Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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The biblical Greek word for service. As such it applies to all manner of ministry (official) or assistance (unofficial) that a person may perform or render either to the Church in general or to some private individual. In recent years the term has come to be used more technically of those services in the Church for which a person is specially ordained (as priests and deacons), or consecrated (as religious), or designated (as the faithful teaching or serving the needs of the sick or the poor).