Ask Father Josh (Your Catholic Question and Answer Podcast)

Praying to the Saints, the Communion Fast, and Confession “Hopping”

July 9th, 2019

Fr. Josh answers questions about why praying to the saints is different from worshiping them, how to remind people about the fast before receiving Communion, and whether it’s OK to go to a different parish for confession (so you don’t have to go to your pastor).

If you have a question, comment, or response for Fr. Josh, email us at [email protected]. You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!

Snippet from the Show
“The word ‘pray’ actually means ‘to ask’. It’s become synonymous with ‘worship’ but that’s not what it means.”


Glory Story (1:46)
One of Fr. Josh’s parishioners recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl! As he was leaving the hospital the women’s youngest son ran up to Fr. Josh thinking he was Jesus.

Listener Feedback (6:51)

Praying to the Saints (11:57)
Fr. Josh, I absolutely love your podcast and haven't missed an episode! I am a cradle Catholic and your podcast, in addition to a few other awesome Catholic podcasts, have helped me to grow in my Faith and my love for Jesus more than I ever thought possible. My husband of 11 years joined the Church at the Easter Vigil in 2018. During RCIA classes, he learned a lot more than what I could have ever begun to tell him about; that being said, he still has a hangup with how we pray to Mary and to the Saints for their intercession for us. During our nightly prayer time, I've attempted to be more intentional with praying to saints for their intercession and have been trying to learn more about various saints. One night, I specifically prayed for our Blessed Mother to help us to parent more like her and to be patient like she was in raising Jesus. After we finished, he said that he wasn't sure it was right that I asked Mary for help. I tried to explain that Mary can only help us through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and not of her own power. I think it was just the language I used during prayer that caused him to hesitate, so my questions are below:

  1. Is there a 'correct' way to pray to Mary or the Saints in such a way that it doesn't seem like we are worshiping them or asking them directly for their help through their own power?

  2. How can we properly explain that when we pray to Mary and the Saints that we are NOT worshiping them? We believe that they are the living Body of Christ in Heaven and they can pray for us and help us just as a member of the living Body of Christ here on earth can, right? Why is this so hard for non-Catholics to understand?

Thanks so much, and may God continue to bless you as you walk with so many of us while we deepen our Faith.

The Communion Fast (22:33)
Hi Fr. Josh! I have a tricky question for you regarding the hour fast before Holy Communion. It surprises me how many people of all ages do not know about this fast. I do understand that this is a fast before Communion and not the start of Mass, but there have been numerous times when friends, acquaintances, and various adults have been eating something or drinking coffee in that "grey area time" (where depending on the Mass length you may not meet the fast) or even a few minutes before Mass. I don't think God is "counting down the minutes" till you have met the hour fast, but I also believe that as Catholics we shouldn't want to cut it close just to eat food. We should be honoring this fast in devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. There have been a few instances where a friend has been about to eat something and out of charity I reminded them about the fast. But I am confused as to when it is right for me to do so and when I should just hold my tongue? Because if these people truly did not know about the fast, it would be good if I told them, but I also don't want to commit a sin by not speaking up when I have the opportunity to kindly remind them about the fast.

Confession “Hopping” (26:59)
Thank you so much for your podcast! It has been so helpful for me. I'm not really sure how to phrase this question, but it's something I've been thinking about lately so here goes.. I am quite involved in my parish now so my parish priests have gotten to know me a lot better than they used to. I have kinda been avoiding going to confession recently because the priests know me personally now, I'm no longer 'anonymous' as such. I would rather go to confession at a different parish (there are others close by) to do a good confession with a priest I don't know. Is this ok or should I just try and 'get over' this fear/embarrassment. I know it's a pride thing on my part, and they would just be happy that I go to receive the sacrament! Anyway I'm wondering what advice you may have on this? How do you do a good confession with a priest you work closely with?? Is it ok to avoid confession at your local parish and go to a different parish? Do you have any advice on how you've managed this in your own life?

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