The Mass Part 1


1. Introduction, Gathering Rite, and Entrance Procession

"Liturgy" is the participation of the people of God in the work of God. Through the liturgy Christ, our Redeemer and High Priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through the Church. (CCC no. 1069) Since the Mass, the Church's highest form of prayer, is a gathering of the community, it stands to reason that ceremonies/rituals have developed over the years to set our Sunday gatherings apart from other kinds of assemblies.


In the earliest days of the Church, when the Eucharist was celebrated in homes as part of a meal, there was no special ceremony to mark the beginning of Mass. But after the persecution of the Church ended, when Christians began to build churches for worship, it was the custom for the community to gather in the church to pray and prepare themselves before Mass. The signal for Mass to begin was the entrance of the ministers.



 We begin our celebration by singing an entrance hymn that reflects the theme of the day, as the priest and other ministers process to the altar.

Please Stand! (As the ministers reach the sanctuary, the gathering song ends and the cross-bearer has returned to the foot of the altar - the following paragraphs can be read while the priest is kissing the altar and other actions are being completed.)

COM: The "altar" is by its very nature a table of sacrifice and at the same time a table of the paschal banquet. It is a symbol of Christ as well as of the whole Christian Community. The veneration of the altar at the beginning of the celebration is an act of greeting, which recalls that the common table is holy and sacred to the action of the assembly. It is the place from which prayer ascends like incense before God.



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 with your spirit.


COM: We begin the Mass with the sign of the Cross - the oldest gesture of our faith - and a greeting. In this way we go back to the earliest traditions of the Eucharist.

The sign of the cross, a traditional prelude to prayer, is a form of self-blessing with strong baptismal overtones. Every Christian has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Community at worship is first and foremost a baptismal community.



COM: The priest gives his introductory remarks of welcome and his introduction to the penitential rite.

Recalling our faults and sins, in preparation for the unity of the Eucharist, is an ancient tradition in the Church. We recall our common need for salvation and God's merciful compassion.

The triple invocation (Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.) which concludes our penitential rite is one of the oldest known prayers of the Mass. In Greek, the Church's first official language, "Lord, have mercy" is "Kyrie eleison" - and even throughout all the centuries when Latin became the Church's language, the "Kyrie" was prayed in Greek, as a sign of our unity with the past.


PRIEST: Comment.

PRIEST & ALLI confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

PRIEST: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

ALL: Amen.

PRIEST: Lord, have mercy.                             ALL: Lord, have mercy.

PRIEST: Christ, have mercy.                           ALL: Christ, have mercy.

PRIEST: Lord, have mercy.                             ALL: Lord, have mercy.



COM: This joyful prayer - The Gloria - is really a song of praise, a "canticle". The earliest Christians copied the Jewish practice of singing canticles based on Scripture during their liturgy. Examples of these canticles "The Magnificat" and "The Canticle of Zechariah" are two canticles still used in the Morning and Evening prayer of the Church. In this tradition, early Christian Communities created their own songs of praise. The Gloria - in the very same words we use today - is found in Christian prayer books as early as the year 380!! At first, it was sung only on special feasts, but later it was included in every Sunday celebration.

(The Gloria is now sung)


PRIEST & ALL: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks, for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, Almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: have mercy on us.
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 of God the Father. Amen.


COM: The following prayer, which concludes the introductory rites, has been given the name "Collect" from the Latin word "collecta", which means "to gather up". Even in the early days of the Church, it was a tradition for the leader of the assembly to gather up the needs of the people and offer them to God in prayer.


PRIEST: Let us pray: (then that Sunday's Opening Prayer is prayed).