MIDDLE SCHOOL QUESTIONS for Fr. Allen
I'm not Catholic. Why do I have to go to liturgy?
Our Liturgies (whether Masses or prayer services) are a part of formation here at St. Catherine’s. By choosing to come to St. Catherine’s each of our students enters into a program of formation that includes the four Dominican Pillars: Community, Study, Prayer, and Service. Each of these is strengthened by our participation in liturgies. Whether one is Catholic or not we can all benefit by taking time to quiet ourselves and reflect on our lives. We gather as a Community to pray together for one another, we study the scriptures and are sent forth with God’s blessing to serve one another.
So Roman Catholics believe angels are present at every mass?
Yes, in fact, in the First Eucharistic prayer (i.e. the part of the Mass from the Holy, Holy, Holy to great Amen in which the consecration takes place) we actually say: "In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high..." So not only do we believe that they are present, the tradition of the Church says that they actually have a role in the Mass. This idea is rooted in Scripture were angels are portrayed as participating in the heavenly liturgy, see for example: Hebrews 12:22, Rev 4:8 and 5:11-12.
What age do you get holy communion and confirmation?
In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee(the group of Catholic Churches for this area of WI) normally if you were baptized as a child you would receive First Holy Communion in second grade(around age 7) and Confirmation your junior year of High School(around age 16-17).
But, if someone is baptized after the age of seven he or she usually receives Baptism, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation all at the same time, usually at the Easter vigil celebration. However it is never too late to receive these sacraments. If you have not yet been baptized or if you have not received First Communion and would like to, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you.
WHAT'S A WAY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE STORIES IN THE BIBLE?
The best way to learn more about the story’s in the Bible is to read them. I recommend starting with the Gospel’s. Marks is the shortest, so you can start there. If you are looking to familiarize yourself with Old Testament stories, Genesis and Exodus are a good place to start, I would skip Leviticus and Numbers. In addition to stories, the Bible also contains: letters, laws, songs, proverbs and love poetry among other things.
Do we become another person or animal when we die and go to heaven.
No, if we go to heaven, we remain who we are but we will be transformed. For a time we are souls without bodies, but after the resurrection of the dead which will take place at the end of time, we will have glorified bodies. See Philippians 3:20-21, 1 Cor 15:42-44, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 988-1019.
Can you do Confession if your are not Catholic?
Anyone who wishes to come to confession to ask God for the forgiveness of his or her sins can do so and anyone who come to confession is protected by the seal, i.e. the priest can never tell anyone or act on anything you tell him in confession. If you are not Catholic however you should tell that to the priest, and especially if you have not been baptized or even if you are Catholic if it is your first confession. For Catholics or those who demonstrate a Catholic belief in the Sacrament, the priest will give the Catholic formula of Absolution: “God the Father of Mercies… I absolve you of your sins, In the Name of the Father, and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit.” For others the priest will most likely pray together with the person for the forgiveness of his or hers sins, that God alone has the power to forgive sins and that he can do so when and how he wishes.
How old do you have to be a priest?
According to the Code of Canon Law(the Rules) for Roman Catholic Church, to be ordained a priest normally you have to be at least 25, your Bishop can give permission to ordain a priest up to one year early. The Pope could give permission for someone younger but they would have to at least Confirmed.
How do you know God is talking to you? How can you tell?
Well you have to get familiar with his voice. The way we can know God is speaking to us is to listen to his Word. When we read Scripture we become familiar with the way he speaks, then we can hear his voice in other ways. In order to listen for God we must also to time for silence. Often we are so bombarded with noise that we cannot hear God’s still small voice. Lastly God’s voice is often accompanied by a sense of peace and security and a profound sense of the reality that God is speaking.
Will we do communion every time?
Holy Communion will be distributed at each Mass, but not at our Prayer Services.
High School Questions for Fr. Allen
Is Samhain celebrated?
Since Samhain is a pagan festival of the dead, we will not be celebrating it. We will however be remembering our deceased loved ones throughout the month of November. Since the time of earliest cave paintings and at the most ancient burial sites, there is evidence of a belief in the afterlife. Both Jewish and Christian traditions demonstrate a desire to pray for the dead and through our belief in the Communion of the Saints, we believe that those in Heaven can pray for us. Continue to pay attention as there will be much more regarding these things as we enter into this traditional time of remembering the deceased.
How do I keep from sleeping during Liturgy?
A few suggestions: Participate in the songs and prayers. Ask your neighbor to nudge you if you doze off. Drink coffee before you come to school. Don’t close your eyes!
Does God want us to 'have fun'?
I would say yes. But, more than anything, God wants us to be happy. Happiness ultimately consists in participating in the Divine Life of God in heaven, which sounds like it should be cool. Heaven is described in the bible as an eternal wedding feast, which sound to me like a happening party. In this life, God calls us to rejoice in the gifts that he has given us. In the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus, at the request of his mother, made sure they did not run out of wine. But the abundance of which God gives his gifts is not an excuse to abuse them. Sometimes “having fun” can be confused with sinning, but anyone who is honest with oneself knows that this false happiness is short lived, and a life of sin is anything but fun. I think the fun God wishes us to have is best seen in the hearts young children.
What's God's favorite breakfast cereal?
I am not sure he has one. Hopefully you can ask Him in heaven!
Can Catholics disobey God’s plan?
Yes. Anyone can disobey God plan and does so each time he or she sins. In fact, Catholics and other fellow Christians more so than anyone else will be held accountable for their disobedience because we believe that the fullness of God’s plan is revealed in Jesus Christ. As Christ says in the Gospel of Luke, “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly.” Luke 12:47-48.
Does God have a sense of humor?
I would say so. He made the duck billed platypus and the kangaroo, and you if still doubt it, he made me and you!
What is God's purpose for Guardian angels in the roles of humans?
In Psalm 91:10-12 we read, “No evil shall befall you, no affliction come near your tent. For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” And in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” From these and similar texts, the Church teaches that each of us is given an angel to watch over us and help us get to heaven. You can ask your Guardian angel for help; I like to ask mine to wake me up in the morning! It works!
Clapping is not allowed. Is this true?
One should not clap at Mass the way one on would clap at a concert or after a lecture or speech because the context is different. At a concert or speech, we are there specifically to rejoice in human achievements, so the focus is on those performing. Mass is never meant to be a performance but rather a prayer directed to God, so we should not clap for the musicians or for a good sermon. Sometimes however, and especially in certain cultures, clapping can be a part of the prayer which we give to God. In the Mass, this is most like to happen during the processions, i.e. the Entrance, Offertory, or Recessional.
Why was the first Mass at the end of the day?
Our first all School Mass was at the end of the day because it was a part of Homecoming week and each of the Homecoming events are at the end of the day. From now on Masses and prayer services will be in the morning.