sundays and holydays of obligation, there is neither fast nor abstinence, and if a vigil that is a fast day falls on a Sunday the fast is not to be anticipated on Saturday but is dropped altogether that year. The Lenten fast and abstinence cease at twelve o’clock noon on Holy Saturday.

One may be dispensed from fasting because of poverty, poor health, strenuous and continuous manual and intellectual labor, etc. Those dispensed from fasting may eat meat several times a day on those days when meat is permitted.

If they are bound to fast they may eat meat only once a day. If they are dispensed from fasting they may eat meat several times a day.

In connection with this matter the faithful are being exhorted during the periods of fast and abstinence:

  • to attend daily Mass
  • to receive Holy Communion often
  • to take part more frequently in exercises of piety
  • to give generously to works of religion and charity
  • to perform acts of kindness toward the sick, the aged and the poor
  • to practice voluntary self-denial especially regarding alcoholic drink and worldly amusements
  • to pray more fervently, particularly for the intentions of the Holy Father

Through Christ Our Lord

Prayer
“We ought always to pray and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1)

Prayer is defined as “a lifting up of mind and heart to God to adore, praise and thank Him, and ask Him for aid.” Prayer is said to be a “lifting up” of the soul – that is, a detaching of ourselves from creatures and from self in order that we might converse familiarly with God. The first act in this conversation is a saluting of Him Whom we are about to address. The asking of aid and favors from God is also an act of homage, for it is a recognition of God’s power and goodness, a filial trust of the children in their heavenly Father.

Kinds of Prayer

From the viewpoint of form we speak of mental and vocal prayer:

Mental prayer. Prayer is mental when it takes place wholly in the mind. In mental prayer we think, consider, reason about God, contemplate Him, long after God, examine our conscience, raise up and unite our mind to God, deepen our convictions, exercise ourselves in virtues, make resolves for the future.

Vocal prayer. Prayer is vocal when it is expressed by tongue, lip, mouth, words and outward signs.

Since God is Creator of both soul and body, it is fitting that the body, too, should render homage to God.

Every idea expressed outwardly is more deeply impressed on the mind and heart: An idea becomes more a part of us when it is expressed in our actions. Bodily actions, on the other hand, arouse and strengthen inward sentiments.

Our Lord warns us, however, against too much speaking in prayer; “And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard” (Matthew 6:5-7).

Private prayer. Vocal prayer is private when it is offered in the name of an individual.

Public prayer. Vocal prayer is public when it is offered in the name of society. Society as such must give social homage to God Who is its Author, Sovereign Master and Benefactor. Our Lord says: “Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). If this is true of the gathering of two or three, how much more true is this the case when a large number of persons come together. How powerful are the prayers of such a multitude. A father may not yield to the prayer of one child but he cannot resist the combined prayers of all his children. How fitting it is, then, that we should all take part in that great common public prayer, the Mass, on Sundays and holydays of obligation. And since the Church cannot call her children together every day to praise God as He nevertheless deserves, she commissions the priests and religious to discharge this duty of public prayer and to say in union with the Incarnate Word the Divine Office (breviary) in the name of the entire Church and for all mankind.

Necessity and Value of Prayer

Grace cannot be obtained without prayer: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you – Your Father who is in heaven will give good things to them that ask Him” (Matthew 7:7-11).

Temptations cannot be overcome without prayer: “Watch ye and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

Prayer in the name of Christ has a special power: “Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask me anything in my name, that I will do” (John 14:13-14), (John 16:23-24).

The prayer of the penitent thief to Our Lord merited Paradise for him: “And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy Kingdom. And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43).

What We Should Pray For

We may pray absolutely for supernatural favors, that is, for our salvation and for the means to obtain salvation. But our prayer must be in conformity with the Divine Will: Thus, we may not pray that all temptations cease to exist, since temptations are a part of our probation on earth.

As far as natural blessings are concerned – knowledge, success, wealth, honors – we may pray for these only conditionally, that is in so far as they benefit our salvation.

Our prayers for others do not at times obtain their effect because our neighbor lacks the proper dispositions and is resisting divine grace. We should first pray that God would create a right heart and spirit within him.

Qualities of Our Prayers

Attention: It would be foolish to expect God to listen to our prayers if we do not take the trouble to pay attention to what we are saying.

State of grace: While God hears the prayers of sinners (publican, penitent thief), the prayers of the just have a special power, for they are God’s friends, observe His commandments and strive to please Him.

Humility: “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Read the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14).

Confidence in Christ’s merits and promises: He who is lacking in this trust, is in reality calling into question God’s power, goodness and promises, and hence is not deserving of mercy. “Let us therefore go with confidence to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16).

Perseverance: God sometimes delays the granting of a favor, in order that we might realize our own misery, acknowledge our unworthiness, and prepare better for the reception of grace. Read about the persevering prayer of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28) and the parables of the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-8) and of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8).

The Our Father

The Preamble: Our Father who art in heaven: God is the Father of all of us and we are His children; we should pray to Him with a childlike love and confidence, and with love for one another as brothers.

First Petition: Hallowed be Thy name: May God be known and honored by all, and may His name never be profaned or blasphemed.

Second Petition: Thy Kingdom Come: May God’s visible kingdom, the Church, spread on earth; may the reign of His divine grace be established in our souls; may we be admitted, finally into the kingdom of Heaven.

Third Petition: Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven: May we fulfill the holy will of God on earth as readily as the saints and angels do in heaven.

Fourth Petition: Give us this day our daily read: Give us every day all that we need for soul and body; give us the heavenly Bread, the Holy Eucharist.

Fifth Petition: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: May God forgive us our sins since we also forgive those who have offended us.

Sixth Petition: Lead us not into temptation: May God give us sufficient grace to overcome all temptations and to avoid all occasions of sin.

Seventh Petition: But deliver us from evil: May God preserve us from all evil of soul and body and especially from eternal damnation.

Amen: So be it.

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary: Peace or joy to thee; Be well; I congratulate thee and salute thee.

Full of grace: Mary was always free from all sin; she had the fulness of grace required by her dignity as Mother of God; during her whole lifetime she grew in grace.

The Lord is with thee: The Lord preserved thee from sin and enriched thee with grace, He loves and favors thee in a special manner.

Blessed art thou among women: Mary is the most fortunate among women because she was chosen before all to be the Mother of the Messiah.

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus: He, Whom she conceived in her womb, was to be the source of all blessings and gifts to us.

Holy Mary: Being “full of grace,” Mary is truly holy.

Mother of God: Since her son is God-Man, Mary is the Mother of God.

Pray for us sinners: As Mother of the Head of the Human race, she is also the Mother of each and every one of us, she is interested in us, and intercedes for us in our struggle against sin.

Now: In our present struggles against the world, the flesh and the devil.

And at the hour of our death: And especially at that critical moment on which our eternal salvation will depend.

Eight Simple Ways of Meditating

First Way: When you have found a religious idea or principle which you think is of great importance for your spiritual life, stop, and ask yourself three questions: How have I lived up to this teaching in the past? How am I living up to it in the present? How am I going to live up to it in the future? And put your resolution into practice at once.

Second Way: Take a spiritual book – The New Testament or the “Imitation” – read a few lines at a time, reflect upon and think over what you have read, draw from it some religious thought and resolve to put it into practice.

Third Way: Take a prayer – the “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” “Creed,” or the prayers in the Missal or any prayer – stop after each word or phrase, draw religious thoughts and inspirations from them, dwelling on them as long as you like.

Fourth Way: Make the acts of the presence of God, adoration, thanksgiving, sorrow and supplication, delighting in each as long as you wish.

Fifth Way: In time of dryness, desolation and grief, do not fatigue yourself by trying to reflect, but abandon yourself into the hands of God, offer to Him your trial, unite your prayer to the Agony of Our Lord in the garden and to His abandonment on the Cross. Imagine yourself being attached to the Cross with the Saviour, remain patiently there, and resolve to suffer steadfastly until death.

Sixth Way: Assure Our Lord that you wish to make acts of contrition as often as, for example, you take a breath, pass each bead of the rosary through your fingers, or as often as you utter a prayer. Renew this protest from time to time. Take any religious sentiment and make a similar protest to God concerning it.

Seventh Way: Represent to yourself vividly your last things – the death agony, death, judgment, eternity – hell, or purgatory and heaven. What will you wish then that you had done? How would you wish to have lived? How would you have wished to have behaved on a certain occasion? Live now as you will wished to have lived when you face eternity.

Eighth Way: Apply your mind to the Blessed Sacrament and salute Christ present there. In and through and with the Eucharistic Christ adore, love, praise, and thank the heavenly Father. Picture to yourself Christ’s life in the Blessed Sacrament – His poverty, humility, obedience and silence. Try to imitate these virtues. Offer to Him your life and your work. Present to Him a virtue which you intend to practice, a self-denial or mortification which you propose to make.

Your Church Tax The Lightest

About one-fourth of all you pay for gasoline is tax. How much does that amount to in your case?

One-third of what you pay for cigarettes is tax. How much is that in your case?

You pay these taxes every day; you give to the church once a week.

If you do not own your house you pay the landlord’s taxes.

You pay a tax on your electric light bills, on telephone bills.

The license plate for your car is a tax.

Indirectly you pay towards the public schools, towards all state and county institutions.

Now then figure out what you pay to your church and see how small it is compared to the sum total of all these taxes. Yet what work is so worthy of your support? From what other source do you derive benefits equal to one per cent of those you derive from your church?

Almighty God required people in the Old Law to pay ten per cent of their total income to religion. Today people pay more than ten per cent of their income for all sorts of other taxes, but a much smaller amount to the church.

Texts from the Bible that you should know

Absolution

Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John 20:22-23)

Angels

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest. (Luke 2:13-14)

Guardian Angels

Their (the children’s) Angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

Baptism – Trinity

Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)

Eucharist – Mass

The Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat This is my body, which shall be delivered for you; this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood, this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. (1st Corinthians 11:25) (see Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; John 6:51)

Extreme Unction

Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14,15)

Hell

Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

Images, Statues

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle. (Exodus 25:1,18)

Indulgences

Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

Original Sin

As by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

Pope, Head of the Church

Thou art Peter (rock), and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 16:18,19)

Purgatory – Prayers for the Dead

And making a gathering, he (Judas) sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. (2 Machabees 12:43-46)

Relics

And God wrought by the hand of Paul more than common miracles. So that even there were brought from his body to the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the wicked spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12)

Veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed are thou among women. (Luke 1:26-28)

And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (Luke 1:41-42)

The first part of the “Hail Mary,” which Catholics recite so often, is made up of the words of the Archangel Gabriel and Saint Elizabeth. Mary herself predicted that all peoples would venerate her: “Behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48)

Evil Tongues

If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. He is able also with a bridle to lead about the whole body. For if we put bits into the mouths of horses, that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body. Behold also ships, whereas they are great and are driven by strong winds, yet are they turned about with a small helm, withersoever the force of the governor willeth. Even so the tongue is indeed a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how small a fire kindleth a great wood. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body, and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell. For every nature of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of the rest, is tamed, and hath been tamed, by the nature of man. But the tongue no man can tame, an unquiet evil, full of deadly poison. By it we bless God and the Father, and by it we curse men, who are made after the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethern, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth, out of the same hole, sweet and bitter water? (James 3:2-11)

Intemperance

Wine drunken with excess raiseth quarrels, and wrath, and many ruins. Wine drunken with excess is bitterness of the soul. The heat of drunkenness is the stumbling block of the fool, lessening strength and causing wounds. (Eccli. 31:38-40)

Brotherly Charity

By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another. (John 13:35) (see 1st Corinthians 13)

Humility

God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

Whoever shall exalt himself, shall be humbled; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)

Prayers for One Another

Pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. (James 5:16)

Our Father – Long Ending

The long ending of the Lord’s prayer – “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen” – was not a part of the prayer when Saint Matthew reproduced it in his Gospel in Chapter 6:9-13. The long ending was a prayer of the early Catholic liturgy and was at first written in the margin in Saint Matthew’s Gospel opposite 6:9-13 and finally made its way into the text of some copies of the Bible. The best Protestant Bibles do not carry the long ending after Matthew 6:9-13.

The Protestant Old Testament

The Protestant Old Testament omits seven entire books: Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, I and II Machabees; it also omits parts of the books of Esther and Daniel. These missing books and sections formed a part of the Bible until the Protestant Revolution. Luther excluded them because he objected to the teachings found in them.

Don’ts for Church-Goers

Don’t get into the habit of being late for Mass. A moment of preparation before Mass may be the means of opening the soul to many graces.

Don’t be content with a seat in the last pew. Show the same interest in securing a front seat in church as you do at any other place that draws your interest.

Don’t go to Mass without either a prayer book or a Rosary, unless you wish distraction and not devotion to occupy your mind.

Don’t talk in church without necessity. Talk with God, Whom you may not have visited in His Temple since last Sunday; you will have plenty of time to talk with your neighbor after Mass.

Don’t criticize the sermon or the manner of delivery. It is a message from God bearing some fruit to you. Heed the instruction and profit by it; it has something for you to learn.

Don’t go to sleep or read your prayer book during the sermon.

Don’t leave the church till the priest has left the sanctuary. Take a moment to thank God for the graces of the Holy Mass.

Don’t talk in the aisles going out. Remember you are in the presence of God in His Holy Sacrament. Your gossip will keep till you reach the street.

Don’t forget to bend your right knee to the floor as you enter and leave your seat. This is an act of adoration to the Real Presence. Do it with faith and reverence facing the altar.

Don’t fail to see the holy water font and the collection plate. Take a few drops from one and drop a worthy gift into the other.

Don’t acquire the reputation of being “last in the church and first to leave it.”

Ten Sure Ways to Smash Any Church Organization

1. Don’t come to meetings.

2. If you come, come late.

3. If the weather doesn’t suit you, don’t think of coming.

4. If you attend a meeting, find fault with the work of the officers and the other members.

5. Never accept office, as it is easier to criticize than to do things.

6. Nevertheless, get rebellious if you are not appointed on a committee, but if you are, don’t attend committee meetings.

7. If asked by the chairman to give your opinion regarding some important matters reply you have nothing to say. After the meeting tell everyone how it ought to be done.

8. Do nothing more than is absolutely necessary, but when other members roll up their sleeves and willingly and unselfishly use their ability to help matters along, tell the world that the organization is being run by a clique.

9. Hold back your dues as long as possible, or don’t pay at all.

10. Don’t bother about getting new members. Let George do it.

About This eBook

the text of this work is taken from The Catholic Layman’s Guide by Father Rudolph G Bandas, published in 1942. It has the Nihil Obstat: Rudolphus G. Bandas, Censor Librorum, 1 March 1942 and Imprimatur: +Joannes Gregorius Murray, DD, Archiepiscopus Santi Pauli, 9 May 1942. It was revised in 1949 and in 1952.