Glossary – F-G

Faith (N.153-184)

For a Christian, faith is a personal commitment of the whole person to God, in response to God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ.


The first book of the Old Testament. Its name and its famous opening words, “In the beginning God created…” point to its main concern, origins. It is about the origins of the world, of humankind and of the chosen people, all in relation to their originator or creator, God. This has been presented in many ways through the years including short videos such as this one.

The first section of the book (Genesis 1-11) is an account of creation and of God’s dealings with people from Adam and Eve to Noah.

  • The second section (Genesis 12-25) tells the story of Abraham ‘our father in faith’.
  • The third section (Genesis 25-36) is the saga of Isaac and Jacob, and the fourth section (Genesis 37-50) tells of Joseph and his family and how they came to settle in Egypt.

Scholars believe that the Book of Genesis as we have it today was edited from several sources over a long period, taking its final form somewhere about 400 B.C.

Several important Biblical themes make their appearance in Genesis, for example, creation, covenant, freedom, salvation, human sinfulness and faithfulness, and God’s faithfulness.


This word comes from a Latin term for foreigners, and is used to translate the biblical words referring to peoples who were not Jews.


This is the custom of kneeling on one knee as a sign of reverence directed towards Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle.

It is customary for Catholics to genuflect before entering a church pew where the tabernacle is situated in the sanctuary. Where the tabernacle is in a special chapel apart from the sanctuary as is common today, there is no reason to genuflect though many continue to do so out of habit.


The name of the garden on the Mount of Olives where Jesus went with his disciples to pray after the Last Supper, and where he was arrested (eg Mk 14:32).


Something given voluntarily to another. To be a gift, the things given must be accepted by another.


The Gloria is a hymn of praise sung or said at the end of the Introductory Rite of the Mass, before the Liturgy of the Word. It was probably first incorporated into the Liturgy in the 7th Century. Its opening words are the famous “angels song” from Luke’s Gospel – “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth”.

Goal Setting

Looking to the future (short or long-term) and deciding on what one can reasonably expect to achieve.

Good Friday

See entry for Holy Week.


From the Old English godspel meaning “good news” this word has two related meanings: the good news of God’s saving action in Jesus Christ and the accounts of Jesus’ life and works produced by the early Church – i.e. the four Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There were also in circulation other accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds which the Church did not recognise because they do not give an accurate picture of Jesus, and are not inspired. These books the Church rejected. She gave them no place in her canon of sacred books. They are referred to as the apocryphal Gospels.


God’s loving presence within us through which our lives are healed and transformed so that we become more ‘God-like’. Grace means we live in God and God lives in us. Grace is thus the life, the presence and action of God among us. All grace is a gift from God.


An adjective referring to one of the sixteen popes named Gregory, especially Gregory I (the Great, 590-604) or Gregory VII (St. 1073-85). Thus we have references to Gregorian chant (a type of plain chant named after Gregory I) or the Gregorian Calendar, the modern calendar named for Pope Gregory XIII during whose pontificate it was introduced into Catholic countries (1582). Listen to an example of Gregorian chant while following its annotation here.