Places of Worship, Pilgrimage & Festivals

Places of Worship, Pilgrimage & Festivals

churchCatholics worship in churches, and services are conducted by a priest. Inside, Catholic churches have a baptismal font, like a basin, which contains holy water. Catholics dip their fingers in the font when they enter church as a reminder of their baptism. The Paschal Candle stands by the font. Churches also contain a confessional. This is like a small room with a partition down the middle. The priest sits on one side and a member of his congregation sits on the other when the priest is hearing confession. Churches also include representations of Jesus on the cross and of the Virgin Mary.

Pilgrims make a journey to a holy place to show their devotion to God. Well-known places of pilgrimage include Lourdes in France and Santiago de Compostela in Spain.




xmasRoman Catholics celebrate Christmas on the 25th December. Christmas marks the birth of Jesus, known as the Nativity. The celebration of Christmas starts with Advent on the Sunday nearest to November 30th. An Advent wreath is displayed in church. This has four candles placed on it and one is lit every Sunday in the run-up to Christmas Day. Midnight Mass is held on Christmas Eve.

Lent and Easter

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts for the 40 days before Easter. Some Catholics fast during Lent and others give up a pleasure. The 40 days represent the period that Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tempted by the Satan (the Devil).

Palm Sunday, on the Sunday before Easter, marks the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem.

Catholics celebrate Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter, as the day of the Last Supper when the ceremony of the Eucharist was first established by Jesus. It is also the night that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus.

Good Friday marks the crucifixion of Jesus. On Holy Saturday, the Vigil Service is held and the Paschal Candle is lit. When it is lit this symbolises the light of Christ. Easter Sunday commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus.

Forty days after Easter, Catholics celebrate the Ascension, when Jesus ascended to heaven.