Zachary - The father of John the Baptist and husband of Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron.  Zachary was a priest of the eighth sacerdotal class of Abia. On the day on which he obtained by lot the singular privilege of offering incense upon the altar in the Holy Place, the Angel Gabriel appeared to him.  The angel announced that the prayer of Zachary and Elizabeth had been heard and that they would have a son, and that he might see the Messiah.  However, Zachary doubted he and his wife could still have a child in their declining years, and so asked for a sign.  For his incredulity, the sign was pronounced in the form of punishment – being struck dumb temporarily.  This incapacity lasted until the eighth day after the birth of the child, the day on which he was to be circumcised.  Zachary wrote on a tablet that the child’s name was to be “John” and immediately his speech returned; and he uttered the famous song of gratitude, the Benedictus.
© Fireside New American Bible


Zeal - Enthusiastic interest in pursuing a cause.  1. God’s zeal is mentioned as a ardent intensity in divine action concerning mercy or punishment.  God’s zeal intervened on behalf of His people when pagan nations tried to alienate the Israelites from Yahweh.  At times God’s zeal is coupled with words such as anger, wrath, and fury; it is chiefly awakened by Israel’s worship of other gods.
© Fireside New American Bible


Zechariah, The book of - Prophetic writing of the Old Testament, containing, for its length, the largest number of predictions about Christ. Three visions concern the foundation of the Messianic kingdom. The fourth makes the promise “to raise my servant Baruch” (3-9b). The fourth through the sixth visions treat of Christ the priest and king. An address stresses the keeping of the commandments, and the motive power of the Messianic prophecies (7-8). The rest of the book is mainly two burdens: one over Syria, Phoenicia, and the Philistines; and the other over Israel. In the first is the prophecy of Palm Sunday (9:9-10), and the purchase of Haceldama for the treason money of Judas, who betrayed Christ. In the second (12) is a promise of the restoration of Jerusalem. The author calls himself “son of Berechiah,” but he is most probably not the prophet.
© Modern Catholic Dictionary, Eternal Life Publications


Zephaniah, The book of - The ninth of the minor prophets, Zephaniah was a direct descendant of King Hezekiah of Judah, of Judean origin, and born 660 B.C.  He saw the Scythian invasion of Palestine as the instrument of God’s judgment on Judah and , in a sense, on the whole world (1:2-3), with the blame lying in their attraction to pagan rituals.  With obvious influence from Amos and Hosea, he also censures the people for their lack of concern for ethical standards (1:8-9); he places a great emphasis, perhaps more than any other prophet, on the Day of the lord and the consequent ruin and devastation.  The book does not have an optimistic ending; God will renew the faithful remnant in Judah and will rejoice over them (3:9-20). 
© Fireside New American Bible


Zucchetto - The small skull cap worn by bishops and other prelates.  Originally it was designed to cover the tonsure; today, however, it has become a sign of dignity.
© Fireside New American Bible


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