The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – is the manifestation of the Pascal Mystery (Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ).
For Catholics, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is one of the highest forms of prayer. It’s a communication between us and God.
Preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
For the faithful it’s a good practice to arrive at Church between 5 to 10 minutes before Mass
Why? First…it allows time for personal prayer. Secondly…you have to opportunity to read over the Sunday Readings. You will find reading over the Sunday Readings before Mass can be a great way to get more out of the readings.
However…you can also prepare the readings at home. The Readings can be found at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Web Site www.usccb.org/nab.
The Priest also should prepare for each Mass. Below you will find the list of vestments and their symbols.
Amice – the helmet of salvation
Alb – purity
Cincture – chastity
Stole – authority
Maniple – sorrow or the weight of the priesthood
Chasuble – Charity
The Structure of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
- Sign of the Cross/Greeting
- Penitential Rite or Sprinkling Rite (the sprinkling rite is often used during the Easter Season)
- Gloria (exception of Advent and Lent)
- Opening Collect
The purpose of the Introductory Rites is to prepare us for the entire celebration (to listen to the Word of God and receive Him in the Holy Eucharist.)
Liturgy of the Word (God speaks to us about His life)
- First Reading (usually from the Old Testament)
- Responsorial Psalm (is our response to the word of God)
- Second Reading (usually from the New Testament)
- Gospel Acclamation
- Gospel (the life of Jesus)
Suggestion to not read the word of God as it is proclaimed, read it as suggested before Mass. Some times when we listen and read at the same time we can lose sight of the meaning.
- Homily (the purpose of the homily is to reflect on the word proclaimed and to apply it today)
- Profession of Faith (Creed)
- Prayer of the Faithful (closes the Liturgy of the Word and serves as a transition to the Liturgy of the Eucharist)
Liturgy of the Eucharist (We turn our hearts and minds to God)
- The Offertory (The altar is prepared…the gifts of bread and wine accompanied by the offering of the faithful is brought forward)
- Prayer over the Gifts (preparation of the Sacrifice)
- Eucharistic Prayer (the turn towards Calvary)
- Our Father
- Sign of Peace (Go make peace with your brother)
- Reception of Holy Communion (represents the resurrection of Christ)
- Prayer after Communion (is a prayer of thanksgiving)
- Commission (to go in peace)
The faithful is encouraged after the priest leaves the altar to spend some time in prayer offering to God a prayer of Thanksgiving. This could be an extra 3 to 5 minutes.