Of the many, many Catholic religious orders in the world, the Jesuits (officially called the Society of Jesus) hold the honor of being the largest male religious order. But just who are the Jesuits?
If you have ever studied the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, then you have most likely encountered discussions on the concept of sola Scriptura. Translated as “Bible alone” in English, sola Scriptura refers to the belief that sacred Scripture is the only definitive authority on Christianity, and that the Bible is complete and infallible. This view is prominent among Protestant denominations.
If you have ever seen images of winged lions associated with St. Mark, whose feast day is April 25, you may have wondered why this creature represents the evangelist. The association with the lion is quite strong—not only does the winged animal represent St. Mark, but it also is the symbol of the city of Venice, where it is believed that St. Mark’s remains now rest. This tradition of symbolism actually has its roots in scripture and sacred art.
During Holy Week, bishops from dioceses around the world celebrate the Chrism Mass. Though the Chrism Mass is usually on the morning of Holy Thursday, it can fall on another day of the week if need be. During the Mass, three types of oil are blessed for each church in the diocese to use throughout the coming year. In addition to the blessing of the oils, all the priests and bishops of the diocese publicly renew their priestly promises at the Chrism Mass.
The official prayer of the Catholic Church has many names; the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Hours and the Breviary each refer to this rich prayer that has undergone various modifications throughout the centuries. At its core, though, the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary is meant to sanctify the day with prayer and offer praise to God at all hours.
This week, we celebrate the feast of St. Catherine Labouré. If you’ve never heard of her, there’s a good chance you have heard of something that is very close to her heart: the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, more commonly known as the Miraculous Medal.
If you were a Catholic school student decades ago, then chances are, you were taught by religious sisters. Your image of a typical religious sister, then, might be of a woman in a long habit and a veil. However, not all sisters wear a habit like this, or even any habit at all. Sisters simply dress based on the rule of their particular order.
Yesterday, September 23, was the feast day of one of the twentieth century’s greatest mystics, St. Padre Pio. St. Padre Pio was an Italian Capuchin friar who was known for his great piety and the extraordinary spiritual gifts that God gave him, including the stigmata and the ability to bilocate.
But what exactly is a mystic? Do all mystics receive these amazing gifts?