Common Terms used in the Church ( a-b   c-d   e-h   i-m   n-p   q-z )

Gestures and postures during mass



‘Feast’ is a shortened form of the term ‘festival day’ which refers to the day on which a particular event or saint is commemorated. The most important feasts are called ‘solemnities’. First among these are those that celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Others celebrate Mary and the saints.


Genuflection is the bending of the right knee to the floor, as a sign of respect before the Blessed Sacrament.


Hebrew was the language spoken and written in ancient Israel.


The bread consecrated during the Eucharist is called the Host. This term comes from the Latin hostia (victim), because Jesus is the one who is sacrificed.


Any teaching which is deliberately contrary to the teaching of the Church is a heresy.

Holy Water

Water specially blessed by the priest is holy water.


The homily is the teaching and reflection given by the priest or deacon after the Gospel at the Eucharist. In the homily, the Word of God is ‘broken open’ so that we can see how it relates to our daily lives, and how God continues to act in our world and be with us.


Hymns are sacred songs, often based on words from Scripture.


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