Sunday, August 19, 2012

Question 4 U: Was Jesus's last name Christ?

Thanks to Aidan from New Mexico!

Although it would make sense, Jesus did not go by Mr. Christ or sign His bank checks "Jesus Christ" (actually there were no "banks" like we have today nor did Jesus need a driver's license).

The word Christ comes from the Greek language.  The Greek translated the word "Messiah" from Hebrew [the Jewish language].  Messiah means "Anointed".  So basically Christ is a title given to Jesus because he was the Son of God who became a man. 

His first name, "Jesus", is important.  In the Old Testament, this guy named Isaiah predicted that the Savior should be named "Jesus" which means God saves.

So if  you put it together. Jesus Christ means "God Saves and Anoints."  Kind of cool, isn't it.  One day we'll piece together Jesus's family tree.  We won't need for this.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Saint 4 U: St. Lawrence

This saint's story is kind of gruesome.  Just a warning!

Back in the day when Christians were really bullied and killed, there was a guy named Lawrence.  He was a deacon [a deacon is like a manager of the night shift at Walmart.  He's in charge until the manager of the whole Walmart shows up] who helped feed hungry people and generally was a good guy.

The prefect of Rome [the mayor] was a pagan.  Now pagans are not Christians.  They sometimes believe in lots of different gods and not our true God.  The prefect thought the Christians had oodles of money like when someone wins the lottery.  But they didn't.  The money they had was spent buying food and other needs (not a DS or a car).

The prefect didn't believe Lawrence and sent him to die in an icky and gross sort of way.  Lawrence was roasted over fire like a piece of meat.  Now Lawrence didn't scream or pee on himself.  God was taking care of him.  Lawrence even joked and told the prefect to "turn me over--I'm done on this side."  What a prankster!!

Lawrence is considered a martyr.  A martyr is someone who dies for their beliefs.  We are really, really lucky that so many people believed in Jesus and were ready to be killed for Jesus.  If these people were chicken and stopped believing, then we may not know what we know about Jesus.

St. Lawrence's feast day is today, August 10.  Don't forget to talk to him in prayer and tell him thanks for what he did.  His story makes me want to eat spinach and other veggies.

St. Lawrenceville holding bread and in the fire.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Question 4 U: What's a feast day?

Actually this question came from MC. 

I didn't know the difference between a feast day, memorial or a solemnity.  Good grief and I'm old so I should know this stuff, don't you think?  I've been Catholic all my life but it just goes to show that we can all learn something everyday.
Do I really look that old?

A feast day, as writing before, is not a day for you to go to McDonald's and eat all the Big Macs you can.  A memorial is not something that happens in May and you get to go to the beach or pool.

If you go to the back of your missalette [a missalette is that book in the pew at your church that has all the readings and parts of the Mass] in church (and not during Mass while the priest is talking), try to find daily Mass readings.  Or look up your favorite saint (MM's fave is St. Therese of Lisieux and MC's is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton), you may find a solemnity, feast or a memorial for different saints or important events.
St. Therese

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Doesn't St. Elizabeth look like this famous picture of Whistler's Mom?

The difference between a solemnity, feast, and memorial:

  • Solemnity - these are the days of greatest importance. The celebration starts the evening before the actual solemnity. Easter is our most important solemnity.
  • Feast - these are the next most important days. They commemorate Mary, the apostles, martyrs and other saints, and the events associated with them. Mass readings often reflect the special feast day.
  • Memorial - these are special days, but are often optional celebrations. The scripture readings for Mass may or may not be specially selected for the memorial.
Thanks to Coming Home Catholic for the answers!

So basically it goes
1.  Solemnity.  Very Ultra Important
2.  Feast:  Very Important
3.  Memorial:  Important

I think I'm going to learn the difference between the Lucky Charm marshmallows tomorrow.  I bet the moon is the best tasting!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Question 4 U: What is the difference between a cross and a crucifix?

Thanks to Nicholas from Maine in the USA for this question

Great question, Nicholas!  Let's look at the difference.

Can you spot the BIG difference?  We'll give you a hint.  It's not the color or the shape.  Come on, it's still summer but start those brain cells.  You're starting school soon so exercise your noggin.

If you said Jesus is one and not on the other, you are right. 

A cross is just what it says:  a cross.  Christian churches from around the world use the cross as a symbol of Jesus dying and rising from the dead.  There are oodles of different type of crosses.  Here are a few:
This is a High Cross from places like Ireland and Great Britain.

This is the Papal Cross.  Papal means belonging to the Pope.

St. Bridget's Cross.  It's sometimes made from reeds.

The crucifix is a cross with Jesus' corpus (or body in English) on it.  All Catholic churches have a crucifix in the building.

Many people will tell you that Catholics are just "crucifying Jesus again and again" by wearing a crucifix necklace or hanging one on your wall.  Of course, that is just plain silly talk.  Just like ginormus statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC or the Statue of Liberty, figures remind of the things in the past.  Jesus is certainly not getting crucified all the time.  Don't you think once is enough?  We look at the crucifix to remind us of the suffering and agony Jesus did for us.

Now your brain is all geared up and ready for school. :(

Monday, July 30, 2012

Prayer 4 U: The Hail Mary

We've been talking about prayers and the Bible and how we use them.  This next prayer is also important.  As a Catholic, we pray to Mary, Jesus' mom, to help us grow closer to her Son, Jesus.  Don't you think as His mom, Jesus listens to Mary?  MM and MC know our children don't always listen to us (that's why MC's dog is wearing underwear right now) but we know Jesus listens to us and His mom.

Lots of people misunderstand this and think Catholics worship Mary.  We don't worship Mary. No, No Way, Nada, Zilch, Crazy Thinking.  We hold Mary up because she is the queen of saints and as someone who is close to God.  We also think of her as our mother up in heaven!!

There is a prayer called the Hail Mary.  You may have heard of the "Hail Mary pass" in football but Catholics used the Hail Mary first.  It goes like this:

Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.

This prayer comes directly from the Bible.  Go to the New Testament and look up Luke 1:28-35, 42-48.  Don't tell us you don't know how.  We already talked about how to look of things in the Bible.  Need help?  Go here.

Basically, Gabriel the Archangel was acting like God's Smart Phone.  He came to Mary who was probably a teen and not married and asked her to be God's mother. 

Now remember this was about 2000 years ago.  If a woman became pregnant and wasn't married, the community would throw stones at her for getting pregnant.  Mary was incredibly brave and said, "Sure, bring it on."  Actually she didn't say that but she said yes to the angel and God and trusted God to see her through the pregnancy and not get pelted with rocks.

God also spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him to marry Mary because she was pregnant with Jesus so she would not get hit with rocks. 

 Joe was a great guy!

So let's go over the prayer:

Hail Mary, full of grace. (Hey Mary, you are a nice person)
Our Lord is with thee. (God really thinks you are awesome)
Blessed art thou among women,  (Because God thinks you are awesome, you've been chosen by God)
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. (God is blessing your baby, Jesus)
Holy Mary, Mother of God, (Mary's a saint and she is Jesus' mom)
pray for us sinners,  (Pray for us because we are not perfect and MC's kids didn't listen to her and put underwear on the dog anyway)
now and at the hour of our death. (Help us right now and when we die)

Now just because Mary is up in heaven, it doesn't mean she stays up there.  She grabs her rosary, slips out heaven's back door and appears to very special people like St. Bernadette, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Juan Diego and St. Simon Stock to give messages of hope and love.  What a mom!!!  .

 Our Lady of Guadalupe when Mary appeared Juan Diego

Now, go brush your teeth, wash your hands--use soap--and get ready for dinner.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saint 4 U: St. Paul

Okay, say you are riding your Razor down the road and Zap!  You're down on the concrete and there's a voice talking to you.  Are you going crazy?  Is your mom fussing at you for falling and ripping your shirt?  Who does the voice sound like?  Did you end up in a Phineas and Ferb episode because Dr. Doofenschmirtiz's Cartoon-a-nator pulled you into the Tri-State Area?  Do you follow the voice's instructions or do you run away or do you get back up on your Razor and ride?

This is what happened to a dude named Saul.  Jesus had already died and rose for the dead and then up to heaven.  Saul was riding around on his horse being kind of mean to people who believed in Jesus.  In fact, he was down right nasty about it.

Well, I think Jesus got his game on with Saul.  Saul fell off his horse (there were no Razors back then) and Jesus blinded him with a big bright light.  Saul could not see for three days.  No books to read, no TV, no Wii, nothing, nada!

When a pal named Ananias cured Saul with the help of Jesus up in heaven, Saul changed his name to Paul and off he went to all over the place telling people that Jesus cured him.  He did this with no GPS or computer.  Paul visited so many places that he started writing letters to cities he had visited to remind his friends how to believe in Jesus.

All these letters were saved and gathered up.  You can actually read them!  They are in the New Testament in the Bible.  Some of the letters are read in Mass in the Second Reading. 

Hopefully you've learned something:  you won't need to get zapped off your Razor to listen to Jesus.  Just put your hands together and pray to him.

St. Paul's Feast Day is June 29.  Feast Day does not mean you go hog wild at Golden Corral and eat your weight in apple pie.  It's the day we celebrate St. Paul's life and how he spread Jesus' story around without a smart phone.

St. Paul standing and not on a Razor

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Skill 4 U: The Bible Part II

People quote the Bible all the time.  It makes you wonder if they memorize it.  But you know, you probably know more about the Bible than you think. It is used during Mass and prayers.  Using the Bible is easy peasy lemon squeezy.  You guys are know that because you eat your vegetables (Ehh, not really.  We're moms and we know you hide your veggies under your plate or feed them to the dog).

We've written it before and we're writing it again--Everything the Catholic Church does is based upon Jesus and the Bible.  The Mass is chock full of Bible-y stuff.  We have Psalms [Psalms are poems or beautiful writings about God written by David--a king of Israel and Jesus' ancestor]

During Sunday Mass, the lectors [lectors are the grown ups who have get dressed up and read from the altar] read from the Bible.  First something from the Old Testament and secondly mostly from the Epistles [Epistles are fancy words for letters written by the Apostles and other followers of Jesus] in the New Testament. 

The priest or the deacon [deacon is the priest's assistant] read from one of the four Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the dudes who wrote the four Gospels].  The Gospels tell us what Jesus did or said.  The Gospels don't keep track of everything Jesus did.  We don't know when He lost His first tooth or when he went to help Joseph, His foster father, at work.  Good old Joseph was a carpenter.  He built things from wood and he taught Jesus that.

So if your mom's favorite Bible quote, for example, is:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

Usually the Bible book is behind the quote.  In this case, it's the blue Philippians 4:13.  Crack open your Bible to the Table of Contents.  Because MC and MM are old, we know that the Philippians is in the New Testament because it mentions Jesus (Christ) by name and He wasn't mentioned by name in the Old Testament.

Anyhoo, look for the Philippians [which is an epistle], chapter 4 verse 13.  See!  Now you can look up lots of stuff.  In fact, email us at and let us know if you have a favorite quote.  We may put it under our Fave Quotes section.