Parts of the Mass (4)

The third part of the Mass is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In my previous article, I talked about an aspect of this, particularly the Eucharistic Prayer. Today, I’m going to focus on the Communion Rite, which begins with the Our Father.

3. Liturgy of the Eucharist (continued)

The Lord’s Prayer: The priest gives the invitation to prayer and all the faithful say the “Our Father” with him. Then the priest alone says the embolism, which is a prayer asking for deliverance from the power of evil for the whole community. Afterwards, the congregation concludes this prayer with the doxology, "For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever."

The Rite of Peace: With this gesture, the Church entreats peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity. It is appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest.

The Fraction of the Bread: The priest breaks the bread and puts a piece of the host into the chalice to signify the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation. The supplication Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is usually sung during this rite.

Communion: Those who receive Holy Communion should be prepared to receive this gift. The Church asks that the faithful fast (except for medicines) at least one hour before receiving the Eucharist and should not be conscious of having committed serious sin. Also, sharing at the Eucharistic Table is a sign of unity with the Body of Christ, thus only those who are in communion with the Catholic Church may receive Holy Communion. When the faithful come to receive Communion, the priest or minister will say "The Body of Christ" or "The Blood of Christ." The person responds, "Amen." People may receive the Body of Christ reverently either on the tongue or in the hand. People who are not receiving communion, may approach the priest or the Eucharistic Minister with hands crossed to receive a blessing. After everyone has received Communion, it is appropriate to spend some time in silent prayer of thanksgiving.

Prayer after Communion: The Communion Rite ends with the Prayer after Communion, which asks that the benefits of the Eucharist remain active in our daily lives.

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

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