The word “Catholic” means universal. The Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in the world.
It was established by Jesus Christ in the year 33AD and it has over 1.2 billion members.
Catholics, like all Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to earth and died to save everyone from sin. While he was here, he performed miracles and attracted hundreds of followers.
When Jesus was here on earth, he named one of his followers, his apostles, Peter, as his successor, making Peter the first Pope, the first head of the Catholic Church. Since the time of Peter, the Church has had 265 other popes, with Pope Francis being the most recent.
In addition to the Pope, the church has a hierarchy of servant-leaders who help to pass on the faith. Each man has been ordained a priest through a sacrament called Holy Orders. Through this sacrament, these men are able to perform the duties necessary to a priest, including saying Holy Mass.
Mass is the highest form of worship in the Catholic Church. It has two main parts: The Liturgy of the Word and The Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the Liturgy of the Word, parts of the Bible are read aloud for the faithful to hear and then the priest preaches on them. In the second part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the priest represents Christ and transforms ordinary bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, which faithful Catholics receive every Sunday and sometimes every day.
In addition to Mass, Catholics follow Jesus’ teachings laid out in the Bible and explained in more detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Belief in the Trinity (one God in Three Persons) and reverence for Mary, the Mother of God, is also fundamental to the faith. An emphasis is placed on helping the poor and preaching the gospel message to the everyone.
In order to become a member of the Catholic Church, a person must be baptized, which is one of 7 sacraments that the church has. A sacrament is a Christian rite, which gives graces and Divine Life.