Catholic Terminology

Church Pews

AMEN – The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

BULLETIN – Your receipt for attending Mass.

CHOIR – A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.

HOLY WATER – A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.

HYMN – A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN – The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

INCENSE – Holy Smoke!

JESUITS – An order of priests known for their ability to found colleges with good basketball teams.

JONAH – The original “Jaws” story.

JUSTICE – When kids have kids of their own.

KYRIE ELEISON – The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava.

MAGI – The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.

MANGER – Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn’t covered by an HMO. Holiday travel has always been rough.

PEW – A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.

PROCESSION – The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

RECESSIONAL – The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.

RELICS – People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when to sit, kneel, and stand.

TEN COMMANDMENTS – The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.

USHERS – The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew.

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