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Straight Answers
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Q: A priest told me that receiving Holy Communion forgives venial sin, and I only need to go to confession if I am in a state of mortal sin. Is this correct? Years ago, we were told that you had to … more
Q: The celebration of St. Joseph’s feast day prompted me to ask: How old was St. Joseph when Jesus was born? Every year, I receive Christmas cards, and some depict him as a very old man and others … more
This is the second of two columns on Lenten holy days and traditions. The fourth Sunday of Lent marks the midpoint and is called “Laetare Sunday,” from the words of the introit, Laetare … more
Over the years, I have been asked various questions about the terminology and practices of Lent, like “Where do ashes come from?” or “What is Maundy Thursday?” As Lent approaches, we will … more
Q: I read where Pope Francis had the relics of St. Peter placed on public display for veneration during the Mass of Christ the King in November. Do we really have the relics of St. Peter? Where are … more
Q: What is Candlemas Day? I came across the term reading in my English literature class, and my teacher was not even sure. (Fairfax) A: Candlemas Day is another name for the feast of the … more
Q: While attending Mass at an older church, I noticed engraved on the altar “IHS.” One of my family members said it means “I have suffered.” Is this correct? (Annandale)A: The … more
Some scriptural detective work can help determine the date of Christ’s birth. more
Q: I am a mother, and my husband and I have two young children. Do you have any good suggestions for how as a family we can prepare for Christmas? We want to avoid all of the commercial hype as … more
Q: A Protestant friend of mine recently lost her husband. She received several Mass cards for the repose of the soul of her husband. She was very grateful but asked me to explain this more. Can you … more
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