Important Catholic Lists

The 7 Sacraments (The Holy Mysteries)
Confirmation (Chrismation)
Penance (Confession, Reconciliation)
Holy Orders 
Extreme Unction (Annointing of the Sick)

A Sacrament is defined as “an outward sign of inward grace” which was instituted by Christ Himself and receives its power from God, through the merits of Christ. 

Baptism and Penance are known as the “Sacraments of the Dead” because before receiving them when needed, we are dead in sin.

Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are known as the “Sacraments of the Living” because one must be in a state of grace to receive them licitly and receive their fruits; they give additional grace to souls already spiritually alive.

Matrimony and Holy Orders are known as the “Social Sacraments” because they are designed primarily for the benefit of society and confer a social status. 

Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders are the three Sacraments which leave an indelible mark on the recipient’s soul and can never be repeated.

The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy
To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty 
To clothe the naked 
To shelter the homeless 
To visit the sick 
To visit the imprisoned 
To bury the dead 

Reference Matthew 25 and Tobias 12. “To visit the imprisoned” was originally listed as “to ransom the captives,” referring to the ransoming of Christians taken prisoner during Moslem aggression.
The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy 
To counsel the doubtful
To instruct the ignorant
To admonish the sinner
To comfort the sorrowful
To forgive all injuries
To bear wrongs patiently
To pray for the living and the dead 

The 3 Eminent Good Works
The 7 Gifts of the Holy Ghost
Fear of the Lord

See Isaias 11:1-3

Class of Gifts of the Holy Ghost known as Charismata

Gift of speaking with wisdom
Gift of speaking with knowledge
Grace of healing
Gift of miracles
Gift of prophecy
Gift of discerning spirits
Gift of tongues (i.e., xenolalia, the ability to speak foreign languages unknown by natural reason)
Gift of interpreting speeches 

See I Corinthians 12:6-11; I Corinthians 12:28-31; and Romans 12:6-8. The number of items in this class of Gifts of the Holy Ghost, properly called “charismata,” is disputed among theologians. Some add: Gift of government, Gift of Helps, Gift of distributio, Gift of misericordia. The charismata were/are not necessary for individual sanctification, were/are not distributed to all Christians, and are to be subjected to authority and the proper ends for which they were given (I Corinthians 12-14).
The 12 Fruits of the Holy Ghost 

See Galatians 5:22-25 (three of these are not mentioned in some Greek and Latin manuscripts). The 12 Fruits of the Holy Ghost are the effects of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
The 3 Theological Virtues 

Reference I Corinthians 13:13. The Theological Virtues are called such because they are supernatural in origin, relate immediately to God, and can only be gained through His grace
The 4 Cardinal Virtues 

Refrerence Wisdom 8:7. The Cardinal Virtues, unlike the Theological Virtues, can be achieved by human effort.
The 7 Capital Sins and their Contrary Virtues

Capital Sin


Contrary Virtue


Unrestrained appreciation of our own worth


Immoderate desire for earthly goods


Hankering for impure pleasures


Inordinate desire for revenge


Unrestrained use of food and drink


Sorrow over another’s good fortune

Brotherly LoveSloth

Laxity in keeping the Faith and the practice of virtue


The 7 Capital Sins, also known as “The 7 Deadly Sins,” are those sins that give rise to other sins. They were first enumerated by Pope St. Gregory the Great in “Moralia in Job.”

The 6 Sins against the Holy Ghost 
Resisting the known truth 
Envy of another’s spiritual good 
Obstinacy in sin 
Final impenitence
The 4 Sins that Cry Out to Heaven
Willful murder
The sin of Sodom
Oppression of the poor
Defrauding laborers of their wages

Genesis 4, Genesis 18, Exodus 2, James 5, respectively.
3 Conditions for Mortal Sin
Grave matter
Full knowledge
Deliberate consent

From the Catechism of St. Pius X, “The Main Kinds of Sin,” Question 9-10:
Q: What injury does mortal sin do the soul? 
A: (1) Mortal sin deprives the soul of grace and of the friendship of God; (2) It makes it lose Heaven; (3) It deprives it of merits already acquired, and renders it incapable of acquiring new merits; (4) It makes it the slave of the devil; (5) It makes it deserve hell as well as the chastisements of this life. 
Q: Besides grave matter, what is required to constitute a mortal sin? 
A: To constitute a mortal sin, besides grave matter there is also required full consciousness of the gravity of the matter, along with the deliberate will to commit the sin.
The 9 Ways We Participate in Others’ Sins
By counsel 
By command 
By consent 
By provocation 
By praise or flattery 
By concealment 
By partaking 
By silence 
By defense of the ill done
The 10 Commandments 
Thou shalt not have other gods besides Me
Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain 
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day 
Honor thy father and thy mother 
Thou shalt not murder
Thou shalt not commit adultery 
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor 
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods

Reference Exodus 20 and Exodous 34 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Note that the Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate (the official Scripture of the Church), and the original Douay-Reims phrase the Fifth Word as “Thou shalt not murder”; later Douay-Reims versions, such as the Challoner, and the King James Bible, etc., phrase it as “Thou shalt not kill.” “Thou shalt not murder,” however, is the original intent and the meaning of the earliest texts. Catholics, of course, have 2,000 years of Church teaching and the Magisterium to interpret Scripture, and the meaning of the Fifth Commandment is that one is not to take innocent human life. (For information on the way Catholics number the Commandments, as opposed to how Protestants and Jews number them, see this page in the Apologetics section of this site)
The 2 Greatest Commandments 
To love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength. 
To love thy neighbor as thyself. 

Reference Mark 12:30-.31
The 3 Evangelical Counsels 
Voluntary poverty
Perpetual chastity
Entire obedience

The Evangelical Counsels, also called the Counsels of Perfection, are those precepts given by Christ that are not binding on all, but are binding on those who have a vocation to them. The 10 Commandments, the Precepts of the Church, the two Great Commandments, for ex., bind one and all, but the evangelical counsels do not. See Matthew 19:16-22 for the story of Christ’s telling the young man what he needs to do in order to be saved, and then what he needs to do in order to be perfect – two different things.
The 6 Precepts of the Church (The Duties of a Catholic) 
To go to Mass and refrain from servile work on Sundays and holy days
To go to Confession at least once a year (traditionally done during Lent)
To receive the Eucharist at least once a year, during the Easter Season (known as the “Easter duty”) 
To observe the days of fasting and abstinence 
To help to provide for the needs of the Church according to one’s abilities and station in life
To obey the marriage laws of the Church
Holy Days of Obligation in Addition to Sundays (English-speaking Countries)

United States


England & Wales

All Saints 
Imm. Conception

All Saints 
Imm. Conception

Corpus Christi
SS Peter & Paul
All Saints



Australia & New Zealand

St. Patrick
Corpus Christi
SS Peter & Paul
All Saints
Imm. Conception

St. Joseph
Corpus Christi
SS Peter & Paul
All Saints
Imm. Conception

All Saints 

In the United States: in the Novus Ordo: if 1 January, 15 August, or 1 November falls on a Saturday or Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated; if 15 August or 8 December falls on a Sunday, the Feast is celebrated the next day, but the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated; the Feast of the Circumcision is referred to as “Mary, Mother of God”; the Feast of the Ascension in the United States might be celebrated on the 7th Sunday of Easter, according to Province.

The 3 Powers of the Soul 
The 4 Pillars of the Catholic Faith 
The Apostles Creed
The Seven Sacraments
The Ten Commandments
The Lord’s Prayer
The 3 Pillars of the Church’s Authority
Sacred Scripture
Sacred Tradition
Living Magisterium
The 3 Munera (Duties of the Ordained)
Munus docendi (duty to teach, based on Christ’s role as Prophet)
Munus sanctificandi (duty to sanctify, based on Chris’s role as Priest)
Munus regendi (duty to shepherd, based on Christ’s role as King)
The 3 Parts of the Church
The Church Militant (Christians on Earth)
The Church Suffering (Christians in Purgatory)
The Church Triumphant (Christians in Heaven)
The 4 Marks of the Church

In the Nicene Creed we say that the Church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”
The 12 Apostles 


  formerly “Simon,” renamed “Kepha” or “Cephas” by Our Lord; preached in Antioch, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Asia Minor, Rome; headed Roman Church (was first Pope); crucified upside-down in Rome, Italy; relics at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Symbols: the Keys; upside-down Latin Cross; book. Feast: June 29 (along with St. Paul); August 1 (St. Peter’s Chains).


Peter’s brother; preached in Scythia; Epirus; Achaia; Hellas; Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, Scythian deserts, Byzantium;Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia; crucified in Patrae in Achaia; relics at Cathedral of Amalfi, Italy, and in St. Andrew’s Church in Patras, Greece. Symbols: X-shaped Cross; anchor; fish; fishing net. Feast: November 30.

James the Greater

he and his brother (John) nicknamed by Jesus “Sons of Thunder” (Boanerges); a son of Zebedee; preached in Spain; beheaded by Herod Agrippa I to please the Jews; relics at Compostela, Spain. Symbols: seashells; pilgrim’s staff; scroll; book; floppy hat; trampling a Moor; mounted on horseback. Feast: July 25.


he and his brother (James the Greater) nicknamed by Jesus “Sons of Thunder” (Boanerges); a son of Zebedee; the disciple whom Jesus loved; Evangelist; preached in Asia Minor (Ephesus). Symbols: chalice; eagle; serpent; sword; cauldron. Feast December 27.


preached in Hieropolis in Asia (?); relics at church of the Dodici Apostoli in Rome, Italy. Symbols: basket of loaves; T-shaped Cross. Feast: May 11 (with St. James the Less)


preached in India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Armenia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, shores of the Black Sea (?); beheaded or flayed alive and crucified, head downward in Albanopolis in Armenia; relics at St. Bartholomew-in-the-Island in Rome, Italy (?). Symbols: tanner’s knife; flayed skin. Feast: August 24.


“Levi”; Evangelist; preached in Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria, and to the Hebrews generally (?). Symbols: angel/man/winged man holding a pen or inkwell; bag of coins, money bag, money box, or purse; spear; sword; halberd; lance. Feast: September 21.


“Didymus,” meaning “Twin”; familiarly (not Scripturally) known as “Doubting Thomas”; preached in India; pierced through with spears by four soldiers at Syriac Mazdai; relics in Santhome Cathedral, Chennai, India. Symbols: T-square; spear. Feast December 21.

James the Less

“James the Just” or “James the Younger”; son of Alphaeus (Clophas) and “brother of the Lord”; Bishop of Jerusalem Church; epistle writer; killed by Jews by being thrown off the Temple and clubbed to death. Symbols: fuller’s club; book; windmill. Feast: May 11 (with St. Philip)


“Thaddaeus”; “brother of James (the Less)”; epistle writer. Symbols: shown with medallion with profile of Jesus around his neck; shown with flame above his head; oar; boat; axe; book; pen. Feast: October 28 (with St. Simon).


“Simon the Zealot” or “Simon the Canaanite.” Symbols: fish(es); man being sawn in two longitudinally; saw; lance. Feast: October 28 (with St. Jude).

Judas Iscariot

replaced after his suicide by Matthias (St. Matthias’s Feast: February 24).

A little poem to help you remember:

Peter, Andrew, James and John,
Phil and Bart and Matt and Tom,
James the Less and Jude and Simon –
Then Judas who betrayed the God-man.

The 12 Tribes of Israel 
In order of their birth:

Joseph (Menasseh and Ephraim)
The 8 Beatitudes 
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 
Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land. 
Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted 
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill 
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy 
Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God 
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God 
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

Reference Matthew 5:3-10.
The 14 Stations of the Cross 
Jesus is Condemned to Die 
Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross 
Jesus Falls the First Time 
Jesus Meets His Mother
Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross 
Veronica Wipes Jesus’ Face 
Jesus Falls the Second Time 
Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem 
Jesus Falls the Third Time 
Jesus is Stripped 
Jesus is Nailed to the Cross 
Jesus Dies on the Cross 
Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross 
Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
The 7 Sorrows (Dolours) and 7 Joys of Our LadySorrows (Dolours):Joys:The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:33-35)The Annunciation (Luke 1:27-38)The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 3: 13-15)The Visitation (Luke 1:39-58)The Loss of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:7)The Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross (John 19:17)The Adoration of the Magi (Matthew 2:7-11)The Crucifixion (John 19:25-30)The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46)The Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross (John 19: 31-37)The Resurrection of Our Lord (John 20:1-9)Jesus laid in the Tomb (John 19:38-42)The Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin (Apocalypse 12)
The 7 Sorrows and 7 Joys of St. JosephSorrows:Joys:The doubt of Saint Joseph (Matthew 1:19)The Message of the Angel (Matthew 1:20)The poverty of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7)Jesus’ Birth itself (Luke 2:7)The Circumcision (Luke 2:21)The Holy Name of Jesus (Matthew 1:25)Simeon’s prophecy that many would be lost (Luke 2:34)Simeon’s prophecy that many would rise (Luke 2:34)The flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14)The Overthrow of Idols (Isaias 19:1)The return from Egypt (Matthew 2:22)Life with Mary and Jesus (Luke 2:39)The loss of the Child Jesus (Luke 2:45)The Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46)
The 15 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary & When They are Prayed
Finding Jesus in the Temple

Agony in the Garden
The Scourging
Crowning with thorns
Carrying of the Cross

Crowning of Mary













Sundays in Advent, Christmastide & Epiphany:


Sundays in Eastertide & Time After Pentecost:


All of Septuagesima & Lent:


In October 2002, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, recommended adding 5 more Mysteries to the Rosary to be prayed on Thursdays – the “Luminous Mysteries” which focus on Jesus’ public life. These Mysteries are:

The Baptism in the Jordan
The Marriage Feast at Cana
The Proclamation of the Kingdom
The Transfiguration
The Institution of the Eucharist

This novelty does not change the true Rosary and is merely presented as an option for Christians. This option, however, is one that totally disrupts the relationship between the Rosary and the Breviary’s Psalms. Stick with the classic tried-and-true Rosary. To read why adding Mysteries to the Rosary was a most horrible idea, see this page, and to read a critique of Pope John Paul II’s Encyclical on the matter, see this page (both pages offsite, will open in new browser window)

The Order of Creation

1st Day:

A dividing of light from darkness brings forth Heaven and a formless, water-covered Earth, then Light

2nd Day:

A dividing of the waters above from the waters below to create the Firmament of Heaven

3rd Day:

A dividing of the waters under the heavens to form dry land; then grass, herbs, and fruit trees

4th Day:

Sun, Moon and Stars

5th Day:

Creatures of the waters and of the air

6th Day:

Creatures of the land, then Man

God, Who is of the supernatural order, created the natural and preternatural (e.g., the angelic) orders out of nothing (ex nihilo), in time (“in the beginning”), and for His own pleasure. Only God can “create,” and because of this, it is actually rather blasphemous to refer to man as “creating” anything. Man can produce, re-produce, manufacture, form, fashion, fabricate, design, shape, or make – but he cannot bring into existence anything out of nothing. Angels and demons, too, are limited and cannot do the truly miraculous. They are able, however, to take what is created and manipulate it in ways that seem miraculous and are able to influence our perceptions and imaginations. 

You can remember the Order of Creation by thinking of the first three days as days which God spent creating forms and frameworks by dividing the elements, and the last three days as the days He spent creating things to fill those forms created by dividing the elements, e.g.:

Day 1 Light
External image
Day 4 specific forms of light in the Sun, Moon, and StarsDay 2 the Firmament/waters
External image
Day 5 birds to fill the firmament, and fish to fill the watersDay 3 dry land
External image
Day 6 land animals and man
The 9 Choirs of Angels
In ascending order:


The Choir of Angels is divided into three triads with specific concerns: 

The 1st triad:

Angels, Archangels, and Principalities: concern themselves with the minute ordering of the universe and specific causes, including the welfare of people. Each human being, each church, and each country has a Guardian Angel. The Feast of the Guardian Angels is October 2.

The 2nd triad:

Powers, Virtues and Dominations: known as the “angels of creation” because they concern themselves with the ordering of the universe and a plurality of causes.

The 3rd triad:

Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim: concern themselves with contemplating the glory of God. It is the 6-winged Seraphim who sing the Sanctus, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts” (Isaias 6:3).

Angels (the word means “Messengers”) are spirits (there was and is debate as to whether they are pure spirit like God or whether they are possess “subtle matter” and are corporeal in a different way from us), created before man, who were given one choice at the beginning of Creation: the Kingdom of God – or the Absence of God, which is the Kingdom of Satan, the first Angel who rebelled. 

There are 7 Archangels (Tobias 12:15). We know the names of 3 of them from Scripture:

  • Michael (Daniel, Epistle of St. Jude, Apocalypse of St. John), whose name means “Who is like God” and whose Feast is September 29;
  • Gabriel (Daniel and Luke), whose name means “Strength of God” and whose Feast is March 24; and
  • Raphael (Tobias), whose name means “Medicine of God” and whose Feast is October 24.

The apocryphal Book of Enoch lists the other 4 as:

  • Uriel;
  • Raguel;
  • Sariel; and
  • Jeramiel.

The 3 Levels of Reverence  Dulia:the reverence we give to SaintsHyperdulia:the reverence we give to Mary as the greatest of Saints and Mother of GodLatria:the reverence and worship we give to God alone
The 14 Holy Helpers 
St. George, Martyr, April 23 
St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, February 3 
St. Pantaleon, Martyr, July 27 
St. Vitus, Martyr, June 15 
St. Erasmus (Elmo), Bishop and Martyr, June 2 
St. Christopher, Martyr, July 25 
St. Giles, Abbot, September 1 
St. Cyriacus (Cyriac), Martyr, August 8 
St. Achatius, Martyr, May 8 
St. Dionysius (Denis), Bishop and Martyr, October 9 
St. Eustachius (Eustace), Martyr, September 20 
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr, November 25 
St. Margaret of Antioch, Virgin and Martyr, July 20 
St. Barbara, Virgin and Martyr, December 4 

The “Holy Helpers” are Saints who first became grouped together and invoked together during the Black Plague, which ravaged Europe between 1346 and 1349. This horrible disease decimated entire towns and struck quickly. First one’s mouth would dry and head would ache. Then came the fever, and boils, and the blackening of the tongue. Death would come in hours.
The 7 Last Words of Christ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.(Luke 23:34)Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)Woman, behold thy son… .Behold thy mother.(John 19:26-27)Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? (My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?)(Matthew 27:46, ref. Psalm 21)I thirst.(John 19:28)It is consummated.(John 19:30)Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.(Luke 23:46, ref. Psalm 30:6)
The 4 Last Things (The Novissima)
I was taught the faith in Catholic schools using materials that were weak and insubstantial. I wasn’t being taught my faith. The liturgy suffered from experimentation as well. When I speak about this publicly, invariably people of my generation come up to me to agree with what I’m saying. This includes many bishops. My generation raised up the next generation. Since we weren’t taught the faith, we raised children who weren’t either. We need a renewal in catechesis.
—  Bishop Alexander Sample (Marquette)
The Word of God is the holy of holies, yea, the only holy thing we Christians know and have. Although we were to gather in a heap the bones or the holy and consecrated garments of all the saints, they could not help us; for they all are lifeless things that can sanctify no one. God’s Word, however, is the treasure that sanctifies everything. By it all the saints themselves were sanctified. Now, whatever be the hour when God’s Word is taught or preached, when it is heard, read or called to mind, the person, day and work are thereby sanctified; not because of any outward work, but because of the Word, which sanctifies us all. Hence, I constantly repeat that our whole lives and works must be guided by God’s Word if they are to be pleasing to God or be called holy. Where they are so guided [the Third Commandment] exerts its power and is fulfilled.
—  Martin Luther; The Third Commandment, The Ten Commandments, Luther’s Large Catechism, Augsberg Publishing 1967, p. 28

“He must increase, and I must decrease.” - St. John The Baptist

Ian lays down some information about John the Baptist on this day when we celebrate his birth. 



Who among us has not experienced insecurity, disorientation, and even doubt along the path of faith? … [I]n these difficult moments it is necessary to trust in the help of God, through filial prayer and, at the same time, it is important to find the courage and the humility to open ourselves to others. In this communion – because communion means common union – were are a great family, whose members all help and support one another.
—  Pope Francis, October 30, 2013

You have seen the bumper sticker, “If you can read this, thank your teacher.”

If there are cars in heaven, the bumper sticker will read, “If you are reading this, thank your catechist.”

Bad news from the studies is that people are less than excited about “religion.” Good news is that they are eager for meaning, purpose, “spirituality” and belief.

Our catechists connect the dots: meaning, purpose, spirituality and belief are found in Jesus and His Church.

—  Archbishop Timothy Dolan (New York)
Prayer (CCC 2729)

The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.


2MC: Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul

For the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Ian teaches us quickly a few ways to identify these two important Church figures when we see them represented in Church art.

It is important, when we feel we are sinners to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Someone might say: ‘But I am afraid that the priest will chastise me.’ No, the priest will not chastise you. Do you know who you will encounter in the Sacrament of Reconciliation? You will encounter Jesus who pardons you! Jesus is waiting for you there; and this is a Sacrament that makes the whole Church grow.
—  Pope Francis, November 6, 2013
Vocation (CCC 373)

In God’s plan man and woman have the vocation of “subduing” the earth as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator “who loves everything that exists”, to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.