Why is the 6:15am Mass in the chapel rather than the big church?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  04/30/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Our church seats 1400 people. Our typical 6:15am daily Mass has between 20-30 congregants, who generally space themselves out as much as possible. Put these two things together, and it means that when the morning Mass meets in the church, it can feel empty and distant, and the presiders often have a difficult time seeing the faces or hearing the responses of the congregants.


What is Tertianship? Why do the Jesuits have this step of formation?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  04/23/2023  |  Why do we do that?

There are five stages of formation for Jesuits. The first is the Novitiate, which lasts for 2 years, wherein men experience the Spiritual Exercises (the 30 day silent retreat), study the constitution of the Society of Jesus, as well as its history and traditions, and go through a series of “experiments” where novices experience the life of prayer and service as a Jesuit. At the end of the novitiate, if approved by the provincial, novices take first vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, and become members of the Society of Jesus.


Why do we wave palms on Palm Sunday?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  04/02/2023  |  Why do we do that?

The procession of palms is an ancient tradition from many different cultures. People would line the streets waving palms to greet a ruler when they came to the city, or to hail a victorious general returning from battle. Palms and laurel branches were symbols of goodness and victory. Thus, when Jesus entered into Jerusalem before his Passion, the people of Jerusalem were continuing this ancient form of praise.


What is purgatory? Why do Catholics believe in it, rather than just heaven and hell?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  03/26/2023  |  Why do we do that?

From the foundations of Christianity, there was a belief that there were two options for the afterlife – the reward of Heaven for the just, and the pains of Hell for the unjust. And while these concepts are clear in the Gospels and easy to understand, there wasn’t much specific instruction for who goes where, other than the judgment scenes found in Matthew (24), Mark (13), and Luke (21) – “whatever you did for the least of my people, that you did to me.”


Q. What are the stations of the cross? Why does every Catholic church have a set?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  03/19/2023  |  Why do we do that?

The stations of the cross originate in the Via Dolorosa – or the path that Jesus walked from his condemnation to the crucifixion. Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem would recreate this path as they journeyed from site to site. When the Franciscan were given official custody of the holy sites in Jerusalem in the 13th century, they established a specific route with designated locations for prayer.


Why don’t we sing the Gloria or the Alleluia during Lent?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  03/12/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Alleluia in Hebrew means “Praise God!” And obviously, the words of the Gloria come from the song of the angels at Christmas when they proclaim “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of good will!” Both songs, therefore, are expressions of joy – the celebration of God’s saving work and the proclamation that the Kingdom of God is at hand here in our Church, even as we await the Kingdom of Heaven which is our Christian reward. The Kingdom is already here, even though we have not yet seen it in its fullness.


Q. What is fasting? What is abstinence? Why Fridays?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  03/05/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent are “obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics.” But what do these terms mean?


Q: Why do we mark our foreheads with ashes at the beginning of Lent?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  02/26/2023  |  Why do we do that?

From ancient Hebrew tradition, people marked their sorrow and repentance by putting on sackcloth and smearing their face with ashes. They were seen as a public display of humility – of rejecting all that society found attractive or valuable. The wearing of ashes became a sign to others that you not only felt sorrow in your heart, but wanted to be held publicly accountable for one’s sins.


Q: What is a scapular? Why do people wear them?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  02/19/2023  |  Why do we do that?

The scapular, which derives its name from scapulae, the Latin word for “shoulders,” was originally a long, rectangular apron which hung from the shoulders (rather than being tied at the waste). This garment had the practical function of protecting the monks’ habits from the dirt and grime of their daily work, but over time became a visual symbol of their devotion and piety.


Q. What is a crucifix? How is it different than a cross? Why do Catholics usually prefer crucifixes?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  02/12/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Most simply, a crucifix is a cross that has the body of Jesus depicted on it. Both the cross as symbol and the crucifix have their origins in the 4th century. Prior to the Edict of Milan in AD 313, Christianity was illegal, and Christians had to use a variety of secret symbols or letters to communicate with one another, because to openly wear or carry a cross or image of Jesus was to invite arrest or even execution.


Why does everyone have to come all the way forward for communion? Why don’t we have Eucharistic Ministers halfway back in the church like we used to?

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  02/05/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Many Catholics in virtually every liturgical context prefer to sit in the back of the church. People have many reasons for doing so. Some are devotional: it can be a sign of humility, or sometimes people sit near an image or statue to which they are particularly devoted. Sometimes its practical – people who have mobility issues, or who want to avoid the direct air conditioning, or think it’s too loud in front or simply arrive late to Mass.


Why does Eucharistic Prayer II say

by Fr. George Teodoro, S.J.  |  01/29/2023  |  Why do we do that?

This phrase comes in the context of the epiclesis, which is the part of the Eucharistic Prayer which calls down the Holy Spirit to initiate the process of transubstantiation – that is, transforming the simple gifts of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.


Why We Do That - January edition

01/01/2023  |  Why do we do that?

Why is January 1st a holy day of obligation?

From the earliest days of the Church, January 1st has been set aside as a feast day, but we haven’t always agreed on what we’re celebrating.  For all major feasts, the Church celebrates the “octave” – the eight days or full week after the holy day itself.  January 1st completes the octave of Christmas, and was initially celebrated for this reason alone.

During the 4th century, the role of Mary in process of salvation was hotly debated.  At the Council of Ephesus (AD 431), the title Theotokos, or “Bearer of God” was agreed upon, which both affirms Mary’s unique dignity among women, while distinguishing that she herself is not divine.  To proclaim this theological truth, the Church created a special feast day for Mary, Mother of God on January 1st.  By the 7th century, however, other Marian feasts, especially the Annunciation (March 25th) and the Assumption (August 15th), surpassed the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in popularity, and gradually the feast day fell out of favor.