A Quick Journey Through The Mass

A Quick Journey Through The Mass

This is the text for an Adult Faith Workshop on the Mass. It is intended to be an incomplete, yet simple introductory what happens for at the Mass for those who only have an experiential knowledge of the Mass.

     The first Christians gathered to celebrate the Eucharist on the Sabbath[1] carrying out Christ’s commandment at the Last Supper to “do this in memory of me.”[2] The earliest liturgies were simple and practical, containing a Liturgy of the Word and the sharing of a ritual meal. This pattern of prayer has been sustained down to today. As the celebration of the Mass grew organically over the past two thousand years, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, have continued to develop into the Mass we know and love today.

Liturgy of the Word

The Introductory Rite

     The Mass begins with the Introductory Rite, which includes the Entrance Procession, Greeting, Penitential Rite, Gloria, and Collect.  The purpose of the Introductory Rite is to gather the community together, prepare them to hear God’s Word and celebrate the Eucharist. It is designed to bring the congregation into a state of prayer, helping them be become disposed to receive God’s grace, which is given to us as sinners for our salvation.

     When we enter the Church we make the sign of the cross using holy water, which reminds us of our baptism. As we approach the pew we genuflect on our right knee giving reverence to Christ who is present in the tabernacle. While waiting for Mass to begin, we should kneel or sit and spend time with our Lord present in the tabernacle, reminding ourselves of our own sinfulness and recalling what is about to take place at the Mass.

Entrance Procession

     When the Mass begins the congregation stands as the priest and ministers enter. As the priest and ministers approach the sanctuary the people pray an entrance hymn taken from the psalms or another suitable hymn. This procession is intended to remind us that we are a pilgrim people on the path to eternal life.  It symbolizes the journey from the outside world, at the doors of the Church, to the heavenly destination of the sanctuary, in the front of the Church. Seeing the priest, who acts in the person of Jesus Christ, should reminds the congregation that Christ accompanies us on our pilgrim journey to heaven.

     When the procession reaches the sanctuary the priest reverences the altar. He bows down to kiss the altar, containing an altar stone, which often holds the relics of saints.  The altar stone signifies Christ as the cornerstone of the Body of Christ.[3] The altar is the place of sacrifice, so by reverencing the altar, the priest, who acts in the person of Christ, symbolizes the uniting of Christ to His cross, recalling the sacrifice which is about to be represented at the Mass.

Greeting

     After venerating the altar, “the priest and the whole assembly make the sign of the cross.”[4] The sign of the cross, which is the traditional way of beginning all Catholic prayers, is intended to recall that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the source of all sanctification. It is meant to remind us that we do not gather at the Mass on our own initiative, but rather in the name of the Holy Trinity.

     After the sign of the cross, the priest exchanges a greeting with those gathered. This greeting, inspired by Sacred Scripture, is ultimately a promise of salvation given from God Himself. Christ Himself, acting through the priest, offers a greeting to His people, who in return respond back to Christ, asking that the Lord be with the priest so that he can faithfully carry out his ministry.

Penitential Rite

     Following the greeting, we, recognize our own unworthiness to participate in the Sacred Mysteries and pause to ask forgiveness for our sins. St. Paul reminded the Corinthians that the unworthy reception of Holy Communion is one of the gravest abuses a Christian can commit,[5] and so it is only most appropriate that the faithful pause at the begging of Mass to recollect themselves, calling to mind their current state in life and what is about to happen in the Mass. Through the Penitential Rite the priest and the faithful humbly recognize their sins and implore God’s mercy so that they may most fully participate in the Mass.

     One option for the Penitential Rite calls for the sprinkling of Holy Water on the people. This act reminds the faithful of their baptism, where they were washed clean of sin. In the Old Testament blood was sprinkled as a means of cleaning and making atonement and so the sprinkling of Holy Water symbolizes that cleansing and atoning.

     A second option calls for the faithful to humbly admit their sinfulness before each other, either through the recitation of the Confetior to which the priest responds “may almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us of our sins and bring us to everlasting life” and the simple Kyrie or the recitation of a tryptic vesical Kyrie. In the praying the Confetior, the faithful admit to God and one another their own sinfulness and call on the entire Communion of Saints, including the saints in heaven, to pray for them, that they might more worthily participate in the sacrifice of the Mass.

     The Confetior is not intended to burden us with our own unworthiness, but rather to acknowledge our weakness and the loving mercy of God who is always willing to forgive. This act of humility does not forgive sins in the same manner as the Sacrament of Confession, but rather beseeches the mediation of the Church through the personal acts of those assisting at the Eucharist for the removal of the small daily sins, making those gathered more worthy to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries.

     Having humbled ourselves before the Lord, we implore God’s mercy while confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father”[6] through the exchange of the Kyrie.[7] By repeating Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy, the faithful cry out to God seeking mercy in the same manner as the Canaanite woman,[8] the two blind men coming from Jericho,[9] and the 10 lepers.[10] The Kyrie links the humbling of ourselves before the Lord to the offering of praise that is due to Him. This prayer seeks to call to mind our own unworthiness, and also to trust in God’s mercy and love rather than dwell on our sinfulness.

Gloria

     After the Penitential Rite the faithful offer glory and praise to God through singing or reciting of the Gloria. The Gloria expresses our desire to praise God for what He has done for us and the confidence we place in Christ as our savior. If one looks closely at the words of the Gloria, it becomes obvious that one is reciting a profession of faith using the word of Sacred Scripture. This hymn of praise begins by echoing the words of the Angels announcing the birth Jesus Christ.[11] This Christmas greeting is most appropriate for the Mass, because each Mass is a mini Christmas, when Christ comes to us. The Gloria, is a very ancient prayer that was in use by at least the early 2nd century[12] and while originally reserved for special occasions, it is now used on every Sunday and special feast days, except for during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent.

Collect

     After the Gloria, the Introductory Rites conclude with the praying of the Collect, often called the Opening Prayer. The purpose of this prayer is to collect all of the intentions of the people who are gathered for the Mass, while drawing our minds towards what we are about to celebrate. In the Collect we gather as God’s children and cry out to our Father for our needs. The priest begins the prayer by saying, “Let us Pray” and then pauses for a moment, which should give us time to offer our own intentions in the silence of our hearts.

     Since the Collect changes at every Mass, it should help connect our own prayers to the Liturgical Calendar. The Collect unites all Catholics together regardless of where they are on the earth, because we all offer the same prayer to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. If one listens to these prayers throughout the year they will be reminded of all the great things God has done for them and be instructed in the great virtues required for holiness. In this manner the Collect prepares the faithful to listen to God’s word contained in the readings from Scripture which will follow.

Liturgy of the Word

     Having prepared for an encounter with God through the Penitential Rite, the congregation is seated to receive His Word contained in Sacred Scripture. It is through the Liturgy of the Word that God speaks to His Church for “when the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his word, proclaims the Gospel.”[13] The Liturgy of the Word contains the First and Second Readings, a Responsorial Psalm, the Gospel, a Homily, the Profession of Faith and the General Intercessions.

First and Second Readings

     The First Reading, usually from the Old Testament (during the Easter Season it comes from Acts of the Apostles) and the Second Reading taken from the New Testament, which is proclaimed on Sundays and major feasts, the congregation listens to the Word of God which was composed by the sacred authors under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy. Spirit. In the readings God speaks to us showing us who He is and who He calls us to be. At the end of each reading the congregation responds “Thanks be to God,” I essence agreeing to live up to the challenge the Word of God presents to us.

Responsorial Psalm

     Following the First Reading but before the Second Reading or the Gospel, if there is no Second Reading, the people respond to God’s word through the Responsorial Psalm. This response stems back to Jewish Synagogue worship where God’s chosen people would break up the readings and respond to them by reciting a psalm. In repeating the Psalm we are reminded that we are God’s children learning from Him. The Psalm, specifically chosen to match the readings, becomes a way that we can integrate the readings into our own lives. Just as repetitio est mater studiorum (repetition is the mother of learning) so the Psalm helps to bring the readings alive in our hearts.

     Having heard the inspired words of God, we now stand to hear the words of Christ spoken in the Gospel. The Gospel is the high point of the Liturgy of the Word as the other readings are chosen to shed light on what is proclaimed in the Gospel. As we stand for the Gospel the deacon, or in his absence the priest, process with the Book of the Gospels (if possible) to the ambo as the congregation sings Alleluia. In standing we mimic the gesture of the ancient Christians, who stood to hear the Word of God, basing their practice of the first Passover meal where the chosen people were told to eat the meal standing up and ready to depart from slavery into freedom. The word Alleluia is a composition of the hebrew word hallal, which is a combination of an exhortation to praise and the name of God, in essence meaning ‘Praise God’.

     As the hymn of praise begins the priest offers a prayer over the deacon, or if he is to proclaim the Gospel himself, says a similar prayer, asking the Lord to be in the heart and lips of the proclaimer that he might worthily proclaim the Gospel. The congregation also makes that request when they make three signs of the cross, one on their forehead, one on their lips and one on their heart after the deacon greets the people and announces the gospel. This threefold sign of the cross should remind us that we want to understand God’s word, share it with others, and keep it in our heart. As the deacon, representing Christ, proclaims the Gospel to us we should see it as Christ Himself, inviting us to follow after Him. At the end we proclaim “praise to you Lord Jesus Christ” announcing that we accept our Lord as our God and savior.

Homily

     Having heard the Word of God, we are seated to listen to the homily. The word homily is derived from Greek word, homilia, which means to have a conversation. While the readings at Mass are universal, they apply differently to each local community of believers. The priest or deacon takes these universal readings and applies them to the daily life of his unique community.

     Jesus, while He was on earth, taught us through conversations and the homily is intended to carry on that conversation. Just as parents instruct their children in worldly affairs so too the priest, our spiritual father, instructs the faithful on spiritual matters. It should equip us to go forth from the Mass with the tools we need to serve God and our neighbor.

Profession of Faith

     The Word of God both nourishes and instructs our souls so it is fitting that after the homily we stand to profess our faith by reciting either the Apostle’s creed or more commonly the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed, based on the older Apostle’s Creed, was  composed after the Council of Nicea in 325 and revised at the Council of Constantinople in 381. It is an authentic statement of the pillars of our faith. The word creed stems from the Latin word Credo, I believe, and is thus a statement of truths that every baptized Catholic holds. It expresses in words a communion of belief which will physically take place in the reception of Holy Communion. In professing the faith we should be moved to more actively live out our faith.

General Intercessions

     Having professed our faith and confidence in God we bring our needs before Him through the General Intercessions. In these intercessions we carry out the command of Christ, to “knock, ask and seek.”[14]  In these prayers, not only do we recognize our needs, but we also recognize who God is and come to ask Him for our needs with confidence. In responding “Lord hear our prayer” the congregation once again makes an act of faith and surrender to the will of God. While each of us brings our own personal petitions to the Mass, the General Intercessions, because they offered communally, are to be general in nature. The General Intercessions pray for the needs of the Church, public authorities and the salvation of the world, those burdened with difficulties, and the local community.[15]

Liturgy of the Eucharist

     Having been properly disposed to celebrate the Mass, been nourished by the Word of God, responded to that Living Word and brought our needs before the Lord our focus shifts to the altar, the place of sacrifice from whence we are spiritually fed.  The Liturgy of the Eucharist contains the Preparation of the Altar, the Eucharistic Prayer, the Communion Rite, and the Concluding Rite.

The Preparation of the Altar

     The Preparation of the Altar is a natural transition from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. During this transition the ministers prepare the altar for the Eucharistic Sacrifice. The Preparation of the Altar includes the Presentation of the Gifts, the Offering of the Bread and the Wine, and the Prayer over the Offering.

Presentation of the Gifts

     God creates from nothing, out of love. He only requires us to cooperate with His grace for our salvation. This cooperation is most perfectly expressed at the Mass in the preparation of the altar. As we prepare to receive our spiritual nourishment some of the faithful, representing the entire community, present the offerings of bread and wine. As the offerings are brought forward the faithful should present their own gifts to the Lord in their hearts. In offering the gifts, the work of human hands, God transforms our works into Himself. We offer what is purely human and receive in return what is fully divine. While we cannot earn the means of our salvation, we can cooperate with God’s grace to bring it about.

     Pope Benedict XVI summarized the importance and the symbolism of the the presentation of the gifts beautifully saying:

The Synod Fathers also drew attention to the presentation of the gifts. This is not to be viewed simply as a kind of “interval” between the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. To do so would tend to weaken, at the least, the sense of a single rite made up of two interrelated parts. This humble and simple gesture is actually very significant: in the bread and wine that we bring to the altar, all creation is taken up by Christ the Redeemer to be transformed and presented to the Father. In this way we also bring to the altar all the pain and suffering of the world, in the certainty that everything has value in God’s eyes. The authentic meaning of this gesture can be clearly expressed without the need for undue emphasis or complexity. It enables us to appreciate how God invites man to participate in bringing to fulfillment his handiwork, and in so doing, gives human labor its authentic meaning, since, through the celebration of the Eucharist, it is united to the redemptive sacrifice of Christ.”[16]

     The presentation of bread and wine symbolizes the congregations unity to the altar and their unity with the Cross of Christ. In addition to the presentation of the bread and wine, a collection is taken up. While we cannot repay the debt we owe to God for saving us through the death of His only Son, we can offer Him our first fruits to God. In offering our financial gifts we unite our daily work to the sacrifice of the Mass; we offer our labors to God through the Church who then uses those funds for the needs of the Church and the poor.

The Offering of the Bread and the Wine

     After the ministers have prepared the altar and our gifts have been received the priest offers the bread and the wine to God, expressing in confidence that what we offer to Him in faith, He will return to us as His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.       This divine exchange is perfectly summed up when in preparing the chalice the deacon mixes a drop of water into the wine praying “by the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the Divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.” The comingling of the water with the wine, reminds us that at our baptism we were rescued from slavery to freedom. It reminds us that this action which is represented at the Mass was bought us at a price, the price of God’s own blood.

Prayer Over the Offering

     Once the bread and the wine have been offered to God, the priest invites each of us to pray that God will receive the gifts, which we offer. He then continues with a prayer over the gifts, which mimics the Jewish pre-meal blessing. This prayer firstly offers thanksgiving for all of creation that God has given us. Since this prayer changes every day, it connects the Church year to the central act of the Mass, which we celebrate. The prayer is concluded by the faithful responding Amen. In responding “I believe” the faithful are accepting the invitation to Christ’s banquet, accepting the invitation to accompany Christ to the foot of the Cross.

Eucharistic Prayer

     Once the altar and our hearts have been prepared the Mass moves to its central part, the Eucharistic Prayer. The Eucharistic Prayer is the center and high point of the Mass because it makes Christ present for us. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite there are four Eucharistic Prayer options as well as two for the theme of Reconciliation and one for various needs and occasions which has four variations. Each Eucharistic prayer contains the Preface, Sanctus, Epeclesis, Institution Narrative, Profession of Faith, Amnesis, Intercessions and Offering with a Final Doxology.

Preface

     In the Preface, the faithful are called to draw their attention to the great mystery that is about to take place. The Preface, which changes for each liturgical season, reminds the faithful of Christ’s presence and invites them to give praise and thanksgiving. The heart of anyone who has truly asked for God’s mercy and heard His word, should overflow with thanksgiving. The preface gives thanks to God for sharing His life with us and for the work of His salvation.

Sanctus

      The Preface concludes with the words of the angels in heaven, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord…[17] recalling that the Mass participates in the eternal celebration of heaven.  This ancient prayer dating to the 2nd century[18] also recounts the words the crowd proclaimed to Jesus as He entered the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.[19] In this hymn we proclaim Jesus’ holiness three times to symbolize the perfect Holiness of Christ who comes to save us.

Epeclesis

      The Eucharistic Prayer continues with the epiclesis, the Greek word meaning to invoke. Having praised God, we invoke God’s power to change the bread and wine into His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  Just as the Holy Spirit descended upon the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation to bring Christ into the world, so too He descends upon the bread and wine to transform them into Christ. This transformation of simple bread and wine into Christ can only happen by God’s power and so the priest extends his hands over the gifts, the ancient gesture used to call down the Holy Spirit. We ask the Holy Spirit to overshadow not only the gifts, but us as well.

Institution Narrative

     Having called down the Holy Spirit, the priest then carries out the express command of Christ, by using Christ’s own words to change the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. As the priest says “do this in memory of me” the bread ceases to be bread and wine ceases to be wine and they become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ veiled under the appearance of bread and wine. With Christ now present on the altar, the priest elevates the host and the chalice for the congregation to render Him Homage just as the Magi did on the feast of Epiphany.

      In the Old Testament sacrifices were offered by the priest and then elevated so the people could be united to the sacrifice. As our Lord is made present on the altar the priest, fulfilling the imperfect sacrifices of the Old Testament, the priest elevates the Host and chalice to show us Christ present among us and to allow us to unite ourselves to the offering. This elevation gives our souls the opportunity to bow down in adoration to Christ and His love.

Memorial Acclamation

     Following the consecration we make our profession of faith, which we have just witnessed, audible by responding with a memorial acclamation. Having just witnessed the bread and wine become the Body and Blood Christ we have witnessed a mysterious miracle and so we respond to that mystery of faith by making a public acclamation of our faith.

Amnesis

     The consecration is completed with an amnesis, the Greek word for remembrance. Having witnessed the great mystery of faith and made an act of faith, we recall all that God has done, most especially His Passion, Death and Resurrection. This recollection should nourish our faith and fill us with joy.

Intercessions

     Christ Himself is the perfect mediator, and so with Him present on the altar we ask Him, through the prayers of the priest, to mediate on our behalf. As the Body of Christ we celebrate in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth, mentioning both the Pope (universal Church) and our Bishop (local) Church by name, as well as praying for all those who are living and deceased.

Offering with Final Doxology

     The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer, because in the Mass we offer ourselves united with Christ to the Father. Having participated in the prayers of the Mass and with Christ present on the altar, we then offer ourselves united to Christ back to the Father as the priest elevates the paten and Chalice, saying “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 forever and ever.” In one sense this offering is the high point of the Mass, because at this point we offer back to God, His only Son; we offer back to the Father what He asks us to offer.

     This elevation, often called the minor elevation, dates to around the 9th century[20] and is very different from the elevation that occurs at the Consecration, because at the consecration the Host and Chalice are elevated as an offering to us, while at the minor elevation the Host and Chalice are elevated in an offering to God. The people respond to this offering to God by proclaiming the Aramaic word, Amen, which means truth, yes, or so be it. This response by the people, reflects their yes, to all that the Eucharist Prayer has just offered.

The Communion Rite

     After the Eucharistic Prayer the Mass naturally transitions into the Communion Rite. This Rite is intended to lead the faithful to the Eucharistic table to receive our Lord in Holy Communion. The Communion Rite includes the Our Father, Offering of Peace, Agnus Dei and Fraction, Elevation, Holy Communion, Purification and the Prayer after Communion.

Our Father

     Following the Great Amen, we stand to offers the prayer that Jesus Himself taught us. This invitation to prayer is an offering of humility, recognizing that we can only proclaim such a bold prayer as the Our Father because Jesus told us to. The Our Father contains all that it means to pray. It reminds us that it is God our Father who unites all of us, and expresses the purpose for which we were created, namely, to know love and service Him. The Our Father then reminds us that to live out this mission we need God’s nourishment the nourishment we are about to receive in Holy Communion and that we need God’s forgiveness and grace to prevent us from sinning and to lead us to our final deliverance.

     At the conclusion of the Our Father, the priest takes up our prayers and offers them to God and we respond with praise saying “for the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory are yours now and forever.” From the writings of St. Jerome, we know that the Our Father was prayed in preparation to receive Holy Communion by the 5th century.[21]

Offering of Peace

     As we continue to prepare to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we recall Christ words “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”[22] Since the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, each and everyone of us who receives Holy Communion is united to each other in the Body of Christ and thus the Eucharist is the Sacrament of Charity. Before we can be united in Christ we must first offer peace to those who have offended us. In offering the sign of peace to those around us, we symbolize that we offer our peace to all people. We offer our peace to each other and pray for peace and unity, not only in this world, but also for the coming of the lasting peace of heaven.

Agnus Dei and Fraction

     After exchanging the sign of peace the congregation publicly acclaims their belief in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist by exclaiming the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God. This prayer takes its basis from St. John the Baptist who publicly called out to Christ as the Lamb of God.[23] As the congregation recites the Lamb of God the priest breaks off a small piece of the host and mixes it into the chalice saying “may the mingling of this Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.” This simple gesture recalls the action of Christ at the last supper when he broke the bread before giving it to His disciples.[24]

Elevation

     The priest then once again elevates the Eucharist, calling us to behold the Lamb of God. Our participation in the Mass, has made us as prepared as possible to receive Him in the Eucharist, yet no matter how prepared we are, none of us is worth to receive Christ’s Body and Blood and so we mimic the words of the Roman centurion who begged Christ to heal his daughter[25] by saying “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I will be healed.”

Communion

     After the priest has received Holy Communion those Catholics who are properly disposed come forward to receive the Eucharist. No one is worthy to take the Eucharist, but since our Lord offers Himself to us, we should receive Him with humility. One receives Holy Communion either by opening their mouth or making a throne with their hands. When one comes to receive the Eucharist the priest or minister says “the Body of Christ” to which the communicant makes one more ascent of faith exclaiming, Amen. The chalice may also be offered and in a similar fashion the communicant receives the chalice after the minister says “the Blood of Christ” to which the communicant responds Amen. While both species, the host and the precious blood, are frequently offered as a visible expression of what we are doing, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ is fully present in each species so it is not necessary to receive both species. If one is to receive only one species it is the custom to receive the host, however if for some reason one can’t receive the host (perhaps they have a gluten allergy) then they could receive only the chalice.

Purification

     After the Eucharist has been distributed the priest and deacon purify the sacred vessels. Since the host and precious blood remain the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ as long as the species remains, it is important to reserve the extra hosts in the tabernacle and then purify the vessels to ensure that Jesus is given complete reverence and respect as he remains in the crumbs of the hosts and the remaining precious blood. The priest does this by mixing water into the chalices and ciborias to consume any remaining particles of the host or the precious blood. Having consumed the remaining particles he then wipes the vessels with the purificator, which will then be washed after Mass and the water from the washing will be poured outside to prevent the Eucharist from going into the sewer system.

Prayer after Eucharist

     After a period of silent prayer the Mass continues with the Prayer after Communion. This prayer, asks that the benefits of what we have just received in the Eucharist may remain active in our daily lives. It recognizes the great merits we have been given in receiving Holy Communion and asks God to stir those graces up in our hearts as we live out our daily lives.

Concluding Rite

     Following the Prayer after Communion the Mass continues with the Concluding Rite. This brief Rite is intended to send us out to bring Christ whom we have just received into the world. The Concluding Rite contains the Blessing, Dismissal, and Recessional.

The Blessing

     As the Mass concludes we recall that we have just offered the greatest act of thanksgiving to God in receiving Communion.  The priest extends his hands to embrace his family as their spiritual father, saying the Lord Be with you. He then imparts his blessing preparing us to go out into the world.

Dismissal

     Following the blessing we are dismissed, often with the words Ita Missa Est (The Mass is ended). It is from this dismissal that the Eucharist gets its name the Mass. The word Missa means, a sending or a commissioning so through the dismissal, we are sent out into the World. Just as Jesus sent His apostles out of the upper room on Easter Sunday saying “as the Father has sent me, so I send you,”[26] so he sends us out to proclaim the Good News we have just received.

Recessional

     Having encountered God, truly present in the Mass we are challenged to live a life worthy of the gift we have just received and we are commissioned to go share Him with others.  The recessional thus leads us from that heavenly encounter, back into the world, to bring Christ to a world hungering for His love.

[1] 1 Cor 11:27-30

[2] Lk 22:19

[3] 1 Peter 2:6

[4] General Instruction of the Roman Missal paragraph 28. Accessible at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/general-instruction-of-the-roman-missal/

[5] 1 Cor 11:27-30

[6] Phil 2:11

[7] General Instruction of the Roman Missal paragraph 30. Accessible at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/general-instruction-of-the-roman-missal/

[8] Mt 15:22

[9] Mt 20:30-31

[10] Lk 17:13

[11] Lk 2:14

[12] Catholic Encyclopedia entry for Gloria in Excelsis Deo  accessible at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06583a.htm

[13] General Instruction of the Roman Missal paragraph 29. Accessible at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/general-instruction-of-the-roman-missal/

[14] Mt 7:7

[15] General Instruction of the Roman Missal paragraph 70. Accessible at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/general-instruction-of-the-roman-missal/

[16] Pope Benedict XVI. Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission, (22 February 2007) accessible at  http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis.html Paragraph number 47.

[17] Is 6:3

[18] Catholic Encyclopedia entry for Sanctus  accessible athttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13432a.htm

[19] Mt 21:9

[20] Catholic Encyclopedia entry for The Elevation accessible at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05380b.htm

[21] Catholic Encyclopedia entry for The Lord’s Prayer accessible at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09356a.htm

[22] Mt 5:23-24

[23] Jn 1:29

[24] Lk 24:35

[25] MT 8:8

[26] Jn 20:21

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