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Like Saint Therese, we do small things well to make a big difference. 

Some useful terminology


The season of the Christian year that precedes Christmas. It is a time of prayer and reflection in preparation for the coming of Christ.

Ash Wednesday

The day that marks the beginning of Lent when Catholics take part in a ritual of marking their forehead with ashes as recognition of sinfulness and the need for redemption.


Prayers used to ask God’s blessing on people, events of places. They ask for God’s presence, goodness and protection.


The chief priest of the diocese (the word derives from the Greek word episcopus meaning an overseer) who shares with priests their general ministry but in a senior leadership role within a diocese. He fulfils the pastoral roles of teacher and Shepard. The Bishop of our Diocese is Bishop Michael Dooley.


The term is understood in a number of ways, ‘Catholic’ comes from the Greek term meaning ‘universal’ or ‘world-wide’. So that the term refers to a communion of churches who are linked especially through the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). Sometimes called the ‘Roman Catholic Church’ for that reason.


In Catholic schools this refers to the ‘gifts’ of founding religious orders or patron saints used to build up ‘The Kingdom’. Each school has its own charism depending on the associated religious orders or patron saint. St Theresa's School was founded by the Dominican order.


A formal statement of faith and a summary of Christian beliefs. The most familiar are the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed.


A cross with the figure of the crucified Jesus upon it. Used by Catholics to bring to mind the suffering of Christ.


The administrative unit (normally a geographical region) of the Church presided over by a bishop. Our school belongs to the Dunedin Diocese which encompasses all of the Catholic schools from Oamaru to Southland.


From the Greek word meaning ‘thanksgiving’. The celebration by Catholics of the Last Supper of Jesus. And a time of recognising the presence of Christ in unity with his people. Our church is St Theresa's Church found on Perth St.

Feast Day 

A special day in the calendar of the Church or school which remembers a significant event in the life of Christ, the saint or the community.


A gesture of lowering the body on the right knee acknowledging the presence of god. Used normally when entering or leaving a Catholic Church or Chapel.


The gift of God’s love and help which is given to humankind freely, without any previous efforts on our part.

Holy Water

Water which has been blessed by a priest. Catholics touch themselves with the holy water as they make the sign of the cross on entering a church as a reminder of their baptism. It is also used to bless certain objects to recognise their sacredness.


The wafer of consecrated bread which Catholics receive at Holy Communion. It is usually round and thin for convenience, and there are two sizes – the larger is used by the priest at the altar.


The forty days (excluding Sundays) preceding Easter when Catholics fast, pray and perform special and private or public acts of repentance as a preparation for the great event of Jesus’ death.


From the Greek words meaning, literally ‘the work of the people’; it is used in the Christian Churches for public, formal acts of worship.

Liturgical Colours

The sense of sight, including colour, plays an important
role in Catholic worship. The colours of a Catholic
priest’s vestments, the draperies or cloths help the
faithful know the certain celebrations, seasons and
feats days. The colours all symbolise certain aspects or
emphasis of the season or celebration. The Church
uses different colours to indicate the season or
feast that is being celebrated.

New Testament

The collection of sacred books of the Jewish scriptures, sometimes called the Hebrew Bible or Hebrew Scripture, which are included together with the New Testament to make up the book called the Bible.


A smaller geographic region in each diocese, with its own priest. 


The feast day celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the early Church. It is considered to be the birthday of the Church.

Proprietor's Representative

An individual appointed by the Proprietor to represent their interests. There are usually four on a Board of Trustees and they are full members of that board.


The ritual through which sinners are reconciled with God and others. Also known as Penance or Confession


Of all Catholic prayers the rosary is probably the most popular devotion. The word rosary means “garland of roses”. The rosary is a string of beads that Catholics use to count the group of prayers known as the rosary. Its rhythmic repetition helps us focus our thoughts and become aware of God’s presence. During this prayer we think about the various aspects of Jesus’ life. 


Sacraments – the visible sign of the invisible God.
Catholics believe all of the sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself, and each is
an outward sign of an inward grace. When Catholic’s participate in them worthily, each person is provided with graces — with the life of God in our soul. In worship, Catholics give to God that which is owed God; in the sacraments, God gives the graces necessary to live a truly human life.
See below for a more detailed description.


Catholics believe that the books of the Bible are not primarily historical or biographical documents. They are theological statements written in the light of the faith.
The Gospels were written at different times in different places for different groups of people.
The word bible (biblia) means a collection of books.
The Bible is a collection of books dived in to two parts, the Old and the New Testaments or the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. 

Sign of Peace

This is a symbol that we use at Mass to share the peace of Christ amongst one another.

Stations of the Cross

The fourteen Stations of the Cross commemorate Jesus’ journey from Pilate’s court to Calvary. Praying and meditating upon the Stations is a traditional devotion in the Church especially during the Season of Lent.


The word tabernacle means “dwelling place.” The tabernacle in Church is so named because it is a place where Christ dwells in the Eucharist. 


1. The independent state in Italy where the Pope lives as Bishop of Rome.
2. The central authority of the Catholic Church. 

Common Catholic Prayers 

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ko te Tohu o te Rīpeka

Ki te ingoa o te Matua, o te Tamaiti, o te Wairua Tapu. Āmene. 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass
against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Ko te Īnoi a te Ariki

E to mātou Matua i te rangi,
kia whakatapua tōu ingoa,
kia tae mai tōu rangatiratanga,
kia whakaritea tōu hiahia i te whenua kia pērā anō i tō te rangi.
Homai ki a mātou aianei he taro mā mātou mō tēnei rā.
Whakakāhoretia ō mātou hara,
me mātou e whakakore nei i ngā hara o te hunga
e hara ana ki a mātou. Kaua mātou e tukua kia whakawaia,
engari whakaorangia mātou i te kino.


Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.


Awe e Maria

Āwe e Maria, e kī ana koe i te keratia, kei ā koe te Ariki;
e whakapainga ana koe i roto i ngā wāhine,
ā, e whakapaingia ana hoki a Hēhu, te hua o tōu kōpu.
E Hāta Maria, e te matua wahine o te Atua, īnoi koe mō mātou,
mō te hunga hara, aianei, ā, a te haora o to mātou matenga rawa.


The Seven Sacraments 

Sacraments – the visible sign of the invisible God

Catholics believe all of the sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself, and each is
an outward sign of an inward grace. When Catholic’s participate in them worthily, each person is provided with graces — with the life of God in our soul. In worship, Catholics give to God that which is owed God; in the sacraments, God gives the graces necessary to live a truly human life.

Holy Communion or Eucharist
Confession or Reconciliation or sometimes called Penance
The Anointing of the Sick

Holy Orders

The first three sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion—are
the sacraments of initiation. When these are received a person is fully a member of the Catholic Church and can participate in full communion with the church. Much like other churches and clubs or groups there is an initiation process. 

The Sacramental Programme

The Sacramental Programme is typically offered in Year 4, as the students reach an age where they are considered mature enough to complete the Sacraments of Initiation. The following sacramental programmes are completed throughout the year:


The Sacrament of Penance (or Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession) is for spiritual healing. Catholics believe Jesus left the Sacrament of Penance because only God’s grace can heal a wounded soul. After you confess your wrong-doings, the priest gives you a penance to perform. This may be doing something nice for others and/or a set of prayers, such as saying the Our Father or the Hail Mary, a certain number of times.


This sacrament is called Confirmation because the faith given in Baptism is now confirmed and made strong. Confirmation means accepting responsibility for your faith and destiny. The focus is on the Holy Spirit, who confirmed the apostles on Pentecost and gave them courage to practice their faith. Catholics believe that the same Holy Spirit confirms Catholics during the Sacrament of Confirmation and gives them the same gifts and fruits. The ceremony may take place at Mass and the Bishop wears red vestments to symbolize the red tongues of fire seen hovering over the heads of the apostles at Pentecost.

Holy Communion:

Of all seven sacraments the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion is the most central and important to Catholicism. The Holy Eucharist is food for the soul, so it’s given and eaten during Holy Communion at the Mass. When you receive Holy Communion, you’re intimately united with Jesus Christ — he literally becomes part of you. Also, by taking Holy Communion, you express your union with all Catholics who believe the same doctrines, obey the same laws, and follow the same leaders. When boys and girls make their First Holy Communion, it’s a big occasion for Catholic families. Like their Baptism, the day of First Communion is one filled with family, friends, and feasting after the sacred event has taken place in church.