Parts of the Mass (5)

4. Concluding Rites

Announcements: The announcements are to be brief and cover only significant events since all other information is contained in the weekly bulletin.

Greeting: "The Lord be with you" is the greeting of the priest before the blessing. If there is a solemn blessing, the deacon or the priest will ask the assembly to bow their heads and pray for God’s blessing.

Blessing: In special occasions, the priest might use the Prayer over the People or the Solemn Blessing, which consists of three special prayers to which the people respond "Amen." Then, the priest asks God to bless all those who are present. The blessing is always Trinitarian: “May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” It is in the triune God and in the sign of the cross that we receive our blessing.

Dismissal: After the blessing, the deacon—or the priest in the absence of a deacon— dismisses the people by saying, “Go in Peace.” There are four dismissal formulas. In fact, the dismissal gives the liturgy its name. The word "Mass" comes from the Latin word, Missa. At one time, the people were dismissed with the words “Ite, missa est”. The word Missa is related to the word missio, the root of the English word "mission." The liturgy does not simply come to an end. Rather, those assembled are sent forth to bring the fruits of the Eucharist to the world.

Reverence to the Altar: The priest and the deacon kiss the altar, followed by a profound bow to the altar by the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers who are part of the procession. Meanwhile, the choir sings the recessional hymn.

Today, I conclude the series of articles on the parts of the Mass. I hope this short explanation about the Mass will help us celebrate the sacred liturgy every Sunday with more joy, confidence, and reverence. As a summary, the two main parts of the Mass are the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, along with the Introductory Rites and the Concluding Rites. I invite you to continue to read more about the Mass, to ask questions about the rites that you see at each celebration, and to actively participate by being present, responding to the prayers, and singing.

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

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