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Catholic Dictionary

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 prayer composed and taught by Christ to the Disciples (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). Named from the first two words of the prayer in the Latin, Pater Noster (Our Father). The Pater Noster has been part of the Church's liturgy since apostolic times. It was part of the profession of faith for the reception of catechumens into the Church, has more commentary by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church than any other passage in the Bible, and, after baptism, is the best known bond of unity among Christians in every tradition. Its seven petitions are a synthesis of the faith, and its balanced structure is an expression of the true hierarchy of values, first the things of God, and then the needs of man. The longer ending among Protestants, "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever," was added in the sixteenth century. It was originally a liturgical ending, which the Catholic Church has recently incorporated into the Eucharistic Prayer of the Mass.