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The Order of the Mass

The Mass is begun with the Sign of the Cross and followed by the Penitential Rite. The Penitential Rite may have several different forms. It may be the Rite of Sprinkling, it may be the Confiteor (I Confess to Almighty God) followed by the Kyrie (Lord, have mercy), it may be the Kyrie combined with tropes (in this case, these tropes are usually statements about the different aspects of God), or it may be the simple Kyrie. For a few select days of the Liturgical Year (such as Ash Wednesday) a special rite proper to that day is substituted. The Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest) is recited Sunday Masses outside the Advent and Lenten Seasons,on solemnities, and on feasts. The Opening Prayer follows the Gloria (if the Gloria is omitted, it follows the Penitential Rite).

An excerpt from the Bible is read. If there are two readings, the first is from the Old Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, or the Apocalypse (Revelation), and the second reading is from one of the Epistles. If there is only one reading, it may be from any book of the Bible other than the four Gospels. The first reading is followed by a responsorial psalm (or a portion of it; the Responsorial Psalm may also be from a book of the Bible other than the Psalms), which is followed by the second reading (if there is one). On select days (such as Easter and Corpus Christi) there is a sequence. Then there is the Gospel Acclamation, followed by an excerpt from one of the four Gospels. A homily may follow this.

On solemnities and Sundays the Nicene Creed is prayed (for Masses with children, the Apostles' Creed may be substituted). The General Intercessions conclude the Liturgy of the Word.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the Offertory. This is followed by the Prayer over the Gifts, the Preface, and the Sanctus (Holy, Holy). The priest may select from one of nine Eucharistic Prayers. Eucharistic Prayer I (also called the Roman Canon) is particularly suited to days when this Eucharistic Prayer has a special form (Christmas and Christmas Octave, Holy Thursday, Epiphany, Easter Vigil and Easter Octave, the Ascension, and Pentecost. Eucharistic Prayer II is particularly suitable for weekday Masses. Eucharistic Prayer III is particularly suitable for Sunday and holydays. Eucharistic Prayer IV recounts the history of salvation in greater detail and has a preface specifically assigned to it, and is suitable for days that are not assigned a preface. [1] There are also two reconcilatory Eucharistic Prayers, and three for Masses with children.

The Our Father is prayed, which, after several other prayers, may be followed by the optional Sign of Peace [see The Sacramentary, page 563]. The Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is prayed or sung. The first two verses may be repeated as many times as necessary until the ministers of the Eucharist are prepared, but the concluding verse always ends with grant us peace. The priest prays two inaudible prayers [see The Sacramentary, page 563] and, after the "This is the Lamb" and a prayer based on the statement of a centurion, the Eucharist is consumed by the priest and, in most cases, the faithful present who are in the state of grace and have prepared themselves by the proscribed fast.

The Prayer after Communion, followed by the Final Blessing, concludes the Mass.

See also: Category:Children's Mass Books

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