Lesson Fourteen

This lesson is based on the text, Life in Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, by Rev. Gerard Weber and Rev. James Killgallon (Acta Publications, 1995). The question in bold type is followed by a short answer taken from the text. The text in italics is another answer from the RCIA teacher, Jim Collins. Hyperlinks in red will direct you to documents or websites related to the topic. The entire sequence of lessons forms a comprehensive approach to basic RCIA instruction.


Opening Prayer

Song: Christmas Carols


 Questions and answers: Section 14: The Mystery of the Church


  1. What is the starting point for understanding the mystery of the Church?

      It begins with our faith in Christ and the Spirit. Faith provides the context for our belief in the Church whose hierarchical structure was given to it by Christ (You are Peter…)  and whose spiritual community is derived from the action of the Holy Spirit (beginning with Pentecost and continuing until the end of time).

  1. What does the word “Church” mean?

      From the Greek, meaning assembly: (1) a congregation gathered in liturgical prayer, (2) the local community, and (3) the universal church. All three are essential.

  1. What is the origin of the Church?

      The salvific (salvation making) work of the Blessed Trinity. God’s plan for our salvation since the fall of Adam and Eve. Founded in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ (On this rock I will build my Church…) A human  (composed of men and women) and divine (planned and founded by God) community on a pilgrimage toward the perfection found only at the end of time (perfection for all as saints in Heaven). Meanwhile, it is a sacramental (a sign instituted by God to give grace) sign of our intimate union with God (united in our love of God pursuing our salvation) and the unity of all humanity (united in the same plan by God for all men and women). We are called within this Church to love God and neighbor, the two great commandments.

  1. How did Jesus speak of Church?

      a) As his bride, referring to himself as the bridegroom: intimacy and love, self-sacrificing.

      b) As his flock: I am the good shepherd

      c) As his kingdom, the kingdom of God: like a net thrown into the sea

      d) As a vine and its branches: the mystical body of Christ: I am the vine

  1. How and what did Jesus teach about this kingdom?

      He used parables to explain how his kingdom extended to all men, not only Jews: the sower, the wheat and the cockle (chaff), the mustard seed, the leaven, the fishing net, the laborers in the vineyard, the vine-dressers (tenants), the marriage of the king’s son.

  1. How is the Church spoken of today?

      (1) the people of God—extension of the Chosen Race, chosen to be priest (offering sacrifice, called to sacrificial love), prophet (speaking on behalf of God, spreading the Good News) and king (part of the royal family, the King’s Kids; (2) the Body of Christ (Mystical Body, each member doing its chosen task; diverse, but unified in a common goal); (3) the Temple of the Holy Spirit: its members are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a holy, spiritual community committed to the Way of Jesus (renewal and development of the Church).

  1. Why is the image “Pilgrim People of God” helpful?

      Pilgrims: We are travelers from this present life moving toward union with God in a life that will never end. We are always on this journey because our destination is not in this world but in Heaven.

      People: we are (1) common ancestry (Baptism as children of God; Redemption which makes us joint heirs of Heaven); (b) common experience: liturgical actions of the Church: Scripture, Mass, sacraments, sacramentals; (c) common goals: live the Christian message and share it with all humanity. Everyone in the Church is individually called to action to build the Church.

  1. How do we as God’s people manifest the love and unity which is ours as a community of faith?

      a) gathering to celebrate the Eucharist (hear the Word; join in the sacrifice of Jesus and of ourselves) and to share in Holy Communion (receive the body and blood of Jesus).

      b) praying for each other

      c) helping each other in need

      d) supporting with our prayers and alms all the members of Christ who are laboring in the missions

      e) working together to renew the face of the earth: spiritual, social, economic, civic

  1. Are there distinguishing marks by which the Church can be identified?

      From the Nicene Creed: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic—future lessons.


Introduction of a Saint’s life: St. John of the Cross


Prayer:  Magnificat: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of this arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he make to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.