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What is the Church?

The Church is the people of God. These are people who choose to belong to God and to each other.

The word Catholic means Universal. The Catholic Church, therefore, is a church for everyone. It began with the Apostles, which means that the Catholic Church was created by those who knew Jesus.

This means that the Catholic Church we know today is the continuation of the people who gathered around Jesus during his life, and around the Apostles after his death and Resurrection. Those early communities were separated geographically but were joined together by their love for him and for each other. Instead of being only a local church, they were all part of the universal church. To be in communion with each other means to belong to this universal church.  

It is impossible to know for sure whether Jesus intended to start a Church, but he certainly left all the ingredients. Firstly, there were followers, and people came from far and wide to encounter Jesus. Secondly, there was a rite of initiation in Baptism. Thirdly, Jesus left us a ceremony that brings us together repeatedly, and he did this when he established the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. When we gather at Mass, we celebrate the Eucharist, and remember him just as he instructed. 

The Catholic Church continues the work of Jesus and the Apostles. Everyone is invited to come to know Jesus, and through his church we live this relationship. It helps us navigate how we exist in the world - practising forgiveness, working for justice, and treating all people with love.

The job of the Church is to communicate God’s love for the world. 

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