Catholic Mass

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'''Parts of the Catholic Mass'''

The Mass is the "dispensation of the mystery" revealed on Pentecost for the Age of the Church, during which "Christ lives and acts in and with his Church" (CCC 1076).

This page is part of Catechism of the Catholic Church

Here for a two-page printout of the Order of Mass and Responses: Catholic Mass prayers and responses (

"Holy Mass"[edit | edit source]

Heaven on Earth[edit | edit source]

  • The Mass transcends space and time, and makes present, in real-time, the entire paschal mystery of Christ's death and resurrection.
  • In the Mass is our only glimpse of Heaven
    • as John the Baptist baptized Jesus,
  • The Eucharist

The Lord's Day[edit | edit source]

  • Sunday Mass is a Church requirement in fulfillment of the Third Commandment "to keep holy the Lord's Day" (CCC p. 497)
  • Sunday is the Lord's Day:
Sunday is the pre-eminent day for the liturgical assembly, when the faithful gather "to listen to the word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection, and glory of the Lord Jesus, and giving thanks to God who 'has begotten them again, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead' unto a living hope" 
(CCC 1166)
"By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ's Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the Lord's Day or Sunday" (SC 106) ... The Lord's Supper is its center, for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet.
(see Jn 21:12 and Lk 24:30) (CCC 1167)

Terms for "Mass"[edit | edit source]

  • see CCC 1328-1332: "The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. "
  • The Eucharist
    • = "it is an action of thanksgiving"
  • The Lord's Supper
    • = "the supper which the Lord took with the disciples on the eve of his passion"
  • Breaking of Bread
    • = the rite used by Jesus; signifies communion with the one who broke the bread
  • Eucharistic Assembly
    • = it "is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful"
  • Memorial of the Lord's Passion & Ressurection
  • Holy Sacrifice
    • = "makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the savior"; "it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenent"
  • Holy and Divine Liturgy
    • = "the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament"
    • thus also, Sacred Mysteries / the Most Blessed Sacrament
  • Holy Communion
    • = "we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body"
    • also called Holy Things (ta hagia; sancta)
  • Holy Mass
    • = "the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful"

A note on the official wording of the Mass:

  • Per the USCCB, the wording (literal words) of the Mass may be changed, although infrequently, to reflect new scholarship or means of communication (without changing the essence or essential meaning of the Mass)
  • for changes made to certain language of the Mass in 1970, 1986 and 1991, see the roman missal.pdf (
    • ex. "I believe" instead of "We believe" in the Nicene Creed, or "chalice" instead of "cup" in the Institutional Narrative

Mass[edit | edit source]

  • Mass is defined by the Church as "Eucharistic service" or "celebration of the Eucharist
    • also called, "The Lord's Supper"
    • = an assembly of people for memorial celebration of the Lord
  • from Old English mæsse and Middle English messe or masse
    • from "Missa" for "sending forth" or "mission"
    • related to Latin mittere for "to let go, send" as in on a mission
      • thereby "mission" and "missionary" from "mass"
  • CCC 1332: the Mass is for "sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives"
  • the purpose of the Mass:
At Mass or the Lord’s Supper the People of God is called together, with a Priest presiding and acting in the person of Christ, to celebrate the memorial of the Lord or Eucharistic Sacrifice. In an outstanding way there applies to such a local gathering of the holy Church the promise of Christ: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst” (Mt 18:20). For in the celebration of Mass, in which the Sacrifice of the Cross is perpetuated, Christ is really present in the very assembly gathered in his name, in the person of the minister, in his word, and indeed substantially and uninterruptedly under the Eucharistic species.
(General Instructions of the Roman Missal Ch II):

Church[edit | edit source]

  • from Latin ecclesia and Greek ekkalein for "to call out"
    • related to Greek ekklēsía which means "assembly"
      • thus "Church is "a call for gathering"
    • directly from Greek Kyriake for "what belongs to the Lord."
  • "In the Church, God is 'calling together' his people" (CCC 751)

Sacraments: "the mysteries"[edit | edit source]

  • from see CCC 774
  • Sacrament = the visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation"
    • sacraments make real what is symbolic
    • "sacrament" is from Latin sacrare "to make sacred"
  • "The mysteries" = "the hidden reality of salvation through Christ"
  • in the Mass, the Sacrament administered is the Sacrament of the Eucharist
    • (one of the three sacraments of Initiation)
  • special Masses may include the other sacraments of Initiation: Baptism and Confirmation
    • Sacraments of Healing (Penance and Anointing of the Sick)
    • Sacrament of Service (Matrimony, Holy Orders)
    • also "funeral rites" or "Bereavement"

Origins of the Mass in Scripture[edit | edit source]

  • John 1:14
    • while not specific to the Mass, John the Evangelist frames the Eucharist and the entire Mass as:
“And the Word became flesh” 

"The Lord's Day"[edit | edit source]

On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

The Assembled People of God[edit | edit source]

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Sacrament of the Eucharist[edit | edit source]

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

“Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” 
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 
He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. 
Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 
Then, after singing a hymn,* they went out to the Mount of Olives.
And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.

With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.
  • the Eucharist also recollects:
    • Passover (Jewish celebration the Exodus by eating unleavened bread)
    • Manna in the desert
    • Miracle at Cana (Jn 2:1-12)
    • Miracle of the multiplication of the loaves (Jn 6:1-15)

Holy Orders and Priestly ministry[edit | edit source]

“Do this in memory of me.”
Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”
  • and also:

The Greeting[edit | edit source]

from John 20:19-23: 
Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” ... [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

The Prophetic Message[edit | edit source]

Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb[edit | edit source]

Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Eucharistic celebration[edit | edit source]

  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) explains the "Eucharistic celebration," as
    • "Through the eucharistic celebration, God draws us into communion with himself and with others, forming and transforming us to live as the Body of Christ in the world"
  • The Eucharist is the heart of the Mass and may be seen as
    • "The marriage supper of the Lamb"
    • "The wedding feast with Jesus Christ"

See below for more on the "Eucharist"

Liturgy[edit | edit source]

"Liturgy" definition & purpose[edit | edit source]

  • in the Mass, "liturgy" means celebration of divine worship and proclamation of the Gospel (CCC 1070)
  • "liturgy" is from Latin liturgia for "public service, public worship" and Greek leitourgia for "a liturgy; public duty, ministry,"
  • thus = the service (Mass) of the Holy Eucharist
In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in "the work of God." Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church. (CCC 1069)
"The Liturgy -- work of the Holy Trinity"
"The Father -- Source and Goal of the Liturgy"
(section headings from CCC Part Two, Section One, Chapter 1).
In the Church's liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1082)

The Order of Catholic Mass consists of four (4) parts or "liturgies"[edit | edit source]

  • "liturgy" here refers to "divine services"
  1. Introductory Rite
  2. Liturgy of the Word
  3. Liturgy of the Eucharist
  4. Concluding Rite
  • there are 23 different variations of the Mass across orthodox churches
  • they all come from the Apostolic traditions as introduced by Jesus

Participants at Mass[edit | edit source]

Celebrant[edit | edit source]

  • the "celebrant" = the priest presiding over Mass
  • the celebrant "offers" the Mass
  • also called "presider"
    • "presider" is a more recent term that intimates an active role of the people in the Mass
  • when two or more priests celebrate Mass at the alter, they are called "concelebrants"
    • principle concelebrant
      • the main celebrant, such as the Bishop who leads a Mass assisted by other priests
    • concelebrants
      • additional priests who "assist" or "concelebrate" with the principle celebrant
  • note: Deacons are not concelebrants

Ministers[edit | edit source]

  • "to minister" means to serve or make happen
    • thus a "minister" is an agent of the Mass
    • and also a helper to the Mass
  • in the Mass, the "Ministers" assist the Celebrant
    • "assisting ministers"

Types of ministers[edit | edit source]

  • Ordained Minister = priest
    • note: "priest" in Latin is sacerdos, which means "minister of holy things"
  • Ordained Deacon
    • assists the celebrant
    • may proclaim the Gospel (reading of the Gospel) and deliver a homily
    • ordained Deacons may be married
    • "Transitional Deacons" are seminarians in their final year of preparing for the priesthood
  • Lector
    • or "Reader"
    • reads the first or first and second readings
    • do not read the Gospel
  • Ministers of the Eucharist
    • administer Holy Communion (distribute the Eucharist)
    • Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist = ordained (Deacon or Priest)
    • Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist = lay person qualified to administer Holy Communion
      • since they are not "ordained" they are "extra" (our of) "ordinary"

Other participants in the Mass[edit | edit source]

  • Altar servers
    • "alter boys" or "alter girls"
      • but may also be adults
    • also called "acolytes"
  • Cross bearer
  • Thurifer
    • or "thurible bearer"
    • the "thurible" is the instrument on a chain that holds burning incense for special blessings
  • Cantor
    • a solo singer who leads the congregation in song, such as Processional hymns, the Gloria, Sanctus, antiphons, etc.
    • may also sing by him or herself certain parts of the Liturgy, including the Alleluia
  • Choir
    • led by a "music minister"
  • Usher
    • or "greeter" or "welcomer"
    • ushers assist worshippers to enter and exit the church or find seats
      • and collect offerings ("the basket")

Congregation[edit | edit source]

  • the assembled for divine worship
  • also referred to as
    • the people
      • as in, "The people respond..."
    • the assembled worshippers
    • participants
  • the "liturgical assembly" refers to celebrants, assisting ministers and the congregation as a whole
  • see: how-to-cover-the-mass.pdf (
    • note: in the Church there are various forms "congregations", or assemblies

The Real Presence of Christ[edit | edit source]

  • from CCC 1348
    • The "Eucharistic assembly" is headed by Christ himself, "the principal agent of the Eucharist"
    • Christ is the "high priest of the New Covenant" who "presides invisibly over every Eucharistic celebration"
    • the Bishop or priest represents him "acting in the person of Christ the head"
      • in persona Christi capitis
      • "representation" = re- + present, thus re-doing, or doing again, and not merely symbolically
    • it is Christ, thereby who presides, speaks, receives the offerings and says the Eucharistic Prayer

The Four-fold Presence of Christ The assembled people of God:[edit | edit source]

1. In the Assembled People of God:[edit | edit source]

Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” “(Mt 18:20)

2. in the Person of the Minister (the priest):[edit | edit source]

  • In reading the Gospel, in presiding over the Eucharist
  • = i.e., speaking the words of Christ in the Gospel and at the Last Supper

3. The Word of God: Christ is “the Word” (Jn 1:1)[edit | edit source]

4. “The Eucharistic Species” (the Host and the Chalice):[edit | edit source]

The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ. (CCC 1377)


Outline of the parts of the Catholic liturgy (Mass)[edit | edit source]

Mass is also called the "Eucharistic Celebration"

  • Two overall parts
  1. The Gathering & Liturgy of the Word
    • readings, homily, intercessions
  2. Liturgy of the Eucharist
    • presentation of the bread and wine, consecratory thanksgiving, and communion

Introductory Rites[edit | edit source]

  • Procession
  • Entrance Chant or Antiphon
  • Greeting
  • Penitential Act
  • Glory to God
  • Collect (opening prayer)

Liturgy of the Word[edit | edit source]

  1. First Reading: Old Testament (usually)
  2. Responsorial Psalm
  3. Alleluia or a chant such as "Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ"
  4. Second Reading: New Testament epistles
  5. Gospel Reading: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
  6. Homily
  7. Profession of Faith (Creed)
  8. "Universal Prayer" or "intercessions" or "Prayer of the Faithful"

Liturgy of the Eucharist[edit | edit source]

1. Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts
including the offertory

2. Eucharistic Prayer
with parts:

  • Preface (Thanksgiving)
  • The Sanctus
  • Epiclesis
  • Institution Narrative
  • Consecration
  • The Mystery of Faith
  • Anamnesis and Oblation (Memorial)
  • Intercessions
  • Concluding Doxology
  • Great Amen

3.Communion Rite
with parts:

  • Our Father (Lord's Prayer)
  • Sign of Peace
  • Fraction Rite
  • Lamb of God
  • Reception of Communion

Concluding Rite[edit | edit source]

  • Final blessing
  • Sending forth

Introductory Rites[edit | edit source]

Procession[edit | edit source]

  • Mass begins with the entrance song (or chant)
    • during which the celebrant and ministers enter in procession
    • the song/ chant is to gather all present to celebrate in unity with Christ and with each other in faith
    • here Christ comes to us in Word and Sacrament
    • the congregation stands in respect
  • celebrants approach the altar show and reverence to it as symbol of Christ with a bow or a kiss upon it
    • the altar is in the sanctuary which recollects the Holy Temple at Jerusalem
    • the altar is both the sacrifice and the body of Christ (see below and CCC 1383)
    • the kiss of the altar affirms the unity of the Church with Christ, as his bride
      • it also shows reverence for relics of the saints that it may contain
      • and may also indicate affirmation of the priest's vow of chastity
    • many early Christians celebrated Mass in the catacombs, <<to complete

Entrance Chant or Antiphon[edit | edit source]

  • the Entrance Chant is sung during the Procession
  • the chant is either the daily antiphon and/or a psalm or other designated "liturgical chant"
    • "antiphon" from Latin anti- (in return, responding, ) + phon (voice)
  • if there is no song, the antiphon is read by the Celebrant, Deacon or reader after "revering the altar"
    • some or all of the congregation may join in reciting the antiphon
  • the Entrance Chant or antiphon is thematically related to the Liturgy of the Word

Sign of the Cross[edit | edit source]

  • the celebrant greets the congregation with the Sign of the Cross
    • "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"
    • the people respond, "Amen"
    • the "Amen" is from 1 Chronicles in which David instructs the people:
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!
Let all the people say, Amen! Hallelujah. (1 Chron 16:36)

The Greeting[edit | edit source]

  • forms of the Greeting:

A) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all

B) Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ

C) if a Priest: "The Lord be with you" or if a Bishop: "Peace be with you"

  • the Greeting is from John 20:19-23: Jesus appears in the upper room and says, "Peace be with you," then breathes on them, saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jesus then delivers the "the Great Commission")
    • "The Lord be with you" = Dominus vobiscum
  • the greeting:
    • is a prayer that recognizes the presence of Christ
    • "the Lord be with you" is also reminiscent of the Angel Gabriel's greeting to Mary
      • “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." (Lk 1:28)
    • "peace be with you"
      • = that in the Mass we are in a state of reconciliation with God and in his grace
  • the people respond: "And with your spirit"
    • et cum spiritu tuo
    • the response recognizes
      • the presence of Jesus through the priest
      • the gift of the Holy Spirit received at the priest's ordination
      • that the sacramental power of the priest is of Christ through the priest's ordination

Introduction of the Mass and/or Intention[edit | edit source]

  • the Celebrant may offer introductory words about the readings or a feast day being celebrated
  • and also announce any "intentions for the Mass," i.e. "intended" for someone

Penitential Act[edit | edit source]

Sprinkling of Water[edit | edit source]

  • called "Rite for the blessing and sprinkling of water"
  • = reminder of Baptism

Penitential Act[edit | edit source]

  • the purpose is for the faithful recall their sins and place their trust in God's mercy
  • starts with the "Invitation to Repent" by the priest
Brethren, let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries
  • the Penitential Act has four parts:
    1. invitation to the faithful by the Priest
    2. a pause for silence
    3. the prayer
    4. absolution by the Priest.
  • the prayer may be led by the Priest ("God have mercy") or recited in full by the faithful
    • called the Confiteor:
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault, 
through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God
  • the Penitential Act prepares us to received the Eucharist
  • Confiteor it is a prayer for and act of turning our focus from our sins (repent) to God
  • "striking the breast" three times is a gesture of sorrow, humility and responsibility for our sins
  • the repentance is done in communion with the entire congregation (coming together)
  • it absolves venial and not mortal sins, and also reminds us to avoid future sin

Kyrie Eleison[edit | edit source]

  • if the Confiteor is not recited, the Priest will speak Kyrie Eleison as part of the Penitential Act
  • otherwise, the congregants will sing or recite:
    • Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy
    • Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison, Kyrie Eleison
      • note that this is the only use of Greek in the Mass
    • "Lord have mercy" is from

Absolution[edit | edit source]

* the priest prays for absolution of our sins

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life

Response: Amen

Glory to God ("Gloria")[edit | edit source]

  • to be sung with joy in exultation of God
  • Gloria in Excelsis = "Glory to God in the highest"
  • recognizes God’s presence
  • the first verse address God the Father
  • the second verse praises and petitions Jesus the Son
  • the third verse recognizes the Holy Trinity

The Gloria in Scripture:[edit | edit source]

Gloria in Excelsis Scriptural Source
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth Lk 2:14: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, Rev 19:6: God, the almighty.
we worship you, Rev 22:9: But he said to me... “Worship God.”
we give you thanks, Eph 5:20: thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father
we praise you for your glory. Rev 7:11-12: All the angels... exclaimed, “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving ... be to our God forever and ever.”
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, 2 John 3: Grace, mercy, and peace* will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son in truth and love.
Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: Jn 1:29: The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
have mercy on us; Mal 1:9: So now implore God’s favor, that he may have mercy on us!
You are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. Rom 8:34:  It is Christ [Jesus] who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
For you alone are the Holy One, Jn 6:69: We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God. (also Lk 4:34)
You alone are Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ. Lk 1:32: He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Jn 14:26: The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name.

Collect[edit | edit source]

  • after the "Gloria" the priest calls the congregation to pray
    • and observes a moment of silence
    • the faithful may use this time to call to mind their intentions
  • then recites "the Collect"
    • sometimes referred to as the "opening prayer", although it closes the first part of the Introductory Rites
  • the Collect is a prayer for reaching eternal life
  • the Collect has five parts:
    1. Invocation: to one of the persons of the Trinity
    2. Acknowledgement: of the divine attributes of that person of the Trinity
    3. Petition: for a specific purpose
    4. Aspiration: a call for the result or purpose of the petition
    5. Pleading:
      • Conclusion invoking the mediation of Christ
      • Amen: response by the faithful

Liturgy of the Word[edit | edit source]

  • the Liturgy of the Word is a distinct and essential part of the Mass
    • it is highlighted by the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ himself
    • we listen to the priest or Deacon speak the Gospel standing for Christ in real time
      • = Christ's presence in the Mass
The Liturgy of the Word includes "the writings of the prophets," that is, the Old Testament, and "the memoirs of the apostles" (their letters and the Gospels). (CCC 1349)
  • the Readings address not just Old and New Testament scripture but purposefully bring us closer to the "Life in Christ":
  1. First Reading (Old Testament): thematically connects to fulfillment in the Gospel reading
    • during Easter season, the First Reading is from the Book of Acts
  2. Responsorial Psalm: from the "Book of prayers", teaches us to pray to and listen to God
  3. Second Reading (Epistles):
  4. Alleluia: praise the Lord
  5. Gospel: the life and words of the Lord Jesus Christ as written by the Evangelists who were inspired by the Holy Spirit
In the sacramental economy the Holy Spirit fulfills what was prefigured in the Old Covenant. Since Christ's Church was "prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and in the Old Covenant," the Church's liturgy has retained certain elements of the worship of the Old Covenant as integral and irreplaceable, adopting them as her own:
-notably, reading the Old Testament;
-praying the Psalms;
-above all, recalling the saving events and significant realities which have found their fulfillment in the mystery of Christ (promise and covenant, Exodus and Passover, kingdom and temple, exile and return).
(CCC 1093)
  • in "The Purpose of the Parables" (Mk 4:12), the Lord explains to the Twelve why he speaks in parables:
He answered them, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that
‘they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.’” [quoting from Isaiah 6:9]
  • He then speaks in a parable to exhort the people to listen and hear (as in his similar explanation in Mt 13:13, "they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand"):
“The sower sows the word.

These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. 

And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit.

But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:14-20:)

First Reading[edit | edit source]

  • may be conducted a "lector" (lay reader)
  • upon completion, the lector says, "The word of the Lord"
  • the people respond,
"Thanks be to God"
  • "thanks" because God's revelation through scripture is a gift
  • unlike the Gospel response, the "thanks" for the First and Second Readings are directed to God

Second Reading[edit | edit source]

  • may be conducted a "lector" (lay reader)
  • same conclusion, "The word of the Lord" and response the people , "Thanks be to God"

Alleluia[edit | edit source]

  • may be spoken by the priest or sung by a cantor or choir
  • the assembled stand during the "Praise [for] the Lord" in preparation
  • during Lent, the response to Alleluia will offer "Glory and praise" or another form recognizing the greatness and glory of God and his works

Gospel Reading[edit | edit source]

  • may be read only by a priest or deacon, who stand for Christ while reading the Gospel
    • if by the deacon, he will ask the priest, "Your blessing Father" to which the priest will offer a blessing and prayer that
      • "The Lord may be in [the deacon's] heart" and that he "proclaim [the] Gospel worthily and well"
    • the deacon responds, or if the reading is by the priest, he will say to himself,
      • "Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel"
    • "worthily" and "well" because the priest or deacon is speaking the words of Christ himself
  • the priest or deacon will tell the people,
The Lord be with you 
  • to which the people respond,
And with your spirit
  • as in the Introductory Rite, the exchange affirms the presence of God and invokes the Priest's ordination
    • here it is especially important as the priest or deacon is speaking in the presence of Christ
  • the priest or deacon then says,
A reading from the holy Gospel according to ___ 
  • the people say,
Glory to you, O Lord
  • this acclamation is directed to Lord Jesus Christ himself, whose Word the priest or deacon speaks
  • and all make the Sign of the Cross to show our desire that the Word of God be on our
    • forehead: for focus, attention, and thoughts of Word of God
    • lips: that our word may proclaim the Word of God
    • heart: that we embrace the Word of God with sincerity, purity, and courage
  • on completion, the priest or deacon will say,
"The Gospel of the Lord"
  • to which the people respond,
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ
  • again, the people here speak directly to Jesus
  • the priest or deacon will then kiss the Bible and say inaudibly,
    • "Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away."

Homily[edit | edit source]

  • through the Holy Spirit, the priest or deacon will offer a teaching about the Readings
  • to teach (catechesis) and ask the people to respond to Christ in their lives
The ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture. (CCC 132)


... the homily... is an exhortation to accept this Word as what it truly is, the Word of God, and to put it into practice (CCC 1349)
  • in the homily, the priest speaks for himself
  • St. Paul gives scriptural instruction for the Homily:
“I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes.” (Acts 20:20)
”Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.” (2 Tim 4:2)

Profession of Faith (the Creed)[edit | edit source]

  • after the homily, the priest will sit for a moment in silence to lead the people in reflection
  • then all will stand to recite the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed
  • the Nicene Creed is derived from language adopted by the Councils of Nicaea (325 AD) and Constantinople (381)
    • the Councils were instrumental is affirming the Christian faith, especially against the heresies that distorted or denied the nature of God and Jesus, including:
      • the Father is "maker of heaven and earth, all things visible and invisible"
        • heretics claimed that only heaven is divine and the earth is impure and of a god of darkness
        • known as "dualism" which divides the divine from the earthly
      • that the Lord Jesus Christ is "born of the Father before all ages... begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father... and was incarnate of the Virgin Mary"
        • heretics claimed that Jesus the man was not divine, or that he was not actually human, and that he was not born of the Virgin Mary
  • the Creeds represent the essence of the Catholic faith

Universal Prayer[edit | edit source]

  • the priest will invite the people to join in prayer and the deacon or lay minister (lector) lead prayers for the needs of the Church and the world
    • the people will respond to each prayer, "Lord, hear our prayer"
  • just as Jesus God wants us to gather in his name (Mt 18:20: "Where two or three are gathered"), he wants us to pray together, per Mt 18:19:
Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
  • the purpose of the prayer is for intercessions and thanksgivings:
After the homily, which is an exhortation to accept this Word as what it truly is, the Word of God, and to put it into practice, come the intercessions for all men, according to the Apostle's words: "I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings, and all who are in high positions." (CCC 1349 and quoting 1 Tim 2:1-2)

Liturgy of the Eucharist[edit | edit source]

Notes:[edit | edit source]

  • "eucharist" is Greek for Thanksgiving
  • in the Mass, "Eucharist" means "the Lord's Supper"
  • and also the "Bread and Wine" that are the "Body and Blood" of Christ
The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts and the altar. As the ministers prepare the altar, representatives of the people bring forward the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ. The celebrant blesses and praises God for these gifts and places them on the altar. In addition to the bread and wine, monetary gifts for the support of the Church and the care of the poor may be brought forward. 

After the gifts and altar are prepared, the Eucharistic Prayer begins. This prayer of thanksgiving is the heart of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ's perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father.
- Structure and Meaning of the Mass (USCCB)
a) At the Preparation of the Gifts, bread and wine with water are brought to the altar, the same elements, that is to say, which Christ took into his hands.
b) In the Eucharistic Prayer, thanks is given to God for the whole work of salvation, and the offerings become the Body and Blood of Christ.
c) Through the fraction and through Communion, the faithful, though many, receive from the one bread the Lord’s Body and from the one chalice the Lord’s Blood in the same way that the Apostles received them from the hands of Christ himself.

What is the Sacrament of the Eucharist[edit | edit source]

  • "The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist." (CCC 1322)

What is the Eucharist[edit | edit source]

  • the “work of human hands,” “fruit of the vine” = gifts of the Creator (CCC 1333)
  • "It is the very action of Christ at the Last Supper - 'taking the bread and a cup'" (CCC 1350)

The Liturgy Eucharist as petition and prayer to God[edit | edit source]

  • the Liturgy of the Eucharist is directed towards and prayer to God the Father
    • in the Preface, the priest speaks for the Church as a whole
    • in the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest stands for Christ
  • the Liturgy of the Eucharist is presented "in memory" of Christ, which does not mean "in memorial" (remembrance) but re-creation, as in re-enacting in real time the Last Supper:

"Do this in memory of me."

  • "in memory" = representing = re-presenting = re-doing, doing in real time (CCC 1366)

The Eucharist as prayer for the coming of Christ[edit | edit source]

  • THE EUCHARIST - "PLEDGE OF THE GLORY TO COME" (Part 2, Section 2, Article 3, VII)
Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze "to him who is to come." In her prayer she calls for his coming: "Marana tha!" "Come, Lord Jesus!" "May your grace come and this world pass away!"

Parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist:

Part 1: Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts (Offertory)[edit | edit source]

  • also called "the Offertory"
  • after the Liturgy of the Word, the Priest invites the faithful to join the sacrifice
  • the people may bring to the altar the bread and wine to be consecrated and transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ
    • the faithful may "present the Gifts" by processing to the altar with the Bread, Wine and Holy Water and presenting them to the priest who receives them before the altar
    • commonly, only the Wine and Holy Water are brought forward
    • originally, the bread and wine were offerings from the people (owned or prepared by them, not the church)
    • the items to be placed on the altar are: corporal (white cloth to be placed on the altar), purificator (white cloth to be placed over the chalice), Missal (text of the Mass), and chalice (the cup)
  • "in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine... gifts of the Creator" (CCC 1333)
    • which are reminiscent of Old Covenant sacrifice of bread and wine
    • and which provide "a new and definitive meaning" given by Jesus (CCC1363)
  • in the Preparation, the "Lord's table" (the altar) is made ready for the Lord's Supper
At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood. 
  • a collection (usually monetary) may be made during the "preparation", which may be carried to the priest who receives it before the altar along with the bread and wine (together with the collection, "the gifts")
    • the collection comes from the early Church tradition to bring, in addition to the bread and wine, "gifts to share with those in need" (CCC 1351)
    • the collection is usually dedicated to specific purposes, such as maintenance of the Parish or for a particular charity
    • there are usually two collections
    • "ushers" pass through the isles to "collect" the gifts from the people

Preface and Secret Prayers[edit | edit source]

  • the priest will then commence the first of his "Eucharistic prayers" as he lifts the bread and wine which will become the body and blood of Christ
  • and drops holy water into the wine
    • representing the mixing of mortality in the divine life of Christ
    • Christ's adoption of his human person for our salvation
    • the water and blood poured out from Christ on the crucifix (the piercing of the sword)
  • "secret" means "hidden" as in "mysterium" (mystery) and not as if it is a priestly secret
  • the secret prayers here and in other parts of the Mass remind the priest of
    • the gravity of his position and role
    • his inherent unworthiness and coterminous humility
    • the need to invoke divine aid to perform his duties
  • the priest may say the prayers inaudibly, or, he may speak the first prayer to the people

the prayers are to God the Father, from the priest on behalf of the whole Church[edit | edit source]

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
  • to which the people will respond, "Blessed be God for ever"
  • the second prayer may also be spoken audibly, and, if so , the people will respond "Blessed be God for ever":
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink. 
  • the priest then says inaudibly the "secret prayer,"
With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God.”
  • he then washes his hands, stating from Psalm 51"
Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin

Part 2: Invitation to Prayer[edit | edit source]

  • the priest then addresses the people:
Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
  • the people respond:
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and the good of all his holy Church.
  • note: the "sacrifice" is not just the bread and wine and/or the collection
    • the "sacrifice" is all of us
    • the Eucharist is presented "in memory" of the Lord, but as a living act, memorializing act, not in recognition of some past event
    • thus Christ's sacrifice is real at every Mass and we are part of it


Notes on the Eucharistic prayer[edit | edit source]

  • The Eucharistic prayer is conducted on the “altar”
  • In Mass, the altar is both the sacrifice and the body of Christ:
The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us. (CCC 1383)
Prayer to God the Father through the Son[edit | edit source]
  • the Eucharistic prayer is addressed to the Father through the Son
  • through the presence of Christ in the priest (ordained by the Holy Spirit)
the Eucharistic prayer...[edit | edit source]
  • = a prayer of praise and thanksgiving
  • = an invitation to join together with Christ
  • repeats Jesus' words at the Last Supper
  • the people respond to the prayer with various "acclamations"
  • the entirety of the Eucharistic Prayer is called the "anaphora"

Eucharistic Prayer origin[edit | edit source]

  • in the modern, Vatican II, Mass, there are various Eucharistic Prayers
  • the first, Eucharistic Prayer I (EPI), is the original prayer, called "The Roman Canon" (canon for standard, agreed upon)
    • it alone was used prior to the 1970s
    • it has its origins in the earliest Church, thus we can attribute it to the Apostles, themselves, who taught the early Christians how to pray, who taught the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the very beginning of the Church

A. Preface Dialogue & Thanksgiving[edit | edit source]

  • called "The Thanksgiving"
  • from GIRM Ch 2, no. 79:
    • "The thanksgiving (expressed especially in the Preface), in which the Priest, in the name of the whole of the holy people, glorifies God the Father and gives thanks to him for the whole work of salvation or for some particular aspect of it, according to the varying day, festivity, or time of year."
  • the priest speaks for the people and the church through Christ
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
People: It is right and just.
  • "Lift up your hearts"
    • see "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12:32)
  • "It is right and just" [to give thanks to the Lord"]
    • "It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says. It would be futile and false to place such faith in a creature" (CCC 150)
      • "right" as in it is the correct, necessary thing to do ("Give thanks to the Lord our God")
        • "just" as in "owed" or "duty fulfilled"
        • we owe it to God to "give thanks"

B) Preface[edit | edit source]

  • in a petition to the Father, the priest recites a prayer and petition for the Father to bless and accept the sacrifice in communion with all the Church and the Saints
  • the priest reads the "preface" (before), which celebrates the feast, if any, and the "mystery" of the Eucharist
    • prefaces are dedicated to different liturgical days, seasons and purposes, such as Advent, Nativity, Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time and also for Sacraments of Matrimony and of Healing (for the dead)

C) Sanctus or Acclamation[edit | edit source]

  • the priest then extends his hands as if on the Cross
  • and leads the faithful in the "Sanctus"
  • from the GIRM Ch 2:
    • "The acclamation, by which the whole congregation, joining with the heavenly powers, sings the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy). This acclamation, which constitutes part of the Eucharistic Prayer itself, is pronounced by all the people with the Priest."
  • all chant or sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy" as the cherubin sing in constant praise of God
    • we are joining the angels and saints in praise of God
    • note that Hebrew does not have comparatives and superlatives, such as in English, "holy, holier, holiest"
      • so the repetition, "Holy, Holy, Holy", creates that comparison, ending with the superlative, as in "God is holy, holier, and holiest"
  • scriptural sources of the Sanctus are from:
One cried out to the other: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!” (Isa 6:3)
The four living creatures, each of them with six wings,* were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” (Rev 4:8)

D) Epiclesis[edit | edit source]

  • section may also be called te igutur, "we come to you, Father"
  • all kneel, while the priest extends his hands over the offering
    • asking the Father to bless and accept these gifts
    • and calls down the Holy Spirit to consecrate the bread and wine
  • from the GIRM Ch 2:
    • "The epiclesis, in which, by means of particular invocations, the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ’s Body and Blood, and that the unblemished sacrificial Victim to be consumed in Communion may be for the salvation of those who will partake of it."
  • "epiclesis" means "invocation" (calling for assistance)
The Holy Spirit makes present the mystery of Christ

Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present. The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present. (CC 1104)

The Epiclesis ("invocation upon") is the intercession in which the priest begs the Father to send the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, so that the offerings may become the body and blood of Christ and that the faithful by receiving them, may themselves become a living offering to God. (CC 1105) 
  • a bell may be rung during the epiclesis to mark the calling down of the Holy Spirit

E) Institution Narrative & Consecration[edit | edit source]

Institution Narrative[edit | edit source]
  • standing for Christ, the priest recounts the Lord's words at the Last Supper
    • in which Jesus instituted (created) the sacrament and affirmed the New Covenant
  • the priest holds up the host and the chalice and says new and everlasting covenant
    • brings us to holy communion w/ God to bridge the gap that was lost w/ fall of Adam/Eve
    • this act by the priest is known as the "Major Elevation"
  • the Eucharistic Prayer has various forms
    • all of which tell of the Last Supper
    • Here from Eucharistic Prayer No. 1:
On the day before he was to suffer he took bread in his holy and venerable hands, and with eyes raised to heaven to you, O God, his almighty Father, giving you thanks he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying: 

"Take this, all of you, and eat of it: for this is my body which will be given up for you."

In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands, and once more giving you thanks, he said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying: 

"Take this, all of you, and drink from it: for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me."
  • the Institution Narrative affirms how Jesus transformed his betrayal and murder into an act of love, sacrifice, and salvation
  • from the GIRM Ch. 2:
    • " The institution narrative and Consecration, by which, by means of the words and actions of Christ, that Sacrifice is effected which Christ himself instituted during the Last Supper, when he offered his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine, gave them to the Apostles to eat and drink, and leaving with the latter the command to perpetuate this same mystery."
Consecration[edit | edit source]
  • during the Institution Narrative, the priest holds up the bread and the wine (in a "chalice")
  • and "consecrates" or makes it holy
  • it becomes the actual Body and Blood of Christ
    • called "transubstantiation"
    • bells may be run three times for each, Body and Blood
      • in order to mark and remind about the present mystery
      • (i.e., the mystery that is going on at that moment)
The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit (CCC 1366)
  • Jesus is now wholly present in the Mass
  • after the consecration of each, the priest holds up the consecrated Bread and Wine
    • then he sets it down on the altar and bows to the Lord
The Mystery of Faith[edit | edit source]
  • also called the "Memorial Acclamation"
    • "memorial" because Christ called for us to "do this in memory of me"
  • at the end of the Institution Narrative, after the priest speaks for Jesus, saying
"Do this in memory of me"
  • the priest calls upon the faithful to celebrate the "Mystery of Faith"
    • i.e., faith in the real presence of the Lord
Three Acclamations[edit | edit source]
  • the people respond to the Memorial Acclamationwith
    • one of three "acclamations" which the priest may choose, and which the faithful say in response to the Memorial Acclamation
We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again.
When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.
Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.
  • the Memorial Acclamation is spoken to Jesus
    • (the Eucharistic Prayer is otherwise spoken to God the Father)

F) Anamnesis & Oblation[edit | edit source]

  • usually starts with
Therefore, holy Father,
  • the second half of Eucharistic Prayer contains the Anamnesis and Oblation:
    • "anamnesis" = "remembrance" or "memorial"
    • "oblation" = offering or sacrifice to God
  • the "memorial" is the actual sacrifice of Jesus made present
    • i.e., happening again now
  • from the GIRM Ch. 2 79f:
    • "The anamnesis, by which the Church, fulfilling the command that she received from Christ the Lord through the Apostles, celebrates the memorial of Christ, recalling especially his blessed Passion, glorious Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven."
    • "The oblation, by which, in this very memorial, the Church, in particular that gathered here and now, offers the unblemished sacrificial Victim in the Holy Spirit to the Father. The Church’s intention, indeed, is that the faithful not only offer this unblemished sacrificial Victim but also learn to offer their very selves, and so day by day to be brought, through the mediation of Christ, into unity with God and with each other, so that God may at last be all in all."
  • the prayer continues its appeal to God the Father
    • explaining why we partake in this "memorial"
  • various versions may be read; here for Eucharistic Prayer II (EP II):
Therefore, as we celebrate the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, giving thanks that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you.
  • the Anamnesis also contains another Epiclesis, or calling down of the Holy Spirit
  • as well as a prayer to unite all who participate in the Eucharist to be joined in one by the Holy Spirit:
Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit. (EP II)


Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church, and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself, grant that we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ. (EP III)
  • note: the GIRM treats the Anamnesis and Oblation as separate elements

G) Intercessions[edit | edit source]

  • "intercession" = a prayer for blessings and others
  • the Eucharistic Prayer continues with prayers for the Church, the Pope, the Bishops, and all the priests
    • and usually includes a special call to the Saint of the particular parish
  • different versions may include prayer for
    • union with the saints
    • for the dead
    • "for all of creation"
  • and concludes with a call for the Lord God to sanctify and bless all those prayed by and for
  • from the GIRM ch. 2:
    • "The intercessions, by which expression is given to the fact that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the whole Church, of both heaven and of earth, and that the oblation is made for her and for all her members, living and dead, who are called to participate in the redemption and salvation purchased by the Body and Blood of Christ."

H) Concluding Doxology and Great Amen[edit | edit source]

  • doxology = "words of praise"
Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.
  • the people respond with the "Great Amen"
    • which may be sung and repeated
  • the Great Amen is affirmation by the faithful of the Eucharistic Prayers
    • "amen" = "so be it" or "it is so"
  • from the GIRM Ch 2:
    • " The concluding doxology, by which the glorification of God is expressed and which is affirmed and concluded by the people’s acclamation Amen."

Part 4. Communion Rite[edit | edit source]

  • for preparation to receive Holy Communion
  • by which Jesus invites us to join in communion with him
    • as instituted at the Last Supper
  • the priest invites the faithful to first say the "Our Father" prayer:
Priest: At the savior's command, and formed by divine teaching, we dare say:

Our Father[edit | edit source]

  • called the oratio Dominica
  • "taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus." (CCC 2765)
  • "we dare say" means that we have the faith and courage to acclaim "Our Father"
  • see entry on "Our Father" for review of the text and meaning
Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
they will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Embolism prayer:[edit | edit source]

  • a prayer to emphasize the implications of the Lord's Prayer:
    • "embolism" for "inserted" or "added"
    • en + ballein meaning literally "thrown in"
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Doxology[edit | edit source]

  • "words of praise" that follow various prayers, canticles, hymns
  • this doxology was not spoken by Jesus, but added by early Christians
  • here the doxology is spoken by all to conclude the Lord's Prayer:
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

Sign of Peace[edit | edit source]

  • before receiving Holy Communion, the priest leads a prayer to Christ and by Christ
    • that we may be in "peace and unity" with one another, in the Church, and with Christ"
Lord Jesus Christ,
who said to your Apostles:
Peace I leave you, my peace I give you;
look not on our sins,
but on the faith of your Church,
and graciously grant her peace and unity
in accordance with your will.

Who live and reign for ever and ever.
People: Amen.
Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
People: And with your spirit 
  • the priest or deacon may (but not always) next invite the congregation to:
    • "Let us offer each other the sign of peace"
  • the people may shake hands or gently wave to one another

Fraction Rite[edit | edit source]

  • "fractioning" = breaking the bread into pieces
  • just as did Jesus at the Last Supper
  • the "fraction rite" is a literal act, just as Christ "broke" the bread to give pieces of it to the Apostles, the priest traditionally breaks the bread to be distributed to the faithful
    • (in a modern church, consecrated hosts set aside for distribution at the Eucharist are stored in the Tabernacle)
    • in a service in which the bread is broken into many pieces, the Agnus Dei will be recited or sung over again until the bread has been broken as needed
  • from the GIRM:
•“The gesture of breaking bread done by Christ at the Last Supper, which in apostolic times gave the entire Eucharistic Action its name, signifies that the many faithful are made one body” (GIRM Ch 2, 83)
  • the priest then drops one small piece into the Chalice, saying to quietly,
May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it. 
  • the mingling of the bread and wine, i.e. bringing together the Body and Blood of Christ
    • signifies his resurrection
    • thus when we receive Holy Communion it is the Living Christ

Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)[edit | edit source]

  • as the priest conducts the "Fraction Rite", he vocally starts the "Lamb of God" petition that the people recite
    • Christ is the "Lamb of God," i.e., the only unblemished (not stained) sacrifice to pay for our sins and to reconcile us with God
    • "Lamb of God" comes from:
      • the Jewish Passover, during which the Jewers were to sacrifice a lamb ("without blemish") and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts so that God would "pass over" that house when "striking down every first born" (Exodus 12:5, 12-13)
      • John the Baptist's proclamation that Jesus is the "Lamb of God"
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
  • We who blessed are about to personally participate in the sacrifice of Christ remind ourselves of his purpose
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem

Invitation to Communion[edit | edit source]

  • the priest genuflects (bows) profoundly,
    • then holds up the Host and Chalice to the people
    • and repeats the words of John the Baptist and a third line adapted from the Book of Revelation 19:9:
Behold the Lamb of God, 
behold him who takes away the sings of the world. 
Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.
  • it also recollects Pontius Pilate's presentation to the Jews of the flogged and beaten Christ, "Behold the man" (Jn 19:5)
  • along with the priest, the people respond with the words spoken by the Roman centurion who petitioned Jesus to save heal his servant:
Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. (Matthew 8:8-13)
  • Jesus was "amazed" at "such faith" as demonstrated by the Centurion
  • the petition marks our humility and gratitude for receiving Christ in the Eucharist despite our unworthiness

Reception of Communion[edit | edit source]

  • Communion = becoming one with the Body and Blood of Christ, a gift from Christ
    • note that we do no't "take" but instead "receive" Communion, as it is a grace and gift from God, not something we take from him
    • even though at the Last Supper, Jesus told the Apostles, "Take and eat; this is my body" (Matthew: 26:26) and "Take it; this is my body" (Mark 14:22)
Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.

and from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians:

Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1Cor 23-26)
  • first, the priest himself receives communion
    • saying quietly before receiving the Host
May the Body of Christ
keep me safe for eternal life
  • and then, before receiving the Chalice
May the Blood of Christ
keep me safe for eternal life
  • if there is music, a "Communion antiphon" (antiphon = response) will be sung while the priest receives Holy Communion
  • if there is no music, the priest will receive Communion, then recite the "Communion antiphon," which will vary according to each Mass
  • the priest then distributes the Eucharist to the serving ministers in the sanctuary (where the altar is located)
Priest/Minister: "The Body of Christ" / "The Blood of Christ"
People: "Amen"
    • Note:
      • the priest and deacon are "Ordinary Ministers of Communion"
        • in that they are the ones to "ordinarily" distribute Holy Communion"
      • other lay (non-clerical) ministers may assist, however, called "Extraordinary Ministers of Communion"
        • in that they are not, or outside of, "Ordinary Ministers"
  • the priest then walks to the front of the alter to distribute Holy Communion (usually just the Host)
  • the faithful step in line, starting at the front of the Church, to receive the Eucharist, i.e. "Reception of Communion"
  • they may "receive" the Host by hand or directly to the mouth (traditional)
    • post-Covid, many parishes no longer distribute the Chalice, or it is offered optionally
  • afterwards, the faithful return to the pews and kneel in prayer and gratitude

Prayer After Communion[edit | edit source]

  • after distributing the Eucharist, the priest carefully cleans the plate that held the Host,
    • dropping any remnants into the Chalice
    • to which he then adds Holy Water, mixing it around to capture remnants of the Host
  • then drinks the remaining Wine and Bread from the Chalice
    • then carefully cleans the Chalice
    • and puts away remaining Consecrated Hosts into the Tabernacle (a container to store it between Masses)
  • while cleaning the vessels, the priest will say quietly,
What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, 
that what has been given to us in time may be our healing for eternity
  • the priest will carefully place the cleaned plate and chalice to the side
    • usually with the cloth used during the Eucharist as a tent over them

Prayer After Communion[edit | edit source]

  • the priest may then sit quietly for a moment
  • then stands, followed by the faithful
  • and recites the "Prayer After Communion"
    • the prayer will vary upon each Mass and may relate to the Liturgy of the Word readings or themes
    • it will generally petition the Lord to accept the prayers and "sacrificial offerings" of the faithful
    • and petition for entry to Heaven
    • always concluding with,
Through Christ our Lord

Concluding Rite[edit | edit source]

  • the lector (reader) may now make announcements from or about the parish or upcoming events
  • the priest then conducts the "Concluding Rites", a blessing and call to "Go forth" and live out our celebration

Solemn Blessing[edit | edit source]

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.

Final Blessing[edit | edit source]

Priest: May almighty God bless you

All make the sign of the cross,

Priest: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
People: Amen

Dismissal[edit | edit source]

Priest: Go forth, the Mass is ended.
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. [or]
Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life. [or]
Go in peace.
  • the people respond to the call to "Go forth" with:
    • note that the command to "Go forth" states the same as the core meaning of the word "Mass"
      • "Mass" comes from the Latin missa for "to send forth"
People: Thanks be to God
  • a closing hymn may be sung, for which the priest may wait for the first verse
    • before processing from the sanctuary
  • the people generally wait for completion of the hymn before exiting
  • and the priest awaits in the narthex or outside the church entrance to greet the people
    • not every priest will do this

After Mass[edit | edit source]

  • after dismissal, many of the faithful may stay to pray silently after Mass or recite the Rosary together
  • some congregations may also recite the Rosary or prayers, including
"Saint Michael" Prayer
St. Michael the Archangel,

defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Salve Regina[edit | edit source]

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
Poor banished children of Eve;
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us;
And after this our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Sources[edit | edit source]