TONGUES – a spontaneous, inspired utterance by the Holy Spirit in which we use our voice according to the Spirit’s prompting. To speak or sing in Tongues or "to pray in the Spirit," as it’s called, is what happens when a believer allows the indwelling Spirit to guide and form the words they utter. To pray, to speak or to sing in Tongues is to pray in what could be an earthly or heavenly language; a language current on the earth or one long dead, or it could be any one of countless dialects. Praying in tongues brings deliverance, inspiration, refreshment (both spiritually and physically), revival, wisdom and is a means to victory in spiritual warfare.
"Prayer tongues is a permanent gift in which you are edified. The Spirit prays within you according to Romans 8:26: ‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with signs too deep for words.’The ministerial gift of tongues is really ‘speaking’ in tongues. In your prayer language you pray in tongues. When you minister to the community by anointed utterance this is ‘speaking in tongues’. There is a distinction. ‘The primary purpose of prayer tongues is to praise God. The gift of speaking in tongues, while praising God, has as its goal, the release of interpretation, or speaking God’s message.’ (Rev. Msgr. Vincent M. Walsh, Lead My People, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Key of David Publications, 1980, p. 54) - it is a calling forth of the ‘interpretation prophecy’. Praying in tongues is a permanent gift. Speaking in tongues is a transient gift used only when there is an anointing." Rev. Robert DeGrandis. S.S.J., The Gift of Tongues, 1983, p. 6-7 (emphasis added).
The gift of tongues is considered the "least" of the gifts, even though it is often presented as a very important manifestation of the baptism in the Spirit. It is the ‘gateway’ gift to the other gifts. If we humble ourselves in our relationship with the Lord so much as to yield to His Holy Spirit within us in order to ‘babble’ in a ‘strange tongue’, then we open ourselves so much more to surrender to the other gifts to be manifest in us for the good of the Church.
Also see Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 688, 798-801, 2003, etc – scroll up to see "How does the Catholic Church confirm the gift and charisms of the Holy Spirit…?"
INTERPRETATION (OF TONGUES) – a prophetic message given in response to God’s signal of ‘speaking in tongues’ (rather than ‘praying in tongues’). If someone ‘speaks’ out in a tongue, there ought to be an ‘interpretation’. This can be brought forth by the person who has given the tongue, or it can be given by someone else in the group. It is the responsibility of leadership to make sure that NO praising, singing, scripture reading, or other prophetic tongue occurs until time has been allowed for the interpretation. We should be silent and wait upon the Lord, and we should pray for someone to have the confidence to deliver the interpretation and ask for it to come forth. Others receiving prophetic words before the interpretation is given should be encouraged to wait. Interpretation may come in a variety of ways, similar to the length and style of the tongue spoken; or it may be completely different, expressed in longer or shorter words, as a vision, a sense, an inspired thought or a symbol in pictures. The person with the interpretation may receive it as if the person speaking in tongues was speaking to them directly in their own language, or it may just be a phrase or a word that comes as the individual is speaking in tongues. The necessary ingredient for bringing forth a message in tongues or an interpretation is the willingness to trust God. This gift, like all the manifestations or gifts of the Holy Spirit, needs to be encouraged and called forth.
PROPHECY – a supernatural communication from God to an individual or a group of believers. It is an anointing given as the Spirit wills to anyone open to bringing forth a gift in love to their brothers and sisters in Christ to promote the spiritual growth and development of the body of believers. Prophecy builds up, encourages (this could include warnings), exhorts and consoles draws us closer to God in worship, and stirs up a response in God’s people such as joy, freedom, peace, tranquility, excitement, enthusiasm, a willingness to give all to the Lord, and gives us guidance in our daily walk.. It always brings glory to Jesus. "…even if a prophecy corrects or calls one to forgiveness, this is a positive message from the Lord for the up-building of the community or person." (DeGrandis, The Gift of Prophecy, p.31) Prophecy is "forth-telling" of the mind and heart of God to His people. Prophecy can manifest through a vision, words, and thoughts or be prompted by a form of physical sensation to alert us to listen. A person yielding to this gift must listen and expect that God will speak, and always yield to the authority and order of the event and yield to the authority/body for discernment. It is necessary to discern the message that is spoken, not necessarily to accept everything that is said as ‘gospel-truth’. Prophecy should always be discerned and tested by the body of believers present. Prophecy is not an ability given to someone to prophesy at will, but rather a definite message given at a particular time by the Spirit for a distinct purpose. Not all who prophesy are prophets (cf. 1 Cor 14:31). A prophet is a person who consistently over time expresses prophetic words which are powerful and which elicit a response from many in the group. (see more on Ministry Gifts – Prophets)