Program terms and definitions, with audio.

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actual grace The help God gives us in our particular needs or to do a particular good act or to avoid evil.
angel A spiritual being that praises God and serves him as a messenger to help people understand God’s plan for them and creation; angels can think and choose like humans, but they do not have bodies.
Apostles The twelve men Jesus chose to be his closest followers and to share in his work and mission in a special way.
apostolic succession The term used to describe that the authority to lead and teach the Church can be traced through the centuries from the Apostles to their successors, the bishops.
Ascension The taking up of the Risen Christ to heaven.
Assumption The Church teaching that, at the end of her life, Mary, body and soul, was “taken up” (assumed) into heaven. The Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption on August 15.


blasphemy The sin of showing contempt or lack of reverence for God and his name.


canonization The process by which the Church officially declares someone of heroic virtue a saint.
character A permanent, sacramental, spiritual seal that strengthens us to do God’s work. A seal is given in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, or Holy Orders.
Church The community of all baptized people who believe in the Blessed Trinity and follow Jesus.
clergy Men who are ordained and given sacred authority to serve the Church by teaching, divine worship, and pastoral leadership.
common good The Christian principle that all people, either in groups or as individuals, have the opportunities to reach their fulfillment more fully and easily.
communion of saints All the faithful Church members on earth, those being purified in purgatory, and the blessed already in heaven.
conscience The God-given ability that helps individuals know the difference between right and wrong.
conversion A sincere change of mind, heart, and desire to turn away from sin and evil and turn toward God.
councils Gatherings of bishops during which they speak about the faith of the Church, its teachings, and important issues.
covenant A sacred promise or agreement between humans or between God and humans.


Decalogue Another name for the Ten Commandments; from the Greek phrases meaning, “ten words.”
devotions Popular prayers and practices that honor Jesus, Mary, and the saints.
diocese A “particular” or “local” Church; a community of the faithful in communion of faith and sacraments united under the leadership of a bishop. A diocese is usually a determined geographic area.
domestic Church A term for the Christian family, which is as a holy community where children first learn about God through the love, teaching, and good example of parents and other family members.


ecumenism An organized effort to bring Christians together in cooperation as they look forward in hope to the restoration of the unity of the Christian Church.
evangelical counsels The public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience that consecrated religious men and women make.
evangelical counsels The public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience that consecrated religious men and women make.


faith Believing in God and all that he has revealed. Faith is both a gift from God and a free, human choice.
filial respect The response children are called to have toward their parents, which includes obedience, respect, gratitude, and assistance.
free will The ability to choose and make decisions on a person’s own without being forced to choose or act in a certain way.


grace The free and undeserved gift God gives us so we can become his adopted children.


holiness A state of becoming more God-like, living in his presence and with his love.
Holy Orders The Sacrament at the Service of Communion in which a man promises to dedicate his life to God and the Church and is ordained as deacon, priest, or bishop.


icons Religious pictures that illustrate Jesus, Mary, and other holy people; icons are traditional among many Eastern Christians.
idolatry The sin of putting other people or things in God’s place, or before God, in our lives.
Immaculate Conception The Church’s teaching that Mary was preserved free from original sin from the first moment of her conception. The Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.
infallible The quality of being free from error. A teaching is infallible when the pope, as head of the magisterium, speaks officially on a matter of faith or morals that is to be believed by everyone in the Church.


justification The forgiveness of sins and the return to the goodness for which humans were first created.


laity A baptized member of the Church who shares in Jesus' mission and witnesses to him and his message in their homes, work places, schools, and in the broader community.
liturgical year The Church's public celebration of the whole Paschal mystery of Christ through seasons and feasts of the Church calendar.
liturgy The official public worship of the Church.
Liturgy of the Hours The Church’s public prayer offered at set times during the day and night to mark each day as holy.


magisterium The living teaching authority of the Church first held by Peter and the Apostles and passed down through the generations to the bishops with the pope as their head.
marks of the Church The four essential characteristics of the Church and her mission. The Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
martyr A holy person who loses his or her life for witnessing to Christ. The word martyr means, \"witness.\"
Matrimony The Sacrament at the Service of Communion that celebrates the sacred covenant between a baptized man and woman who promise to be forever faithful to each other.
missionary mandate The responsibility given by Jesus to the Church to bring his saving message to everyone.
monastery A building where a community of religious men join together in spirituality and service.
Mystical Body of Christ An image or description for the Church, which stresses the unity of all believers through the Holy Spirit as one holy people, with Christ as their head and themselves as the body.


New Commandment Jesus' command, recorded in John 15:12, to \"love one another as I have loved you.\"


offices of Christ The three roles of Jesus (priest, prophet, and king) that describe his mission and word among God's people; all those baptized share in these three roles.


Pentacost The day fifty days after Jesus' Resurrection on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the first disciples; the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost every year.
Pentecost The day fifty days after Jesus' Resurrection on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the first disciples; the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost every year.
perjury Making a promise under oath which the maker does not intend to keep.
precepts of the Church Church laws that name specific actions that all Catholics must carry out to help them grow in love of God and neighbor.


righteous To act in accordance with God's will, being free from guilt or sin.


sacramentals Sacred symbols and objects that help Catholics respond to the grace received in the sacraments; sacramentals help us pray and remember God’s love for us.
sacraments Effective signs of God’s grace, established by Jesus and given to his Church, by which God shares his life through the work of the Holy Spirit.
saint A person who led a holy life giving God glory and who now enjoys eternal life with God in heaven.
salvation The loving action of God’s forgiveness of sins and the restoration of friendship with the Father brought by Jesus Christ.
sanctifying grace God’s divine life within us that makes us his friends and adopted children.
social sin A term that refers to the sinful social structures that result from personal sin and that lead to social conditions that do not reflect or promote the law of love.
soul The spiritual principle in you that reflects God.


Ten Commandments The ten fundamental moral laws given by God to his people to help them live by the covenant and recorded in the Old Testament.
theological virtues Gifts from God that help us believe in him, trust in his plan for us, and love him as he loves us; they are faith, hope, and love.
Tradition The living and true teachings of Jesus and his Good News of salvation that are passed down from generation to generation in the Church.
Transfiguration The revelation of Jesus’ divine glory to Peter, James, and John.


virtue A strong habit of doing good that helps people make good moral decisions.