Why do we bow during the phrase “and by the Holy Spirit, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became Man” as we recite the creed?

05-21-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

This phrase is the first place in the Creed where the Trinity is in action – no longer God the Father, or Jesus Christ by themselves, but the three Persons of God working in concert. God the Father, sends the Holy Spirit to accomplish the Incarnation of the Son – the great work of salvation that begins at the Annunciation and is completed by the Passion and Resurrection of Christ.


What is a responsorial psalm? Why do we have it after the first reading?

05-14-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

The book of Psalms holds a special place in the history and spirituality of Church. Unlike virtually every other book of the Bible, the psalms is expressly poetic and affective – it speaks to the heart, rather than the head. It expresses the emotions of praise and lament, longing and thanksgiving, complaint and trust, and really, the entire emotional range of the human condition. Originally meant to be sung and often set to music, psalms are often easier to memorize than other pieces of scripture, and resonate in our souls in a way that other parts of scripture do not.


Why does the Church insist on so much documentation – for baptisms, marriage, confirmation, etc?

05-07-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

In the early years of the Church, when Christianity was being persecuted, few official records were kept, because a list of the baptized could be used to hunt down and arrest believers. Beginning in the Middle Ages, however, there came a desire by both governments and Church officials to keep track of baptisms, marriage, and other sacraments. In that era, often one of the only literate persons in a town or village was the parish priest, and he became the de facto record keeper and legal arbiter for all sorts of transactions. Baptismal records not only showed the names of the faithful and their eligibility for future sacraments, but could be used to check for consanguinity (interrelatedness of engaged couples), eligibility for marriage, inheritance of property and titles, and eligibility for ordination. Long before there were census bureaus or departments of licensing, Church records allowed for the governance of both Catholic and secular affairs.


Why is the 6:15am Mass in the chapel rather than the big church?

04-30-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

Our church seats 1400 people. Our typical 6:15am daily Mass has between 20-30 congregants, who generally space themselves out as much as possible. Put these two things together, and it means that when the morning Mass meets in the church, it can feel empty and distant, and the presiders often have a difficult time seeing the faces or hearing the responses of the congregants.


What is Tertianship? Why do the Jesuits have this step of formation?

04-23-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

There are five stages of formation for Jesuits. The first is the Novitiate, which lasts for 2 years, wherein men experience the Spiritual Exercises (the 30 day silent retreat), study the constitution of the Society of Jesus, as well as its history and traditions, and go through a series of “experiments” where novices experience the life of prayer and service as a Jesuit. At the end of the novitiate, if approved by the provincial, novices take first vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and become members of the Society of Jesus.


Why do we wave palms on Palm Sunday?

04-02-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

The procession of palms is an ancient tradition from many different cultures. People would line the streets waving palms to greet a ruler when they came to the city, or to hail a victorious general returning from battle. Palms and laurel branches were symbols of goodness and victory. Thus, when Jesus entered into Jerusalem before his Passion, the people of Jerusalem were continuing this ancient form of praise.


What is purgatory? Why do Catholics believe in it, rather than just heaven and hell?

03-26-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

From the foundations of Christianity, there was a belief that there were two options for the afterlife – the reward of Heaven for the just, and the pains of Hell for the unjust. And while these concepts are clear in the Gospels and easy to understand, there wasn’t much specific instruction for who goes where, other than the judgment scenes found in Matthew (24), Mark (13), and Luke (21) – “whatever you did for the least of my people, that you did to me.”


Q. What are the stations of the cross? Why does every Catholic church have a set?

03-19-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

The stations of the cross originate in the Via Dolorosa – or the path that Jesus walked from his condemnation to the crucifixion. Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem would recreate this path as they journeyed from site to site. When the Franciscan were given official custody of the holy sites in Jerusalem in the 13th century, they established a specific route with designated locations for prayer.


Why don’t we sing the Gloria or the Alleluia during Lent?

03-12-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

Alleluia in Hebrew means “Praise God!” And obviously, the words of the Gloria come from the song of the angels at Christmas when they proclaim “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will!” Both songs, therefore, are expressions of joy – the celebration of God’s saving work and the proclamation that the Kingdom of God is at hand here in our Church, even as we await the Kingdom of Heaven which is our Christian reward. The Kingdom is already here, even though we have not yet seen it in its fullness.


Q. What is fasting? What is abstinence? Why Fridays?

03-05-2023Why do we do that?Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.

Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent are “obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics.” But what do these terms mean?