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Palm Sunday – the first day of Holy Week that remembers the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It’s called Palm Sunday because people waved Palm branches as banners to welcome him.

Parable – a story about everyday things but with a deeper meaning. A lot of Jesus’ teaching was done using parables

Parish – the area under the spiritual care of a priest. It comes from the Greek word for ‘district’ – ‘parochia.’ A Diocese is divided up into many parishes.

Parochial – a word to describe something relating to a parish. For example, the Parochial Church Council is the Parish Church Council

Paschal – a word from Aramaic and Greek meaning Passover. It is used to describe the Jewish Passover and the Christian Festival of Easter.

Paschal Candle – the candle that on the night of Holy Saturday is blessed and lit as a symbol of Christ’s Resurrection. It is usually marked with a cross, and five grains of incense are pressed into it, representing the five wounds of Christ. It is carried into the darkened church and then the Exsultet (or Easter Proclamation) is sung. It remains lit for the fifty days of Easter until Pentecost. It is then placed near the font and lit for baptisms and funerals.

Passion – a word used to describe the suffering of Jesus

Passion Plays – a play that tells the story of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection

Passiontide – traditionally this is the last two weeks of Lent, from Passion Sunday to Holy Saturday

Passover – this is the Jewish Festival kept every Spring and celebrating the Exodus of God’s people from slavery to freedom. It was during the time of the Passover celebrations that Jesus had the Last Supper with his apostles, gave us the Eucharist, was arrested and killed and rose again. So there is a great link between those events and the Christian event of Easter, which is often referred to as the Christian Passover.

Pastor – someone who has the responsibility of giving pastoral care. A priest is a pastor, but the word can be used of any minister of the church

Pastoral Care – the care that is given to the People of God, helping them with their problems, and supporting them through difficult times. Someone who provides Pastoral care is often describes as a Pastor. He or she can be ordained or lay.

Paten – the name given to the ‘plate’ on which the bread (host) is placed for the Eucharist.

Patriarch – a word meaning ‘father of a family or tribe.’ It refers to the Patriarchs of the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Moses and David. It also refers to the Bishops of the early Church, who are known as ‘The early Church Fathers.’

Patron Saints – a Saint who has been chosen to have a special connection with something in particular: either a place, a person, organisation, or situation. The practice of having Patron Saints for churches came from the practice of building churches of the burial places of saints.

Paul, St – Paul was first known as Saul when he persecuted the early church and followers of Christ. He oversaw the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. When he was on his way to Damascus he was met by Christ and from that moment on, Saul became a follower of Jesus and one of the Apostles and leaders of the Church. His name was changed to Paul.

Peace Mala – a symbolic bracelet that promotes friendship, respect and peace between the faiths and all people in our world. It cuts through all forms of prejudice and celebrates what makes us different from each other. It is a vision for the future. Wearing the mala is a promise to help create a better world. The word "mala" is Sanskrit and means garland of flowers. In the East, a mala is a string of beads which may be used in meditation or prayer. Each "flower" or bead on the mala can represent a mantra or prayer. The Peace Mala is different. It's purpose is not for devotional use though it may be used in that way if the wearer so wishes. The Peace Mala is a fashion item to wear on the wrist and also a practical teaching aid which can be used with youngsters to help promote awareness, tolerance and respect between all communities. www.peacemala.org.uk
Penitential – being sorry for our sins

Penrhys – a mountain in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales where there is a shrine of Mary. The legend goes that an image of Mary with Jesus appeared miraculously in an oak tree.

Pentecost – the annual celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Also known as Whitsunday. Pentecost is a Jewish Festival, but it was when the apostles and others were in Jerusalem waiting as Jesus instructed them that they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Peter, St – one of the twelve apostles and brother of Andrew. He is the apostle who denied knowing Jesus, but is also the apostle to whom we are told Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom. He became one of the primary leaders of the early church, especially in Rome, and is known as the first bishop of Rome.

Pilgrim – someone who is making a pilgrimage

Pilgrimage – a journey made usually to a place of religious significance, symbolising the journey we make through life with God, who is our final destination. Examples of some Pilgrimage centres include Lourdes, Walsingham, Santiago de Compestella, Iona, Penrhys, Glastonbury, etc.

Pontius Pilate – The governor of Judea from Ad 26 – 36 under whom Christ was crucified. The Gospels portray him as someone who gave into the pressure of the people to have Jesus crucified.

Pope, The – the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and the Bishop of Rome. The first Bishop of Rome and so the first Pope was St Peter.

Prayer – our response to God, with or without words. There are different kinds of prayer: prayer for others, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of confession. But prayer is more than just saying words. It’s also about listening to God, trying to find out what he wants for us and the world.

Prayer of the Faithful – this is the prayer offered by the people at the Eucharist – where they pray for the church, the world and all people.

Presbyter – the early church was organised on similar grounds to the Jewish Synagogue with a board of elders – and this is what is meant by the word ‘presbyter.’ In the New Testament, the term was used of the ‘overseers,’ or bishops. As the role of Presbyters developed they took on various functions, including those of ministers we now know as priests. So, presbyters are what we now know as priests.

Presbyterian – the kind of church that is governed by Elders or Presbyters. In this sense of the word, the presbyters are not considered to be priests as found in the Roman Catholic and Anglican ministry.

Presentation of Christ –see Candlemas

Priest – one of the three orders of ordained ministry in the church. This ministry includes preaching the word of God, baptizing, celebrating the Holy Eucharist, pronounce forgiveness of sins and blessing in God’s name and to care for the people entrusted by the bishop to his charge

Processional Cross – a cross or crucifix used to carry in processions

Processions – there are different kinds of processions: they can be joyful or penitential (that is, sorrow for our sins). There is often a procession at the beginning of the Eucharist, led by cross and candles and sometimes incense. There are special processions on days like Palm Sunday. Many processions happen in the open air. Banners are often carried – to make it a joyful occasion – and also to symbolize the church being like an army to conquer the powers of evil. It also symbolises the church being a pilgrim (journeying) people.

Protestant – in the sixteenth centuries some people had a disagreement with the Catholic church and broke away from them. These church communities beacame known as Protestant Churches because they protested against what they disagreed with the Catholic church of the day.

Psalm – a hymn of praise. The book of Psalms in the Old Testament contains 150 Psalms. The Psalms are used in Christian worship: in the Liturgy of the Word at the Eucharist and in The Divine Office, for example Morning and Evening Prayer.

Psalter – a name given to the book of Psalms used for worship

Pulpit – the item of furniture in a church building used for preaching the gospel