Tag: Holy Mass

What Does “Mass” Mean and Why Do Catholics Use The Word?

What Does “Mass” Mean and Why Do Catholics Use The Word?

What Does Mass Mean and Why Do Catholics Use The Word?

Pope Francis celebrates Holy Mass

The English word “Mass” comes from the Latin word missa, which means to be “sent.” This Latin word has been used since the 6th or 7th century to describe the Catholic celebration of the Eucharist, our main liturgical service. The word is used during the conclusion of the celebration when the priest or deacon says in Latin, Ite, missa est.

The literal translation of that phrase is, “Go, it has been sent.” Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on these words and explained in his Summa Theologiae, “And from this the Mass derives its name … the deacon on festival days ‘dismisses’ the people at the end of the Mass, by saying: ‘Ite, missa est,’ that is, the victim [Jesus] has been sent to God through the angel, so that it may be accepted by God.”

Pope Benedict XVI also expanded on these words in his encyclical Sacramentum Caritatis, but focused on a different spiritual meaning behind the phrase. He wrote, “In antiquity, missa simply meant ‘dismissal.’ However in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word ‘dismissal’ has come to imply a ‘mission.’ These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church. The People of God might be helped to understand more clearly this essential dimension of the Church’s life, taking the dismissal as a starting- point.”

Instead of seeing the words of the priest or deacon as a conclusion to the celebration, Pope Benedict saw them as a beginning. He made that abundantly clear when he developed new words for the dismissal at Mass. Pope Benedict approved the phrases, “Ite ad Evangelium Domini annuntiandum (Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord)” and “Ite in pace, glorificando vita vestra Dominum (Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life).” Both of these dismissals focus on the missionary character of the Mass and how those in the pew are meant to go out in the world, sustained by the Eucharist they just received.

Viewed in this framework, the “Mass” is not just a single celebration on a Sunday or weekday or feast day, but a starting-point for a lifelong journey of Christian witness. The priest, in the place of Christ, sends forth his parishioners into the world so that they may be beacons of light, set on a hill for all to see.

Source: aleteia.org/

What is the Priest Saying at Mass that you Can’t Hear?

What is the Priest Saying at Mass that you Can’t Hear?

Sometimes certain prayers are exchanged silently, or in low tones, between the priest and God.

For much of the Church’s history, many of the priest’s prayers at Mass were inaudible to the congregation. This wasn’t simply because they didn’t have microphones or because the priest prayed ad orientem, facing in the same direction as the congregation. It was the style of the liturgy, and you will still experience the Mass this way if you attend the Extraordinary Form.

Even today, however, in the post-conciliar Mass, during which the priest generally faces the people and many parts of the liturgy are prayed responsively or collectively, there are still some prayers of the priest that those outside the sanctuary may not be able to hear.

Why is that?

According to Fr. Edward McNamara, “In the ordinary form of the Roman Rite this quiet recitation is mostly reserved to the priest’s personal prayers.” Sometimes these prayers are called “‘priestly apologies,’” which are not prayers in which the celebrant excuses himself for being a priest, but in which he recognizes his intrinsic indignity and implores divine aid in order to worthily celebrate the august mysteries.”

One example of prayers said in a “low voice” comes during the Offertory, when the priest offers to God the bread and wine. The rubrics, or directions, of the Roman Missal states, “The Priest, standing at the altar, takes the paten with the bread and holds it slightly raised above the altar with both hands, saying in a low voice: ‘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.’” He also prays a blessing of the wine.

In this instance the priest is acting as an intercessor for the people, offering the congregation’s gifts to God and begging his blessing upon the Holy Sacrifice. At Sunday Mass, we generally don’t hear these prayers because we are singing the offertory hymn. At daily Mass, however, the congregation can hear the priest’s softly spoken words, and responds to each blessing prayer with the refrain, “Blessed be God forever.”

An example of the priest’s personal prayers comes after the Offertory when he goes to wash his hands. The Missal says:

“After this, the Priest, bowing profoundly, says quietly: ‘With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God.’ Then, standing at the side of the altar, he washes his hands, saying quietly: ‘Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.’” (Psalm 51:2)

It is obvious why these prayers are prayed quietly since they only concern the priest and his relationship with God.

These prayers are just a few examples of times when the priest is instructed to pray in a “low voice” or “quietly,” directing his prayers to God on behalf of the people.

Recently Cardinal Robert Sarah commented about this aspect of the liturgy during a speech at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum Pontificum (the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict XVI acknowledging the importance of both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Mass), held at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum). According to the Catholic Herald, Cardinal Sarah said, “The silent praying of the offertory prayers and of the Roman canon might be practices that could enrich the modern rite today. In our world so full of words and more words more silence is what is necessary, even in the liturgy.”

Silence is a key part of the Mass, something that the Roman Missal specifically states. It suggests that “brief periods of silence are also appropriate, accommodated to the assembled congregation; by means of these, under the action of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God may be grasped by the heart and a response through prayer may be prepared. It may be appropriate to observe such periods of silence.”

Similar to how Elijah heard God not in the wind, earthquake, or fire, but in the “a whistling of a gentle air,” sometimes we need to pause for a second and listen to the silence instead of the prayers being said by the priest. God may be trying to speak to us, and we simply need to open hearts to hear his words.

Source: aleteia.org

Children Learn These 6 Things From You When You Skip Mass On Sundays

Children Learn These 6 Things From You When You Skip Mass On Sundays

It doesn’t take long for a parent to realize that our children absorb everything we do and say. I remember the first time I heard my two year old let out a long sigh and say “Oh, my gosh. I can’t even.” Her tone and expression were exactly like mine. Sometimes you come face to face with your own sinful ways through the words and actions of your children.

I was recently at a Baptism in which the priest reminded each person present that it would be through his or her actions that the child being baptized would come to know about God and how to respond to Him. If the child witnessed us praying, she would learn prayer was important, but that if the child never saw any communication with God from the people in her life, the child would learn that it wasn’t necessary.

Though none of us is perfect, we do have the responsibility to try to model behaviors that we want our child to emulate. As much as kids learn from what we do, they also learn from what we do not do. When we don’t make going to Church a priority each Sunday, it speaks volumes about faith and life to the hearts of our children.

6 Things Kids Learn When You Skip Mass On Sundays

1. God is important, but not that important. 

If I can fit God in, great, but only if it is convenient for me. Football games, sleeping in, and _____ (insert activity of choice) are more important than making an effort to be with God one hour a week.

2. God doesn’t really mean what He says. 

Yes, it is a commandment to keep the Lord’s Day Holy, but God doesn’t understand how busy I am or how many kids I have or how tired I’ve been so I can just decide based on my life’s circumstances what He really means by this commandment and all of His other commandments. It’s up to us to pick and choose which of God’s laws we want to follow.

3. The Church doesn’t really expect us to adhere to Her teachings. 

Yes, it is a precept of the Church to attend Mass on Sundays, but the Church doesn’t understand how busy I am or how many kids I have or how tired I’ve been so I can just decide based on my life’s circumstances what the Church really means by this precept.

4. Mass is all about me and what I get out of it. 

When we come and go to Mass as we please, we seem to forget that going to Mass builds the Church community. Your parish may need you to be a lector, sing in the choir, or take up the gifts. Seeing your family in Church might be just the thing an elderly person needs to bring joy to a lonely Sunday. There are many reasons that we are a community of faith and that we come together in Worship.

5. When things are difficult/boring, I don’t have to do them. 

If we don’t go to Mass and we tell our kids it’s because Mass is “boring” or we “don’t get anything out of it,” our children learn that we only have to do things that are fun and exciting. This is simply not true regarding both our faith and everyday life. Most people don’t find doing their taxes fun and exciting, but we still have to do them.

6. To doubt the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Graces that come from receiving Him 

If you truly believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that He comes to us each Sunday at Mass, what would keep you from Him? Why would you not want to receive the graces He bestows through this incredible gift?

Our Catechism teaches us “The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church’s life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.”

Parents, I know and fully understand how difficult it is to bring children to Church. Often when I leave Mass, I feel as if I have just competed in a wrestling match. No matter how much I plan and prepare, we have plenty of days when the kids are less than angelic.

It is a battle. But, it is a battle worth fighting. There is no better place to bring our children than to the feet of Jesus. There is no better lesson to teach them than to put God first ALWAYS, no matter what else is going on in our lives or how difficult it is to be at Mass.

Guess what will happen if you wait to bring children to Mass until they can behave better or your life isn’t as busy? It won’t happen.

Satan will always give us an excuse to miss out on the celebration of the highest form of prayer we have here on earth, but God will always give us the graces to respond with a “yes” when we ask Him to help us.

Make Sunday Mass the one thing that your family consistently does together. Trust me, the blessings and graces that will come from this discipline will transform your family life in a powerful way.

If your family has experienced graces from attending Mass regularly, please share your story with us in the comments. It just might be the encouragement another family needs to hear!

Source: catholiclink

10 Important Things You Did Right At Mass

10 Important Things You Did Right At Mass

1. You’re there

You were at Mass, right? ‘Cause if you weren’t, this just got really awkward.

2. You arrived on time

What do you mean what do I mean by “on time”? On time, on schedule, not late, prompt, timely, punctual…Need I go on? Alright, so you didn’t arrive before the processional. No fault if you made an honest attempt. If you’ve got young kids, it’s a miracle you arrived at all. So…

3. You blessed yourself with holy water

Despite rushing in the door, dragging behind a legion of confoundingly hungry children… Um, maybe that’s just me…Either way, you remembered to dip a finger or two in the fount and bless yourself with the sign of the cross. Thank God for the force of habit, eh?

4. You listened to the readings

Listening while wrangling children is, admittedly, a relative term. But this is important, which is why you’re super attentive to the readings. You know God’s feeding you with his word before feeding you with himself. Good work!

5. You stayed awake during the homily

If you’re a convert from Protestantism, as I am, then you’ve seen plenty of examples of sleepy sermons and their victims(?) I was once one of those dozers. Since entering the Church, though, I’ve actually never experienced this, and I’ve never seen it happen. [I’m sure the brevity helps 😀 ]

6. You said/sung the responses

It’s one thing to not sing the less than stellar selections made by the music director, but you know better than to be habitually silent during the Gloria, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, etc. Kudos on having them memorised too. 😉

7. You didn’t raise your hands during the Our Father

…because one day this past year, you read a listicle that explained that within Mass the Orans posture (hands extended to the side) is proper only to priests. Maybe nobody else noticed that you gave up copying the priest at Mass, but that’s OK. The Big Guy noticed.

8. You didn’t get distracted by people doing things wrong

That same listicle caused you to be hyper-aware of the mistaken actions everywhere at Mass for weeks afterwards. But you’ve since managed to focus on simply doing things right at Mass, setting your mind on full, active participation.

9. You didn’t leave until the recessional

The world was calling, but you did not listen. What was an extra 60 seconds in the church? Maybe not much, but your priorities were rightly ordered. No rushing out for you; never a good idea to mimic Judas anyhow. Well done!

Shoot, that’s only 9 things! Ah, you know what? You’ll come up with #10. What did I miss? Comment below

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