Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Catholic Q&A: Part 7

What follows are a few short Q&A's that I have recently completed. I do this from time to time when my answer to any one question is not sufficient to warrant a blog post of its own. I get these questions either from the parishioners where I work, the readers of my blog, or whatever happens to be floating around unanswered over at the Catholicism category of WikiAnswers.

For more miscellaneous Q&A's see Parts One -- Two -- Three -- Four -- Five -- Six

What is a paten?

The Catholic Dictionary by Fr. Peter Stravinskas provides the following definition:
“A dish-like sacred vessel used to hold the species of bread and Mass. By custom, the paten was made of gold or silver. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal does allow, however, for other materials, such as “ebony or other hardwoods” to be used in the making of patens — with preference given to those that “do not break easily or deteriorate” (n. 329). Patens should be blessed according to the Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar before they are used.

What is ecumenism?

Again, from the Catholic Dictionary, we read:
“The movement of Christians and their churches toward the unity willed by Christ. The Second Vatican Council called the movement ‘those activities and enterprises which, according to various needs of the Church and opportune occasions, are started and organized for the fostering of unity among Christians’ (Decree on Ecumenism, n. 4).”

What does the white garment in baptism symbolize?

The white garment the person receives is a symbol of new life and of purity. If something is white, it is clean and spotless. So is the soul of the newly baptized clean and spotless, thanks to the sanctifying grace the person has received through the sacrament. This symbolism is very scriptural. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa 1:18). “He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” (Rev 3:5).

What is Vacation Bible School?

Vacation Bible School ("VBS") is typically a week-long program offered during the summer to teach children about their faith in a fun and engaging way. Of course, there is a teaching component, but music, crafts, games, and other fun activities are almost always involved as well. It started out as a Protestant phenomenon in the U.S. in the late 19th century, but Catholic churches soon realized that they too could utilize this format to teach children more about Christ and his Church.

Pax Christi,

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