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

Gestures and postures during mass

Sign of the Cross

We begin and end our celebration of the Eucharist with the Sign of the Cross. By it we acknowledge that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At Mass our prayer is addressed to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


By bending our right knee to the floor, we are showing respect and reverence to the Blessed Sacrament. We always genuflect when coming into the church before going into our seat and when we

Leave the church.

In some countries, Catholics follow the more ancient custom of bowing deeply to the Blessed Sacrament.


There are several times during Mass when we stand. The first is during the Introductory Rites to acknowledge the presence of Jesus. For the same reason, we stand when the Gospel is proclaimed.


In most churches we kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer. Kneeling is a sign of great reverence. (Those who are old or infirm are not obliged to kneel.)


We sit when we listen to the Readings during the Liturgy of the Word.


We usually join our hands when praying. The priest at times extends his hands, inviting us to join with him in prayer.


There are several processions during Mass: the entrance procession, the procession of the gifts of bread and wine to the altar, and the Communion procession. Sometimes the Gospel Book is brought forward in procession.

Striking of the Breast

This is done when the first form of the Penitential Rite is used in the Introductory Rite. It is a sign of sorrow for our sins.


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