What is holy water? What is it used for?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  07/30/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Holy water is water that has been blessed by a priest or deacon. It is a sacramental – not to be confused with a sacrament. Sacramentals are items or objects that have been blessed for a specific purpose – for instance, the oils used for initiation and the sick, the ashes for Ash Wednesday, or the rings for a wedding. These items are not themselves sacraments, but have the purpose of helping to make the mysterious love of God present in a tangible way.


Why do we pray for the dead?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  07/23/2023  |  Why do we do that?

From the era of the first martyrs and the assemblies of believers gathering in catacombs, praying for the dead has been an essential part of the Christian tradition. As the Preface for the Funeral Rite from Roman Missal so beautifully expresses: “For your faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not ended.” And so just as we pray for the good of our loved ones on earth, we continue to pray for their souls after their bodily death. Each and every time we assemble for Mass, we include a prayer for the dead in both the Prayers of the Faithful as well as the Eucharistic Prayer.


Why do we pause at the end of the Our Father for the priest’s prayer, and follow it with “For the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory…”? Why don’t we say the last part when we are praying by ourselves?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  07/16/2023  |  Why do we do that?

The Lord’s Prayer comes to us from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In the most ancient versions of these texts, the prayer ends with “deliver us from evil.” Within a couple of centuries, however, later versions of the Gospels, along with other ancient liturgical documents record the addition of the Doxology (“For the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory are yours, now and forever”). For almost 1900 years, then, there has been a debate about whether those additional words belong in the Our Father prayer.


Why do we name our children after saints? Do we have to?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  07/09/2023  |  Why do we do that?

It has long been a Jewish tradition to name a child after an ancestor – a parent, grandparent, or another elder in the family. It was hoped that the child would take on the qualities that the parents honored and admired in that person.


What is a pilgrimage? Why do people go on them?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  07/02/2023  |  Why do we do that?

A pilgrimage is a physical and spiritual journey to a place of significance to the faith. For generations, Christians have journeyed to the Holy Land to walk in the steps of Christ, or to Compostela in Spain to honor St. James, or Tepeyac in Mexico to pray with Our Lady of Guadalupe where she appeared to Juan Diego. As Benedict XVI put it: “To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art, or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendor and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe.”