Outline of the Roman Catholic Mass
 
 
 

 
INTRODUCTORY RITES

A Catholic Mass starts with the processional of the priest toward the sanctuary of the church. After the entrance procession, there is often a gathering song followed by a Greeting to the assembly, the Penitential Rite (a time of reflection on one's sins and a prayer for God's mercy), concluded with the Opening Prayer.

LITURGY OF THE WORD

This part of the Mass will offer Scripture readings from the following areas:

First Reading
A scripture reading from the Old Testament

Responsorial Psalm
A Psalm selected from the Book of Psalms. The congregation interacts by offering a response (usually sung).

Second Reading
A scripture reading from the New Testament

Gospel Acclamation
The people praise Christ's presence in the sacred Word of God.

Gospel Reading
Taken from one of the four Gospels of either Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. 

Homily
The priest or deacon will address the congregation on what has been read.

Prayer of the Faithful or General Intercessions
A collection of short prayers of petition. After each petition is said the congregation will respond by saying, "Lord, hear our prayer" or something similar. 

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

The Liturgy of the Eucharist, along with communion, is the most sacred part of the Mass. Catholics will kneel during the Eucharistic prayer, but non-Catholics may remain seated.

Presentation of the Gifts and Preparation of the Gifts
The bread and wine are brought to the altar along with any monetary offerings for the poor that may have been collected from the congregation. The Offertory hymn may be sung at this time.

Prayer Over the Gifts
The priest may say or sing this prayer.

Eucharistic Prayer
At this time the congregation will kneel.

Eucharistic Acclamations
Includes the Holy, Holy - Memorial Acclamation and Great Amen.

Lord's Prayer
The reciting of the Our Father.

The Sign of Peace
The priest will prompt the congregation to offer each other a sign of peace. You will shake the hand of people around you, perhaps saying, "Peace be with you."

Breaking of the Bread / Lamb of God

Distribution of Communion
People process in lines to the front of the Cathedral, receive communion standing and then return to their seats. After returning to their places, people are encouraged to immediately sit down or kneel in silent prayer.

If you are not Catholic, you may process to the front and cross your hands across your chest to receive a blessing or you may remain seated or kneel in prayer while communion is being distributed.

Never mistake this time of movement of the people to the altar to receive communion as any type of an intermission. This is a sacred time for Catholics. Do not engage in unnecessary conversation during this period of the Mass. There should be no unnecessary trips to the bathroom or other diversions. Please do not let children run in the aisles. Instead, take them to the back of the Cathedral until their needs are met and make sure your cell phone is off.

Prayer After Communion

CONCLUDING RITE

This segment is the conclusion of the Mass and contains the final prayers and blessings. The priest will leave the church in a procession accompanied by a hymn.

Solemn / Final Blessing
Given to the entire congregation.

Dismissal
Given by the presider, usually by saying, "The Mass has ended. You may now go in peace."

Recessional
The priest processes out of the Cathedral during a final hymn.

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OUTLINE OF SUNDAY MASS Why do Catholics stand, sit and kneel during mass? Because God saw to it that all creation is good (Genesis 1:31) and because Christ took on our human flesh (John 1:14), we believe that both our spirits and our bodies are sacred. And so, when we come to God, we come not just with our spirit, we come with our bodies. At different points of the Mass, our bodies posture a certain kind of presence at the sacred events of our liturgy. For example, we stand at the Gospel and Eucharistic prayer - a symbol of Christ's resurrection and a symbol of taking a stand for all that the Gospel and Eucharist imply. We sit for the first and second scriptural readings and the Homily - a posture of listening. You will notice that some people kneel after communion - a posture of humility and reverence before God.
Why do Catholics genuflect at Mass? Genuflection is an act of reverence consisting of falling onto one knee (usually before entering or leaving the pew, and the priest has other times calling for genuflection). It originated as a posture of respect of a knight before a king. Catholics who come into the presence of the Eucharist (generally stored in the tabernacle) are expected to genuflect on the right knee as a sign of devotion. If the Eucharist is exposed in a monstrance (during Adoration), many genuflect on both knees. Catholics don't genuflect at Good Friday services because the tabernacle is empty.
Please stand as the priest processes in, usually music and song will accompany him.
INTRODUCTORY RITE
ENTRANCE SONG: announced by the choir director or whomever gives opening announcements.
GREETING: We begin our liturgies with the "sign of the cross" - a symbol of Christ's death and resurrection. As we sign ourselves, we recall that at the core of God is relationship - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this simple gesture, we call to mind that we are transported into the life of the Trinity through our celebration of this mass. Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. All: Amen. Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. All: And also with you.
PENITENTIAL RITE: During this time the priest reminds us that we must express sorrow for our sins before we continue the rest of the celebration. We spend this time asking the Lord for forgiveness and mercy. Priest: petition…Lord, have mercy. All: Lord, have mercy Priest: petition...Christ, have mercy. All: Christ, have mercy Priest: petition...Lord, have mercy. All: Lord, have mercy
GLORIA :(joyful hymn of praise that is typically sung, and omitted during Lent): Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory to God the Father. Amen.
OPENING PRAYER Priest: leads us in prayer All: Amen. Please sit for the Scripture Readings.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
FIRST READING: The first reading is almost always selected from the Jewish scriptures (Old Testament). Our Catholic liturgy is built upon the Jewish tradition. We pray for a greater unity among God's chosen people. The word is proclaimed by a member of the congregation called a “Lector”. Lector: A reading from the... Lector: Proclaims the reading Lector: The Word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: (Usually sung—Please join us.) We pray this psalm together as the community's response to the first reading.
SECOND READING: Taken from the New Testament, these letters were originally written to the early Church communities for inspiration in living out the "Good News" of Christ. Lector: A reading from the... Lector: Proclaims the reading Lector: The Word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.
Please stand for the Gospel Reading.
ALLELUIA: Usually sung, please join us. (Replaced with the “Gospel Acclamation” during lent) All: Alleluia!
GOSPEL: This is the climax of the liturgy of the word. We stand in a posture of attentiveness and reverence to receive God's word. This reading is taken from one of the four gospels and is proclaimed not by a lector, but by an ordained priest or deacon. Priest: The Lord be with you. All: And also with you. Priest: A reading from the holy gospel according to _________. All: Glory to you, Lord. You will notice our congregation tracing a small sign of the cross over their foreheads, over their lips, and over their hearts. The silent prayer is something similar to, “Lord, help me to understand Your Gospel with my mind, to proclaim it with my lips, and to believe it with all my heart.” Priest: Proclaims the Gospel... The Gospel of the Lord. All: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
Please sit for the Homily. HOMILY: In the Homily, the priest or deacon draws relevant themes from Sacred Scripture we have heard and applies them to our lives. “The homily is preached in order that a community of believers who have gathered to celebrate the liturgy may do so more deeply and more fully-more faithfully-and thus be a formed Christian witness in the world,” (The Homily in the Sunday Assembly #43). Priest or Deacon shares a homily, usually between 10-15 minutes long.
Please stand as we profess our faith together with the Nicene Creed. NICENE CREED: Our creedal statement was formulated in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea. The core doctrines of the Catholic Christian Tradition are contained within this statement. “The purpose of the . . . Profession of Faith, or Creed, is that the whole gathered people may respond to the word of God proclaimed in the readings taken from Sacred Scripture and explained in the homily and that they may also call to mind and confess the great mysteries of the faith by reciting the rule of faith. . .before these mysteries are celebrated in the Eucharist,” GIRM #67. All: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man (please make a small bow). For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL (sometimes called Petitions or General Intercessions): We believe that united with Christ, we form a "mystical body" (1 Cor 12:12) that extends beyond time and space. Therefore at this time, we hold the general and specific needs of our world in prayer. “In the Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in a certain way to the word of God which they have welcomed in faith and. . . .offer prayers to God for the salvation of all. It is fitting . . . that petitions be offered for the holy Church, for civil authorities, for those weighed down by various needs, for all men and women, and for the salvation of the whole world.” GIRM #71. Priest or Lector: Petition…We pray to the Lord. All: Lord, hear our prayer. Please sit as we begin to prepare the gifts for the celebration of the Eucharist. LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
PRESENTATION OF THE GIFTS/PREPARATION OF THE ALTAR: Having consumed the Word of God, we prepare to consume Christ in the Eucharist. We present gifts of bread and wine for transformation into the Body and Blood of Christ. In the same way, we present the gifts of ourselves for transformation. Sometimes a congregation chooses to sing a song at this time, while the altar is prepared. After the altar is prepared, and the collection is taken, members of the congregation process up to hand the priest our gifts in a gesture signifying the faithful’s contribution.
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands made. It will become for us the bread of life. All: Blessed be God forever. Priest: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink. All: Blessed be God forever. Priest: Pray, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. (Please stand as we respond…) All: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of God's name, for our good, and the good of all God's Church.
[If there is no singing during the presentation of the gifts, the priest may say the following prayers aloud, and the people may respond. But if a presentation song is being sung, the priest recites these prayers inaudibly, and the people's response is omitted.]
 
After the priest has washed his hands and the music is finished, he invites the people to join in this prayer…
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS: The priest prays a prayer over the gifts we have offered . The people, uniting themselves to the Prayer over the Offerings, make this prayer their own by ending with the acclamation, Amen,” GIRM #77. Priest: Prays a prayer over the offerings….
All: Amen.
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: prayed by priest. During this portion of the Mass, we celebrate the profound mysteries that touch the core of our lives. In our Eucharist, we believe that we are transported to the foot of the cross where we are reconciled with our God. In the same way, we become present at the empty tomb and celebrate resurrection. We gather around the table at the Last Supper - our new Passover - to consume the Lamb of God. In consuming Christ more fully into our lives, we choose to live out His pattern of death and resurrection within our own lives. As we stand for the Eucharistic Prayer, these are also the realities we stand for... Priest: The Lord be with you. All: And also with you. Priest: Lift up your hearts. All: We lift them up to the Lord. Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God. All: It is right to give God thanks and praise. Priest continues Eucharistic Prayer… Holy, Holy Prayer (Also called the “Sanctus”): All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Please Kneel. Priest continues Eucharistic Prayer…
Priest: “Take this, all of you, and eat it; this is my body which will be given up for you.” Priest: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.”
Important to Note the Words of Consecration:
 
Memorial Acclamation: Priest: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith… All: (is sometimes sung) A - Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. or B - Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory. or C - When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory. or D - Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the World.
Priest continues Eucharistic Prayer…
Doxology and Great Amen: Priest: Through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever. All: Amen [may be sung]
LORD’S PRAYER: (some congregations choose to hold hands with each other, some choose to outstretch their own hands as individuals, and some choose to keep their hands folded to themselves.) All: Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver from evil. Amen. Priest: Deliver us Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. All: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory and yours, now and forever.
SIGN OF PEACE: We are invited to make some of the peace and unity real by offering each other a sign of (His) peace. Scriptural basis for the Sign of peace is found in Matthew 5: 23-24a, “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.” The Church tradition of extending a "sign of unity" before communion was used until the end of the Middle Ages and later re-introduced. At this time, feel free to extend a handshake or a hug as a way of extending Christ's peace in our world. Our congregation is also called to remember people and places in need of the peace of Christ at this time. Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I give you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever. All: Amen. Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always. All: And also with you. Priest: Let us offer each other the sign of peace. The ministers and all the people exchange an embrace, handshake, or other appropriate gesture of peace with those near them, according to local custom with the words, “Peace be with you.” Or “Peace.”
BREAKING OF THE BREAD: Lamb of God: (May be sung) This ancient Christian prayer is said as the Eucharist is poured out and broken. We call to mind that Christ was broken open and poured out that we might be made whole. All: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
COMMUNION RITE: When we say that "we are not worthy", we simply are remembering that the love of God is an utter gift. Nothing we have ever done or will ever do could earn God's gift of creative love. Our response is to simply and lovingly receive our God.
Priest: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are we who are called to his supper. All: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
Prepare to Receive Communion: “In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession. . .” (Code of Canon Law, 916).
Who receives Communion: Communion is a deeper step that involves commitment and faith in the Real Presence - please be conscious of that deeper level of meaning and faith if you choose to go to Communion. “Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion” (Code of Canon Law, 844). Those who are not receiving may choose to stay in your seat or come forward, cross your arms over your chest and bow your head for a blessing.
How to Receive Communion: The manner of receiving communion differs significantly between various countries, dioceses, and even individual parishes. In the United States, the people normally process to the front in lines, receive communion standing, and then return to their seats “When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. (cont􀃆)
How to Receive Communion (cont.): The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the bow of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood,” GIRM #160. Holy Communion may be distributed by priests, deacons, or designated lay persons, called "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.” After returning to their places, the people kneel until the priest finishes and sits down—then the whole congregation sits.
Communion Minister: The body of Christ. Communicant: Amen. Communion Minister: The blood of Christ. Communicant: Amen. PERIOD OF SILENCE: Having received Christ, our congregation rests with Him in quiet reverence and prayer.
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION Priest: Let us pray... All: Amen
ANNOUNCEMENTS [If there are any announcements, acknowledgements, reflections, eulogies, or similar actions, these are best included here, after the Prayer after Communion and before the Concluding Rite.The people may remain standing, or may be invited to sit, depending on the length of the announcements or activity.]
CONCLUDING RITE Please stand for the conclusion of Mass BLESSING Priest: The Lord be with you. All: And also with you. OPTION A Deacon or Priest: May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All: Amen. OR OPTION B Deacon or Priest: Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing. [One or more invocations may be spoken, and the people usually respond "Amen" to each one. The following conclusion is always used.] Deacon or Priest: May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All: Amen.
DISMISSAL Priest: The mass is ended, go in peace. All: Thanks be to God.
CLOSING SONG: Please join in singing
Join us for snacks and conversation out in the hall, don’t forget your bulletin!
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