Glossary of Church Terms
Hierarchy: In general, the term refers to the ordered body of clergy, divided into bishops, priests, and deacons. In Catholic practice, the term refers to the bishops of the world or of a particular region.
Holidays - Holy Days of Obligation: Feasts in Latin-rite churches on which Catholics are required to assist at Mass. In the United States these are: Christmas, (The Nativity of Jesus); January 1, (Mary Mother of God); Ascension of the Lord forty days after Easter; August 15, (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary); November 1, All Saints' Day; and December 8, Immaculate Conception (of the Blessed Virgin Mary). Outside the United States, variations of Holy Days may occur.
Holy, Holy, Holy: The response of the community to the preface and a continuation of the general theme of praise and thanks.
Holy Name Society: A lay organization which seeks to aid its members in living a genuinely Christian life. The society organizes retreats and other spiritual and devotional exercises.
Holy See: I) The diocese of the pope, Rome. 2) The pope himself or the various officials and bodies of the Church's central administration--the Roman Curia--which act in the name and by authority of the pope.
Holy Communion: After saying a preparatory prayer, the celebrant (or other designated ministers) gives communion (the consecrated bread and wine) to himself and the other ministers at the altar, and then communion is distributed to the congregation.
Homily: The homily (sermon) is a reflection by the celebrant or other ministers on the Scripture readings and the application of the texts to the assembled community.
Host, The Sacred: The bread under whose appearances Christ is and remains present in a unique manner after the consecration of the Mass.
Humanae Vitae: This 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI on married love and procreation.