The Mass Part 4

Part 4: Communion Rite - Concluding Rite


Com: Today we complete the explanation of the Mass by explaining the various parts of the Communion Rite and also the Concluding Rite .


The Lord's Prayer - part of the Eucharist since the late 400's - "is truly the summary of the whole gospel" (Tertullian, De Orat. 1:PL 1, 1155). Its original proclamation is found in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount in which Jesus teaches us His new life by words; and teaches us to ask for it by our prayer. This prayer not only teaches us what things to ask for, but also in what order we should desire them (St. Thomas Aquinas, STH II-II, 83,9). This prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique. On the one hand, the only Son gives us the words His Father gave Him (Jn. 17:7). He is the master of our prayer.

On the other hand, Christ, as the Word made flesh, knows in His human heart the needs of His human sisters and brothers, and reveals them to us. He is the model of our prayer. Through this prayer, we place ourselves in the presence of God - "Our Father, Who art in Heaven..." - to adore, to love and to bless Him. This prayer first carries us toward Our Father to help us think of the One whom we love. "Hallowed be Thy name... Thy kingdom come...Thy will be done...". No mention of us only the Loved One.

The second series of petitions unfolds our needs. "Give us...forgive us...lead us not...deliver us...". They ask that our lives be nourished, healed of sin, and made victorious in the struggle of good over evil.

In the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Lord's Prayer appears as the prayer of the whole Church and is situated in a special place to reveal its full meaning and efficacy. Placed between the just completed Eucharistic Prayer and our Communion, the Lord's Prayer sums up on the one hand all the petitions and intercessions just expressed in the main Eucharistic Prayer and on the other, it knocks at the door of the banquet of the kingdom which the Sacramental Communion anticipates.

PRIEST: Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say:

PRIEST & 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; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

COM: The prayer of the priest develops the last petition of the Our Father, in which we pray that Christ will make us victorious in the present struggle of good over evil. Our response will reflect once again the first part of the "Our Father" giving the Kingship, the Power and the Glory to Our Father.

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 are Yours, now and forever.

COM: The Sign of Peace has been part of the Mass as early as the fourth century. Peace - "SHALOM" - means all possible prosperity. We pray that each person will live in total and complete harmony with nature, self and God. In the sign of peace we make a spiritual pledge to be open to each other as Christ would, both in the celebration of the Liturgy and after it.

Since the Risen Christ is the source of all peace, this gesture expresses faith that Christ is present in the Assembly because of reconciliation and wholeness.

PRIEST: Lord Jesus Christ, You said to Your apostles: I leave you peace, My peace I give you. Look not at our sins, but on the faith of Your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of Your Kingdom where you live forever and ever. ALL: Amen.

PRIEST: The peace of the Lord be with you always. ALL: And with your spirit.

PRIEST OR DEACON: Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

(After the Sign of Peace has ended, and the Priest returns to the altar and the ministers are in place.)

COM: The Lamb of God, a litany-type acclamation accompanies the breaking of the bread. This rite of the breaking of the bread emphasizes how the Eucharist is a sharing event. Those who break bread are expected to offer their lives for others in the same way Jesus did throughout His life and especially in the passion.

(Break host)

ALL: Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. (2X) Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

(The priest breaks the large host. The Priest  gives the Body of Christ to the Eucharistic Ministers).

COM: A small portion of the large host is now placed into the chalice signifying the union of the Body and the Blood of Christ. Just as the double consecration, that is, OF the bread and OF the wine, represented the death of Christ, so it was deemed necessary to symbolize the reuniting of the Body and Blood of Christ before communion - a symbolic re-enactment of the Lord's resurrection.

PRIEST: May this mingling of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bring eternal life to us who receive it.

COM: As we prepare ourselves to receive the Eucharist, the priest now says a private and silent prayer to himself to receive Communion. For example:

PRIEST: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, Your death brought life to the world. By Your Body and Blood free me from all my sins, and from every evil. Keep me faithful to Your teaching, and never let me be parted from You.


PRIEST: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to His Supper.

ALL: Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my sour will be healed.

COM: The practice of receiving, both the Consecrated Host - in the hand - and the Precious Blood from a common cup, forges a real link with our past. Our current practice corresponds exactly to a description given by the early Church Father, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in the fourth century. The people used to receive the Body of Christ and the Precious Blood until the Middles Ages, when they began to kneel for Communion. It was awkward to receive the cup while kneeling, so the Body of Christ alone was given.

Vatican II initiated a gradual restoration of the Church's ancient tradition of distributing the Eucharist under both kinds, so that the full symbolism of receiving Christ's Body and Blood can be appreciated.

As the Minister of the Eucharist says "THE BODY OF CHRIST" and we respond "AMEN", each of us is agreeing to the giving over of ourselves to the truth declared. We are declaring and agreeing to become one with Christ, who is the HEAD, and with all Christians, who are members. We say that we are willing to give, act and love as Christ did.

The Communion song expresses "the spiritual union of the communicants, who join their voices in a single song, shows the joy of all, and make the Communion procession an act of unity" (G1 no. 56i).

(Communion is distributed. The Blessed Sacrament has been placed in the Tabernacle:)

COM: The recent liturgical renewal suggests a return to the early Church custom of maintaining a period of silence for reflection, during which we pray and ask God that what He is doing to transform and renew each of us as we presented ourselves to Him in the Eucharist. While we pray silently in our hearts - thanking and praising God - we ask God for all that this sacrament promises.

COM: The prayer after Communion is not one of thanksgiving. The Priest prays that the reception of Holy Communion will result in certain and definite spiritual benefits for those who have shared the Eucharist - that the spiritual effects of the Eucharist will be carried out in our everyday lives.

PRIEST: Let us pray...   ALL: Amen.

COM: The Priest says again "The Lord be with you." The ritual phrase now serves as a farewell, followed by a blessing. The blessing prays that the grace God has given us in this part of our lives will benefit us because this is what we sacrificed with Christ in the Eucharist to the Father through the Holy Spirit.

With the final blessing of the celebrant, the Mass is ended. We leave the Church with this mandate: "GO IN PEACE TO LOVE AND SERVE THE LORD." The dismissal reminds us that the only way to serve the Lord is in peace and love and our response is: "Thanks be to God."

PRIEST: The Lord be with you.

ALL: And with your spirit.

PRIEST: May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

ALL: Amen.

PRIEST: Go in Peace to love and serve the Lord.

ALL: Thanks be to God.

COM: The Priest will now reverence the altar once again as he did when he began the Liturgy. It is similar to the ritual of love when we visit a friend or relative. The kiss of farewell at the end of the celebration mirrors the kiss whereby the altar is greeted at the beginning of Mass. Both are gestures venerating the table as the symbol of Christ.

A hymn is usually sung as the ministers leave the sanctuary. All those attending the Mass are expected to remain until the ministers have reached the rear of the Church, so that they can greet us as we leave.