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  Glosssary / Terminology    

  • Advent - the four weeks of the liturgical year leading to Christmas when the first coming of God's son to us is recalled.  Also a time when the faithful are directed to Christ's second coming.  A season leading from darkness to the light. (Christ)
     
  • Annunciation of the Lord - gives refers to the announcement of the Angel Gabriel to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Messiah.  Mary opens herself to the fullness of God's presence.  God becomes incarnated.
     
  • Baptism - tbd
     
  • Baptismal font - a large vessel that holds the water used in the baptism of infants and adults, either by immersion or infusion (pouring). The baptismal font usually is located in a place that allows for full congregational participation.
     
  • Candidate - a baptized person asking to be accepted into a particular Catholic community.  Generally, anyone preparing to become a Catholic, but the term often is used to denote a person baptized in another Christian tradition who is preparing for reception into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church.
     
  • Confirmation - a sacrament of initiation in which Christians are signed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit, renewing and strengthening ones Baptismal call to bare witness to Christ and working to build up the Church.
     
  • Canonization - process by which the Church declares a deceased person a saint (being with God) achieving a high degree of sanctity, becoming intercessors and models for the faithful because of their heroic actions.
     
  • Canon law - the body of law that governs church practice and protects the rights and privileges of individuals and of the community.
     
  • Catechesis -the instruction and spiritual formation of catechumens/neophytes and those persons who seek full communion with the Catholic church.  Process of educating children, young adults, and adults as a means of initiation into the fullness of Christian life.  Prepares one for full and active participation in liturgies and relates this to daily life and o growth in faith.
     
  • Catechumen -  an unbaptised person desiring to join the Catholic Church.  Full initiation leading to Baptism requires full participation in the R.C.I.A. process of the local church.
     
  • Catechumenate - The process by which the Catholic church brings unbaptized children and adults to Christian initiation.
     
  • Chrism - A combination of oil and sweet balsam or perfume that is mixed and consecrated by the bishop, and used to anoint newly baptized people and newly ordained priests and bishops. Chrism also is used in the consecration of churches and altars.
     
  • Doctrine - the formal teachings of the church.
     
  • Easter - the annual celebration and remembrance of Jesus' resurrection (rising from the dead) the mystical Passover which is the fulfillment of salvation.  Feast of feasts.
     
  • Elect - a catechumen who has been found ready by the community of faith to take part in the next celebration of the sacraments of initiation.
     
  • Election - the process of selecting those catechumens who are considered ready to take part in the next celebration of the sacraments of initiation; the celebration ordinarily takes place on the First Sunday of Lent, wherein the bishop or his delegate declares in the name of the church that particular catechumens are ready and chosen for the sacraments at Easter.  During this celebration, the names of the elect are written in the Book of the Elect.
     
  • Enlightenment - The period of Lent during which the elect are involved in the final stage of preparation for celebrating the rites of initiation.
    Synonyms: illumination, purification.
     
  • Enrollment - the rite of inscribing into the Book of the Elect the names of those catechumens elected to take part in the next celebration of the sacraments of initiation.
     
  • Eucharist - a memorial to the Lord's Passion and resurrection celebrated amid the assembly of faithful, hearing the word of God and sharing the nourishment of Christ's body with one another.
     
  • Evangelization - the activity by which the church proclaims the gospel in word or deed.
     
  • Fasting - a form of sacrifice by which faithful Christians join themselves with the suffering and death of Jesus by forgoing food for a specific period of time. On Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday, Catholics who are in good health and between the ages of 18 and 59 (inclusive are obliged to fast in a modified way: One full meal and two other small meals may be eaten, and no food is eaten between meals. Catholics are encouraged to keep a paschal fast from Holy Thursday evening until after the Easter Vigil in anticipation of the celebration of the Lord's resurrection.
     
  • Godparent - the person who accompanies the catechumen during the rites and periods of election, initiation and mystagogy. This person (or persons) is selected by the catechumen with the approval of the pastor and, if possible, of the local parish.
     
  • Illumination -  see enlightenment.
     
  • Immersion - a way of baptizing in which the person is partially or entirely submerged in the baptismal water.
     
  • Incarnation - "The Word Becomes Flesh", the son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation.  Jesus Christ became truly man while remaining truly God.
     
  • Initiation - the process by which a person enters the faith life of the church. The process extends from the person's first inquiry through the completion of mystagogy.
     
  • Inquirers -persons who sincerely seek to learn about the faith of the church.
     
  • Inquiry - time set aside for those interested in the Catholic Faith. To be instructed in the beliefs that form the core of Catholicism.
     
  • Labyrinth - the labyrinth offers us a way of journeying, inviting us into a sacred quiet place.  To walk the labyrinth is to make a pilgrimage to discover something about ourselves and God.   Moments of silent contemplation allow the profound truths of life to sink in.  An arrangement of intricate pathways devised by monks during the crusades usually in churches.  Signify a spiritual pilgrimage.  One follows the walkway as a time of purification, releasing and letting go arriving in the center where the light of Christ can be received.  Filled with Christ one journeys back out bringing the light of Christ to others.  (click on the underlined link for more details)
     
  • Lectionary - a book containing the assigned scripture readings for the celebration of the eucharist and the other sacraments.
     
  • Lectionary-based catechesis - a catechetical method for learning the foundation of faith and doctrine by study of and reflection on the scriptures as they are arranged for the liturgy over a three-year cycle.
     
  • Lent - the six weeks prior to Easter calling the faithful to repentance and renewal.  The focus is on prayer (personal and communal), sacrifice and alms. (click on the underlined link for more details)
     
  • Liturgy - a formal celebration or service in which the people of God participate in the work of God, sharing in Christ's priesthood, proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity.  The Church celebrates in the Eucharistic liturgy.  Above all the paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of salvation.
     
  • Liturgy of the hours - a form of prayer consisting of scriptural prayers, songs and readings for morning, daytime, evening and nighttime of each feast, season, Sunday and weekday.
     
  • Liturgical Year - the Church calendar, which unfolds the entire mystery of Christ to the Church, honors Mary, and commemorates the martyrs and saints.  Year includes Advent, Christian Epiphany, Ordinary times, Lent, Holy Week, Easter season, Pentecost followed by more Ordinary time. (click on the underlined link for more details)
     
  • Magisterium - The official teaching office of the church as it is exercised by the pope in communion with all the bishops of the church.
     
  • Ministry - tbd
     
  • Mystagogy / Mystagogia - The period of time following initiation, usually the Easter Season, which centers on catechesis in the meaning and experience of the mysteries of baptismal faith.  Refers to the mystery of Christ, which the catechumens are initiated into during the Easter season and culminating on Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
     
  • Neophyte - A newly baptized person who is in the final period of Christian initiation, mystagogy.
     
  • Oil of catechumens - The blessed oil used in anointing catechumens as a sign of their need for and God's offer of strength in overcoming all opposition to the faith they will profess throughout their life.
     
  • Order of Christian initiation - The progression of catechesis and rituals that make up the process of bringing a person to faith in Christ and membership in: the church. The term sometimes refers to the text used for initiation, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
     
  • Paschal candle - The large candle lighted each year from the new fire ignited and blessed at the Easter Vigil. From this light, representing the risen Lord who destroys the darkness of sin, the newly baptized light their candles.
     
  • Paschal Triduum - The three days from Holy Thursday evening through Easter Sunday that celebrate the passover of Israel from slavery to freedom, the Passover of Jesus Christ from death to life, our own Passover from sin to grace and the world's Passover from darkness to light.
     
  • Penance - tbd
     
  • Periods - Times of growth in the Christian initiation process: 1) inquiry, or precatechumenate; 2) catechumenate; 3) purification and enlightenment; 4) mystagogy.
     
  • Postbaptismal - After baptism.
     
  • Precatechumenate - The period 0f inquiry prior to acceptance into the order of catechumens; the time of initial evangelization.
     
  • Presentations - The rites during the period of purification and enlightenment through which the church passes on to the elect the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, the most cherished documents of the church, and the traditions they represent: the way Christians believe and the way Christians pray.
     
  • Protestant - tbd
     
  • Purification - See enlightenment.-
     
  • Reconciliation room - A place for the celebration of the sacrament of penance.   A reconciliation room is set up so that penitents may either meet face-to-face with the priest or con- fess anonymously from behind a screen.  These rooms are some- times called reconciliation chapels or confessionals.
     
  • RCIA - Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults - Welcomes non-Catholics who are interested in joining the Catholic Church or simply becoming better informed.  From mid September through May, "inquirers" are invited to a weekly session that will take them through the process that can lead to full reception (Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist) into the Church at Easter time.
     
  • Rite of Acceptance - (click on the underlined link for more info.)
     
  • Rite of Election - (click on the underlined link for more info.)
     
  • Rite of Sending - (click on the underlined link for more info.)
     
  • Sacramentary -The book that contains the prayers spoken or sung by the presider at the eucharistic celebration.
     
  • Sacraments - a visible sign or symbol for the invisible mystery, God.  These signs were instituted by the Christ to sanctify the faithful, build up the body of Christ and give worship to God.  They also nourish, strengthen, and express the faith.  They are Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Healing the Sick.
     
  • Spiritual - pertains to the soul aspect of a human, which is immortal and gives form to the body.  The Sacraments and Liturgies contribute to the life and growth of the soul and its relationship to God.
     
  • Spirituality - tbd
     
  • Triduum - Liturgical culmination of Holy Week, celebrating and recalling Jesus' Last Supper, Passion, death and resurrection, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday.

Source: Welcoming the New Catholic, Ron Lewinski                           * tbd=to be defined

To inquire about the RCIA, email AL GARROTTO @ alg@blsinc.com

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