Words About God

  • The Father - The Creator of the world and the first person of the Trinity.
  • Jesus - The Son of God and our Friend. The second person of the Trinity.
  • The Holy Spirit - The third person of the Trinity
  • The Trinity - The bond of love among the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit - a community of Divine Love. Three in One.
  • Mary - The Mother of Jesus, Mary is someone who helps us be closer to God.

People in the Church

  • Priest - A person who represents Christ for us in the Church. He leads at Mass and hears our Confession. When he speaks the words of Absolution, he speaks for Christ to us.
  • Deacon - Deacons serve the parish by giving their time and by helping with parish work.
  • Christians - Everyone who is baptized is a Christian, even if they are not all Catholics. Many Catholics in the parish work to help us learn, grow, and pray.
  • Sisters & Brothers - These are special people who have committed their whole lives to the church and who help us.

Special Words

  • Sacrament - A sign of God's love. We can't see God, but in every Sacrament there are actions, words, or things that we can see, which help us be closer to God.
  • Baptism - In this Sacrament, we enter the Church as young members and it is the chief Sacrament in which our sins are forgiven.
  • Grace - God's life within us. It is a free gift from God and we do not earn it. It is the power that we have to choose love to do good and avoid evil.
  • Prayer - When we talk with God and listen to how God speaks in our hearts. When we pray, we stop what we're doing and turn our hearts to God. Our prayer life always flows from the Eucharistic celebration at the heart of the Church’s liturgy, drawing us closer to Jesus.

Eucharist & the Mass

General Terms

  • Altar - The special table in church which we use at Mass.
  • Bread of Life - The day after Jesus fed 5,000 people starting with just five loaves of bread and two fish, he told the people who were trying to understand who he was, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (Jn 6:35)
  • Chalice - The special cup that holds the wine which becomes Jesus
  • Consecration - The very center of the Eucharistic Prayer, when the Priest repeats the words from the Last Supper and the Bread and Wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • Eucharist - Refers both to the sacrament in which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ and the entire Mass. The Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life." All sacraments, ministries, and works of the Church are bound up and oriented to the Eucharist” (No. 1324).
  • Holy Communion - The bread and the wine after it is changed into Jesus’ Body and Blood. Also referred to as the Eucharist.
  • Host - A special wafer of bread used at Mass.
  • Lamb of God - A title for Jesus. The ancient Israelites often sacrificed lambs as a sign of thanksgiving or repentance. On the night that they escaped from slavery in Egypt, they put some blood of a sacrificed lamb on their doorposts so that death would pass over their house. To refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God reminds us that his death saves us.
  • Last Supper - The final meal Jesus had with his friends, just before he sacrificed himself for us on the Cross.
  • Living Bread - Jesus referred to himself as “the living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn. 6:51) after he multiplied five loaves of bread into enough food to feed 5,000 people.

Parts of the Mass

  • Penitential Rite - In the first part of Mass, when we say we are sorry for our sins.
  • Liturgy of the Word - Approximately the first half of the Mass is made up of the Liturgy of the Word. It centers around the “Word” in the sense that it focuses on readings from scripture (sometimes called “the Living Word”) as well as the homily
  • Gospel reading - When we read from the stories about Jesus found in the Bible.
  • Homily - When the priest explains the readings to us.
  • Offertory - When we offer the bread and wine, money, and ourselves to God during Mass.
  • Liturgy of the Eucharist - The second half of the Mass which follows the Liturgy of the Word. It primarily includes the Eucharistic Prayer.
  • Eucharistic Prayer - A special prayer used only at Mass to consecrate the bread and wine which become the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • Sign of Peace - When we make a gesture to say we are at peace with others before receiving Holy Communion.
  • Final Blessing - What the Priest gives us just as Mass is ending, to help us be strong for the week ahead.

Technical Terms

  • Anamnesis - A term for "remembrance," as in when we remember/memorialize the death and Resurrection of Jesus and look forward to his second coming at every Mass during the Eucharist Prayer.
  • Anaphora - The Eucharistic Prayer at Mass. This is the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration the priest proclaims from the altar in dialogue with the congregation.
  • Epiclesis - The prayer the priest prays asking God to send the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood.
  • Eternal High Priest - In Jesus’ time, the High Priest was an intercessor between God and the people. One of his main roles was to offer sacrifices and gifts to God on behalf of the people. In offering his life for us, Jesus became the Eternal High Priest, reconciling us to God.
  • The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - We refer to the Eucharistic Liturgy in this way to reflect the reality and sacredness of the Mass itself.
  • Memorial of Christ's Sacrifice - In Greek term that our word "memorial" comes from means not just remembering something from the past, but remembering it in a way that makes it present now. In celebrating the Eucharist, we participate in a memorial of Jesus’ sacrifice.
  • Paschal Banquet - Paschal comes from a Hebrew word meaning "Passover." The Last Supper was a Jewish Passover meal, so the Paschal Banquet is a remembrance of that meal and a celebration because Christ makes present his Passover again.
  • Transubstantiation - The change in substance from bread and wine into Jesus’ Body and Blood, even though the form still looks the same.

Things We Find in the Church Building

  • Tabernacle - A container that holds the Eucharist previously consecrated at a Mass. It is kept here so it can be taken to the sick or dying during the week and so we can pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Holy Water - Blessed water. When we use it we remember that we are baptized.
  • Candles - We light candles at church when we celebrate together as a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the World.
  • Reconciliation Room - A small room within the church where we go to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Also called a confession room or confessional.
  • Stole - A long piece of fabric that a priest wears over his shoulders as a reminder that he represents Jesus.