Glossary of Church Terms
Pallium: Special stole made of lamb's wool worn over the chasuble by the Pope and archbishops; it signifies communion of archbishops with the Holy See.
Papal Infallibility: The end result of divine assistance given the pope, wherefore he is prevented from the possibility and liability of error in teachings on faith or morals.
Papal Representatives: The three types of representative of the Roman Pontiff are:
- Legatee - An individual appointed by the Pope to be his personal representative to a nation, international conference, or local church. The legate may be chosen from the local clergy of a country.
- Apostolic Pro-Nuncio - In the United States, the papal representative is sent by the Pope to both the local church and to the government. His title is Apostolic Pro-Nuncio. Although he holds the title of ambassador, in U.S. law he is not accorded the special privilege of being the dean of the diplomatic corps. In countries where he is dean of the diplomatic corps, his title is Apostolic Nuncio.
- Permanent Observer to the United Nations - The Apostolic See maintains permanent legates below the ambassadorial level to several world organizations. Since the Papal Legate does not enjoy the right to vote within the organization, his title at the United Nations is that of Observer.
Parish: A specific community of the Christian Faithful within a diocese, which has its own church building, under the authority of a pastor who is responsible for providing them with ministerial service. Most parishes are formed on a geographic basis, but they may be formed along national or ethnic lines.
Pastor: A priest in charge of a parish or congregation. He is responsible for administering the sacraments, instructing the congregation in the doctrine of the Church, and other services to the people of the parish.
Pastoral Associate: A member of the laity who is part of a parish ministry team.
Pastoral Council: A group of members of the parish who advise the pastor on parish matters.
Paten: The plate used to hold the bread.
Pectoral Cross: A cross worn on a chain about the neck of bishops and abbots as a mark of office
Penitential Rite: A general acknowledgment by the entire assembly of sinfulness and the need for God's mercy.
Pontiff, Pontifical: is used as an alternative form of reference to the pope. Pontifical has to do with the pope.
Prayer after Communion: The final prayer by the celebrant in which he petitions that the sacrament be beneficial for all.
Prayer over the gifts: The prayer by the celebrant asking that the gifts to be offered be made holy and acceptable.
Prayer: The raising of the mind and heart to God in adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and petition The official prayer of the Church as a worshiping community is called liturgy.
Preface dialogue: The introductory dialogue between the celebrant and assembly in which all are invited to join in prayer and thanksgiving to God.
Preparation of the Gifts: The time in the Mass when the bread and wine to be used in the celebration are brought to the celebrant, usually by representatives of the faithful.
Presbyterial Council: Also known as the priests' council, this is the principal consultative body mandated by the Code of Canon Law to advise the diocesan bishop in matters of pastoral governance. It consists of bishops and priests serving the diocese.
Primacy: Papal primacy refers to the pope's authority over the whole church.
Processional Cross: The cross carried in the processions.
Profession of Faith: The people together recall and proclaim the fundamental teachings of the faith. The Profession of Faith is used on all Sundays, and solemnities.
Also called the Creed.
Proselytize: To bring one to another's viewpoint whether in religion or other areas.
Province: 1) A territory comprising one archdiocese called the metropolitan see and one or more dioceses called suffragan sees. The head of an archdiocese, an archbishop, has metropolitan rights and responsibilities over the province. 2) A division of a religious order under the jurisdiction of a provincial superior.
Purgatory: The state or condition in which those who have died in the state of grace, but with some attachment to sin, suffer for a time as they are being purified before they are admitted to the glory and happiness of heaven.