The Mass is divided into the following sections:
synopsis: The beginning of the Mass usually begins with a hymn and an exchange of greetings between the priest and the congretation. Following this, in the Penitential Rite, the congregation is invited to reflect on the acts and thoughts that fell short of our code of conduct. They ask for forgiveness in the Kyrie eleison ( = Greek "Lord, have mercy") and then receive a general absolution. Most of the year the Gloria is sung to praise God. The an opening prayer, peculiar to the day, is recited.
- Entrance Hymn
- Penitential Rite
- Opening Prayer
Liturgy of the Word
synopsis: Three readings from the Bible are then heard: the first from the Old testament, and the second generally from the Epistles or letters (mostly from St. Paul). Since the first four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) of the New Testament are held in particularly high regard, reading from one of them is preceeding by special ceremonies which include singing the Alleluia and censing. Following the readings, the priest delivers a homily or sermon, usually an elucidation of one of the readings.
- First Reading
- Second Reading
- Gospel Acclamation
The creed is then recited to remind the congregation of the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. There are two versions: the long Nicene Creed and the shorter Apostles Creed.
Here various needs of the parish and the world are brought to mind. The congregation pleads that God will answer the petitions presented to Him.
Liturgy of the Eucharist
synopsis: This is the center of the Mass where, it is believed, the bread (called a host) and the wine undergo the miracle of transubstantiation. The elements of bread and wine are brought to the altar and the attention of the congregation is directed there with the sursum corde ( = Lat. "lift up your hearts"). The hymn of the angels called the Sanctus is sung just before the Eucharistic prayer, during which the miracle occurs at the "words of institution:" THIS IS MY BODY...THIS IS MY BLOOD.
The congretation is again united in reciting the "Mystery of Faith:" which reads, "Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again."
- Preparation of Altar and Gifts
- Sursum Corde
- EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
- Mystery of Faith
synopsis: The congregation reaffirms its unity in praying the "Our Father," while holding hands. This prayer is also called the " The Lord's Prayer" or "Pater Noster." The "Doxology" is not the well-known hymn, but a brief statement of praise to the three Persons of the Trinity. The "Sign of Peace" again affirms that all those assisting at Mass are of one body. Greetings are exchanged with with a kiss on the cheek or with shaking hands. The consecrated host is broken (= "fracture") and distributed to the congregation during Communion. The rite closes with a special prayer peculiar to the day.
- Our Father
- Sign of Peace
- Breaking of the Bread
- Prayer after Communion