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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.


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


A basin for holding baptismal water in the church


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)


The house in which the parish priest lives


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"


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


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


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


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)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


An Old Testament hymn attributed to king David


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


The central Christian feast that celebrates Jesus' resurrection


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


The greatest of the theological virtues: another name for love


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


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


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


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


The spiritual father of the Jewish people

Seven Capital Sins

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


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


The church season that prepares for the coming of Christ


The official process that certifies sainthood


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


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


A cup for the consecrated wine at Eucharist


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


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


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


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


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


A formal profession that summarizes the faith of Christians


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


The city which is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church


A fallen angel; the prince of devils

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The effort to bring about unity among Christian churches


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


Sexual intercourse between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman


A common language spoken in Palestine during the time of Jesus


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Any form of active Christian service


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"


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The founder of the Islamic religion


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


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


The study of the church


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


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


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


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


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


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


The teaching authority of the church

Pope John XXIII

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


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


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


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


A person who is being initiated into Christianity


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


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


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


A separation or division in the church


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


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


forms, directions, and rituals that guide christian service

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