Latin Words or Phrases Every Catholic Should Know


As Catholics, we have a rich heritage and patrimony that stretches back 2,000 years. Part of that patrimony is the wonderful Latin language. Sadly, not many Catholics are appreciative of this rich heritage. Some might dismiss the usage of Latin as something that Vatican II did away with. WRONG! (See Sacrosanctum concilium, §36). Not many realize that a good chunk of our own English language and the other romance languages like French, Italian, and Spanish all derive in a large part from Latin roots.

That being said, it is Lent and we may take on something in addition to giving up something. With that in mind, here are a few Latin words or phrases that every Catholic should know. It’s our heritage and we should be proud of it! Every Catholic should know a few Latin words and phrases. Here’s 20 of them. Have fun with it! And practice the pronunciation in front of a friend for a good laugh.

1. Hoc est corpus meum. (Hoke–est–core-puss–may-oohm)

This is my body.

2. Habemus papam! (Hah–bay–moose–pop-ahm)

We have a pope!

3. Agnus dei, qui tolis peccata mundi. (Ahn-use-day-e-qwee-tow-lease-peck-ah-tah-moon-dee)

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

4. Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus (sahnct-oose)

Holy, holy, holy

5. In saecula saeculorum (een-seh-coo-la-seh-coo-low-room)

Forever and ever

6. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti – (Een-no-me-nay-pah-trees-eht-fee-lee-e-eht-speer-it-toose-ahnct-tea)

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

7. Corpus Christi (core-puss-kree-stee)

Body of Christ

8. Ave Maria, gratia plena. Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus… (Ah-vey-Maria-grah-tsee-ah-play-nah-doe-me-news-tay-koom-beh-neh-deek-tah-too-een-moo-lee-air-e-boos)

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women…

[Note – head on over to this article by my esteemed colleague, Matt Bauer, to find the rest of these prayers in Latin].

9. Gloria Patri, et filio, et spiritui sancto… (Glow-ree-ah-pah-tree-eht-fee-lee-oh-eht-speer-it-too-e-san-ktoe)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit…

10. Anima Christi (Ah-knee-mah-kree-stee)

Soul of Christ

11. Sanguis Christi (sahn-gweese-kree-stee)

Blood of Christ

12. Pater Noster (pah-tehr-know-stir)

Our Father

13. Oremus (oar-ay-moose) or Ora et labora (oar-uh-eht-lah-boar-uh) or Ora pro nobis (oar-uh-pro-know-bees)

Let us pray or Pray and Work or Pray for us

13. Dominus vobiscum (doe-me-news-voh-bees-koom)

The Lord be with you

14. Et cum spiritu tuo (eht-koom-speer-it-too-too-oh)

And with your spirit

15. Ite, missa est (e-tay-me-sah-est)

Go, it is the dismissal

16. Veritas (very-tahs) or veritatis (very-tah-tease)


17. Caritas (carry-tahs) or caritatis (carry-tah-tease)


18. Angeli (ahn-gel-e)


19. Fiat mihi secundum verbum (Fee-aht-me-he-say-coon-doom-ver-boom)

Be it done unto me according to Thy Word

20. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (may-uh-cull-pah…may-uh-moxi-muh…)

My fault, my fault, my most grievous fault


Medi terra (med-e-tehr-a)

“middle earth” for all you Tolkien fans, myself included, literally is where we get the name for the Mediterranean Sea. It was the sea in the middle of the empire of Rome. Fun stuff.

It’s your turn to add your own favorite phrases in the comments section!



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