Do souls or spirits have a shape or form? How will we notice and recognize our loved ones who have gone before us?
— Roger in Edwardsville

Thank you for asking this important question, and indeed it is an important question to answer since it relates to our relationship with Jesus Christ and his relationship to us.

 “Oh my God!” What’s wrong with saying that?

Does the Catholic Church believe that innocent babies that have not been baptized yet will go to limbo and not to Heaven upon their deaths?
— Anonymous in the diocese

I have two adult children, both of whom were raised Catholic. They are good, loving and kind yet neither believe in Jesus these days. If I am lucky enough to be admitted to Heaven how could I possibly be joyful in eternal life if my children aren’t there?
— Nancy, from Springfield

What is the anointing of the sick? Is it only used when someone is about to die?
— Anonymous in Coles County

Do I, how do I, approach and give alms to all those men and women on street corners with “homeless” signs? I am so conflicted.
— Bill from Springfield

While I understand that God does not need our prayers, my confessor assured me that I still need to say them. While I believe this, will you explain in greater detail why this is true?

— Paula in Springfield

Can a godparent be replaced? My sibling is godparent to two of my children and has done something terrible to me and my family and we no longer have a relationship and wondered if it is possible to make a change?
— Anonymous in our diocese

Sunday, 13 December 2020 12:50

Hey, Father! I’m afraid to die.

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“Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” I remember hearing the chorus of a song with these words and they often come to mind when I consider the topic of death. Nobody will disagree that we will only be admitted to Heaven after we die, and while the prospect of being in Heaven is appealing, the getting there is not. Why are we so afraid of dying? To be sure, there are many reasons, and in this article, I would like to briefly address a few of them. Before I do so, let me first share some encouraging words from Our Lord himself.

Some states have “dying with dignity” laws. Can you please explain the Catholic Church’s teaching on physician assisted suicide?

What does the church teach about physics, mediums, tarot cards, and Ouija boards?

I am considering donating my body to medical science following my death and then having the remains cremated for eventual burial. What is the Catholic Church’s position regarding these procedures?
— Diana in Petersburg

Hey, Father! How can I turn everyday problems into moments of grace?

— Drew in Springfield

Sunday, 04 October 2020 16:55

Hey Father! Can I have both fear and faith?

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Can I have both fear and faith?

— Amber in Springfield

 A recent column concerning divorce and declarations of nullity of marriage prompts this question: What about a practicing Catholic who divorces, has the prior marriage declared null, and then marries a divorced non-Catholic who decides they aren’t ready/comfortable with submitting the past marriage to a Catholic legal process? Is the Catholic still able to participate in the sacramental life of the church?

— Anonymous in our diocese

What happens if the Eucharist touches the floor?
— Maria Anna in Jacksonville

Whether through simple inattentiveness or by way of a genuine accident, it sometimes happens that a consecrated Host falls to the ground or that a chalice with the Precious Blood is dropped or spilled. In such a situation, what is one to do?

After absolution during confession and have completed our penance, are we completely sinless at that time and point?

— Mike in Ramsey

How does a person know they have committed a sin of gluttony? If a person is satisfied after a first helping of food and eats a second helping because the food tastes good is that gluttony?

— Ellen in Springfield

Why do Catholics baptize infants? Why can’t the child grow up and decide for himself or herself?


I read with great interest the new assignments for many of our priests in our dioceses (effective July 1), along with the titles: dean, parochial administrator, pastor, rector, parochial vicar and pastor emeritus. It’s all “Father” to me. Would you please explain these different titles and responsibilities?

— MaryBeth in Pittsfield

The Glory Be prayer is hundreds of years old. The author did not know that the world will end when the sun goes nova in a few billion years, reducing earth to a burnt-out cinder. The last line is “world without end.” Why don’t they change it to maybe “heaven without end”?

— Tom in Granite City

In the Creed we recite, “He rose again from the dead.” This seems to indicate that he rose before? Can you clarify?

— David in Jacksonville

Sunday, 31 May 2020 14:56

Hey Father! Can Catholics practice yoga?

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Can Catholics practice yoga?

— Tessie in Effingham

 Why do Catholic churches have the “crucified Christ” on the cross versus the “risen Christ?”

Carol from Petersburg

Why do I have to go to Mass every Sunday?

It’s eerie, in a way, to be sitting out on my porch with the smell of freshly mown grass and the sight of flowering trees and look across at an empty church parking lot as we make our way through the coronavirus pandemic. I’ll be honest, it feels a little weird to be writing about why we have to go to Mass every Sunday when the faithful are not able to come to Mass! I’ll still answer the question, but I wanted to be authentic about the approach and wonder if the context may even allow for a deeper, or at least unique, perspective.

I want to go to confession, but I can’t due to the coronavirus. What is this I hear about making a perfect contrition?

Why do Catholics eat fish on Fridays and when did this start?
— Stan in Liberty

Please clarify the Catholic Church’s position on divorce. I had been taught as long as I remained unmarried after being divorced, I was still in good standing with the church, and could continue to receive the sacraments. I was recently researching mortal sins, and saw an article saying annulment was “permitted” by the church, but not divorce. I would sure appreciate clarification.

— Anonymous in our diocese

Why do the altar boys/girls stand on each side of the priest holding a candle now during the homily?

—Teresa in St. Elmo

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