Introductory Rites & Liturgy of the Word

 

 


Preparing for Mass.  Before each Mass, the Church is prepared for worship.  The church is cleaned and adorned with flowers.  The sacristan lights the candles at the altar and is responsible for keeping the church tidy.


People gather for Mass.  They greet friends, study their bulletin, and pray in preparation for Mass.


Out in the vestibule, the ministers line up in preparation for Mass.  Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist give communion; altar servers carry candles and make the liturgy beautiful; readers proclaim the word of God.


Each Sunday, we receive an "Order of Celebration" that helps us to participate in the Mass.  It shows us what's coming next, tells us about special rites that happen during Mass, and prints some of the important music.


The entrance procession is led by the cross.  Candles are carried with the cross because it is a sign of Jesus' presence.  For the same reason, candles are lit around the altar and carried with the Gospel book and the icon.


During the entrance procession, the priest kisses the altar.  It is a sign of special reverence for the presence of Christ in our midst.


We begin Mass with the Sign of the Cross, and two special prayers:  the Penitential Rite and the Gloria.  In the Penitential Rite, we say "I am sorry" to God.  Then, in the Gloria, we sing, "we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory!"  The Gloria is the same song the angels sang on Christmas night when Jesus was born.


After the introductory rites of the Mass, we sit to listen to the readings.  There is a reading from the Old Testament, a responsorial psalm, and a New Testament reading.  Our faith teaches us that "Christ himself speaks when the scriptures are proclaimed in the Church."  Christ himself is speaking--so listen hard!


The homily is part of the Liturgy of the Word.  In it the priest "breaks open" the word, and shows us how the readings connect to our daily lives as Christians.  The homily makes you think hard about the word of God.  Sometimes the preacher will even tell a funny story... then it's OK to laugh!  After the homily we all pray in silence for a few moments before standing to join in the profession of our faith, the creed.

Continue on to...
Liturgy of the Eucharist & Concluding Rites