Order of the Mass

Below you will find a step by step explanation of the Mass.
Bold are the parts the people in the assembly say out loud
[Brackets] prompt us to move
ALL CAPS are major sections of the Mass
Italics are explanations of what is happening
Short version without the explanations HERE
Before Mass even begins we have the opportunity to encounter God. As you walk into the Church building you might notice small (or sometimes large) bowls of water, sometimes on the wall and sometimes free standing. These are called Holy Water fonts. As you pass them you are invited to dip your hand in and them make the sign of the cross. (Touch your hand on your forehead, then your chest, then  your left shoulder and finally your right shoulder while saying "In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit) Doing this action with water that has been blessed (Holy Water) signifies many things:
1. If you are baptized it is a remembrance of that sacrament because you were baptized with Holy Water
2. Doing this action marks the fact you are entering a holy space
3. You are calling upon God as Trinity
4. You are blessing yourself
5. You are saying a very short prayer

While you are waiting for Mass to begin, take time in silent prayer and try to connect with the living God. You might even look through the books provided by the Church or find the  readings for that day's Mass.
Mass begins when everyone stands.
** A note about music during Mass.
Sunday Mass is the highlight of the week and as such the celebration of Mass is more full and elaborate, this is seen in a distance way in the amount of singing done. Many of the  prayers during the Mass are sung, along with sung music for the Entrance, Preparation of the Altar, Communion procession and Sending Forth from Mass. At Masses during the week most, if not all, of the Mass prayers are spoken and there is little or no other sung music.
Outline of Mass:

For the Beginning of Mass

Please join in Singing
The Mass begins with the entrance song. The celebrant and other ministers enter in procession and reverence the altar with a bow and/or a kiss. The altar is a symbol of Christ at the heart of the assembly and so deserves this special reverence.

All make the Sign of the Cross and the celebrant extends a greeting to the gathered people.
We begin our liturgies with the "sign of the cross" - a symbol of Christ's death and resurrection. As we sign ourselves, we recall that at the core of God is relationship - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In this simple gesture, we call to mind that we are transported into the life of the Trinity through our celebration of this mass.

Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.

From time to time on Sundays, especially in Easter Time, there may be a blessing and sprinkling of holy water to recall Baptism. 
This replaces the Penitential Act (below).

During this time the priest reminds us that we must express sorrow for our sins before we continue the rest of the celebration. We spend this time asking the Lord for forgiveness and mercy.

The celebration of God's mercy takes one of the following forms:

Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

FORM A (Confiteor)
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,

[striking your chest:]
through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

FORM B (Dialogue)
Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.
All: For we have sinned against you.
Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
All: And grant us your salvation.

FORM C (Kyrie with tropes)
Priest: You were sent to heal the contrite of heart:
Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
All: Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
Priest: You came to call sinners:
Christ, have mercy or Christe eleison
All: Christ, have mercy or Christe eleison
Priest: You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us:
Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
All: Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison

At the end of any of the above forms:
PRIEST (Prayer for Absolution)
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
All: Amen

If form A or B is used, the Kyrie follows:
Priest: Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
All: Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
Priest: Christ, have mercy or Christe eleison
All: Christ, have mercy or Christe eleison
Priest: Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
All: Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison
This is a joyful hymn of praise that is typically sung
Said or sung every Sunday and Solemnity (Special holy day), not on regular weekday Masses or during Lent
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you,
we adore you, we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.

After a period of silence, the Priest says the “Collect” (or Opening Prayer)
This is a prayer that is unique to each Mass.

The Priest says:
Let us Pray.
He then says a short prayer, ending with something like this:
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. 

Or maybe ending with something like this: Grant this through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.


The Lectionary (book of readings) is a collection of passages from the Holy Scriptures. Sunday readings follow a three-year cycle: Year A emphasizes the Gospel of Matthew, Year B the Gospel of Mark, Year C the Gospel of Luke. The Church proclaims the Gospel of John especially during the seasons of Lent and Easter.
Find the Mass readings HERE
The first reading is almost always selected from the Old Testament. This reading is proclaimed by a member of the congregation called a “Reader”.
Reader: A reading from the...
Reader: Proclaims the reading
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: (Usually sung on Sundays—Please join us.)
We pray this psalm together as the community's response to the first reading. This is most always taken from one of the 150 Psalms from the bible

Taken from the New Testament, these letters were originally written to the early Church communities for inspiration in living out the "Good News" of Christ 
(No second reading on weekday Masses)
Reader: A reading from the...
Reader: Proclaims the reading
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

For the Gospel Reading.
The assembly welcomes the proclamation of the Gospel  by singing an acclimation - usually Alleluia.. (Replaced with the “Gospel Acclamation” during lent)
All: Alleluia!

This is the climax of the liturgy of the word. We stand in a posture of attentiveness and reverence to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This reading is taken from one of the four gospels and is proclaimed by an ordained bishop, priest or deacon.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
Priest: A reading from the holy gospel according to _________.
All: Glory to you, O Lord.
You will notice our congregation tracing a small sign of the cross over their foreheads, over their lips, and over their hearts. The silent prayer is something similar to, “Lord, help me to understand Your Gospel with my mind, to proclaim it with my lips, and to believe it with all my heart.”
Bishop, Priest, or Deacon: Proclaims the Gospel...
Bishop, Priest or Deacon: The Gospel of the Lord.
All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


In the Homily, the Bishop priest or deacon draws relevant themes from Sacred Scripture we have heard and applies them to our lives. 


Our creedal statement was formulated in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea. The core doctrines of the Catholic Christian Tradition are contained within this statement. “The purpose of the . . . Profession of Faith, or Creed, is that the whole gathered people may respond to the word of God proclaimed in the readings taken from Sacred Scripture and explained in the homily and that they may also call to mind and confess the great mysteries of the faith by reciting the rule of faith. . .before these mysteries are celebrated in the Eucharist,” GIRM #67. (GIRM refers to the General instruction of the Roman Missal, which is the official document governing the celebration of the Mass)

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,

At the words that follow, up to and including "and became man," all bow.
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. 


(sometimes called Prayers of the faithful, Petitions, or General Intercessions):
We believe that united with Christ, we form a "mystical body" (1 Cor 12:12) that extends beyond time and space. Therefore, at this time, we hold the general and specific needs of our world in prayer. 

Priest or Reader: Reads the petition...
At the end of the petition Priest of Reader says: We pray to the Lord.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.


Presentation Song
Please join in singing

Having consumed the Word of God, we prepare to consume Christ in the Eucharist. .In the Eucharist Jesus is truly present -- body, blood, soul, and divinity -- under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Jesus who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the "Real Presence" of Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The term “Eucharist” originates from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving.

 We present gifts of bread and wine for transformation into the Body and Blood of Christ. In the same way, we present the gifts of ourselves for transformation. Sometimes (most Sundays) the congregation chooses to sing a song at this time, while the altar is prepared. After the altar is prepared, and the collection is taken, members of the congregation process up to hand the priest our gifts in a gesture signifying the faithful’ s contribution.

[If there is no singing during the presentation of the gifts, the priest may say the following prayers aloud, and the people may respond. But if a presentation song is being sung, the priest recites these prayers inaudibly, and the people's response is omitted.]
Priest: Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Priest: By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity. Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever.

After the priest has washed his hands and the music is finished, he invites the people to join in this prayer...

[STAND] when the Priest says “pray”

Priest: Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
All: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of God's name, for our good, and the good of all God's holy Church.


The priest prays a prayer over the gifts we have offered . (Bells often rung when this happens)
Priest: Prays a prayer over the offerings....
All: Amen.

Prayed by priest. During this portion of the Mass, we celebrate the profound mysteries that touch the core of our lives. In our Eucharist, we believe that we are transported to the foot of the cross where we are reconciled with our God. In the same way, we become present at the empty tomb and celebrate resurrection. We gather around the table of the Last Supper of Jesus and the 12 Apostles.
There are a number of different forms of the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest chooses which one he will pray at each Mass.

This prayer begins with a dialogue between the Priest and the assembly
Priest: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
All: It is right and just.
Priest continues Eucharistic Prayer...

Holy, Holy Prayer (Also called the “Sanctus”):
All: Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!


Priest continues Eucharistic Prayer...
Listen for these most important words: These are the “words of institution” from the last supper when Jesus gave us the Eucharist for the first time. They are a part of all forms off the Eucharistic Prayer. This is the point in the Mass when the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood, we call this "Transubstantiation" - because the substance has been transformed:
Priest: “Take this, all of you, and eat of it; for this is my body, which will be given up for you.”
Then he raises the host up towards heaven (Bells often rung when this happens)
Priest: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it; for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me.”

Then he raises the cup up towards heaven (Bells often rung when this happens)

Memorial Acclamation:
Priest: The mystery of faith...
All: respond with one off the following three forms
A – We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
B – When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come
C – Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

Priest continues Eucharistic Prayer...

Doxology and Great Amen:
This prayer ends the Eucharistic prayer 
Priest: Through him, and with him, and in him,
O God, almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
allglory and honor is yours, forever and ever.
All: Amen [may be sung]


Priest: At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:
Our father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver from evil.

Priest: Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
All: For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.

We are invited to make some of the peace and unity real by offering each other a sign of (His) peace. At this time, feel free to extend a handshake or a hug as a way of extending Christ's peace in our world. Our congregation is also called to remember people and places in need of the peace of Christ at this time.

Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles: Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant us her peace and unity in accordance of your will. Who live and reign for ever and ever.
All: Amen.
Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
All: And with your spirit.

Priest: Let us offer each other the sign of peace.
The ministers and all the people exchange an embrace, handshake, or other appropriate gesture of peace with those near them, according to local custom with the words,
“Peace be with you.” Or “Peace.”

LAMB OF GOD: (May be sung)
This ancient Christian prayer is said as the Eucharist is poured out and broken. We call to mind that Christ was broken open and poured out that we might be made whole.
All: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
grant us peace.



Priest: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.
All: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

When we say that "we are not worthy", we simply are remembering that the love of God is an utter gift. Nothing we have ever done or will ever do could earn God's gift of creative love. Our response is to receive our God simply and lovingly.
Prepare to Receive Communion:
“In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive Communion without prior sacramental confession. . .” (Code of Canon Law, 916).
Who receives Communion:. “Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are not admitted to Holy Communion” (Code of Canon Law, 844).
Those who are not receiving may choose to stay in your seat or come forward, cross your arms over your chest and bow your head for a blessing.

How to Receive Communion:
Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling" and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving.
Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving.. If one is right handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing.
Holy Communion may be distributed by priests, deacons, or designated lay persons, called "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.” After returning to their places, the people kneel until the priest finishes and sits down—then the whole congregation sits. 

During the communion procession a song is usually sung -
Please join in singing

Communion Minister: The body of Christ.
Communicant: Amen.
Communion Minister: The blood of Christ.
Communicant: Amen.

[KNEEL] when you return to the pew

(This prayer is unique to each particular Mass)


Priest: Let us pray...
All: Amen

Priest: The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.

Priest: May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
All: Amen.
Deacon or Priest: Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing.
[One or more prayers may be spoken, and the people usually respond "Amen" to each one. The following conclusion is always used.]
Priest: May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Priest or Deacon:
Go forth, the Mass is ended.
Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your life.
God in peace..
All: Thanks be to God.

Please join in singing