Frequently Asked Questions
In this section you’ll find more information about our faith. We have also listed some frequently asked questions to help educate and understand church terms and traditions.
How can my faith make a difference in how I live my life?
We are the hands and feet of Christ’s presence in the world. We create culture in partnership with God through Jesus Christ. God’s Spirit takes the initiative. It is God’s love that has flooded over the world, but this love needs people to express it. As St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “Christ has no body now but yours…”
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops page 84)
As a member of the Catholic Church, what am I supposed to do?
The Canadian bishops offer us a five-step method for making a difference in the world:
Be present to the poor, marginalized and oppressed and listen to their experiences.
Understand the economic, political and social structures that cause human suffering.
Judge the situation in light of the gospel and the social teachings of the Church.
Think and act creatively to come up with a vision of the world more in keeping with the kingdom of God.
Act in solidarity with others who are working for justice.
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops – page 230)
What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
This if the official compendium of Catholic teaching. The Catechism looks at the four major areas of Catholic life:
The profession of faith: all of the major beliefs of our faith tradition.
The celebration of the Christian mystery: the sacramental life of the Church.
Life in Christ: how Jesus intended for us to live in our relationships with others.
Christian prayer: how to pray as Jesus did.
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops – page 12)
Click here to link to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
What are sacraments?
Sacraments are effective signs of God’s saving actions in the world through the risen Lord, Christ Jesus. They have been instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church. The purpose of the sacraments is to make us holy, to build up the body of Christ and to give praise and worship to God.
The seven sacraments are:
Anointing of the Sick
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops – page 188)
For more information on the sacraments, click here
Why does the church use symbols when celebrating the sacraments?
The Church has the mission to offer a special type of life and a special type of memory. It brings to memory the event of Jesus Christ and invites us to become part of this. As with all symbols and rites, the Church’s sacraments have a bodily and a spiritual component. Each of the sacraments has something to with our body: touching, washing, anointing, embracing and so on. But it also has words attached to it, words that give these symbols meaning and make these symbols effective. In each sacrament, the words recall memories of what God has done in the past. We call upon the Holy Spirit to come and do for us now what was done for our ancestors. Symbols used in the sacraments include water, oil, bread and wine, rings and the laying of hands (touch).
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops page 45)
What is liturgy?
In the Catholic tradition, liturgy is the Church’s official act of worship. In liturgy, God interacts with us in the various situations of our lives. All liturgical rites use Christian symbols and rites to “retell” or “remember” the person of Jesus, particularly his death and resurrection.
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops page 48)
What is a parable?
A parable is a story that compares something we don’t know with something that we do know. A parable usually has a surprise twist that helps us see things in a new way. Jesus used parables to give us a glimpse of the mystery of the kingdom of God.
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops page 72)
Where do I learn about the stories of creation?
There are two stories of creation in the Bible (Genesis 1.1 – 2.24 and Genesis 2.4-25). These stories are quite different from one another, yet both reveal the truth about our origins. We come from God and are created in God’s love.
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops - page 23)
What are prophets?
Prophets were holy persons in Israel who were spokespersons for God. Because they were close to God through their prayer, they could communicate God’s word through oracles, visions, judgments and symbolic actions. There were many kinds of prophets. But essentially, they were messengers of God amid the Chosen People.
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops - page 60)
I hear the church use the word covenant frequently. What is a covenant?
Originally, covenants were agreements between a ruler and the people. They gave details about the rights and obligations of both parties. The word covenant is used in the sacred Scriptures to express the relationship between God and the Chosen People. A covenant is like an adoption agreement in which God agrees to love, feed, care for and protect the Chosen People. It is best expressed in the scriptural phrase: “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)
(“Christ & Culture” – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops – page 66)
:: top of page