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

Gestures and postures during mass

Real Presence

This term expresses our belief that the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist are truly the body and blood of Jesus.


Sin breaks our friendship with God. By offering himself to God the Father in his life, death and resurrection, Jesus restores us to full friendship with God.

Responsorial Psalm

The psalm that is sung after the First Reading in the Liturgy of the Word is called ‘responsorial’ because it is both a response to the Reading and it is sung responsorially, that is, with the cantor singing the verses and the congregation singing the antiphon.


The seventh day of the week (Saturday), the day of rest and religious observance for the Jewish people, is called the Sabbath. The Jews observe the Sabbath as a day of rest, because the story of creation speaks of God completing the whole of creation in six days, and then resting on the seventh. (See Genesis 2:3)

Sacrifice of the Mass

The Mass is referred to as a ‘sacrifice’ because it makes present to us the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.


The sacristy is the room in the church where the vestments, sacred vessels, and other items used during worship are kept. The priest puts on his vestments in the sacristy.


Salvation means ‘saving’.
It is through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, that we have been saved from sin. God’s love, forgiveness, healing and freedom were brought to the world. Jesus opened the way for all people to be in right relationship with God.


The Scriptures are the books of the Bible. The Bible is divided into two parts, the Old Testament (consisting of the Hebrew Scriptures and some other works written before the time of Christ) and the New Testament (made up of the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, a number of letters to the early Christian Churches, and the Book of Revelation.)


Sin refers to the deliberate choice to do what is known to be wrong. We can commit a sin not only by doing something that we know to be against God’s law, but also by failing to do something that we ought to do.

Solemn Mass

Solemn Mass is aspecial, sung formof the Mass.


The place of gathering and worship for the Jewish community.


The tabernacle is the ornate safe in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in churches. It is usually made of wood, stone or metal, and is rectangular or round in shape. It is generally located in the sanctuary of the church or a side chapel. A small lamp burns nearby to indicate the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.


To venerate is to make a sign of reverence, e.g. genuflect, bow, touch the cross or kiss the feet of the crucified Christ.


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