The Mass is the central liturgical rite in the Catholic Church and it is considered as the central act of worship of the Roman Catholic Church. The Mass is the place where the bread and wine are consecrated and become the body and blood of Christ. The mass consists of two principal rites: the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. The liturgy of the Word includes readings from Scripture, the homily, and intercessory prayer. On the other hand, the liturgy of the Eucharist includes the offering and the presentation of bread and wine at the altar. The time when Jesus has anticipated his imminent death, he has offered his disciples bread and wine and said –
“Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you,” and, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood,…which will be poured out for you.”
The procedure for taking the gifts up to the altar to the priest might vary from community to community. Usually, the tradition is, an usher will choose a family before Sunday Mass starts and ask them to bring the gifts up to the altar and the priest, at the appropriate time. When a person brings up the gifts, he represents the people in the parish for that Mass and also the members of the whole Church.
General Flow Of The Catholic Mass
1. Introductory Rites
2. Liturgy of the Word
a) First Reading
b) Responsorial Psalm (Sung)
c) Second Reading
g) Prayer of the Faithful
3. Liturgy of the Eucharist
a) Offertory (Offertory song)
b) Eucharistic Prayer
d) Communion Hymn(s)
4. Concluding Rites
a) Brief announcements
c) Dismissal (Sending Forth Song)
Basic Elements Needed For Catholic Mass
2. Lectionary (book of the readings)
3. Book of the Gospels
9. Cruets for water and wine
15. Ciborium for the hosts
18. Communion wafers
Different Roles In Catholic Mass
Sacristan/ Liturgical Coordinator: The sacristan/ liturgical coordinator is a person who will organize the preparations for the Mass and who can make available all the liturgical supplies needed for Mass.
Master Of Ceremonies: The Master of Ceremonies, or M.C., is most often a priest, vested, and participating in the Mass. The role of the MC is to help to move participants into place during the Mass, and to help with the general flow of action.
Greeter: A member of the community with specific connections to the occasion generally serves as the Greeter. She or he may offer a 1-2 minute welcome before the start of Mass, pointing out certain special guests or VIPs.
Lectors: Generally speaking, a Sunday Mass will require three Lectors, or readers for the first reading, the second reading, and the “Prayer of the Faithful.” Best liturgical practices will insist on a good gender balance among the lectors.
Eucharistic: Ministers Eucharistic Ministers, also known as, extraordinary ministers of communion, aid in the distribution of Holy Communion. The size of the congregation as well as the logistics of the space may dictate the number of Eucharistic Ministers needed.
Gift Bearers: The Gift Bearers bring up from the community the bread or wafers and the wine which will be transformed through the mystery of transubstantiation, into the real body and blood of Christ. Depending on the layout of the vessels, 2, 3, or 4 persons may be involved.
Presider: The presider is literally the one who presides, or sometimes called the main celebrant. The presider may or may not be the homilist, the one who offers the homily, literally, the one who “breaks open the Word of God.”
Ushers: The ushers may serve two roles: first in welcoming the congregation with a warm smile and a kind word while handing out the worship aid or programs. Besides, they may serve as the individuals who “handle the collection” during the Offertory.
The Prayer Of The Faithful
It’s customary to have a prayer in the Sunday Mass. The prayers can be acquired from an (arch) diocesan publication or liturgical magazine. They can use already prescribed prayers or simply and prayerfully write the prayer by themselves. There are 6 basic types of prayer. They are:
1. For the church universal
2. For religious leaders
3. For secular leaders
4. For the poor
5. For justice and peace
6. For the dead