From questions I receive almost daily, I know that the Church has done a poor job educating the faithful about Eucharist and Liturgy. This series will focus primarily on the Mass.
This will be in 4 parts. The first part being from the beginning to the Word. That is this blog. Next post will deal with the rest of the Liturgy of the Word. This next section may just be the preparation of gifts, but may include the Eucharistic Prayer. And of course the conclusion. So depending on middle section it may be 4 or 5 posts.
When does Mass start? The music, the parking lot? The sign of the cross. I already have a blog on this, but in short, the person we are when the celebration starts matters, so Mass starts when we start preparing ourselves. Once the congregation is assembled, the ministers line up and the priest steps forth from the community and into the person of Christ or the “Persona Christi”. Some of us might like to think that we are always in the person of Christ, but that is why God gave us sisters, to lovingly remind their siblings that they are normal everyday people.
I hate hearing, “Let us stand and welcome Father singing X”, especially when the gathering song is “Hail Holy Queen”!!! Seriously, the song purpose is gathering and uniting the assembly in prayer and begin the communal process of preparing to hear the Word of God. It should always be if anything, “Let us stand and Sing X, or together sign X”
As the ministers stop forth from community, the bow to the altar and then venerate it with a kiss. Then from the presider’s chair the dialogue begins with the sign of the cross and greeting. Nothing is said before that. Any personal greeting should happen after the formal liturgical greeting.
We immediately move into the penitential rite where we have our sins, venial, forgiven. It shocks me how often people don’t know this. I shocks me because we end the penitential rite at every mass with these words:
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.
is prayed. I don’t get why we would say that if we didn’t believe it.
The Gloria immediately follows our sins being forgiven, so we praise God, except during Lent and Advent, our penitential seasons to allow the focus to remain more on the penitential aspect as we continue. The opening parts of mass conclude with the Collect or opening prayer. These are rich prayers that in the 3rd edition of the Missal requires a little preparation and when prayed properly, sets the tone for the Eucharistic Celebration.
To be continued….