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The Catholic Mass

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Patrice Ford

on 26 August 2013

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Transcript of The Catholic Mass

The Catholic Mass
Why do we go to Mass?
Have you ever sat through a mass and found it extremely boring?

Have you ever taken the Eucharist without completely acknowledging its symbolism and power?

Have you ever wondered how stuff that happened over 2,000 years ago could ever have an impact on your modern life as a young Catholic?



The meaning of the Mass
How the Mass is celebrated: the parts of the Mass
Y u are n t al ne!
It can sometimes be difficult to understand why practicing Catholics go to mass and what it is that they gain from the experience.


Well, here are some of the reasons...
"If you don't get anything out of Mass, it's because you don't bring the right expectations to it."

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Sheen spoke these words at a teenager's
retreat when asked about the significance
of the mass.
"It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass"

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Jesus is present in the mass in so many ways.
It is a form of thanksgiving celebration
A time to pray in many different forms
A time to rejoice our beliefs with Jesus
A time to listen to and react to God's word
A time to allow God's gifts to both be shared and to sustain us
We are able to join with other believers in communal faith
It encourages us to go out into the world and live like Jesus
Through the Eucharist, we are able to memorialise Jesus
Jesus is present in the mass in so many ways.
It is a form of thanksgiving celebration
A time to pray in many different forms
A time to rejoice our beliefs with Jesus
A time to listen to and react to God's word
A time to allow God's gifts to both be shared and to sustain us
We are able to join with other believers in communal faith
It encourages us to go out into the world and live like Jesus
Through the Eucharist, we are able to memorialise Jesus
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)

Christianity is very much a communal religion whereby
gathering
is an important aspect to giving the mass meaning. We show our thanks to Christ for all that he has done for us through coming together and accepting the Eucharist.

Our ability to
listen
allows us to improve our understanding of the Biblical readings, therefore giving us an understanding of who God is calling us to be.
Praying isn't always about asking for things. We
give thanks
as we offer our own lives together with Christ. We then receive back the Body and Blood of Christ which is offered to us.
Thanks!
The purpose of the Mass is to receive Christ's Word and the Eucharist and then to go out into the world and spread our experiences and understanding. At the end of Mass we are told to
go
out and live our lives as Christians.
Themes of the Eucharist
Sacrifice
Thanksgiving
Presence
Memorial
Meal
Right from when the Mass was first initiated, the Church classified it a
sacrifice.
It has been thought of as such for many years because the same Jesus Christ who
sacrificed
his life to redeem the human family presents himself in a similar way on the altar
(Therealpresence.org, n/d)
The priest represents Jesus as he offers the
Eucharistic Sacrifice
on his behalf.
"The Eucharist is an action of
thanksgiving
"
(CCC 1328)

Did you know that the word Eucharist actually means
'thanksgiving'
? Well, it does! This is very fitting because the Eucharist is a time where we give
thanks
for all things but above all, for Jesus.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)
It is a time where Catholics are especially
thankful
for creation and reclamation.


God's
presence
in the Eucharist can be thought of spiritual or physical. While originally, some fathers taught that the elements were just spiritual symbols of the body and blood, others taught the transformation from elements into the physical body and blood of Christ. There are many aspects of the Mass in which God's
presence
has been acknowledged: through the priest who is leading the celebration, the people who have gathered in the church, the scriptures proclaimed at the Mass and through the symbolism of bread and wine. God's
presence
in the Eucharist, spiritually, through symbolism or otherwise, is undeniable.

Take this all of you, and
eat
of it, for this is my body…
Take this all of you, and drink from it for this is the chalice of my blood...
Do this in memory of me.’
(Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayers)

The Eucharist can be though of as a reenactment of the
Last Supper
. The Passover, like the Eucharist, is a communal celebration where family and friends come together to share a
meal
and their belief in the Kingdom of God.


The Eucharist is also known as the
Memorial of the passion, death and Resurrection of the Lord
.
(The Holy Mass, n/d)
It is through memorialising Christ and his sacrifices that we are able to acknowledge his constant presence during the Eucharist. However, the purpose of the memorial is not solely to 'remember' but also to make present. Every liturgy contains a memorial prayer (anamnesis) to commemorate Jesus in the Eucharist.
Introductory Rites
Liturgy of the Word
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Concluding Rites
The Introductory Rites were designed to bring people into a communal state of prayer and humility to centre on the grace given by Christ.
(The Mass, An Overview..., n/d)
The entrance hymn, which is the first of four in the Mass, is the joining of the Priest, the liturgical ministers and the people in song.
The Mass proceeds after the Sign of the Cross has been made by everyone and once God's presence has been recognised.
In the Penitential Rite, we acknowledge the human inclination to sin, reflect on our sins and then ask for mercy.
We then commence prayer in silence as the priest invites us to in the opening prayer.


The Liturgy of the Word is all about celebrating creation, being thankful for redemption and listening to God speak to our hearts.'
God's word is announced at the lectern and this is listened to and reacted to by the people as they hear about their savior Jesus Christ. It is at this time that we are summoned to live like disciples.
The Responsorial Psalm is a hymn which reflects the themes and ideas present in the readings. The psalm consists of an antiphon, which is a sort of zone of prayer which the readings occur in.
The Gospel explains parts of Jesus' life and his teachings and we respond by crossing our foreheads, lips and heart to demonstrate our desire to have Jesus' life impact on our thoughts, words and actions. "Catholic faith teaches that in proclaiming the Gospel, Christ is truly present to the community."
(Our Catholic Faith, 2013)
In the Homily the priest clarifies what has been said in the Gospel. The relevance to our own lives is often explained by the priest.
In the Prayers of the Faithful the needs of the Church, society and other people in need are petitioned. As the Liturgy of the Word concludes, we become aware that it is through Jesus Christ that we pray.
(Our Catholic Faith, 2013)
The actions of the Eucharist were derived from the Last Supper where the bread was blessed, broken and then given to Jesus' disciples.
In the preparation of the gifts, the bread and wine are brought forward by members of the congregation and presented to the priest (on behalf of God) before they are consecrated.
Two prayers of blessing are then spoken to praise God. The preparation of gifts ends with the priest inviting everyone to pray and claim possession of the sacrifice.
In the Eucharistic Prayer the priest thanks God for Jesus on behalf of everyone in the church and asks for the power of the Holy Spirit to be sent upon the gifts to transform them into the blood and body of Christ.
In the Memorial Acclamation everyone proclaims the mystery of the faith, which is "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again."
The Eucharistic Prayer is marked by the Doxology as the priest raises the host and chalice and links the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(Our Catholic Faith, 2013)
The Communion Rite is made up of: the Our Father, Sign of Peace, Breaking of the Bread, Communion, Silence and then Prayer after Communion.
'Blessing' is a large part of the Concluding Rites.
In the Scriptures, the word 'blessing' has been understood as the following:
praise
one's commitment to a sacred purpose
a divine service
a prayer for God to be with someone
(The Mass, An Overview..., n/d)
In the Announcements the priest will talk about upcoming events in the parish.
The priest raises his hand to make the sign of the cross in blessing before he calls us to go in peace to serve the Lord.
A recessional hymn is often sung at the closing of the Mass.
"Go now in peace!"
How the Mass is celebrated:
gestures, actions, signs and symbols
Have you ever seen something done in Mass that you just accepted despite not fully understanding its significance?
You are not alone!
There are a variety of different actions performed throughout the Mass with deep significance or sometimes even with symbolic meaning behind them. Some examples include:
Bowing Standing
Incensing Sitting
Greeting Kneeling
Sprinkling with Holy Water Responding
Orans position Genuflecting
Preparing the gifts Singing
The consecration
Receiving communion
Blessing
The priest will
bow
at the altar at the beginning of the mass, during the Nicene Creed when mentioning incarnation, and during the preparation of gifts. In all of these instances,
bowing
is a sign of admiration and reverence.
At some Masses the priest, other ministers and the assembly will be
incensed
as a sign of respect and in acknowledgment of the pride of the baptised.
The Sign of the Cross is made by the priest as the Mass begins and then he spreads a
welcoming
to the rest of the assembly.
In the Introductory Rites, the priest will often
sprinkle Holy Water
over everyone as a symbol and reminder of baptism.
The
Orans position
is taken by the priest as he holds out his hands to pray. This position indicates communal prayer on behalf of the entire assembly.
The
gifts
embody the existence and work of the people who have gathered for Eucharist. As the priest mixes the water with wine, we are reminded of our unity with Christ.
The priest’s actions during
the consecration
allow us to acknowledge the conversion from bread and wine into body and blood.
The assembly line up before the priest to
receive the body and blood of Christ
. When one does this, they often make a gesture of reverence.
The people are
blessed
in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit before they go out and spread the good news.
How the Mass is celebrated:
gestures, actions, signs and symbols
How the Mass is celebrated:
the parts of the Mass
These are just a few of the many different objects that are important to the Mass.
We
stand
during the Introductory Rites and when the Gospel is read to acknowledge Christ's presence.
We are
sitting
in the Liturgy of the Word so that we can actively listen to God's Word.
Keeling
is a sign of devotion and admiration during the Eucharistic Prayer.
When we go to Mass, we can expect to speak with God. We say things at different parts of the Mass in
response
to God’s word.
We
genuflect
during the Mass to show reverence to the Eucharist. To genuflect, one must face the altar and bend their right knee to the ground.
Through
song
we are able to pray and speak to God during the celebration of the Mass.
Singing
is a fun and engaging way of communicating with God.
Chasuble
This is a long sleeved liturgical vestment worn by a priest on the outermost layer. Before use, the chasuble must be blessed by a priest who is authorised to do so. The word Chasuble was derived from the Latin casubla, meaning ‘hooded cloak or little cottage’.
(Knight, 2009)
Alb
This is a long, white, tunic-like liturgical vestment worn by a priest under the chasuble. In Western Churches, the alb is always white to symbolise innocence and purity.
(Encyclopedia, Britannica, 2008)
Cincture
This is a rope-like cord that encircles the body of the priest. The colour can vary depending on the liturgical season. As well as securing the alb, the cincture signifies purity and chastity.
Paten
This is a small plate (sacred vessel) made out of metal which holds the Body of Christ once consecration has occurred.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)
Altar
This is the gathering place for the community where the Church’s holy meal is had. The bread and wine is blessed on this table.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)
Chalice
This is the sacred vessel that’s made of special metal and that holds the Eucharistic wine within it.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)
Crucifix
The crucifix bestowed at the altar is a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice and its role in the Eucharist.
(Rosario 2013)
Candles
These are symbols of worship, joy, Jesus as the provider of light in the world and God’s perpetual love for us. These are usually placed on the altar.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.adu.au, 2011)
Have you ever wondered why we eat bread and drink wine during the Eucharist?
You are not alone!
The Eucharistic Mass is a celebration full of symbolism and deeper meaning and to fully grasp the significance of the Mass, we must gain better insight into these representations:

Bread
Bread is born of human hands. Both the kneading of the dough and the growing of the wheat are the work of people. It is therefore accurate to call bread ‘life’.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)
The Eucharistic bread represents Jesus life and body, which was sacrificed to save us.
(Ldsmag.com, 2005)
As we communally share the bread, we are brought into fellowship with one another.
Wine
As with bread, wine is transformed from grapes by human hands and represents enjoyment.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)
The Eucharistic wine that we drink is a symbol of Jesus’ blood which was shed whilst he happily sacrificed himself in our honour.
Laying on of hands
In all of the sacraments celebrated by Catholics, the laying on of hands is present. This is in symbolism of calling the Holy Spirit to be blessed upon the person. This symbol is present in the Eucharist as the priest calls for the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.
Fire and Light
Light, fire and brightness are all symbols that tell us that God is present in the purest form. It is for this reason that candles are an important aspect of the Mass as they emit light. This symbol is present in the bible many times to indicate God’s presence. As Catholics, we are encouraged to continue to acknowledge this symbol throughout our lives.
(Ely.anglican.org 2005)
Oil
Laying oil on somebody is a symbol for setting that person aside to accomplish something.
(Togetheratonealtar.catholic.edu.au, 2011)
Having oil wiped on the forehead challenges one to go out and live like God.
Water
Water is representative of the drowning of one’s former way of life, re-birth of existence and a cleansing of sin. From this symbol, we can be reminded of God’s constant forgiveness of sin. This symbol evolved from when the initial Catholics were christened in water.
The great thing about the way the Mass is structured, the use of liturgical actions and the presence of symbolism is that they all allow Catholics to come to terms with the true meaning of the Eucharist and understand the relevance each aspect has to their lives.
How the Mass is celebrated
The two middle parts of the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, both allow Catholics to understand the greats acts performed and spoken by God through Jesus. It is through these stages of the mass that Catholics are able to listen to, appreciate and respect the sacrifices made by Jesus. It is these sacrifices that are a major part of the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist.
Through performing many of the liturgical actions, Catholics are able to gather and show their gratitude to and admiration of Jesus for his sacrifices. Many of the actions also allow people to understand the sense of unity and community that plays an important role in the Mass. These actions allow the 'listening' aspect of the Eucharist to be present.
As most of the symbols that are used to represent things in the celebration of the Mass are household objects, Catholics are able to relate more easily and closely to the significance of the Mass. The use of symbolism allows one to reflect on the aspects of worship and remembrance in the Catholic Eucharist.

Now for the questions I’m sure you all want answered:
How the Eucharist
connects to and influences Catholics
Q. What do the Mass and Eucharist have to do with my modern life as a young Catholic?
Q. How can I get the most out of the celebration of the Mass?
Q. How can I bring the ideals I have learnt in the Mass into my community, and further; have them improve my way of life?
I hope that this presentation has improved your understanding of the significance of the Eucharist and allowed you to realise the impact that the Mass can have on the lives of young people.

A. The really important thing that you must remember is that sacrifice, thanksgiving, presence, meal and memorial are all perpetual and still relevant in today’s current society. This makes the Mass permanently relevant in the lives of all Catholics. Think about all of the times that these themes are present in your everyday life. That’s a lot of the times, right? This just emphasises the fact that the Mass is the pinnacle of one’s life.


I’m sure that as a teenager, there have been times where you have felt unsure about who you were supposed to be, what your purpose in life was and how you could stand apart from the rest. These are common feelings amongst young people. Attending Mass has given young people all around the world the realization that being a good person with a good heart and the desire to help others is purpose enough.
A. Your faith is something that constantly needs nurturing; otherwise it will wither rather than develop. One of the best ways to encourage the growth of your faith is to attend Mass. If you think about your faith as a flower, let the Eucharist be its water.
It’s often easy for a teenager to go to Mass and become distracted into not listening. In order to get the most out of the celebration, it’s important to listen to and admire the stories of Jesus’ sacrifice. Consider even, how you can do your best to replicate Jesus’ actions in your community.
A. When we are told to go and serve the Lord at the end of the Mass, we are expected to go into the world, spread God's word and live like Jesus did. In order to do this, consider the major themes of the Eucharist and let them become your goals. Go out and be of service to others and help people less fortunate than you, whether you donate your time or money, you will feel greatly rewarded.
The Eucharist has the power to change the way Catholics live in that it is the offering of Jesus’ sacrificed body and blood. Through receiving and being thankful for this wonderful gift, people are able to change their objectives in life to those of Jesus. If enough people let the Eucharist become the pinnacle of their lives, the world will improve greatly. Let is start with you!
Now go out in peace and serve the Lord!
(The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, 2009)
Full transcript