abba the Aramaic word with the English equivalent of “daddy” or “papa”
abortion the deliberate termination of a pregnancy by killing an unborn child. It is a grave sin.
absolution words spoken by the priest during the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation to grant forgiveness of sins in God’s name
Advocate literally means “he who is called to one’s side.” The Holy Spirit is our Advocate, guiding and comforting us, strengthening us to know and live by the truth.
Annunciation the Angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would be the Mother of God and give birth to the Savior
Anointing of the Sick one of the Sacraments of Healing for people who are seriously ill or in danger of dying. In the Sacrament, the person’s forehead and hands are anointed with the blessed oil of the sick.
Apostles the twelve men Jesus chose to be his closest followers and to share in his work and mission in a special way
apostolic a Mark of the Church. The Church is apostolic because her teaching authority comes directly from Jesus and his chosen Apostles, handed down through the bishops of the Church, who are direct successors of the Apostles.
Baptism the Sacrament of in which a person is immersed in water or has water poured on him or her. Baptism takes away Original Sin and all personal sin, and makes a person a child of God and member of the Church.
Beatitudes Jesus’ eight teachings about the meaning and path to true happiness; they depict the way to live in God’s Kingdom now and always, working toward the eternal holiness or blessedness to which God calls all people
canon of Scripture the Church’s complete list of inspired books included in Sacred Scripture
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.
catholic a Mark of the Church. The Church is catholic because she is universal, meant for all people in all times and in all places.
Church the community of all baptized people who believe in the Holy Trinity and follow Jesus. The word is often used for the Catholic Church because we trace our origins back to the Apostles.
Confirmation the Sacrament of Initiation through which the spiritual life received in Baptism is strengthened and the person is sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
conscience the God-given ability that helps individuals judge whether actions are right or wrong
consecrated religious life a state of life lived by religious sisters, brothers, and priests in community and characterized by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
contrition true sorrow for disobeying God and the commitment to try to avoid sin in the future
covenant a sacred promise or agreement humans or between God and humans
discernment the process by which a person reflects, discusses, and prays about how God might be calling him or her to live out a particular vocation
disciples people who learn from and follow the example of a teacher. The disciples of Jesus are those who believe in him, follow his teachings, and put them into practice.
discipleship accepting Jesus’ invitation to believe in and follow him by studying his ways and putting them into practice
Divine Inspiration the gift of the Holy Spirit which assisted the human authors in writing the Bible to ensure it contained the truths God wanted us to know
Divine Revelation the process by which God makes himself known. The chief sources of revelation are Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
doctrines official Church teachings on matters of faith and morals. Catholics are obligated to believe these truths.
domestic Church a name for the Catholic family, because it is the community of Christians in the home. God made the family to be the first place we learn about loving others and following Christ.
Emmanuel the name given to the Messiah by the prophet Isaiah, meaning “God with us”
eternal the term that means “God is“ and “has always been,” even before the beginning of time,and will be forever
eternal life life forever with God for all who die in his friendship
Eucharist the Sacrament of Initiation during which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ and all who receive him in Holy Communion are brought closer to him and one another
euthanasia the deliberate action or inaction which causes the death of someone who is sick, dying, or suffering because of disabilities or a debilitating condition. It is a grave sin.
Evangelists the four inspired human authors of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
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 God and a free, human choice.
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.
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.
Gospel a word that means “Good News.” The Gospel message is the Good News of God’s Kingdom and his saving love.
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.
Heaven the state, or experience, of the full joy of living eternally in God’s presence
Hell the state, or experience, of eternal separation from God because of a choice to turn away from him and not seek forgiveness
hierarchy the organization of the Church into different levels of leadership and membership
Holy Trinity the mystery of one God in three Divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
human dignity the worth each person has because he or she is made in the image of God
image of God the Divine likeness in all human beings that comes from being made by God and includes the ability to think, choose, be free, love, and be in relationship with God and others
Incarnation the truth that the Second Divine Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God, assumed a human nature in order to save all people; Jesus Christ is both true God and true man
intellect the God-given ability which makes it possible for humans to think, reason, and judge
intercession a form of prayer that involves praying to God on behalf of another; also called intercessory prayer
justice the constant and firm desire to give God and other people what is their due as children of God, made in his image and possessing equal human dignity
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
laity all baptized members of the Church who share in Jesus’ mission and witness to him and his message but are not priests or consecrated sisters or brothers; sometimes called lay people
Last Judgment God’s final triumph over evil that will occur at the end of time when Christ returns and judges all the living and the dead. Then, all will fully see and understand God’s plan for creation.
Mediator the title given to Jesus because, as true God and true man, he is able to reconcile all people to God the Father, bringing us closer to God the Father by his words and saving actions
miracle an event for which there is no scientific explanation because it happened by the power of God. Jesus worked miracles to help us see the presence of the Kingdom of God.
mortal sin a grave ( very serious) sin by which someone turns completely away from God and breaks his or her relationship with God
murder the deliberate killing of another person when the killing is not in self-defense. It is always gravely sinful.
mystery a truth of faith that cannot be fully understood but that is believed because God has shown it in Scripture, in the life of Jesus, or in the teachings of the Church
Mystical Body of Christ a name for the Church, whose baptized members are all united to Christ and one another through the Holy Spirit, forming one holy people with Christ as her head
natural moral law precepts about goodness that are written by God in our hearts and are accessible through our God-given reason
New Commandment Jesus’ command for his disciples to love one another as he has loved us
one a Mark of the Church. The Church is one because the power of the Holy Spirit unites all the members through one faith and one Baptism.
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 that wounded human nature and introduced sin, suffering, and death into the world; all humans are born with Original Sin and are thus tempted to sin
parable a short story Jesus told using examples from everyday life or nature to illustrate moral or spiritual truths
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 Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension
peace a state of calm or harmony when things are in their proper order and people settle problems with kindness and justice
penance the name for the prayer, offering, or good work the priest gives you in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Penance and Reconciliation the Sacrament of Healing that celebrates God’s mercy and forgiveness and a sinner’s reconciliation with God and the Church through absolution from a priest
personal sin a deliberate thought, word, deed, or omission that violates the law of God
Purgatory a state of final cleansing after death and before entering into Heaven that removes any remaining personal obstacles to eternal union with God. Purgatory frees the person from temporal punishment ( being deprived of the entrance into Heaven for a time) due to sin.
Real Presence a phrase used to describe that Jesus Christ is really and truly with us in the Eucharist—Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity
Sacraments at the Service of Communion Holy Orders and Matrimony. They celebrate people’s commitment to serve God and the community and help build up the People of God.
Sacraments of Healing Penance and Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. In these Sacraments, God’s forgiveness and healing are given to those suffering physical and spiritual sickness.
Sacraments of Initation the three Sacraments that celebrate membership into the Catholic Church: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
Sacred Scripture the Word of God written by humans acting under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and guidance; another name for the Bible
Saints those whom the Church declares led holy lives and are enjoying eternal life with God in Heaven
salvation the loving action of God’s forgiveness of sins and the restoration of friendship with him brought by Jesus Christ
scandal the destructive behavior by which a person deliberately leads, through his or her own action or inaction, another person to sin
Sermon on the Mount the summary of key teachings of Jesus found in the Gospel according to Matthew
Seven Sacraments effective signs of God’s grace instituted by Christ and given to his 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.
solidarity a Christian principle that motivates believers to share their spiritual gifts as well as their material ones
soul the spiritual principle of a human person that is individual, created by God, and will exist forever
Ten Commandments the ten fundamental moral laws given by God to Moses, and recorded in the Old Testament, to help his People live by the covenant
Theological Virtues gifts from God that help us believe in him, trust in his plan for us, and love him as he loves us; they are faith, hope, and charity
transubstantiation the process by which, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the words and actions of the priest, the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ
venial sin a sin that weakens, but does not destroy, a person’s relationship with God
virtue a good spiritual habit that strengthens and enables you to do what is right and good
Visitation the event of Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, visiting her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with Saint John the Baptist
vocation the purpose for which God made us and the particular way to answer and live out his call, whether as a lay person ( married or single), a member of a religious community, or a member of the ordained ministry
wisdom the spiritual gift that helps us to see God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Wisdom is also one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Works of Mercy actions that show care for the physical and spiritual needs of others