What is ‘Mass’?


Attending a Catholic Mass for the first time can be rather confusing.  At different times during Mass we sit, stand and kneel.  This is not something to worry about - you can join in with everyone else adopting the same posture as them or you can just sit and observe, whatever makes you most comfortable. 


At each of our Easter Masses there will be a service sheet to help you follow along and join in with the prayers and hymns if you want to.  Below is a short and simple guide to what happens and what to expect:


We gather for Mass and spend a short time reflecting upon what we have done wrong in our lives, and we ask God for His mercy as we come before Him. After this, we listen to some short passages from the bible and the priest will explain to us ways in which the readings may apply to our lives.  Together, we state our Catholic faith (our ‘creed’); we offer prayers to God as a community and there is an optional collection.


In more simple terms. During the first part (the ‘Liturgy of the Word’), we hear the Word of God proclaimed and we respond to that Word by stating our faith, praying for others, and giving to others. To make it even simpler: We hear! We respond!


The second part of Mass begins when we bring forward the bread and wine that will be used for Communion. There is a prayer of thanksgiving for what God has provided and then a long prayer led by the priest, during which Catholics believe that the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Christ which sustains us in our spiritual lives. We pray the Lord's Prayer together and exchange a sign of peace (which is usually a simple handshake) that reminds us to make peace with our brothers and sisters before we approach Communion.


At Communion, Catholics go forward to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Others are welcome to receive a blessing. After Communion there is a short prayer, a closing hymn and procession and it is over.


To sum up Mass in a nutshell, in the Liturgy of the Word Jesus feeds us with His Word, and we respond in faith and action. And in the Liturgy of the Eucharist Jesus feeds us with Himself, and we then go forth into the world, nourished with Christ and His Word, to share the Gospel with others.


Want to find out more about the Mass?  About the Catholic faith? 

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