Why is the Fish used as a symbol of Christianity?
The early Christians used the Fish as a symbol of Christ. The Greek word for fish is “icthus” which was an abbreviation (acronym) for “Iesus Christos THeou Uios Soter” (Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior).

What does the word “Amen” mean?
Amen is a Hebrew word which means “So May It Be”. Amen is used to confirm (or affirm) a promise or truth of God. Typically, it ends most prayers.

What does the word “Catholic” mean?
The word “Catholic” means “universal” (i.e., “in keeping with the whole”).

What is meant by the “The New Commandment”?
By reading John 13:34, you will learn that Jesus spoke of the New Commandment during the Last Supper. He said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

On some icons there are the letters IC XC NI KA. What do they stand for?
The letters “IC XC NI KA” are Greek letters that are abbreviations for “Jesus Christ Conquers”.

Why is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary sometimes called The Dormition of Mary?
In the Eastern Church, the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated on August 15th. The Eastern Catholics believe that Mary did die and then was assumed into heaven. The word Dormition emphasizes that Mary “fell asleep” (i.e. died) before she was assumed.

What is the reason that we make the Sign of the Cross?
Catholics make the Sign of the Cross as a sign of respect to God and also as a means of requesting God’s blessings on themselves.

The origin of the making the Sign of the Cross dates back to the 2nd century when it was common for individuals to pay respect to a ruler by gesturing. Thus, Christians used the Sign of the Cross to honor the Holy Trinity. Additionally, the Sign of the Cross served as a form of recognition since early Christians were forced to worship in secret.

By tradition, Latin Catholics finish the cross left-to-right and use an open hand, while Eastern Catholics finish right-to-left and hold three fingers together to symbolize the Trinity.

Where did the word “Gospel” come from?
The word “Gospel” originates from the Anglo-Saxon words “god” (i.e. good) and “spell” (i.e. tell). Restated in today‚Äôs language, Gospel means “Good News.”

If you read Luke 4:16-18, you will notice that Jesus used the words “Good News” as he appeared at the synagogue in Nazareth.

Does the word “Alleluia” have a meaning?
“Alleluia” was used by the Jewish people as a cry of praise and joy to God. It translates as “Praise the Lord!” Prior to the priest reading the Gospel during Liturgy, the congregation sings “Alleluia” to express their joy in soon hearing the Word of God.

What does the name Jesus mean and how did Jesus get his name?
The name Jesus means “the Lord saves”, in Hebrew Yehoshua. According to Jewish custom, Jesus received His name on His eighth day from His birth and at the same time of His circumcision. The eighth day is significant because it welcomes a new era after the seven days of creation.

The angel of the Lord gave this name to Joseph in a dream:

“Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus – because he will save his people from their sins.”(Matthew 1:20-21)

The angel Gabriel also said to Mary:

“You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus”. (Luke 1:31)

Why does the priest hold up a cloth during the Nicene Creed?
During the Nicene Creed, the priest lifts up the veil and keeps it before his eyes. This reminds the congregants that many “articles of faith” are mysterious and are “dark to our weak mind.” Therefore, we must accept the “articles of faith” based on the infallible word of Christ.

Q and A’s are courtesy of Fr. Joseph Szupa and Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Catholic Church – Hillside, NJ