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

Some useful terminology


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.


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 term used to name the sacrament popularly called the ‘Mass’. Sometimes the term is used to describe consecrated elements received in communion.


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.


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

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. Our St Theresa’s Parish has Father Vince and Father Keyes residing in the Presbytery located beside the school.

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.