Questions Catholics Ask

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1. How can I get a copy of my Baptism and Confirmation Certificate?

Typically you will need to provide these certificates when starting school, getting confirmed or getting married. If you are asked to be a godparent or Confirmation sponsor, it is possible that you may be asked to provide proof of your own Baptism and Confirmation.

There is no central record held of Baptism or Confirmations. These records are kept only in the parish where the event took place.  

To obtain your Baptism certificate just contact the parish where you were Baptised/Confirmed and request a copy of your certificate. This is a routine request to Catholic parishes all over the world and parishes are used to handling these requests. If you cannot find the one you are looking for then contact the Catholic Enquiry Centre for further assistance.

If you do not know where you were Baptised/Confirmed, it is time to put your detective hat on. If your parents, godparents or other relatives are alive you may need to investigate the combined family memories to discover the detail you are looking for. Perhaps you were baptised at the same church as your brothers or sisters - check with them if they have a record.  Do others recall if you were Baptised soon after your birth or was there a delay of some months/years? Can you work out the year of your Confirmation by recalling what class you were in at school or some other milestone that will help you identify the year.

Once you have identified the parish, contact them and provide your full name, date of birth and approximate date of the Baptism/Confirmation. Also provide the full names of your parents and it may be helpful to include the names of your godparents/sponsor also, if known.

2. Where can I buy Catholic gifts, books, candles, and/or church supplies?

The Catholic Enquiry Centre is often asked about places to purchase Catholic Missals, Prayer books, Bibles, Rosary beads, Spiritual Reading, Catholic Music, Candles, Medals and other Catholic gifts suitable for Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations and other special occasions.

Many of the big city churches/cathedrals and some Catholic parishes provide a service of a "Holy Goods" or a "Piety" stall/shop where a small selection of things like rosary beads, Mass books, medals etc are sold. Where this is available, the opening hours are often restricted to short periods before/after the Sunday Masses, although some attached to cathedrals may be open during the week.  To find your local parish contact details, follow this link to the Dioceses and Parishes of the Australian Church.

Many St Vincent de Paul retail outlets also sell a small selection of religious items. Some Catholic hospitals also have a limited number of items available in the hospital gift shop.

While we cannot endorse one supplier over another below are some links to suppliers across Australia where you may be able to find a gift suitable for the occasion. Many of those listed provide an on-line ordering service.

Code: B: Bibles/Books, C: Candles, D: Devotional items, G: Gifts, M: Music/Media, R: Religious/Church Supplies, S: Stationery/Cards/Certificates, V: Vestments

Business Name & Link

State Code
Abbey Crafts & Books
Benedictine Abbey, 695 Jamberoo Mountain Rd, Jamberoo, NSW 2533. Ph:(02) 4236 1192
Jambaroo Abbey Shop
Archdiocese of Canberra Goulburn Faith Resources Shop Online
Brisbane Archdiocese Gifts and Books
Cardinal Newman Faith Resources
342 Merrylands Road, Merrylands NSW. Ph:(02) 9637 9406
Cathedral Shop
1 Cathedral Place, East Melbourne, Vic 3002. Ph:(03) 9665 2256
Cathedral Store St Mary's Cathedral
St Mary's Road, Sydney, NSW 2000.
Catholic Book and Gift Shop
Farelly House 72 Magellan St, Lismore NSW. Ph:(02) 6627 9340
Catholic Bookshop
Favier House, 51 Cooyong St, Braddon ACT. Ph:(02) 6201 9888
Catholic Supplies Shop
88 Kembla St, Wollongong NSW Ph:(02) 4228 6849
Catholic Weekly on-line Gift Shop, Sydney
Central Catholic Bookshop
322 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000. Ph:(03) 9639 0844
Christian Supplies
12 Railway Terrace, Milton, QLD 4064. Ph:(07) 3367 2909
Church Banners
Kincumber PHONE: 0458 173 088
Church Stores
2nd Floor Dymocks Building, 428 George St, Sydney NSW. Ph: 1800 656 483
Darwin Diocese resources for kids
Evangelisation Resources Down Under
38 Armstrong St, Petrie, QLD 4502. Ph: 1300 729 671
Faith and Life - Catholic on-line Store, Brisbane Ph:(07) 3336 9323
Gatto Christian Shop
108 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill , WA 6060. Ph:(08) 9345 5700
Gifted Memories Faith
Online DGS
John Garratt Publishing, Mulgrave Ph: 1300 650 878
Koorong Christian Supplies
All states
exc NT


Majellan Publications, Brighton Vic. Ph:(03) 9592 2777
Mary Mackillop Gift Shop and Cafe,
Mary MacKillop Place, 7 Mount St, Nth Sydney, NSW Ph:(02) 8912 4894
Mary Mackillop Heritage Centre
Shop 362 Albert St, East Melbourne, VIC Ph:(03) 9926 9300
Mustard Seed Bookshop
3 Keating Street, Lidcombe, NSW 2141 Ph:(02) 9646 9000
Parousia Media
PO Box 33, Belfield, NSW 2191. Ph:(02) 8730 8874
Paul A. Sarks & Son - Pellegrini      Ph: 1300 880747
Pauline Book and Media
150 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW 2000. Ph:(02) 9264 8630
27 Hindmarsh Square,  Adelaide, SA 5000.
7 Denmark Hill Rd, East Hawthorn, VIC 3123. Ph:(03) 9882 3424
Portico Fine Books
1 Jamison St, Sydney, NSW. Ph:(02) 9290 3556
Rockhampton: St Josephs Cathedral Gift & Bookstore
238 Murray St, Rockhampton. Ph:(07) 4921 2170
Rosary Beads Australia (CEC Reader Disc Code: value20) QLD D
St Pauls Publications
35 Meredith Street, Strathfield, NSW. Ph:(02) 9394 3400
St Rita's Catholic Books Ph:(08) 9298 8569
Southern Cross Church Supplies
608 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, VIC Ph:(03) 9818 5166
Sydney Archdiocese - Gifts and resources
Sydney Catholic Books and Resources (CCD)
Level 6, 133 Liverpool St, Sydney, NSW Ph:(02) 9390 5130
The Rite Ceremony
2nd Floor, Dymocks Building, 428 George St, Sydney, NSW. Ph: 1800 656 483
Vinnies Retail Outlets
All States BDGMR
Wagga Wagga Catholic Bookshop
47 Thompson St, Wagga Wagga, NSW Ph:(02) 6937 0003

2. Where is my nearest St. Vincent de Paul (Vinnies)?

Visit the Vinnies website where you can find your local branch.

3. I have been thinking about becoming a priest, what do I do next?

The Vocations Ministry in Australia website has some valuable information to think and pray about.

Applications for the priesthood in Australia are through one of the religious orders or talk to your local parish priest or the Bishop of your Diocese.

4. Where can I find information about Saints for Confirmation?

Information about many saints is available here.

5. Can I see the Pope when I'm in Rome?

I am planning a trip to Rome, and I’d like to know how I go about seeing the Pope?

There are a couple of occasions which you can the Holy Father, if he’s in town (sometimes he is on a pastoral visit or on holiday)

On Sundays at noon, the Pope usually appears at the second window from the right of the Apostolic Palace, to pray the Angelus and bless the crowd in St Peter’s Square. No ticket is required.

Alternatively, you can attend the Wednesday General Audience held in St Peter's Square. In winter the audience is held in the Paul VI Hall accessed just to the left of the Square. Tickets are required for the Audience, but are easily obtained.

The easiest way to get tickets just days before the Wednesday General Audience with the Holy Father is to go to St. Peter's Square, find the Bronze Doors to the Apostolic Palace, and request them from the Swiss Guards. Tickets can also be obtained in advance for a large group or for a Papal Mass. Note: Christmas and Easter Papal Mass tickets are difficult to obtain.

When the Pope is at his summer residence (July and August), the General Audience is held in the Courtyard in the town of Castelgandolfo. He leads the prayer from his study window. Tickets are not required for this event, but at Castelgandolfo (16 miles out of Rome) space is very limited. has all this information and more for booking tickets in advance as well as giving useful information about important and special places and events in Rome.

Best of luck with the bookings, and have a great trip.

6. Where can I find a list of all the Popes?

You can find a listing of all the Popes here.

7. Catholic teaching on moral issues of Euthanasia, Abortion and Reproductive Technologies

Here is one link to some valuable information on the issues of Euthanasia, Abortion and Reproductive Technologies.

8. What are the holy days of obligation?

Every Sunday of the year is a day of obligation.

Additionally, in 2001 the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference reviewed the holy days of obligation to be observed in Australia.
In addition to every Sunday, there are two holy days of obligation in Australia.

  1. The Nativity of the Lord - Christmas Day  - December 25
  2. Assumption of the Virgin Mary - August 15

9. Why do Catholics not eat meat on Fridays?

The tradition of not eating meat Fridays is a response to the call for all Catholics between the age of 14 and 59 to do Penance.

Looking at Church law - in terms of Friday abstinence from meat we find in Canon 1251 "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday".

The Episcopal Conference in Australia is the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference has not restricted our penance to fast and abstinence in all cases, it has left room for our own responsible choice. Where we make the choice, we should carefully select the form of penance that we consider most appropriate for our own circumstances and growth in the Christian life.


  1. Rules for Lent follow in (a), (b), and (c).
  2. Abstinence from meat, and fasting, are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  3. On all other Fridays of the year the law of the common practice of penance is fulfilled by performing any one of the following:

    (a) prayer – for example, Mass attendance; family prayer; a visit to a church or chapel; reading the Bible; making the Stations of the Cross; praying the rosary.

    (b) self-denial – for example, not eating meat; not eating sweets or dessert; giving up entertainment to spend time with the family; limiting food and drink so as to give to the poor of one’s own country.

    (c) helping others – for example, special attention to someone who is poor, sick, elderly, lonely or overburdened.

In terms of Fasting and Abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. All who have completed their eighteenth year and have not yet begun their sixtieth year , i.e. aged 18 to 59, are bound to fast. All who have completed their fourteenth (aged 14 and over) year are bound to abstain.

So the focus is not so much about not eating meat, but more about doing some kind of Penance either through prayer, self-denial or helping others.

10. I am going on holidays, where can I find Mass times around Australia and overseas?

Many parishes have websites which provide location and contact details as well as Mass times.


Start by going to Dioceses and Parishes of the Australian Church, then choose the Diocese you are travelling to. In most cases, you will be able to search for and find a parish in the area you are looking for and you will be able to locate their Mass times. Alternatively, you can phone the parish office or contact us for further assistance.


Mass times for Catholic churches around the world.

Mass times in the United States.

It is often wise to verify this information when you arrive.

11. Can I watch Mass on TV or the Internet?

Many Australians who are unable to get to Mass find that the TV "Mass for you at home" is a great consolation. It is broadcast across most capital cities and many regioanl areas of Australia on Digital Channel 11 at 5.30 - 6.00a.m on Sunday mornings.

You may be pleased to know that there are a couple of alternatives.

Aurora Channel on Foxtel Digital Broadcasts Mass for you at Home on Saturdays and Sundays at 10-10.30am.

Here is a link to some information about Mass for You at Home:

Broken Bay Diocese provides a live streamed Mass on most mornings at  9.30 depending on the day.

Another streamed Mass from Boston.

Have you made arrangements to have Holy Communion brought to your home or residiential care facility? Many parishes have someone who volunteers to carry out this important ministry for those who are no longer able to attend Mass in their local parish. This is  sometimes weekly and sometimes less frequently. If you need contact details for a specific parish so you can make these arrangements, visit your Diocesan website where, in most cases, you will find a list of parishes within the Diocese.

12. Where can I find the Mass and Office readings for the day?

The current Lectionary used in Australia appears to draw from a combination of sources in including the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and the Jerusalem Bible.  The USA uses a different translation.  You can find the Readings, used in Australia on several websites and smartphone apps, including:

13. What are the Ten Commandments, and where did they come from?

The Ten Commandments are recorded in the Bible in Exodus 20:2-17 and also in Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

A comparison of the two versions can be found here.

14. Traditional Catholic Prayers

The words of a good selection of some traditional catholic prayers can be found on the following websites:

Archdiocese of Melbourne

Diocese of Sandhurst - Adult Faith Education

15. Is it possible to be a Christian in every day life?

This is a question which has been asked since the first generation of Christians. St James wrote in his epistle, "What is the good of a man's saying he has faith, if he has no good deeds to show?.... Show me your faith without any good deeds, and I will show you my faith by my good deeds." (James 2:14ff )

If our faith is merely a matter of intellectual assent to a list of religious propositions, it is much less than the Lord calls us to. If we sincerely believe in the fact of Christ's resurrection, however, we are able to bear the Cross with real serenity and dedication. The Cross will make itself felt in the different circumstances of our lives. It is by uniting our lives with Christ that they are given a real spiritual meaning.

We are also called upon to use the gifts that God has given us, and to offer them up for God's greater glory. We must demonstrate, too, the kind of selfless love that the Lord spoke about and exemplified, such as in the parable of the Good Samaritan. And we must forgive as the Lord forgives, such as in the parable of the Prodigal So

There is no better way of making our everyday lives radiant with Christian love and compassion than by a commitment to regular daily prayer. Rather than seeing one's life and work as separate from one's spirituality, it is important for a Christian to bring all that he or she does in life to the Lord in prayer.


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