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Program terms and definitions, with audio.

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A

absolution

words spoken by the priest during the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation to grant forgiveness of sins in God's name

Annunciation

the Angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she was called to be the Mother of God

Assumption the teaching that after her earthly life, Mary was taken into Heaven body and soul, to be with Jesus

B

beatification the second step in the process of becoming a Saint, in which a venerable person is recognized by the Church as having brought about a miracle through his or her prayers of intercession
Blessed Sacrament the Holy Eucharist, especially the Body of Christ, reserved in the Tabernacle
Body of Christ a name for the Church of which Christ is the head. All the baptized are members of the body.
Book of Gospels the book containing the Gospel readings from which the priest or deacon proclaims the Gospel during Mass

C

canonization

a declaration by the Pope naming a person a Saint. Canonized Saints have special feast days or memorials in the Church's calendar.

Cardinal Virtues

the four principal moral virtues— prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude—that help us live as children of God and from which the other moral virtues flow. We strengthen these good habits through God’s grace and our own efforts.

catechumen

a "learner," or person preparing to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation

Communion of Saints everyone who believes in and follows Jesus: people on Earth, and people who have died and are in Purgatory or Heaven
confession another name for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation; an essential element of the Sacrament when you tell your sins to the priest
Confirmation the Sacrament that seals us with a special outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, deepens the grace of Baptism, and strengthens us to give witness to Christ in the world
consecrated religious life a state of life lived in community and characterized by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
consecration the part of the Eucharistic Prayer in which the priest prays the words of Jesus over the bread and wine, and these elements become the Body and Blood of Christ
contrition being sorry for your sins and wanting to live better
conversion

the continual process of becoming the people God intends us to be through change and growth. It is a response to God’s love and forgiveness.

Corporal Works of Mercy

actions that show care for the physical needs of people

covenant

a sacred promise or agreement between God and humans

Creed

a formal statement of what we believe about the Holy Trinity and the Church. The word creed comes from the Latin for "I believe."

D

deacon an ordained man who serves the Church by assisting in the Eucharist, baptizing, witnessing marriages, and doing works of charity
Divine Revelation the process by which God makes himself, and his plan for humans, known to us

E

eternal life life forever with God for all who die in his friendship
evangelization giving witness to the faith by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus to the world through words and deeds in a way that invites people to accept the Gospel

F

faith

the theological virtue that makes it possible for us to believe in God and the things that he has revealed to us. Faith leads us to obey God. It is both a gift from him and something we choose.

free will the God-given freedom and ability to make choices. God created us with free will so we can have the freedom to choose good.
Fruits of the Holy Spirit the qualities that can be seen in us when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts

G

Gifts of the Holy Spirit seven powerful gifts God gives us to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and live the Christian life. We are sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation.
grace

God’s free, loving gift of his own life and help to do what he calls us to do. It is participation in the life of the Holy Trinity.

H

Heaven

the full joy of living eternally in God’s presence

Hell

eternal separation from God because of a choice to turn away from him and not seek forgiveness

holy unique and pure; set apart for God and his purposes
Holy Trinity the mystery of one God in three Divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

I

Incarnation

the mystery that the Son of God took on human nature in order to save all people

infallibility a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church by which the Pope and the bishops in union with him may declare definitively that a matter of faith or morals is free from error and must be accepted by the faithful

K

Kingdom of God

God's rule of peace, justice, and love that exists in Heaven, but has not yet come in its fullness on Earth

L

laity

all the baptized people in the Church who share in God's mission but are not priests or consecrated sisters or brothers; sometimes called lay people

liturgical year the feasts and seasons of the Church calendar that celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Christ
liturgy

the public prayer of the Church. It includes the Sacraments and forms of daily prayer.

M

Magisterium the teaching office of the Church, which is all of the bishops in union with the Pope. The Magisterium has the teaching authority to interpret the Word of God found in Scripture and Tradition.
Marks of the Church

the essential characteristics that distinguish Christ's Church and her mission: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic

Messiah

the promised one who would lead his people. The word Messiah means "God's anointed," or "God's chosen one." Jesus is the Messiah.

miracle

an event that cannot be explained by science because it happened by the power of God

missionaries

people who answer God's call to bring the message of Jesus and announce the Good News of his Kingdom to people in other places

mortal sin the most serious form of personal sin, through which a person breaks his or her relationship with God
Mother of God a title given to Mary because she is the Mother of the Son of God who became man
mystery a spiritual truth that is difficult to perceive or understand with our senses, but is known through faith and through signs

O

Original Holiness

the state of goodness that humanity enjoyed before our first parents, Adam and Eve, chose to sin against God

Original Sin the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, which led to the sinful condition of the human race from its beginning

P

parable

a story Jesus used to describe the Kingdom of God, using examples from everyday life

Particular Judgment

the individual judgment by God at the time of a person's death; when God decides, after a person's death, where that person will spend eternity according to his or her faith and works

Paschal Mystery

Christ's work of redemption through his suffering, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension

Pope

the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, and the head of the entire Catholic Church

providence

God's loving care for all things; God's will and plan for creation

psalms

poems and hymns that were first used in the liturgy of the Israelites. Today, the psalms are also prayed and sung in the public prayer of the Church.

Purgatory a state of final cleansing after death and before entering into Heaven

R

Real Presence

the phrase used to describe that Jesus Christ is really and truly with us in the Eucharist—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity

religion a group of beliefs, prayers, and practices through which people express longing for God
reparation the action taken to repair the damage done from sin
reverence the care and respect you show to God and holy persons and things
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) the process by which adults and some children become members of the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Initiation

S

Sacred Chrism perfumed oil used for anointing in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. In Eastern Rite Churches, Confirmation takes its name from this word and is known as Chrismation.
Sacred Scripture another name for the Bible; Sacred Scripture is the inspired Word of God written by humans
Sacred Tradition

God's Word to the Church, safeguarded by the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, and handed down verbally – in her Creeds, Sacraments, and other teachings – to future generations

sacrifice giving up something out of love for someone else or for the common good (the good of everyone). Jesus sacrificed his life for all people.
salvation

the loving action of God's forgiveness of sins and the restoration of friendship with him brought by Jesus

Savior a title for Jesus, who came into the world to save all people who were lost through sin and to lead them back to God his Father
Seven Sacraments

effective signs of God’s life, instituted by Christ and given to the Church. In the celebration of each Sacrament, there are visible signs and Divine actions that give grace and allow us to share in God’s work.

sin

a deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God. Sin hurts our relationship with God and other people.

soul the spiritual part of a human that lives forever
Spiritual Works of Mercy actions that address the needs of the heart, mind, and soul
stewardship

the way we appreciate and use God's gifts, including our time, talent, and treasure, and the resources of creation

T

transubstantiation the process by which the power of the Holy Spirit and the words of the priest transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus

V

venial sin

a sin that weakens a person's relationship with God but does not destroy it

viaticum the Eucharist given to a person who is near death to sustain him or her on the journey to eternity
virtues

good spiritual habits that strengthen you and enable you to do what is right and good. They develop over time with our practice and openness to God’s grace.

vocation

a particular way to answer God's call, whether as a lay person (married or single), a religious, or a member of the ordained ministry

vows solemn promises that are made to or before God

W

worship

to adore and praise God, especially in the liturgy and in prayer