The Mass: A Sacramental Celebration

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council stated “It is very much the wish of the church that all the faithful should be led to take that full, conscious, and active part in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy…”

The principal celebrant of the Liturgy is Christ. The second celebrant is the assembly and third the priest who stands at the altar.

We come together in Mass as one Body, gathering before our Lord.

The Liturgy is comprised of the following parts:

Introductory Rites:

Entrance procession:
The procession introduces the celebrant and ministers to the assembly and becomes the visual sign of a community gathered in faith. It brings to mind Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Taken from 2 Corinthians 13:13

Penitential Rite:
Per Matthew 5:23-25, Jesus called for reconciliation before sacrifice. The assembly joins with the priest to ask God for mercy, forgiveness, and healing. One receives a general absolution in order to further continue with the mass.

– It includes the Confiteor (I confess)
– and the Kyrie (Lord have mercy).

Glory to God:
The “Gloria” is sung or recited every Sunday, and during feasts and solemnities, except during Advent and Lent. The introductory words are taken from Luke 2:14, the angel praising God. We glorify God for His forgiveness and for making us worthy to come in His presence.

Opening Prayer:
“Let us pray” –The celebrant offers a prayer of petition to God the Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit, reflective of the theme of the liturgical celebration. The prayer becomes ours when we respond with the “Amen”.

We Listen – Listening to the Bible readings, the Word of our Lord and Homily

Liturgy of the Word: To hear and respond to the Word of God

First Reading:
Most often taken from the Old Testament and usually relates to the Gospel.

Responsorial Psalm:
The meditative response to the message of the first reading.

Second Reading:
It focuses on the living faith in the early church and is usually taken from one of the letters of the New Testament, The Acts of the Apostles (especially during the Easter season), or the Book of Revelation.

Gospel Acclamation:
The “Alleluia” is the joyful acclamation in anticipation of the Good News. The Alleluia is not used during Lent.

We sign ourselves + May the Words of the Gospel be on my mind, upon my lips, and in my heart.

The Good News is the high point of the Liturgy of the Word.

The homilist draws on the readings, to show how God continues to share himself daily in our present lives.

Profession of Faith:
A response to the Word just proclaimed in the readings and preached in the homily.

General Intercessions:
Petitions usually read by a lay minister and a response to each by the assembly. They should relate to the readings, to current events and the life of the community.

WE Do – Praying and participating in the Eucharist, becoming One with Him

Liturgy of the Eucharist – To offer Jesus to God the Father

Preparation Rite

Gathering of the Gifts:
The bringing forth of financial offering for support of the Church and the poor. It has its roots in the Hebrew liturgy.

Procession and Presentation of Gifts:
In the early Church, the offerings of bread and wine were brought from the homes of the faithful. Thus the reason for the offertory procession engaging members of the faith community to present the collection, the bread, and wine as the Church’s offering to the Lord.

Preparation of the Gifts:
The priest offers a prayer of praise followed by an acclamation by the assembly. In the mixing of water and wine, the priest asks God to share his divine nature, just as Christ shared in our human nature by becoming man. The washing of the hands is symbolic of the need for inner purity. To conclude this rite, the priest asks God to accept the offering and bless all present who are now united with it.

Holy, Holy:
This prayer is said after the celebrant offers a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. The “Sanctus” is adapted from Isaiah 6:3 and Mt 21:9.

Eucharistic Prayer: The high point of the Liturgy of the Eucharist where our gifts of bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, through transubstantiation.

Eucharistic Prayer:

The language and events of the Eucharistic prayer form the essence of the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist. They combine to give thanks and praise to God and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, make present the body and blood of the risen Lord. Recalling the words and actions of our Lord at the Last Supper, the priest and the assembly join themselves with Christ to acknowledge the works of God and to offer the sacrifice. As the priest raises the bread and cup in a gesture of offering, he concludes the prayer with the doxology: “Through Him, In Him, etc…
Communion Rite

Sign of Peace:
The Risen Christ is the source of all peace.

Breaking of Bread:
A re-enactment of Jesus’ gesture at the Last Supper. The priest invites the assembly to share in the Eucharist to become one body in Christ. One more time we call on God for forgiveness and to make us worthy to receive the Body and Blood Jesus.

Lord, I am not worthy – adapted from Matthew 8:8

Communion procession:
We say “Amen” to the Body of Christ and Blood of Christ because we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist.

Prayer after Communion:
The priest asks in our behalf that the grace of the Eucharist be made real in the lives of all of us who share in it.

Go – The sendoff where we bring this message to all of the world

Concluding Rite

Final Blessing:

The priest asks in the final blessing that God extend grace to all those who have shared in the Celebration of the Eucharist. We are sent out to spread the Good News.


Concluding Rite:

The concluding rite consists of the celebrant’s greeting to all gathered, final blessing and dismissal; followed by a concluding song and procession.

Different Forms of the Mass

A High Mass is celebrated each Sunday, on Holy Days of Obligation and/or certain major holidays. This liturgy usually includes the celebrant and a cantor or choir.
The weekday masses are considered “Low Masses“.


At a Solemn Mass the Readings and the Gospel are chanted. The altar is incensed during the Entrance Rite, the Gospel prior to its proclamation, and the gifts of bread and wine as well as the altar during the Offertory. Solemn Masses are celebrated for Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and very special occasions, such as a parish feast, etc.