What is in a word? Sometimes the language we use needs to be translated to be understood. And sometimes we need to find a new language or different words to express our deepest meaning.
Every organization, group and even family has its own language and its own shared memories — words, acronyms, stories flow easily among people with a common grounding and understanding. When there is someone new to the family or to the organization, we explain what we mean or share our stories so new members can be a part of the experience and feel a sense of belonging.
The same is true with the words we use in the Catholic Tradition. To follow are some “curious words” to which we offer new language to help translate their meaning.
The diocese of an Archbishop; typically has a larger population than a diocese.
A geographic territory where a bishop is responsible for the people in that area. The world is divided into territories, and every area of the world has a bishop assigned to its care.
A person who has chosen to actively follow Jesus.
An experience of meeting the living Christ through an event, a person, a prayer or another circumstance. Through this experience, a person comes to know that Christ is actively present in his or her life. God is no longer abstract, but instead a real person in one’s life.
Literally, to share the Good News of Jesus — who He was, what He did for us, and who He is in our lives today. We share our faith in Christ through our words by telling how Jesus transformed our life, sharing his story, and by the way in which we live our lives. When someone encounters Christ through us, through our kindness, our compassion, our patience, our understanding, and our generosity, we have been a part of sharing the Good News of who Christ is in our world.
An ancient Greek word that meant “preaching.” In today’s Catholic Church, this word refers to the basic teaching of Christianity: that we are saved through Jesus Christ, that He is the son of God, that He lived to show us how to live, that He suffered and died for us, and that He rose again, breaking the bonds of sin and death, so that we can have eternal life with God, the Father.
The mission of the Church is to go make disciples. We do this by sharing the Good News that God loves us unconditionally and invites us to return that love to Him; that Jesus became human to show us how to live in the Kingdom of God, a foretaste of heaven here; and that through Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection, we are saved from our sins, and we can have eternal life with God.
A person who actively follows Jesus, is committed to growing in relationship with him, and takes Jesus into the world in which he or she lives.
When we think of evangelizing, we first think of going out and sharing the story of Jesus with those who have never heard of Him. In fact, the New Evangelization is a call for all Catholics to be open to an encounter with Christ, and to allow ourselves to be evangelized for the first time or remember the encounter we once had so we can go forth and share the Good News of who Jesus is to others. We are called to renew our relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church. At the same time, we are also to go out and share who Christ is with those who have never met him.
Most people think the parish is the church where they worship. A parish, however, is a territorial division of the diocese — a geographical area. The people within the parish are cared for by the pastor assigned to this community by the Bishop or Archbishop. Because it is about geography, people of all parishes are made up of Catholics and non-Catholics. Within a parish, there is a Catholic Church that cares for the spiritual needs of the people in that area.
This is a division of a diocese or archdiocese. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, we have six vicariates. We also have six auxiliary bishops who help provide guidance and care of these vicariates. Each vicariate has approximately 50 – 65 parishes within it.