Categories

Map of Our Church (Definitions)

1.ALTAR The raised area in the center of the sanctuary where the priest presides at Mass and consecrates the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. The area is raised to signify its importance. The altar represents Christ, the Head of the Church, in His heavenly realm while the worshipers, the Body of the Church, are in the earthly realm.

2.AM BO The stand beside the altar from which the Liturgy of the Word is celebrated. Some people call it a pulpit. From here, the priest, deacon, and specially trained lay parishioners read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospel. This is also where the priest or deacon usually delivers his homily.

3.AMBRY The cabinet in the sanctuary or baptistery area that contains the holy oils that are used in the Sacraments throughout the year. The holy oils, also called chrisms, are blessed by the Bishop on Holy Thursday and carried that day to all the churches in the diocese.

4.BAPTISMAL FONT The big font filled with water and used when babies or other people are baptized into the Church. Usually the baby is held over the water as the priest or deacon pours water over the baby's forehead as he says, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

In some churches the font is very big so that if the parents want, the baby can be baptized by immersion in their communion dresses.

If people are too big to be held over the font, the priest or deacon takes water out of the font, has them stand next to it, and then pours the water over their heads.

5.CANDLES The candle flame represents the presence of God, who gives light to us and who enlightens us by His word. A candle always burns before the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Candles are lit during mass. Sometimes small votive or vigil candles are placed before statues to accompany prayer intentions and requests.

6.CHOIR The group of people who sing during the Mass and who lead the congregation in singing hymns.

7.CHOIR LOFT The area from which the choir sings. In our church it is an open loft area above the body of the church. Choir lofts are designed so that the sounds of the organ and choir resonate out into the body of the church.

8.CRUCIFIX The cross bearing the figure of Christ crucified. A representation of the crucified Jesus must be on or over the altar where and when Mass is celebrated.

9.HOLY WATER FONT Holy water fonts are placed at the entrances of the church. As we enter and leave the church we dip the fingers of our right hand in the holy water, then make the Sign of the Cross. The intention is the remembrance and reconfirmation of our Baptism vows.

10.MONSTRANCE The ornamental stand that holds the Eucharist/Blessed Sacrament during Adoration and Benediction. In the center is a clear glass cylinder that holds the Eucharist. Often around the cylinder are rays of gold that look like rays of light. Jesus is the Light of the world. The rays also show our faith bursting out from the Light. The cylinder is elevated on a stand. The stand not only helps us to see the light, but also represents our hope in reaching God in Heaven.

11.ORGAN AND OTHER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS The principal source of music used in our church is the pipe organ. It is located in the choir loft. The pipe organ is the traditional musical instrument used in Catholic churches. Sometimes, on special occasions, our church has an entire orchestra play music for the Mass. Other times, especially when the children's choir sings, we use a piano, flute, and/or guitar.

12.RECONCILIATION ROOM (also called the Confessional) The small room where the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation takes place. It is designed so that we poor sinners can sit with the priest who represents Jesus, confess our sins, obtain advice on how to improve our lives, receive our penance, and be absolved of our sins. Usually we must leave the room to complete our penance, usually prayers or good deeds. We have to complete our penance to become fully reconciled in the good graces of the Lord.

13.SACRISTY The area behind the sanctuary. This is the area where the priest, deacon, and altar servers put on their vestments before Mass. It is also where the chalices and ciborium used during Mass ma\ be purified. The area has a special sink used to purify items that come in contact with the Eucharist. This sink drains into the ground to prevent any part of the Eucharist from : : into the municipal water system.

14.SANCTUARY The entire area in the front and center of the church. This is the area where the Mass is celebrated. It contains the altar, the ambo, chairs for the priest, deacon, any visiting priests, the bishop when he visits, and the altar servers. The crucifix is located in the center of the sanctuary.

15.STAINED GLASS WINDOWS The windows of churches can be made of colorful stained glass with intricate patterns that illustrate biblical stories and/ or images of Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, Saints, and symbols of faith and Christianity.

16.STATIONS OF THE CROSS Pictures and/or carvings that depict the story of how Jesus was condemned to die, suffered, was nailed to the Cross, died and was buried. Then He arose from the dead on Easter morning, proving to all that He truly is the Son of God.

17.STATUES Most churches have statues of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus,and other saints to remind us of the service and sacrifice that these great saints made to spread the faith. The statues are also there to remind us to pray to the saints for their intercession on our behalf and in our prayers to God.

18.TABERNACLE The special con-tainer where the unconsumed, consecrated bread, the Body of Christ, is kept after Communion. The Eucharist is held in the tabernacle until a priest, deacon, or lay minister takes it to parish members who are in nursing homes, hospitals, or who cannot come to Mass because they are sick or until it is given in Holy Communion at a later service. The tabernacle is always located in a prominent location near the altar. Parishioners are welcome to kneel or sit before the tabernacle in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,the Eucharist.