The Saint Cecilia Catechism

 

Human Nature

Q- What is a human person?

A- The human person is an individual creature, distinguished from all other creatures by the gift of freedom, bodily incarnated, and animated by a spiritual principle, traditionally called a soul.

Q- What are we by nature?

A- As children of God, our lives are sacred, part of God’s creation, made in the image of God.

Q- What does it mean to be created in the image of God?

A- It means that we are composed of mind, emotions and will, sentient and self-aware, with an instinctive capacity to develop and appreciate music, drama, art and story in all its forms, and free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and with God.

Q- Why then do we live apart from God and out of harmony with creation?

A- From the beginning, human beings have misused their freedom and made wrong choices due to the presence of evil in the universe.

Q- What is freedom?

A- Freedom is a state of being wherein a person may make choices in the absence of compulsion.

Q- What is evil?

A- Evil is the absence of good.

Q- How did evil enter the world?

A- Evil entered the world by the deliberate choices of human persons.

Q- Why does God allow evil?

A- God permits evil because he respects the freedom of His creatures and knows how to derive good from it.

Q- Why do we not use our freedom as we should?

A- Because we are weak by nature, we rebel against God and other persons by placing ourselves ahead of God and the needs, rights and wants of other persons, mistakenly believing we are sufficient unto ourselves and in control of our own destiny.

Q- What help is there for us?

A- Our help is in God, our creator, redeemer and sanctifier.

Q- How did God first help us?

A- God first helped us by revealing Himself and His will, through nature and history, through many seers and saints, and especially through the prophets of Israel.

God the Father

Q- What do we learn about God as creator from the revelation to Israel?

A- We learn that there is but one God, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

Q- What does this mean?

A- This means that the universe is good, that it is the work of a single loving God who creates, sustains, nurtures, and directs it.

Q- What does this mean about our place in the universe?

A- It means that the world belongs to its creator; and that we are called to enjoy it and to care for it in accordance with God’s purposes.

Q- What does this mean about human life?

A- It means that all people are worthy of respect and honor, because all are created in the image of God, and all can respond to the love of God.

Q- How was this revelation handed down to us?

A- This revelation was handed down to us through a community created by a covenant with God.

Q- What are the characteristics of God?

A- God is love, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Q- How do we experience God?

A- We experience God in ourselves, in community with other persons, and in all of creation.

The Old Covenant

Q- What is meant by a covenant with God?

A- A covenant is a relationship of faithfulness initiated by God, to which a body of people responds in faith.

Q- What is the Old Covenant?

A- The Old Covenant is the one given by God to the Hebrew people.

Q- What did God promise them?

A- God promised that they would be his people to bring all the nations of the world to Him.

Q- What response did God require from the chosen people?

A- God required the chosen people to be faithful; to love justice, to do mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.

Q- Where is this Old Covenant to be found?

A- The covenant with the Hebrew people is to be found in the books which we call the Old Testament.

Q- Where in the Old Testament is God’s will for us shown most clearly?

A- God’s will for us is shown most clearly in the Ten Commandments found in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

God's Commandments

Q- What are the Ten Commandments?

A- The Ten Commandments are the laws given to Moses and the people of Israel.

Q- What do we learn from these commandments?

A- We learn two things: our duty to God, and our duty to our neighbors.

Q- What is our duty to God?

A- Our duty is to believe and trust in God; to love and obey God and to bring others to know God; to put nothing in the place of God; to show God respect in thought, word, and deed; to be good stewards of the riches of creation; and to set aside regular times for worship, prayer, and the study of God’s ways.

Q- What is our duty to our neighbors?

A- Our duty to our neighbors is to love them as ourselves, and to do to other people as we wish them to do to us; to love, honor, and help our parents and family; to honor those in authority in an appropriate way, and to meet their just demands to the best of our ability and when consistent with our conscience; to show respect for all life; to work and pray for peace; to bear no malice, prejudice, or hatred in our hearts; and to be kind to all the creatures of God; to use all our bodily desires as God intended; to be honest and fair in our dealings; to seek justice, freedom, peace, and the necessities of life for all people; to use our talents and possessions as ones who must answer for them to God; to speak the truth, and not to mislead others by our silence; to resist temptations to envy, greed, and jealousy; to rejoice in other people’s gifts and graces; and to do our duty for the love of God, who has called us into fellowship with Him.

Q- Who are your neighbors?

A- All human persons are your neighbors.

Q- What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments?

A- The Ten Commandments were given to define our relationship with God and our neighbors.

Q- Since we do not fully obey them, are God's Commandments useful at all?

A- Even though we do not fully obey them, they are guideposts for our behavior to help us love God and our neighbor and to thus see where we fail to meet God’s expectations for us and our consequent need for redemption.

Sin and Redemption

Q- What is sin?

A- Sin is not meeting God’s expectations of us.

Q- What causes sin?

A- Sin has three causes: the inborn weakness of human nature; ignorance of God’s ways; and by voluntary, knowing and intentional acts to follow our own desires in contradiction to God’s will for us.

Q- What are the seven most serious sins?

A-  The seven most serious sins are pride, envy, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, and sloth.

Q- What is pride?

A-  Pride is an unrealistic and arrogant belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God.

Q- What is envy?

A- Envy is the desire for others' assets, traits, status, abilities, or situation. 

Q- What is greed?

A-  Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain for their own sake beyond that necessary for reasonable survival and that ignores the spiritual realm.

Q- What is lust?

A- Lust is the inordinate craving of physical pleasure in a manner harmful to oneself or others.

Q- What is wrath?

A- Wrath is uncontrollable hate towards another person or group of persons.

Q- What is gluttony?

A- Gluttony is consumption of food or drink beyond that necessary for healthy survival.

 Q- What is sloth?

A- Sloth is the apathetic failure to perform our duties to ourselves or others.

Q- What is the ultimate of all sins?

A- The ultimate of all sins is idolatry.

Q- What is idolatry?

A- Idolatry is the worship of some thing or person instead of God.

Q- What is the effect of sin?

A- Sin separates humanity from God.

Q- How does sin have power over us?

A- Sin has power over us because our state of being and our personal fault due to the presence of evil in the world whereby we lose our liberty, causing our relationship with God to be distorted.

Q- What is the sin of Adam?

A- Adam disobeyed God.

Q- What is the effect of Adam’s sin for us?

A- Humanity bears the consequence of Adam’s sin because we thereby become subject to death.

Q- What is redemption?

A- Redemption is restoration of a right relationship with God by the truth revealed in the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus which set us free from the power of evil, sin, and death.

Q- How did God prepare us for redemption?

A- God sent the prophets to call us back to himself, to show us our need for redemption, and to announce the coming of the Messiah.

Q- What is meant by the Messiah?

A- The Messiah is the Anointed One sent by God to free us from the power of sin, so that with the help of God we may live in harmony with God, within ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation.

Q- Whom do we believe is the Messiah?

A- The Messiah, or Christ, is Jesus of Nazareth, the only begotten Son of God.

God the Son

Q- What do we mean when we say that Jesus is the only Son of God?

A- We mean that Jesus, the only perfect image of God, shows us the nature of God.

Q- What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?

A- God is love, evidenced by compassion, peace, and justice.

Q- What do we mean when we say that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and became incarnate from the Virgin Mary?

A- We mean that by God’s own act, his divine Son received our human nature from the Virgin Mary, his mother.

Q- Why did he take our human nature?

A- The divine Son became human, so that in him human beings might be adopted as children of God, and be made heirs of God’s kingdom.

Q- Is Jesus divine or human?

A- Jesus is fully and perfectly divine and fully and perfectly human, co-essential and co-equal to God the Father, existing with God the Father from the beginning of time. The divine and human natures of Jesus are inseparable.

Q- What is the great importance of Jesus’ suffering and death?

A- Jesus showed his absolute love for humankind by undergoing suffering and death, giving up his own life so that we might be freed from the power of sin and reconciled to God.  

Q- Did Jesus actually rise from the dead?

A- Because we do not know how the resurrection of Jesus was accomplished, it remains a mystery, and we affirm that Jesus continues to live among us as His resurrected body.

Q- What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection?

A- By his resurrection, Jesus triumphed over death and opened for us the way of eternal life.

Q- What do we mean when we say that Jesus descended to the dead?

A- We mean that he went to the departed and freed them from bondage and bestow on them also the benefits of redemption.

Q- What do we mean when we say that He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father?

A- We mean that Jesus took our human nature into heaven where He now reigns with the Father and intercedes for us.

Q- How can we share in His victory over sin, suffering, and death?

A- We share in his victory when we are baptized into the New Covenant and become living members of Christ working for the coming of the Kingdom of God.

The New Covenant

Q- What is the New Covenant?

A- The New Covenant is the new relationship with God given by Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to the apostles; and, through them, to all who believe in him.

Q- What did the Messiah promise in the New Covenant?

A- Christ promised to establish God’s kingdom on earth and to bring us into the kingdom of God, through God, with God and in God.

Q- What response did Christ require?

A- Christ commanded us to believe in him and to keep His commandments.

Q- What are the commandments taught by Christ?

A- Christ taught us the Summary of the Law and gave us the New Commandment.

Q- What is the Summary of the Law?

A- You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Q- What is the New Commandment?

A- The New Commandment is that we love one another as Christ loved us.

Q- Where may we find what Christians believe about Christ?

A- What Christians believe about Christ is found in the Scriptures, in the traditions of the Church, and summed up in the creeds.

The Creeds

Q- What are the creeds?

A- The creeds are authoritative statements of basic statements about God held in common among catholic Christians recited or sung collectively by faith communities to strengthen their identity as one in Christ.

Q- What do we mean we say we believe in God?

A- When we say we believe in God, we affirm our loyalty to God and our trust in God.

Q- How many creeds does this Church use in its teaching?

A- This Church uses two creeds: The Apostles’ Creed, and the Nicene Creed.

Q- What is the Apostles’ Creed?

A- The Apostles’ Creed is the ancient creed of Baptism; it is used to recall our Baptismal Covenant.

Q- What is the Nicene Creed?

A- The Nicene Creed is the creed of the universal Church.

Q- What is the Trinity?

A- The Trinity is one God in three persons, equal to one another in every respect: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, all perpetually present within one another and in the entire universe from the beginning of time.

The Holy Spirit

Q- Who is the Holy Spirit?

A- The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, God omnipresent at work in the world and in the Church even now.

Q- How is the Holy Spirit revealed in the Old Covenant?

A- The Holy Spirit is revealed in the Old Covenant as the giver of life at the beginning of creation, the One who spoke through the prophets.

Q- How is the Holy Spirit revealed in the New Covenant?

A- The Holy Spirit is revealed as the Lord who leads us into all truth and enables us to grow in the likeness of Christ.

Q- How do we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

A- We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation.

Q- How do we recognize the truths taught by the Holy Spirit?

A- We recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit when they are in accord with the Scriptures, the tradition of the Church, and God’s ongoing revelation to humankind.

Q- What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

A- The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.

Q- What is wisdom?

A- Wisdom is the order and harmony of the universe, the subject of an ongoing revelation by God and ongoing discovery by humankind.

Q- What is understanding?

A- Understanding is a profound insight into the characteristics of God and creation.

Q- What is counsel?

A- Counsel is judging correctly what we should do in a particular circumstance.

Q- What is knowledge?

A- Knowledge is the ability to see the circumstances of our life as God sees them.

Q- What is fortitude?

A- Fortitude is determined moral courage against evil.

Q- What is piety?

A- Piety is instinctive affection for God that make us desire to worship.

Q- What is fear of the Lord?

A- Fear of the Lord is a realization of the all-pervading presence of God.

The Holy Scriptures

Q- What are the Holy Scriptures?

A- The Holy Scriptures, commonly called the Bible, are the books of the Old and New Testaments.

Q- What is the Old Testament?

A- The Old Testament consists of books written by the people of the Old Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to show God at work in nature and history. 

Q- What are the books of the Old Testament?

A- The Books of the Old Testament are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah and Malachi.

Q- What is the New Testament?

A- The New Testament consists of books written by the people of the New Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to set forth the life and teachings of Jesus and to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom for all people.

Q- What are the books of the New Testament?

A- The books of the New Testament are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Philemon, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation.

Q- Why do we call the Holy Scriptures the Word of God?

A- The Holy Scriptures, the Word of God addressed to a particular people at a particular time in a particular place, are the Word of God because God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible.

Q- How do we understand the meaning of the Bible?

A- We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures.

Q- What are the Four Senses of Scripture?

A- The Four Senses of Scripture are literal, allegorical, moral, and estachological.

Q- Is scripture literally true?

A- While the events recounted in scripture may or may not have actually happened because its books differ in their kind and degree of accuracy, the meaning of the text contains eternal truth.

Q- What is the allegorical sense of scripture?

A- The allegorical sense of scripture has the persons, places, and events in scripture to acquire spiritual significance so as to reveal the inner truth of words of scripture.

Q- What is the moral sense of scripture?

A- The moral, or tropological sense of scripture conveys its practical usefulness to our lives.

Q- What is the estachological sense of scripture?

A- The estachological, or anagogic, sense of scripture shows its relationship to the final end of time.

The Church

Q- What is the Church?

A- The Church is the community of the New Covenant with its members interdependent on one another existing in a sacramental universe and mediating between God and humankind.

Q- How is the Church described in the Bible?

A- The Church is the People of God, the New Israel, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and the pillar and ground of truth, the Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head and of which all baptized persons are members.

Q- How is the Church described in the creeds?

A- The Church is described as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

Q- Why is the Church described as one?

A- The Church is one, because it is one Body, under one Head, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q- Why is the Church described as holy?

A- The Church is holy, because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, consecrates its members, and guides them to do God’s work.

Q- Why is the Church described as catholic?

A- The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time, based on scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.

Q- Why is the Church described as apostolic?

A- The Church is apostolic, because it continues in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and is sent to carry out Christ’s mission to all people.

Q- What is the mission of the Church?

A- The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ and to proclaim the establishment of God’s Kingdom of justice, peace, and compassion on earth as it is in heaven.

Q- How does the Church pursue its mission?

A- The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, administers the Sacraments, and promotes justice, peace, and compassion.

Q- Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?

A- The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members, without  discrimination as to gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, or any other immutable characteristic.

Q- Is the Church identical with any particular denomination?

A- No, the Church is the body of all baptized believers in Christ, and any congregation of faithful Christians in which the Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments are duly administered, is a true part of the visible Church of Christ.

Q- Does the Church have any visible head on earth apart from Jesus Christ?

A- No, there is no single member of the Church who is the head of the Church (apart from Jesus Christ), nor does any member have universal jurisdiction, nor can anyone speak infallibly regarding any matter of faith or morals, but a unanimous universal council of all bishops can speak with unerring authority.

Q- Who is the model of the Church?

A- Mary, the Mother of God, is the model of the Church through her cooperation with God’s plan of salvation in her assent to the Annunciation, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your Word.”

Q- What is the role of the Church in Christian life?

A-  The role of the Church is the life of a Christian is to provide a community through which persons relate to God; to mediate the relationship between God and humanity; and to sanctify human existence.

Q- What are the Ecumenical Councils?

A- The Ecumenical Councils were seven meetings of bishops of the undivided early Church, before the Great Schism, which defined many of the essential doctrines of the church, particularly those of the Trinity and the Incarnation.  

The Ministry

Q- Who are the ordained ministers of the Church?

A- The ordained ministers of the Church, deacons, priests, and bishops.

Q- What is the ministry of a deacon?

A- The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.

Q- What is the ministry of a priest or presbyter?

A- The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God.

Q- What is the ministry of a bishop?

A- As a successor to the first Apostles of Jesus Christ, the ministry of a bishop is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as apostle, chief priest, and pastor of a diocese; to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the whole Church; to proclaim the Word of God; to act in Christ’s name for the reconciliation of the world and the building up of the Church; and to ordain others to continue Christ’s ministry. 

Q- Are lay persons ministers?

A- All persons became ministers at the time of their baptism.

Q- What is the ministry of the laity?

A- The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to Him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.

Q- What is the ministry of vowed religious?

A- Some Christians, both lay and ordained, are called to deepen their baptismal vows by taking additional vows and living religious lives of prayer, ministry, and witness to Christ.

Q- What is the duty of all Christians?

A- The duty of all Christians is to follow Christ; to pray daily; to diligently read and study the Holy Scriptures; to be aware of and familiar with the history, theology, liturgy and customs of the church; to fast when appropriate; to seek forgiveness of sins; to support the church financially to the best of one’s ability; to come together weekly for corporate worship to receive Holy Communion; and to work and pray for the spread of the Kingdom of God.

Prayer and Worship

Q- What is prayer?

A- Prayer is responding to God, by thought and by deeds, with or without words.

Q- What is Christian Prayer?

A- Christian prayer is response to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Q- What prayer did Christ teach us?

A- Our Lord gave us the example of prayer known as the Lord’s Prayer.

Q- What are the principal kinds of prayer?

A- The principal kinds of prayer are adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, meditation oblation, intercession, petition, and blessing.

Q- What is adoration?

A- Adoration is the lifting up of the heart and mind to God, asking nothing but to enjoy God’s presence.

Q- What is praise?

A- Praise is the proclamation of God’s glory, wonder, strength, and love, done out of love for and faith in God.

Q- Why do we praise God?

A- We praise God, not to obtain anything, but because God’s Being draws praise from us.

Q- For what do we offer thanksgiving?

A- Thanksgiving is offered to God for all the blessings of this life, for our redemption, and for whatever draws us closer to God.

Q- What is penitence?

A- In penitence, we confess our sins and make restitution where possible, with the intention to amend our lives.

Q- What is meditation?

A- Meditation is the quiet opening of one’s heart to God, the movement from words to stillness, without images or thoughts, the simple presence of a living and breathing person at one with the God who is all in all.

Q- What is prayer of oblation?

A- Oblation is an offering of ourselves, our lives and labors, in union with Christ, for the purposes of God.

Q- What is intercession?

A- Intercession brings before God the needs of others.

Q- What is petition?

A- Petition is presenting our own needs, that God’s will may be done.

Q- What is a prayer of blessing?

A- A prayer of blessing asks God to set apart as sanctified ourselves, other persons, and those parts of God’s creation with which we interact.

Q- What is corporate worship?

A- In corporate worship, we unite ourselves with others to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God’s Word, to offer prayer, and to celebrate the sacraments.

Q- Why do we ask the Angels and Saints to pray for us?

A- We ask the Angels and Saints to pray for us because they are our friends, sisters, and brothers in the immediate presence of God in Heaven.

Q- What is the principal act of Christian worship on Sunday?

A- The Holy Eucharist, commonly known as the Mass, the source and summit of the life of the Church.

Q- What are the other common forms of public worship?

A- The Daily Offices, Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline and Stations of the Cross.

Q- What are the common forms of personal devotion?

A- The Our Father, the Doxology, the Hail Mary, the Memorare, the Regina Coeli, the Angelus, the Holy Rosary, and Hail, Holy Queen.

The Sacraments

Q- What are the sacraments?

A- The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.

Q- What is grace?

A- Grace is God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved.

Q- How does God’s grace act on us?

A- By the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills.

Q- How are the sacraments related to our Christian hope?

A- Sacraments sustain our present hope and anticipate its future fulfillment.

Q- What is required for a valid sacrament?

A- The validity of a Sacrament depends on the form, the matter, and the intention of the minister of the Sacrament.

Q- What is the form of a sacrament?

A- The form of a sacrament is its operative words and associated ceremonial actions.

Q- What is the matter of a sacrament?

A- The matter of a sacrament is the operative material as handed down by scripture and tradition.

Q- What is meant by the intention of the minister?

A- A minister of a sacrament shows intent by doing the acts and using the words commonly associated with the particular sacrament.

Q- How do the sacraments operate?

A- The sacraments operate objectively, by the doing of the act.

Q- How many sacraments are there?

A- At least seven of an infinite number.

Q- What are the seven sacraments?

A- The seven sacraments are Holy Baptism, the Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Anointing of the Sick.

Q- Is God’s grace and love limited to the seven sacraments?

A- God’s grace and love come to us in many ways, knowing no boundaries, and is available to all persons in every place and at any time.

Holy Baptism

Q- What is Holy Baptism?

A- Holy Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as children of God and makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God.

Q- What is the outward and visible sign in Baptism?

A- The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which the person is baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Q- What is the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism?

A- The inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God’s family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.

Q- What is required of us at Baptism?

A- It is required that we renounce Satan, repent of our sins, accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and solemnly commit to the Baptismal Covenant.

Q- What is the Baptismal Covenant?

A- The Baptismal Covenant is our indelible and irrevocable promise to God  whereby we affirm our faith as stated in the Apostle’s Creed; that we will continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers; that we will persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever we fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord;  that we will proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; that we will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving  our neighbors as ourselves; and that we will respect the dignity of all God’s living creatures.

Q- Why are infants baptized?

A- Infants are baptized so that they can share citizenship in the Covenant, membership in Christ, and redemption by God.

Q- How are the promises for infants made and carried out?

A- Promises are made for them by their parents and sponsors, who guarantee that the infants will be brought up within the Church, to know Christ and be able to follow Him.

The Holy Eucharist

Q- What is the Holy Eucharist?

A- The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament celebrated in thanksgiving and for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again through the sharing of the Real Presence of His Body and Blood to nourish our souls and strengthen us to effectuate God’s kingdom in our world.

Q- Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?

A- Because the Eucharist makes the sacrifice of Christ present, and unites us to His one offering of Himself.

Q- By what names is this service known?

A- The Holy Eucharist is called the Mass, deriving from the traditional dismissal, “Ite Missa Est”, meaning, “Go, this is the sending out,” emphasizing our obligation as Christians to carry out the Great Commission, while in the Eastern tradition, it is known as the Divine Liturgy.

Q- What is the outward and visible sign in the Eucharist?

A- The outward and visible sign in the Eucharist is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command.

Q- What is the inward and spiritual grace given in the Eucharist?

A- The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people.

Q- How do the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ?

A- By the power of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine retain the physical properties as such, but change in substance to become the Body and Blood of Jesus.

Q- What do we mean by the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?

A- The soul and divinity of Jesus Christ is fully and objectively present in the form of Bread and Wine.

Q- Who may receive Holy Communion?

A- The tradition of the church is that one must be first baptized to do so, but no one is ever refused.

Q- What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?

A- The benefits we receive are the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.

Q- What is required of us when we come to the Eucharist?

A- It is required that we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.

Confirmation

Q- What is Confirmation?

A- Although one becomes a full member of the Church at Baptism, Confirmation is the sacrament in which we express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer.

Q- What is the outward and visible sign of confirmation?

A- The outward and visible sign of confirmation is the laying-on-of hands and anointing with chrism by a bishop.

Q- What is required of those to be confirmed?

A- Those to be confirmed are required to have been baptized, are sufficiently instructed in and have a mature understanding of the Christian Faith, are penitent for their sins, accept Jesus as personal savior, and are ready, willing and able to accept adult Christian responsibilities as set out in the Baptismal Covenant.

Ordination

Q- What is Ordination?

A- Ordination is the Sacrament in which God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit to those being made deacons, priests, and bishops, through prayer and the laying on of hands by bishops.

Q- What is required to be made a Deacon?

A- Candidates for ordination to the Diaconate must be at least eighteen years of age, of good moral character, sufficiently knowledgeable in scripture, theology, and the duties of a Deacon, and be called to serve or plant a particular community.

Q- What is required to be ordained a Priest?

A- To be a Priest, one must first be ordained a Deacon and at least twenty-four years of age; in addition to the studies required for the Diaconate, must be sufficiently knowledgeable in  church history, ethics, liturgy and music, pastoral care, and the relationship of the Christian Faith to the contemporary world; and be called to serve or plant a particular community.

Q- What is required to be consecrated a Bishop?

A- To be a Bishop, one must be a Priest, at least thirty years of age, called by the community to be served, and possess the learning and leadership skills necessary to the Episcopate.

Q- What is the outward and visible sign in Ordination?

A- The outward and visible sign in Ordination is the vows made by the ordinand and the laying-on-of-hands by a bishop herself or himself ordained in the Apostolic Succession.

Q- What is the inward and spiritual grace in Ordination?

A- The inward and spiritual grace of Ordination is the permanent, indelible change by the action of the Holy Spirit to actuate the ministry to which the ordinand is called.

Q- What is the Apostolic Succession?

A- The Apostolic Succession is the ministry of the twelve apostles called by Jesus Christ perpetuated by the serial laying on of hands by bishops on bishops from generation to generation.

Marriage

Q- What is Holy Matrimony?

A- Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which two persons enter into a faithful sacramental union parted only by death with the presence of Christ as the bond of their relationship.

Q- What is the outward and visible sign of Holy Matrimony?

A- The outward and visible sign of Holy Matrimony is the giving and receiving of rings and vows in the presence of an ordained minister who imparts the blessing of the Church on their relationship.

Q- What is the inward and spiritual grace of Holy Matrimony?

A- The inward and spiritual grace of Holy Matrimony is the commitment to love, honor and cherish each other in fidelity and permanency.

Q- What is the purpose of Holy Matrimony?

A- The purpose of Holy Matrimony is mutual love and companionship and parenting of children if the partners are called to, and freely choose, that ministry.

Reconciliation

Q- What is Reconciliation of a Penitent?

A- Reconciliation of a Penitent is the sacrament for an examination of one’s conscience, taking responsibility for one’s failings, receiving God’s forgiveness, and reformation of one’s life to reconcile oneself to God.

Q- What is the outward and visible sign in Reconciliation of a Penitent?

A- The outward and visible sing in Reconciliation of a Penitent is the confession of one’s sins to a priest and receiving absolution.

Q- What is the inward and spiritual grace in Reconciliation of a Penitent?

A- The inward and spiritual grace in Reconciliation of a Penitent is a change in heart towards God and one’s neighbor.

Unction

Q- What is Unction?

A- Unction is the sacrament for the spiritual healing of mind, body and soul.

Q- What is the outward and visible sign of Unction?

A- The outward and visible sign of Unction is the anointing with oil and/or laying on of hands.

Q- What is the inward and spiritual grace of Unction?

A- The inward and spiritual grace of unction is God’s grace is given for healing.

Other Rites and Ceremonies

Q- What are sacramentals?

A- Sacramentals are material objects, things or actions, such as rosaries, icons, statues, holy water, palms, ashes, crucifixes, scapulars, and medals, set apart or blessed to manifest the respect due to the Sacraments, and so to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion.

Q- Is God’s activity limited to liturgies?

A- Liturgies are patterns of countless ways by which God uses material things to reach out to us and do no limit God’s activity in the universe.

Christian Living

Q- How does one live as a Christian?

A- One lives as a Christian when the love of Christ penetrates one’s life as shown by utilizing the fullest potential with which God has endowed us.

Q- What is the guiding principle of all Christian living?

A- The guiding principle of all Christian living is that all human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is fundamental to society.

Q- What is the role of faith in Christian living?

A- Faith leads to trust and confidence that God will always love humanity unconditionally.

Q- What is the role of love in Christian living?

A- Love is the foundation of everything in our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with God.

Q- How does the love of Christ penetrate our lives?

A- The love of Christ penetrates our lives when we imitate Jesus by showing compassion for others; by forgiving others for the wrongs that they have done to us; by relieving the sufferings of others; and by resolving conflicts with other persons without violence or oppression.

Q- How do we utilize the fullest potential with which God has endowed us?

A- We utilize the fullest potential with which God has endowed us by honestly assessing and developing to the maximum our talents to the best of our abilities; by utilizing our resources to further God’s Kingdom; and by developing relationships with others characterized by love and respect.

Q- How do communities practice Christian living?

A- Communities practice Christian living when they place compassion above law; when they respect the rights to freedom and dignity of all persons; when they distribute resources so that none may be in want of the necessities of life; and when they protect their most vulnerable members.

Q- What is the role of forgiveness in Christian living?

A- Forgiveness, the manifestation of mercy towards one who has offended us, is a necessity, not an option, for Christians, as it is commanded by Christ Himself, for as we forgive others, God forgives us.

Q- What is the role of repentance in Christian living?

A- Repentance, the turning of one’s life away from sin and towards God, sets our lives on the paths that lead towards perfecting our relationships with God and others.

Q- What is the role of reconciliation in Christian living?

A- Reconciliation is the restoration of a right relationship between ourselves and God and ourselves and others.

Q- What is mercy?

A- Mercy is compassion, forgiveness, and forbearance.

Q- What is the role of mercy in Christian living?

A- Mercy impels us to develop a deep awareness of the suffering of others leading to a desire to help, leading us to pardon offenses against us, and displaying patience when faced with provocation.

Q- What are the corporal works of mercy?

A- The corporal works of mercy are feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, giving drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, visit prisoners, giving alms to the poor, burying the dead, all of which model how we should treat others as if they were Christ.

Q- What are the Seven Virtues?

A- The Seven Virtues are Faith, Hope, Love, known as the three theological virtues, and Prudence, Temperance, Courage and Justice, known as the four cardinal virtues.

Q- What is Faith?

A- Faith is trust and loyalty based on things seen and not seen.

Q- What is Hope?

A- Hope is the expectation of a good future based on God’s promises of redemption through Jesus.

Q- What is Love?

A- Love is the mutual and unconditional intimacy that characterizes the essence of God’s relationship to humankind.

Q- What is Prudence?

A- Prudence is making appropriate choices.

Q- What is Temperance?

A- Temperance is self-control over those parts of human nature, which, if unrestrained, lead to corruption and destruction.

Q- What is Courage?

A- Courage is going forward in spite of difficulties to reach a chosen and worthy object.

Q- What is Justice?

A- Justice is the reordering of relationships towards full reconciliation between God and humankind and between persons, and the distribution of material things in a manner recognizing human needs.

Q- What is the role of sexuality on Christian living?

A- God intended sexuality is the free expression of love between adult persons in a committed intimate relationship.

The Christian Hope

Q- What is the role of hope for Christians?

A- Hope gives us purpose in living as Christians.

Q- What is the Christian hope?

A- The Christian hope is to become like God and become one with God by living with confidence in newness and fullness of life, awaiting the coming of Christ in glory, and the completion of God’s purpose for the world by the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

Q- What does it mean to become like God and become one with God?

A- To become like God is to acquire God’s traits of love, compassion and justice so that we may participate in God’s divinity.

Q- What do we mean by the coming of Christ in glory?

A- By the coming of Christ in glory, we mean that Christ will come, not in weakness but in power, and will make all things new.

Q- What are the characteristics of the Kingdom of God?

A- The Kingdom of God will bring a universe of compassion, peace, and justice.

Q- What is compassion as found in the Kingdom of God?

A- Compassion is the relief of all suffering as the highest objective of all divine and human activity.

Q- What is peace as found in God’s Kingdom?

A- Peace is a positive and tranquil state of individual and communal life in the presence and power of God brought about by resolving conflicts without resort to evil means.

Q- What is the role of justice in the Kingdom of God?

A-  God desires that relationships among persons be based on love for one’s neighbor with a preference to the most vulnerable.

Q- What do we mean by heaven and hell?

A- By heaven, we mean eternal life in our enjoyment of God; by hell, we mean eternal death in our rejection of God.

Q- What do we mean by purgatory?

A- By purgatory, we mean our growth in grace as we are purified from sin in preparation for the beatific vision of God in eternal life.

Q- Why do we pray for the dead?

A- Believing that life does not end with death, ae pray for the departed because we still hold them in our love, and because we trust that in God’s presence those who have chosen to serve God will grow in God’s love, until they see God as God is.

Q- What do we mean when we say Christ will come again?

A- We believe that Christ will come in glory when the Kingdom of God becomes a reality for all persons.

Q- What do we mean by the resurrection of the body?

A- We mean that God will raise us from death in the fullness of our being, that we may live with Christ in the communion of the saints.

Q- What is the communion of saints?

A- The communion of saints is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise.

Q- What do we mean by everlasting life?

A- By everlasting life, we mean a new existence, in which we are united with all the people of God, in the joy of fully knowing and loving God and each other.

Q- What, then, is our assurance as Christians?

A- Our assurance as Christians is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.