Encyclopedia

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Calvary

The area just outside the city walls of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus, where the Romans would execute prisoners and where they executed Jesus.

Canon Law

laws that governs the affairs of the Catholic Church throughout the world.

Canon of Scripture

A canon is a 'rule' or 'norm'. The canon of Scripture are those books of the Bible that are recognized as inspired by God and so are to be included in any official version of the Bible

Canonization

The process through which the Church names someone a saint.

Cantor

A liturgical minister who leads the community in song.

Capital Sins

The Church had different ways to educate its members about the evils of sins. One way was to list a group of common, serious sins called the "capital" (from the word that means head or chief sins) or "deadly" sins.

Cardinal

A group of advisors to the pope who elect a new pope when necessary.

Catechesis

The process of formation of Christians of all ages. It involves teaching the essential beliefs, prayers and practices of the Catholic faith, along with opportunities to express those in action.

Catechumen

A person preparing for full initiation in the Church through Baptism, Confirmation and first Eucharist.

Cathedral

The main church of a diocese whose pastor is the bishop of that diocese.

Catholic Church

The name of the universal Church of Jesus to which we belong. The word 'catholic' means universal.

Catholic Social Doctrine

Also called Catholic social teaching, it is a body of wisdom that has emerged over the last couple of centuries which captures the main principles of justice by which we are to live our lives.

Celibacy

a vow or promise taken by a man or women not to get married or have a family and devote their life to serving Christ.

Censer

A container for burning incense at solemn ceremonies. Its rising smoke symbolizes our prayer being offered up to God.

Centering Prayer

A form of meditation that begins with a phrase from Scripture or a short prayer, which is then repeated slowly again and again to help the mind focus away from the details of the day and onto one's relationship with the Lord.

Chalice

The sacred cup which holds the wine (the blood of Christ) used at Mass.

Charism

The name the New Testament gives to the gifts of the Spirit that are to be used to serve the mission of Jesus in the Church.

Chastity

The virtue of using the gift of sexuality in the right way, whether as single, married or vowed.

Chasuble

The outer garment worn by the priest at the Eucharist.

Choir

A group of people who sing as a group to assist the community in song.

Chrism

The oil blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday and a portion is given to every parish church to be used for baptisms, confirmation, the rite of consecrating a church building, and the sacrament of Orders.

Christ/Messiah

The name Christ tells us that Jesus was sent by God to help all people. It means "the Anointed One."

Christmas

The feast day of Jesus' birth, traditionally set on December 25th. In the earliest Church there was not much attention given to the anniversary of birth.

Church

Its most important meaning is the people of God who are baptized and share the full Christian faith.

Ciborium

A container or dish to hold the bread needed for communion and to hold the consecrated bread placed in the tabernacle.

Clergy

The group name given to all who are ordained-deacons, priests and bishops.

Cloister

a place where people live a life of religious seclusion and contemplation: a monastery or convent

College of Bishops

All bishops have the responsibility to work together with the Pope in the care and guidance of the Church.

Communion of Saints

We are never alone when we pray . Through Jesus, when we pray, we are united to all Christians here on earth and all the saints in heaven.

Confession

The act of telling God or a priest our sins. The word comes from the early Church and means to give God praise.

Confirmation

One of the sacraments of initiation (baptism and first Eucharist are the other two) and one of the seven sacraments in the Catholic Church.

Confiteor

A prayer of sorrow for our sins, sometimes used as the penitential rite for the Mass. [NB: grade 3 practiced this prayer in the fall.]

Conscience

The God-given internal sense in every mature human of what is morally right or wrong. Conscience is who we are as responsible moral people at the deepest level.

Consecrated Life

a way of life in which a person feels called by God, to serve others and to live by special rules, usually including the vows of poverty, celibate chastity and obedience

Consecration

During Mass, the time in which ordinary bread and wine, are blessed and becomes the Body and Blood of Christ

Consistory

The group of cardinals when they meet together with the pope or to elect a new pope.

Contemplation

The goal of all meditative prayer, to rest silently in the knowledge and love of God, where one no longer needs to say any words but simply experience God's relationship quietly and peacefully.

Contrition or Sorrow

Sorrow for one's sins, contrition can be considered "perfect" (sorrow because we have violated God's love) or" imperfect" (sorrow for fear of punishment as well).

Conversion

A change of mind and heart at a very deep level that re-orients us toward God and a Christian life of faith, hope and charity.

Corporal

A square, white linen cloth placed on the center of the altar at the preparation of the gifts, upon which the chalice and paten are placed for the liturgy of the Eucharist.

Corporal Works of Mercy

Taken from the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25, these seven actions were seen as encouraging Christians to care not just for the spiritual but also the material needs of people.

Covenant

A way to describe how God sets up a relationship to us. God establishes a relationship of fidelity to us, asking of people to live a certain way in turn.

Creation ex nihilo

(pronounced nee-hill-o): Creation "from nothing", this term is used to remind us that God is the final, ultimate cause of all things.

Creator

We worship God as the Creator, the One who, out of love, creates the universe and everything in the universe, allowing all things to exist and giving all things their nature.

Creed

What we believe in. We pray the creed at every Sunday Mass, immediately following the readings and homily.

Creed

A word that means "belief". A creed summarizes in short ways what our key beliefs are.

Cremation

Burning of the body of the deceased and then placing the remains in an urn or burying them in a grave.

Crosier

A long stick or rod that looks like a shepherd's staff with a hooked end carried by a bishop to symbolize their role of caring for their people as shepherds care for their flock.

Cross

The symbol which represents how Jesus was put to death. The cross became a Christian symbol of Jesus' victory over death.

Crucifix

When the cross includes a figure of Jesus' body on it, we call that cross a crucifix. This is the most common Catholic way to depict the cross.

Crucifixion

Jesus' death by being nailed to a cross.