Catechism of the Catholic Church Vocabulary

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132 vocabulary words from the Catholic Catechism. Used with students in grades 5-8.

Paschal Mystery

The central truth of Christianity; the mystery of the life, death, and resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

Peter

The leader of the apostles; the first pope whose successors are today's bishops

Font

A basin for holding baptismal water in the church

Nun

A name to describe Catholic religious women dedicated to God with vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience

Jesus New Commandment

"Love one another as I love you" (Jn 15:12)

Rectory

The house in which the parish priest lives

Initiation

The process by which an individual becomes a member of the church; includes three sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and eucharist

Apostles Creed

A faithful summary of the faith of the apostles; "The oldest Roman catechism"

Sanctuary

The main area in the church building where the altar is placed

Emmanuel

One of the names given to Jesus in the Bible; it means "God is with us"

Sacristy

A room in the church where the sacred vessels and vestments are kept

Calvary

The name of the hill on which Jesus died

Nicene Creed

A detailed statement of the Christian faith which came from the first two ecumenical councils: Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381)

Decalogue

Another name for the Ten Commandments; the name literally means "ten words"

Francis of Assisi

An Italian saint who embraced poverty and is known for his love of animals

Pentecost

The feast-fifty days after Easter-that celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit on the church

Assumption

The feast day (August 15) that celebrates Mary's being taken body and soul into heaven

Beatitudes

Jesus' "recipe" for happiness given at the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:3-12)

Ascension

The feast that celebrates Jesus' going up to heaven body and soul

Altar

The holy table on which the sacrifice of the mass is offered

INRI

Letters that stand for "Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews" in Aramaic, Greek, and Latin

Annunciation

The feast day (March 25) that celebrates Mary's acceptance of the angel's request that she be Mother of God

Psalm

An Old Testament hymn attributed to king David

Angels

Creatures with intelligence and free will who act as messengers for God in the Bible

Easter

The central Christian feast that celebrates Jesus' resurrection

Temptation

An enticement to do or say somethig we know to be evil

Charity

The greatest of the theological virtues: another name for love

Rosary

A devotion to Mary, the mother of God, consisting primarily of Hail Mary's and Our Fathers and meditation on the joyful, luminous sorrowful, and glorious mysteries

Mother Teresa

A holy nun who cared for dying persons with no place to go and founded the Missionaries of Charity

Apostles

The twelve men chosen by Jesus to be his special followers

Stations of the Cross

The Catholic devotion that walks the journey to Calvary with Jesus

Transubstantiation

The theological term that names the change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ

Eucharist

Communion, breaking of the bread, Lord's Supper, Sacrifice of the Mass, Holy Liturgy, Memorial feast

Abraham

The spiritual father of the Jewish people

Seven Capital Sins

Pride, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth, Wrath

Chrism

Perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop and signifying the gift of the spirit to the one anointed

Immaculate Conception

Doctrine that states that Mary was preserved from original sin

Advent

The church season that prepares for the coming of Christ

Canonization

The official process that certifies sainthood

Sin

A word, deed, or desire contrary to the will of God; an offense against God

Idolatry

Divinizing what is not God; honoring a creature in place of God

Chalice

A cup for the consecrated wine at Eucharist

Triduum

A sacred three-day period in the church that begins with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday and concludes on the evening of Easter Sunday

Atheist

A person who believes that there is no God

Holy Days of Obligation

Days other than Sundays on which the faithful are obliged to attend and participate at mass

Anointing of the Sick

One of the seven sacraments; usually for people who are in danger of death or are experiencing an extended or serious illness

Stole

A long scarf worn over the shoulders of priests and bishops while officiating

Catholic

A word that means "universal"; it is also the name of a major Christian religion

All Saints Day

The church feast on November 1 that honors all saints who have not been canonized

Adoration

The highest form of praise, due only to God

Golden Rule

"Do to others whatever you would have them do unto you"

John the Baptist

The cousin of Jesus and son of Elizabeth

Creed

A formal profession that summarizes the faith of Christians

Gospels

The four books of the Bible that give a record of the life of Jesus; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

Vatican

The city which is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church

Satan

A fallen angel; the prince of devils

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent

Absolution

The prayer of forgiveness spoken by the priest in the sacrament of reconciliation

Sabbath

The weekly day of rest and worship in the Hebrew tradition; replaced by Sunday for Christians

Liturgy

The participation of the people of God in "the work of God" the divine worship

Hell

Separation from God for all eternity by our own free choice; definitive self-exclusion from communion with God

Miter

The pointed hat worn by the bishop

Pope John Paul II

Was the first non-Italian pope in over four hundred years: the pope who shephered the church into the third millennium

Adultery

Sexual relations between two persons, at least one of whom is married to another

Almsgiving

Giving food, money, and clothing to relieve the poor; th giving must be free and done for the love of God

Communion of Saints

Union of the believers on earth, the souls in purgatory, and blessed in heaven, altogether forming one church

Conscientious Objector

One who refuses to serve in the armed forces on grounds of conscience

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Wisdom, courage, right judgment, understanding, knowledge, reverence, wonder and awe in god's presence

Agnostic

A person who claims it is not possible to know if there is a God

Exorcism

A special prayer in which the church, in the name of Jesus, asks that a person be withdrawn from the dominion of the devil

Ruah

A word that means both Spirit and breath; a name for the third person of the trinity

Marks of the Church

One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic

Protestant Reformation

The split in Christianity that began in the sixteenth century in Europe

Ecumenism

The effort to bring about unity among Christian churches

Testament

A word that means covenant or "sacred agreement between God and human persons"

Fornication

Sexual intercourse between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman

Aramaic

A common language spoken in Palestine during the time of Jesus

Parousia

A word that means "arrival" or "presence"; it refers to the second coming of Jesus

Chrismation

Term used in eastern rite churches for the sacrament of confirmation

Actual grace

God's special gift given as we need it to live the Christian life

Ecumenical Council

A gathering of all bishops of the world in order to make solemn decisions for the universal church

Yhwh

The Hebrew letters for the unnameable God

Martin Luther

The German priest who broke from the Catholic church and started a Christian sect named for him

Augustine

One of the Church's great theologians; a church doctor; a saint; son of St. Monica

Catechesis

Passing on the truths of Christianity; the education in the faith

Natural Law

The original moral sense which enables a person to know what is good and what is evil

Faith

The human person's response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to us; the personal adherence of the individual to God

Chastity

The abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of marriage; moral purity in thought and conduct

Monsignor

An honorary title given to a priest to recognize his outstanding service

Ministry

Any form of active Christian service

Charisms

Special graces given an individual which directly or indirectly benefit the church

Synoptic Gospels

Matthew, Mark, and Luke; commonly believed to be derived from the same source; the word means "seeing with the same eye"

Diocese

The geographical region under the leadership of a local bishop called an ordinary

Seal of Confession

The absolute confidentiality required of a priest regarding sins revealed in confession

Conversion

A change of heart; the response of the heart, touched by grace to God's mercy

Logos

Greek word for "word"; one of the names given to the second person of the trinity

Sanctifying Grace

A gift from God that perfects the soul and enables us to live with God and to act according to his call

Envy

One of the capital sins; the desire to obtain another's goods unjustly

Excommunication

Most severe penalty in the church which excludes the person from receiving communion

Consecration

Time in mass when the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ

Hinduism

The major religion of India; characterized by the belief in reincarnation and a supreme being of many forms and natures

Mohammed

The founder of the Islamic religion

Encyclical

A letter from the pope to the entire church

Cardinal Virtues

Prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance

Permanent deacon

A rank of ordination for service in the church which is open to married men

Pentateuch

Greek name given to the first five books of the old testament

Ecclesiology

The study of the church

Pope

The supreme leader of the church; title given to the Caholic bishop of Rome

Apostolic succession

The unbroken chain of authority that extends from the apostles to the bishops of today

Sacramentals

Christian objects, prayers, or blessings that are identified as sacred; for example: the sign of the cross, a crucifix, blessed oils, statues of Saints

Litany

Greek word meaning "to pray"; a Christian form of prayer that includes invocations and responses

Celibacy

A promise to God not to marry or engage in sexual activity

Grace

The human person's participation in the life of God

Paschal Candle

The symbol of the risen Christ that stands in the sanctuary from Easter to Ascension

Passover

A seven-day Jewish festival that recalls how the angel of death "passed over" the Hebrew people and allowed them to escape Egypt

Magisterium

The teaching authority of the church

Pope John XXIII

The pope who called Vatican Council II in 1962 to update the Church.

Infallibility

Special help the Holy Spirit provides to protect the church from error in matters of faith and morals

Exodus

Old Testament book that tells the story of the escape of the chosen people from Egypt

Poverty, Chastity, Obedience

Vows taken by consecrated religious men and women

blasphemy

Words of hatred, reproach, or defiance spoken against God

Calumny or Slander

Remarks contrary to the truth which harm the reputation of another

College of Bishops

Refers to all the bishops of the world together in union with their head, the bishop of Rome

Catechumen

A person who is being initiated into Christianity

Inspiration

The power of the Holy Spirit, working through human authors, to compose the sacred books of scripture

Dorothy Day

Twentieth-century social activist and founder of newspaper The Catholic Worker

Epistle

A Greek word meaning "letter" or "message"; for example: the letters of St. Paul contained in the New Testament

Viaticum

Holy Communion received by dying persons to help them pass over to God in the afterlife

Schism

A separation or division in the church

Incarnation

Theological term that names the mystery that Jesus is both fully God and Fully human

Hope

Theological virtue that allows us to trust and believe firmly in God

Rubrics

forms, directions, and rituals that guide christian service

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