Parts of the Mass (1)

Today and for the next four Sundays, we’ll be highlighting the various parts of the Mass in this column. These short explanations will hopefully enlighten your understanding of each unique moment in our liturgical celebration and help encourage you to participate in a more conscious way, uniting your voice to that of the whole community of St. Juliana, to praise, adore and give thanks to God.

The Mass is divided into four basic parts: Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Concluding Rites.

1. Introductory Rites

The Entrance: When people are gathered, the commentator reads the opening comment that introduces the faithful to the Mass of the day. Then, as the priest, deacon and ministers enter into the church, the Entrance Chant or hymn begins. The Altar Servers carry the processional cross and the candles. The deacon (or the lector when there is no deacon) carry the Book of the Gospels.

Reverence to the Altar: The priest, the deacon, and the ministers reverence the altar with a profound bow. Then, the priest and the deacon kiss the altar as an expression of reverence to the person of Christ, which the altar represents, and to reverence the relics of the saint or martyr placed within the altar itself.

Greeting: The priest and the assembly sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross. Then the priest greets them by saying, “The Lord be with you.” The faithful answer, “And with your Spirit.” With this greeting, the priest signifies the presence of the Lord to the congregation.

Penitential Act: There are three ways to do this. The two most known are: 1. The Confiteor prayer, which begins, “I confess...” 2. The Kyrie, which often features “tropes” or three Christological phrases followed by the petition, “Lord (or Christ), have mercy.”

Gloria: This is one of the most ancient hymns by which we praise, adore and glorify God as one community. It is sung or recited on Solemnities, Feasts and Sundays outside of Advent and Lent.

Collect PrayerCollect Prayer: The priest calls people to pray by saying, “Let us pray.” After a brief period of silence, he pronounces the Collect prayer, which is addressed to God the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This prayer literally “collects” the prayers of those who are gathered into one prayer led by the priest.

Information based on the Roman Missal and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

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