8 Terms I Had To Look Up After Becoming Catholic

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I tell you what…learning about the Catholic Faith does not end at RCIA. It is a constant learning process. Things you might think are just common knowledge, might be a whole knew concept to a brand new Catholic, like myself. (I’ve been Catholic for a little over 3 years.) I’m hoping that these won’t just be short funny stories or an opening for you to make fun of me. If anything, my hope is that people will read this and not take our faith for granted. Know that even the little details are an opportunity to teach and share the Catholic faith.

1. The “Our Father”

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Our Father, who art in heaven…
Funny story. It was Holy Week 2012, and my wife and I were going to a local Parish to have our first confession. We wanted to come into the Catholic Church at the Easter vigil. I was pretty nervous about my first confession, to say the least. Knowing I was going to be face to face with a total stranger and voluntarily spew out a 34 year long laundry list of sins was a little nerve racking. I am not sure where my head was at, but when the priest gave me my penance, several Hail Mary’s, I responded, “I haven’t memorized that yet.” So he says “That’s fine, say the Our Father for me.” I said, “I don’t know that one.” Honestly, I had never heard of the Our Father.  Growing up protestant, we just called it “The Lord’s Prayer.”That was the only name of the prayer that I knew. At that point, I think the priest was slightly amused yet very irritated with me. He told me to find my wife and pray with her. After that, I always knew what the “Our Father’ was.

2. Novena

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Nine days of prayer. It has its origins in the nine days the disciples spent in prayer awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit between the Ascension and the Pentecost. 

 It was right after we had joined the Church when a good friend told me she and her family were praying a Novena for our family. I had never heard of a novena but I knew it obviously involved prayer. I didn’t want to seem too lame as a new Catholic, so I said thanks and made a mental note to look that one up when I got home. I am glad I did, because now my wife prays novenas with her friends all the time.

3. Beatification

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A declaration by the Pope as head of the Church that one of the deceased faithful lived a holy life and/or died a martyr’s death and is now dwelling in heaven. As a process, the beatification consists of a years-long examination of the life, virtues, writings, and reputation for holiness of the servant of God under consideration. This is ordinarily conducted by the bishop of the place where he or she resided or died. For a martyr miracles worked through the person’s intercession need not be considered in this primary process. The second, or Apostolic, process is instituted by the Holy See when the first process reveals that the servant of God practiced virtue in a heroic degree or died a martyr for the faith. Beatified persons are called “Blessed” and may be venerated by the faithful but not throughout the universal Church. (Etym. Latin beatificatio, the state of being blessed; from beatus, happy.)


I always figured there was a name for the process of becoming a saint. I just never knew what the word for it was. Actually, when I first heard the word “beatified,” I thought it was some sort of Catholic embalming process. It’s funny how your brain comes up with ridiculous definitions. Thankfully, there’s Google. 

 

4. Breviary

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The liturgical book containing the Divine Office of the Roman Catholic Church. Formerly the various “hours” of the office were in different books, e.g., the Psaltery, the Hymnary, and the Lectionary. But from the eleventh century they began to be combined in one book. The complete text of the Liturgy of the Hours is published in four consecutive volumes. These volumes are divided according to the following calendar year: Advent and Christmas season, Lent and Easter season, the first through the seventeenth, and the eighteenth through the thirty-fourth weeks of the year. (Etym. Latin breviarium, a summary, abridgment.) See also DIVINE OFFICE.
Yeah, when I was protestant, The closest thing we had to this was called a Devotional or Prayer Bible. Either way, this was just another tool I discovered to help me stay close to my Catholic faith. Maybe it’s time I went out and got one.

5. Kyrie Eleison

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Greek words meaning; “Lord have mercy”. Sometimes said or sung in Greek during the penitential rite of the Mass.
I was Catholic for at least a year before I turned to my wife and asked, “what the heck does that even mean?” She laughed at me, and told me what it meant. All the sudden, that part of Mass made a lot more sense. It was kind of a wake up call that I needed to study what we do in Mass and why we do it. Who knows what else I was missing out on by just going through the motions.

6. Agnus Dei

The invocation Lamb of God is sung or recited at Mass during the breaking of the bread and the commingling. It may be repeated as often as necessary, but the conclusion is always “Grant us peace.”

I actually had to look this up just to finish this post. Our editor suggested a couple more terms, and boom!! I was back on Google.  Maybe there is a book out there that explains it? I’ll take recommendations.

7. Paschal

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“O my Jesus, wholly and entirely present in the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar, open our hearts, and those of people throughout the world, to accept and receive Your Grace,Your Mercy, and Your Love. Merciful Jesus, I ask this of You in Your most Holy Name. Amen.”
PASCH. Pascha–Easter.


If it seems like I am not giving much of a definition here, it’s intentional. I think you all need to go do your own research on this word. I just spent an hour on it and had a blast doing it. Why, because I learned a lot of little things that I have been taking for granted. There is a reason for everything we do in Mass and as Catholics. looking up this word helped remind me why. 

8. Franciscan

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The numerous family of men and women religious who trace their spiritual ancestry to St. Francis of Assisi (1811-1226). The Original Rule written by St. Francis in 1209 is now lost. It was recast in 1221 and brought into final form two years later, when it was approved by Pope Honorius III. Its distinctive feature is the obligation of poverty of dispossession, not only for individual members but for each community. The friars (from frères, brothers) were to own no property and were to earn their livelihood by manual labor or begging.


When we joined the Church, it seemed like everything was “Franciscan.” Franciscan schools, Franciscan Church, Franciscan Monks, Franciscan Crown, Franciscan order, Franciscan Priest, Franciscan beer, Franciscan clock,… Well, maybe not the last one, but you never know. I used to call the Franciscan Monks “the potato sack guys.”

 

Just in case you’re wondering, I got my definitions here, HERE, & this place

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