A Catholic church is a church whose doctrine most closely fits within the Catholic denomination of the Christian
churches. The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the oldest Christian denomination.
They believe that their Pope, their world leader, can trace his ancestry all the way back to the apostle Peter,
one of Jesus' original twelve disciples. The Catholic Church traces its roots back to Jerusalem, Israel around
0 B.C./A.D. when Jesus Christ was most well-known and where he was finally crucified, died, buried, rose again
from the dead, and ascended back to heaven, all well attested by the people who lived in Jerusalem at the time.
The word catholic means universal. The Catholic denomination understands themselves to be the purest form of proper
Christian religion in our world.
A Catholic church is sometimes referred to as a parish. The structure of the Catholic denomination is very ordered
and hierarchical. Each local Catholic church is considered a parish within a large geographically determined location
called a diocese. Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States, would be considered one diocese with many, several dozen,
different parishes within the metropolitan area. Each parish typically has one or more resident priests, and different
worship services throughout the week, each one called Mass. Each parish maintains its own list of members and thinks
of itself as a family within a larger family.
The largest practice of a Catholic church is its weekly worship services called "Mass". This worship service consists
of the singing of songs of worship, times of prayer both silent and scripted, as well as the delivery of prepared Bible
lesson called a homily by the priest. The most important element of the Mass is communion. Communion is the act of
taking the Lord's Supper. This is a time during the worship service when the priest gives each person a piece of bread,
or wafer, that the person eats that symbolized the body of Jesus Christ that he gave up for each person in his death on
the cross. Additionally the priest gives each person a drink of wine or grape juice from a cup, that symbolized the
blood of Jesus Christ that he spilled for each person on the cross. Catholics celebrate Jesus' death in this way
because it is so important. Jesus died on the cross as payment to God for the sins of all people. The Bible teaches
that death is the punishment for our sins, but Jesus never sinned. Since Jesus didn't need to die and he died anyway,
God let the death of Jesus his own son, be the payment for the sins of all other people who would believe in Jesus.
Many other Christian denominations celebrate the Lord's Supper, or communion, but there is one important theological
difference in the way a Catholic church practices it. Catholics believe that during each mass, every single time the
Lord's Supper is celebrated, the bread and the wine during that service are actually turned into the literal body and
blood of Jesus Christ. This belief is called transubstantiation as is an important doctrine to the Catholic church.