$31,352 to go to meet our Challenge Grant, by December 1st. Your gift now will count twice!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

INCENSE

Aromatic gum or resin in the form of powder or grains that give off a fragrant smoke when they are burned. When blessed it is a symbolic sacramental. Its burning signifies zeal or fervor; its fragrance, virtue; its rising smoke, human prayer ascending to God. It is used at Mass, for the Gospel book, the altar, the people, the ministers, and the bread and wine; before consecration; at benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; during processions; and at absolutions of the dead. When it is to be used, it is carried in a metal cup-shaped container and burned in a thurible or censer. Five large grains of it are placed in the Paschal candle at the Easter Vigil to symbolize the Five Wounds of the Risen Savior. In some countries it is placed in a stationary censer to burn slowly before the Blessed Sacrament, either exposed or reserved on the altar. (Etym. Latin incensum, incense; literally, something burned; from incendere, to kindle.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Putting Our Best Foot Forward 18 hours ago
Contentious Spirits, Beware! October 30
And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs October 29
How not to be persuasive October 29
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6