The Catholic Mass


The first part of the Mass is meant to gather all the individual people in the church into the Body of Christ. The rite takes each of us out of our individual thoughts and gathers us all into the prayer of the Church. This is a transition that gets us ready for the awesome mystery of the Eucharist where we can meet God and God can meet us. As we sing the Opening Song, which helps to unify us as one voice, think about the prayer that you bring to church tonight; a prayer for yourself and a prayer for this faith community. Stand for Opening Song.

Veneration of the Altar As the priest approaches the Altar he bends forward in reverence and kisses it.

Greeting and Sign of the Cross When each one of us was baptized, we were signed with the cross of Jesus Christ. In that moment, the Church claimed us for Christ – we belong to him. As we are gathered for Mass, the very first thing we do is, once again, mark ourselves with the sign of Christ’s cross, reminding us of whose we are and to whom we belong.

Penetential Act As we begin, we recognize our sinfulness and our need for and our dependence on, the mercy and forgiveness of God. Together we pray…

Gloria After we have remembered God’s mercy and forgiveness given to us in Christ, the only appropriate response is to praise God. We do that in the Gloria which follows and one that is more familiar to the parish.

Liturgy of the Word Once we have been gathered as the Body of Christ, remembered our need for God’s love and mercy, and given praise to God, we enter into the Word of God.

First Reading In this reading, usually taken from the Old Testament, we are reminded of all the things that God has done throughout history to save us. In this reading you get a “sneak preview” of the Gospel because the reading was chosen to match the “theme” of the Gospel.

Psalm We respond to all that God has done for us, using words from the Old Testament as we sing the Responsorial Psalm.

Second Reading This reading comes from the New Testament. In response to this second reading and in preparation for the Gospel, we stand and sing Allelulia, which is a Hebrew word, meaning “Praise God.We stand out of respect, prepared to hear the very words and life of Jesus.

Reading of the Gospel

Presider: The Lord be with you.

All: And with your spirit.

Presider: A reading from the holy Gospel according to _____

All: Glory to you, O Lord

With these words we sign ourselves with the sign of Christ.Tracing the cross on our foreheads, lips and heart, so that these words of Christ fill my mind, be on my tongue and in my heart.When the Word of Christ has been proclaimed, the priest/deacon shows reverence with a kiss. The priest/deacon shows reverence to symbols of Christ: book of Gospels, the Altar. We show reverence through our posture: standing for the Gospel.

Homily  The Liturgy of the Word continues with the homily where the priest/deacon helps us make connections between the scripture readings and how we live out a life of faith.

Creed After the readings and the homily, people stand and recite the Creed together..."I Believe"

Intercessions  We stand and present before God our needs and the needs of the Church. Usually following a pattern of prayers for the Church, for those in authority, for the sick and for those in our community.

Presentation of the Gifts  People from the community bring forth the bread and wine to be shared with everyone.

Washing Hands  This ritual is a symbolic washing with a prayer that the priest says for interior purification. "Wash me, O Lord, from my inequity and cleanse me from my sin." 

Eucharistic Prayer  This is a prayer of praise and thanks.

The Lord's Prayer  This is the prayer that unites all Christians, the prayer that Christ gave us.

Sign of Peace  In this ritual sharing of Christ's peace we use the first words of Jesus after the resurrection: "Peace be with you."

Communion Rite  We enter into a procession to reach the priest or extraorindary minister where we are presented with the Eucharist in the very simplest of words: "The Body of Christ". And we respond, "Amen."

Similarly, we are presented with the chalice with the words, "The Blood of Christ," and again we respond with a strong "Amen."

Blessing and Sending  Once we have received Holy Communion, there is very little for us to do before we are sent out into the world.  Just as we began Mass with the sign of the cross, at the conclusion, we do the same.

"Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life."