Ask Us Anything



LATEST: What blessing did Fr. Isaac Doucette give to everyone at his first Mass on Corpus Christi weekend?

First, congratulations to Fr. Doucette! May he bless our diocese for many years to come! 

Yes, priests at their very first mass celebrated as a priest may give what the Church calls a Plenary Indulgence. It is a special gift offered by the Church at special times where all of your temporal punishment due to sin is “canceled” or forgiven. (That’s the kind of cancel culture I can get behind!) That would mean that if you died right after receiving a plenary (total) indulgence, assuming you were in a state of grace, you would enter the pearly gates immediately! Otherwise, your soul would go to purgatory to be made pure before going to heaven. Bum bum bum! Just kidding. Purgatory is far from a scary place. It’s a beautiful gift! It’s not part of the question but I’ll just say that a saint once said that the person in purgatory will experience the greatest suffering while experiencing the greatest consolation and hope, and that they will be overjoyed to be there before they enter heaven.

But before you think you’re going straight to heaven after Mass with Fr. Doucette, know that there are conditions that need to be met for a Plenary Indulgence. Those conditions are true sorrow for sin, reception of Holy Communion, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father, and receiving the sacraments of reconciliation (confession), all within a days of each other.

There are a lot of instances where a Plenary Indulgence is offered. Praying the Rosary in a Church or as Family unit, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least half an hour, for the those who receive First Communion or those who assist at the Mass for First Communion, and many more! The conditions above are constants that still must be met for all these instances. With that said, to ask your question, visit God Bless!

-Mitchell Narvasa, Pastoral Associate

Some Christian religions believe drinking alcohol is a sin. Why don’t Catholics think that? Or do they? - Anonymous

When anyone asks me why Catholics seem to drink more than other Christians of other denominations, I always say, “Because Catholics know how to party!” Okay, the answer is much more nuanced than that, but I stand by it!

I will always give the short answer first: No, drinking is not inherently a sin. What “inherently” means here is that drinking is not evil in its very nature. In fact, alcoholic drinks are goods that God created for us to pleasure in. The best proof is the Wedding at Cana when Jesus turned the water in the wine, and the best wine at that! (Boy, I wish I was there to have a drink with Jesus!) 

What is a sin, as you might already know, is drunkenness. Now I know that sometimes you don’t know your limit and you have one too many beers. That’s not necessarily a sin. It’s when drunkenness is the goal and the aim. Drunkenness is when your ability to reason is impaired or thrown out the window.

So why do some believe drinking is a sin? From my experience, many don’t think it’s a sin, but that it’s a gateway to sin. I admire that way of thinking, but to a point. It’s good for the person in AA to think this way, but a person with the virtue of temperance, the virtue where one moderates attraction and balances the use of created goods, doesn’t have to completely avoid drinking alcohol. 

For example, I was addicted to video games. I was so addicted to it that I would play while my wife cleaned the house and took care of the kids. Eventually, I decided to completely stop playing video games. After a while, I decided to play again. Determined to balance my life better, I only play twice a week between 1 to 2 hours with my cousins.

Moral of the story: Exercise temperance and enjoy yourself a beer! Can I get a Witness and an Amen? (This Ask Us Anything article is not endorsed or paid by Fr. Rich’s Cathedral ale. ????)


Why must a child’s godparents at baptism be a man and a woman, rather than two men, or two women? My daughter wants to have her twin 20-year old nephews be godparents of my grandchild. She was told this is against canon law, although I know it has been done. This does not seem a very pastoral approach, especially at a time when we should be thrilled that young parents want to have their children baptized. What is the reasoning behind this arcane and anachronistic rule? - Anonymous

I’m not going to lie, after reading the questions I also thought that it seems like an odd law, but I’ve also come to believe that the Church wouldn’t waste ink adding something to Canon Law if they didn’t have a good reason. After some research, I was humbled. There is a good reason. 

First, without some law in this regard, people would take the liberty to get “creative” with who’s Godparents. Why stop at two Godparents? Why not 3 or 4 or 10? We would need longer paper for those baptism certificates (or a magnifying glass.) Why can’t Joey, Fr. Rich’s dog, be my kid’s Godparent? He goes to Mass more than me! (I say this very lightheartedly. ????) I hope you see my point. Usually laws are written because of liberties taken in the past that have taken away from the true purpose or meaning of an action or institution. This is true even in civil law.

In the case of godparents for the newly baptized, we need to look into what the Church is trying to symbolize by limiting godparents to one godmother and/or one godfather. St. John Paul II coined the term “feminine genius” referring to the unique gift women share with the world and the Church. This implies a “masculine genius” too. These gifts are symbolized in this “law” regarding godparents. Essentially, the Church desires the newly baptized to grow up witnessing the complementarity and the wholeness of a female disciple of Christ and a male disciple of Christ, beyond their own biological parents. So the Church is saying, "one godparent is fine, but if you want two, get the fuller picture of a Christian life!" How beautiful!

Finally, I understand that Canon Law can be direct and dry, but it’s really up to the priests, deacons, and pastoral staff to present these laws in a pastoral manner, hopefully sharing the deeper meaning to these seemingly ambiguous rules.


Are Priests allowed to marry people in locations like vineyards, or do all weddings still have to take place in a church?

Great question! What’s wrong with having such an important event in your life held in beautiful places like a vineyard? Often, these locations are much more aesthetically beautiful and inspiring than many modern church buildings, so I completely understand!

Here’s the short answer: unless there’s an exemption given by the Bishop, which is very rare, Catholic weddings must take place in a parish church. BUT KEEP READING! The reason is truly beautiful, though, not often explained to couples sufficiently.

First, the marital love of husband and wife was created by God to be icons or images of God’s covenantal love for humanity, a love that is free, total, faithful and fruitful. This is why marriage is a sacrament of vocation. It’s meant to be at the mutual service of the spouses and their children, to lead each other to God, the love that never ends. 

Where does God reveal His covenantal love? In the Eucharist! Specifically when Jesus gives His Body and Blood for us on the cross. St. John Paul II calls the Eucharist “the sacrament of the Bridegroom and the Bride”, the Bridegroom being Jesus who gave himself completely to His Bride. The Bride is the Church, us, who receive Him into ourselves during communion at Mass. 

So when spouses profess their vows of faithfulness in a Church, they do so in the same place where Christ the Bridegroom professes and shows his faithfulness to His Bride! It’s the Eucharist that the spouses draw from for strength to love each other selflessly and to give themselves totally to each other, not just by His example, but truly by the free gift of His life in the Holy Spirit. Like most “rules” in the church, this “rule” is meant to defend and protect the sacredness of God’s revelation and the great dignity of man and woman. Thank you Mother Church!

Resources for a deeper dive:

  • Good News about Sex and Marriage by Christopher West
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church starting from Paragraph 1601

(Additional comments beyond the bulletin answer)

I am very encouraged by the questions people are asking. They are all real and legitimate questions. I know that sometimes the questions come from a place of frustration and that frustration is legitimate. I believe the frustration comes from the Church's failure to adequately explain the beauty and richness behind certain teachings. It's like being told there's a fence that we're not allowed to jump over or bulldose, but they never tell us it's because there's a beautiful garden that it's protecting. The Church is the gate in the fence where we can properly appreciate the beauty of the garden. I also believe the frustration comes from a narrative about the Church being "outdated", "old-fashioned", "out of touch", etc. This couldn't be further from the truth. This is not to say that the Church never needed renewal and revival. Thank you Vatican II Council! But what the Church ultimately defends is God's revelation of Himself and God's revelation of us, humanity. Because of sin, we have lost sight of our own beauty and dignity. Christ came to restore that, to open our eyes to the love of the Creator and the dignity of his creature. I should mention that the Church has always in favor of technological and scientific advancements. In fact, the Catholic Church were it's pioneers! But when technology, ideologies, and cultural norms fail to recognize the great dignity of the human person made in the image and likeness of God, then the Church makes "rules" to defend the beautiful creations we are. It's not that the Church wants to make things difficult for people, but that humanity often forgets the deeper purpose and meaning and everything in it, including what it means to be created as male and female, marriage as a covenant of love meant to image the eternal exchange of love in the Trinity, etc. 

So, whenever you do question another "rule", "tradition" or "doctrine", ask it here, and then I'll make sure to offer resources so you can dig deeper. God Bless!

-Mitchell Narvasa
Pastoral Associate



When we pray the “Glory Be”, why and what do we mean by saying "world without end"?

The original latin is “per omnia saecula saeculorum” which means “through all ages upon ages”. “World without end” is an attempt to express this same concept that God’s glory will never fade, never end and will last through every age. Can I get an amen to that?!

Are alligators meat or seafood?

Though this was more a question for Lent, I thought it was a funny one, so I’d like to answer! According to the bible…just kidding! This isn’t a question for scripture but for science! (Not to say the bible and science can’t both aid in discovering the truth…but I digress…) Alligators, though they live in water, are not fish nor seafood. They are reptiles and apparently are very close in taste to chicken! But they are often listed with seafood options, especially in places like Louisiana. With that said, in 2010, the United States Conference of Bishops clarified that the consumption of Alligator on the fridays of Lent is allowed!

I have given up chocolate over lent and am simply saving it to eat during Easter but I have been informed by a non-catholic that this is not allowed and it is a sin to eat chocolate saved during lent. Can you share any light on this? Shall I give that chocolate away or can I keep it till Easter? 

Though I might be too late again for this question, I still answer: Absolutely you can eat chocolate saved up during Lent! This should clear things up. Catholics are obliged to fast and abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as well as to abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent. All other fasts during Lent are personal and optional but strongly recommended. Lent is less about following rules so as to avoid sin but a time of strengthening ourselves, body and soul, through discipline, self-denial, and self-giving modeled perfectly by Jesus Himself. So essentially, since not making a personal/optional fast during Lent is not a sin in the first place, then consuming what you're saving up till Easter is definitely not a sin.  I hope you were able to enjoy your chocolate this Easter!


During our Mission w/ Dcn. Harold Burke-Sivers, he used the word “woke” in his talk. The word is so politicized. Shouldn’t we avoid using it?

If “woke” was a derogatory term only used by one side to slam the other, then I agree that we should avoid using it, but the term “woke” came from the very people who believe themselves to be “woke”. Recently, “woke” has been used in academic circles simply as a means to identify the ideology they are referring to. 

Abortion is also a very politicized and divisive words, but should we avoid using it or talking about it? Of course not. At one point, “slavery” was very politicized and divisive in our country, but that doesn’t mean that the Church should have avoided the word, and I’m glad we didn’t!

But it should be made clear that as Christians, we should condemn the use of the word “woke” to label people or put them in a box, the same way people label others “fascist” or “marxist”. We should engage and critique beliefs, worldviews, ideologies, even political parties, but we must always love the person. Disagree and argue (in the good way) but have a beer after! Label ideas, not people, and that's what Dcn. Harold did. He identified the pervasive worldview in our culture that he was responding to.

I think the more important questions about “wokeness” is what parts of it are compatible with a Christian worldview and what aren’t? Can someone be both Christian and “woke” in both their fullest sense? That’s another answer for another time, but a great place to start is a YouTube video by Noelle Mering called A Christian Response to Wokeness. She does a fantastic job fairly defining the woke ideology is and gives a charitable Christian response.

With that said, people are asking their questions and it is incredibly encouraging! No question is off the table no matter how simple, personal, or controversial, so ask away! 


In the 1st Sunday of Lent's 2nd reading, it read "sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law." (Romans 5:13) What does that mean?

I think a good example is to take a look at the American Wild West. There were no laws, no courts, and little to no government. If someone stole your stuff, they technically didn’t break the law because there was no law prohibiting it. All St. Paul is saying, then, is before the Mosaic Law was formally given, specifically the 10 Commandments, someone who stole something didn’t specifically break or transgress “the Law” because “the Law” wasn’t yet given. St. Paul says a similar thing a chapter before: “where there is no law there is no transgression.” There’s a big “but” here though. Before the Law “...sin was in the world.” Proof? Physical and spiritual death, which is the the rotten fruit of sin, especially original sin. It also doesn’t mean that people didn’t sin against the natural law, the universal law that we all can come to know by natural reason as human beings.

So why did God give us the Law? St. Augustine says it so beautifully and succinctly: ”The Law was given in order that we might seek grace, grace was given in order that we might fulfill the Law”. Before the Law, people settled with the way the world was: power-seeking, oppression, slavery, domination over women, etc. But by the Law, God showed another way. This “way” would be impossible without His help and His life in us. So, He sends His only Son to us so that we might be filled with the grace to fulfill the Law in love, for “ is the fulfillment of the Law.” (Romans 13:10) Where do we receive this grace and life? Primarily, through the celebration of the Eucharist, where Christ gives himself totally to us, body, blood, soul, and divinity. Thank you, Lord, for the Law to know the way, and the grace to walk the way of Life.

-Mitchell Narvasa
Pastoral Associate for Evangelization and Discipleship

Why aren't Priests allowed to marry? They were married in the early church. - Les Lipinski

Fun fact! Priests can be married. Yup! In the Eastern Rite Churches, some priests are married and some convert to the Latin Church as married priests. For that reason, I’m going to pivot this question from married priests to celibacy. Read on and you’ll understand why. 

Celibacy is a vocational call, not just for men but for women too. Jesus referred to this when he mentions people who make themselves “eunuchs” for the sake of the Kingdom (Matt 19:12). Essentially, the Latin Church has decided to ordain priests only among men who have discerned a vocational call to celibacy. The real question, then, is why only celibate men?

Unfortunately today, our understanding of celibacy is mostly negative. Many believe it’s repressive and is a contributor to sexual abuse crisis. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Celibacy is about sexual freedom. You heard that right! Christopher West says it best: “Sexual freedom, as the Catholic Church has always understood, is not the liberty to indulge one’s compulsions; it’s liberation from the compulsion to indulge.” This “freedom” is true even within marriages, but celibacy is a lifelong decision to sacrifice a great good, marriage and sex, for love of Christ and for the sake of the Church. It takes great courage and great love to choose this life, not for your own sake, but for others. It’s a gift and a sacrifice that priests like Fr. Rich have chosen for you! (Thanks, Father Rich!)

On a practical level, St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians recognizes that it’s easier to remain single-minded for Christ and the Church if you are not married. (1 Cor 7:32-34) Because of this, Mother Church continues to desire this for every man serving as priest and bishop, again, for your sake and for mine. 

There’s so much more depth to the beauty and courageous call of the vocation celibacy. I recommend looking up Cor Project: The Joyful Truth of Celibacy.

God Bless!

-Mitchell Narvasa