PARTS OF THE MASS
We begin the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by lifting our hearts and voices to God, telling Him how glad we are to be here and that we are ready to welcome Him into our hearts, to listen to His word, and to receive Him in the Eucharist.
Greeting and Entrance Antiphon
The priest kisses (an act of veneration) the altar and leads the congregation in the Sign of the Cross. He begins the Mass with an opening prayer.
The priest asks us to recall our sins and to tell God how terribly sorry we are for having offended Him. We lay our sins at the foot of the cross, where Jesus was sacrificed for the forgiveness of our sins.
Together we recite the prayer of repentance. Then we ask God to have mercy on us.
We say or sing in English, and in our communion dresses or We say or sing in the original Greek:
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
The Greek helps us to realize that the Mass is very old and universal.
The Gloria is sung in praise of God and to give thanks to God. On Sundays in the Easter season, the priest will go throughout the church to sprinkle the congregation with holy water. This invites all present to renew their baptismal vow by making the Sign of the Cross.
The priest recites an opening prayer to God, our Father, to help us to open our hearts and minds to the Lord and to help us to live our lives according to His will.
Incense of Altar，Ambo, and Congregation
Sometimes the priest or deacon will circle the altar with incense during the Introduc-tory Rite. Incense is a substance of spices, gums, and resins. When set afire it gives off a perfumed smoke. It was an ancient Jewish tradition to place incense in golden cups and burn it during religious services. The Book of Revelation in the Bible refers to the golden bowls of incense that give rise to the prayers of the saints. During Mass it helps us to remember that we are part of the Communion of Saints, and our prayers raise to God along with the prayers of saints who have gone on to heaven before us.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
The first reading is from the Old Testament of the Bible (except during the Easter season). The Old Testament tells of how God spoke to man through the Prophets and its stories prefigure the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The Psalms are part of the Old Testament of the Bible and include songs or hymns of praise, thanksgiving, and calls for help and/or instruction on how to follow the commandments.
This reading is generally taken from the Letters of the Apostles found in the New Testament. The Apostles wrote these letters to instruct new Christians and to convert others to Christianity.
Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation
Before the Gospel is read, the Alleluia is sung or read (except during Lent). Alleluia means "praise the Lord" in Hebrew.
The third reading comes from the part of the New Testament that is called the Gospel. There are four books to the Gospel, one each written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gospel hooks are direct accounts of the life and works of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead. They are very, very important; that's why we stand to hear readings from them. Only the priest or the deacon is allowed to read the Gospel during Mass. Sometimes the priest or deacon will incense the book of Gospels before reading from it.
Following the Gospel reading, either the priest or deacon delivers a talk called a Homily. The Homily is intended to make a connection between what we learn from the readings and how we should live our lives. The Homily also prepares us for receiving the Eucharist.
Profession of Faith, the Nicene Creed
The entire congregation recites or sings the Creed out loud. The Creed puts into words what we as Christians believe about God, the Trinity, how we got here, and where we are going.
General Intercessions- Prayers of the Faithful
At this point, we stop and pray for the Pope and all the Bishops and clergy, for the health and welfare of our country, those who lead us, those who protect us, for the sick and disabled, for the less fortunate, for peoples throughout the world, and for other special intentions of the community and congregation on this day.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Preparation of the Altar
The Liturgy of the Eucharist is a recurrence of the events of the Last Supper, Jesus' sacrifice for our salvation, and His resurrection. Before this begins, the priest has to prepare the table for supper, i.e., the altar for the Eucharistic banquet. The altar servers assist the priest by bringing the empty chalices, the ciborium, and the altar cloths.
Offering of Gifts
When we go to someone's home for a banquet, we bring gifts. The same thing happens when we go to Mass; people bring gifts. The ushers take up the collection in which people put money to operate the church and help the poor. Sometimes people bring gifts of food and other things for those in need and place them in a box by the front door. The money and food are not only gifts, but they represent a sacrifice. This money and food could be used by our families, but instead we sacrifice them to help the Church to do God's work.
Always on Sunday a few people are asked to carry bread (or hosts) and wine to the altar. This represents the gifts of the entire church community, including the gift from those people who may not have any other gift to offer this day.
During the Offering of Gifts we also make spiritual sacrifices to God.
As the altar is prepared, collection taken up, and gifts presented, the congregation sings a hymn to offer our hearts to God.
Prayer Over the Gifts
The priest prays that our gifts and sacrifices will be acceptable to God
The Eucharistic Prayer begins somewhat like our prayer before meals. We praise God and thank Him for all our blessings and most especially we thank Him for sending Jesus to save us from death. We say and do "lift our hearts up to the Lord."
Our gifts of bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ
The priest re-presents the sacrifice of Jesus by consecrating the bread and wine on the altar into the Body and Blood of Christ. This happens when the priest first holds up the bread and says:
Before He was given up to death，a death He freely accepted. He took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread，gave it to His disciples, and said: Take this all of you, and eat it: this is My Body which will be given up for you
Then the priest takes the chalice with the wine in it and says:
When supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave you thanks and praise, and gave the cup to His disciples, and said: Take this，all of you，and drink from it: this is the cup of My Blood，the Blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of Me.
A miracle happens. The miracle is the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The miracle is the Mystery of the Eucharist!
The entire congregation acknowledges their faith by acclaiming out loud their belief in Jesus，sacrifice, resurrection, and promise to come again at the end of the world. The most common one used is Christ has died，Christ is risen，Christ will come again.
We recite the Lord's Prayer and by doing so acknowledge God as the Almighty and to ask Him to make us more like Him.
Sign of Peace
The priest offers all the promise of peace and unity with Jesus in Heaven. The congregation then may offer each other a sign of peace. This allows us to make peace with our neighbors and forgive them their trespasses so that our souls are ready to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. It's sort of like getting ready for Heaven here on earth.
Reception of Communion
Before the priest or lay minister distributes Communion, the priest recalls that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, breaks the bread, and prays:
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world，have mercy on us.