Catholic Glossary

Compiled from study notes by William Johnson (Church Historian).

Charism: this may be used to describe the particular gift of grace that the founder of a religious order perpetuated. In the case of the Marist Brothers, the founder of the order was Marcellin Champagnat and his charism was to educate young people about how much God loves them and to do this in the way of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Congregation: from the Latin word gregs = flock. These have proliferated since the 16th century. It is incorrect to call members of active congregations "monastics" or "monks". They are properly termed 'Religious'. Members of any religious order or congregation are identified by letters of abbreviation based on the Latin name of the order. The Marist Brothers are Fratelli Maristi Scholastica (fms). The Marist Brothers, as an 'Order' or particular group, originating in France, refer to their congregations as Provinces. The Melbourne Province covers the area of Victoria, Central New South Wales, South Australia, Northern Territory, and Western Australia. There are also a few areas in the Asia/Pacific which this Province covers.

Brothers: male Religious are not necessarily ordained. Like women who are nuns, they take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They live in community and work in ministry according to their Order's mission and their personal gifts. Technically, they are 'Lay Brothers' as they are not ordained, however, they are 'Consecrated Religious' because they have taken vows.

Lay person: in the Church, this refers to any person who is not an ordained priest. There has been a significant movement in the Church, since Vatican II, to acknowledge the role of Lay people in the Church through their Baptism.

Liturgy: refers to any ritual used to worship God. It may occur in the context of a Mass or it may be arranged for any celebration other than this by anyone who is not ordained a priest.

Spirituality: this is a term frequently used today. The "Spirituality Revolution" of our day brings into everyone's life what was once a preoccupation of monastics. It was disseminated to lay people first by French writers after 1600. The particular spirituality fostered by each of the monastic orders e.g. Benedictine, Dominican, comprises a resource available today. Marist Spirituality is Marian i.e. in the way of Mary, the mother of Jesus . .

Vatican II: a gathering of Church leaders in 1962/3, under the leadership of Pope John XXIII, which saw the dawning of a new era in the life of the Church. There were several documents that were written from this gathering.