The general term apostle means “one who is sent” and can be used in reference to any missionary of the Church during the New Testament period. In reference to the twelve companions chosen by Jesus, also known as “the Twelve”, the term refers to those special witnesses of Jesus on whose ministry the early Church was built and whose successors are the bishops.
Also known as a congregation, it is a community of believers gathered for worship as the Body of Christ.
The collection of Christian sacred writings, or Scriptures, accepted by the Church as inspired by God and composed of the Old and New Testaments.
Another name for the Eucharist, especially for the consecrated bread and wine when reserved in the tabernacle for adoration or for distribution to the sick.
One who is preparing for full initiation into the Catholic Church by engaging in formal study, reflection and prayer.
The person who oversees any act of public worship. In a Eucharistic Liturgy or Mass, the celebrant is always an ordained priest.
From a Latin word meaning “ to separate or to distinguish between,” it is the practice of listening for God’s call in our lives and distinguishing between good and bad choices.
A follower of Christ. Based on a word for “pupil” or “student”, used both to designate those who learned from and followed Jesus in New Testament time ( the disciples) and those who commit themselves to follow Him today.
The day on which Christians celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead; considered the most holy of all days and the climax of the Church’s liturgical year.
Also called the Mass or Lord’s Supper, and based on a word for “thanksgiving,” the central Christian liturgical celebration; established by Jesus at the Last Supper.
“ The Good News” of the revelation of God in and through Jesus Christ, proclaimed initially by Him, then by the Apostles, and now by the Church; also refers to first four books of the New Testament that focus on the person, life, teachings, death and Resurrection of Jesus.
The free and undeserved gift of God’s loving and active presence in the universe and in our lives.
Another name for the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Blessed Water used in ritual sprinkling or when making the Sign of the Cross as a reminder of Baptism.
The gift of the Holy Spirit to the whole Church by which the leaders of the Church – the Pope and the bishops in union with him – are protected from fundamental error when formulating a specific teaching on a matter of faith and morals.
The process by which a nonbaptized person is prepared to become a full member of the Church. The three Sacraments of Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
The Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, who took on flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus in Hebrew means “ God saves” and was the name given the historical Jesus at the Annuciation.
Christ, based on the word for “ Messiah,” meaning “the anointed one,” is a title the Church gave Jesus after his full identity was revealed.
The reign or rule of God over the hearts of people and, as a consequence of that, the development of a new social order based on unconditional love.
All members of the Church, with the exception of those who are ordained. The laity share in Christ’s role as priest, prophet, and king, witnessing to God’s love and power in the world.
The liturgical season of forty days that begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with the celebration of the Paschal Mystery in the Easter Triduum.
The name given to the official teaching authority of the Church, whose task is to interpret and preserve the truths of the Church revealed in both the Scriptures and Tradition.
Another name for the Eucharist. Based on the Latin word missa, meaning “to be sent,” refers to the Dismissal in which worshippers are to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”
The twenty-seven books of the Bible written during the early years of the Church in response to the life, mission, death and Resurrection of Jesus; also, another name for the New Covenant established between God and humanity by Jesus.
The formal statement or profession of faith commonly recited during the Eucharist.
The forty-six books of the Bible that record the history of salvation from Creation, through the story of ancient Israel, and up to Jesus; also refers to the Old Covenant established between God and the people of Israel in God’s encounter with Moses on Mount Sinai.
A specific community of believers, commonly but not always defined geographically, whose pastoral and spiritual care is guided by a priest or other leader appointed by a bishop.
Based on a word for “father,” the successor of Saint Peter and Bishop of Rome, who holds the office of the papacy. Often called the Holy Father.
The passage of Jesus from death to life on the third day after his Crucifixion; the heart of the Paschal Mystery and the basis of our hope in the resurrection of the dead.
God’s self-communication and disclosure of the divine plan to humankind through creation, events, persons and, most fully, Jesus Christ.
In Catholic life and worship, the seven efficacious signs of God’s grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. (The sacraments are efficacious in that they bring about the spiritual reality they signify.)
Generally, the term for any sacred writing. For Christians, the Old and New Testaments that make up the Bible and are recognized as the Word of God.
The receptacle in a church in which the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist are reserved for Communion for the sick and dying; sometimes the focus of private and communal prayer and adoration.
In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, this is the name given to the action of changing the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
An action that shows deep reverence for something sacred. For example, on Good Friday, individuals in the assembly venerate the Cross by bowing before or kissing it.
Adoration of God, usually expressed publicly in the Church’s official liturgy, as well as through other prayers and devotions.