Things to know as a Catholic


  1. Mass: The common name for the Eucharistic liturgy of the Catholic Church
    1. Synonyms: Eucharist, Celebration of the Liturgy, Eucharistic celebration, Sacrifice of the Mass, Lord’s Supper
  2. Liturgy: The public prayer of the Church
  3. Liturgy of the Word: That section of the Mass where the Scriptures are proclaimed and reflected upon. On Sundays and major feasts, there are three readings:
    • Old Testament
    • New Testament selection (from the Epistles)
    • The Gospel Reading
  4. Liturgy of the Eucharist: The section of the Mass when the gifts are prepared and the Eucharistic Prayer is proclaimed by the celebrant
  5. Blessed sacrament: The Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, whether at the Mass or reserved in a special place in the Church
  6. Entrance procession: Priest, deacon, altar servers, lectors, enter the church or designated place for celebration of the liturgy
  7. Entrance song/hymn: The song or music which takes place during the entrance procession
  8. Veneration of the altar: The reverencing of the altar with a kiss and the optional use of incense
  9. Greeting: The celebrant greets all present at the liturgy, expressing the presence of the Lord to the assembled community
  10. Penitential Rite: A general acknowledgment by the entire assembly of sinfulness and the need for God’s mercy
  11. Gloria: Ancient hymn of praise in which the Church prays to the Father. It is used on all Sundays (outside of Advent and Lent), and at solemn celebrations
  12. Opening Prayer: The prayer by the celebrant expresses the general theme of the celebration
  13. Responsorial Psalm: After the first reading there is a psalm as a response to the reading. The response, repeated after verses, is sung by the assembly, while a cantor or choir sings the verses of the psalm
  14. Vespers: A portion of the Church’s divine office, the daily public prayer encouraged for religious and laity. Also called evening prayer
  15. Gospel Acclamation: This acclamation of praise to God follows the second reading and serves to prepare the assembly for the Gospel
  16. Homily: The homily (sermon) is a reflection by the celebrant or other ministers on the Scripture readings and the application of the texts to the assembled community.
  17. Profession of Faith: The people together recall and proclaim the fundamental teachings of the faith. The Profession of Faith is used on all Sundays, and solemnities. Also called the
  18. General Intercessions: A prayer of intercession for all of humankind; for the Church, civil authorities, those in various needs, for all peoples, and for the salvation of the world. The celebrant invites all to pray, another minister announces the petitions and the community responds.
  19. Preparation of the Gifts: The time in the Mass when the bread and wine to be used in the celebration are brought to the celebrant, usually by representatives of the faithful.
  20. Offertory Song: Music used during the procession of gifts to the celebrant and as the altar is prepared.
  21. Incense: Incense (material used to produce a fragrant odor when burned) is used as a symbol of the Church’s offering and prayer going up to God.
  22. Washing of Hand: An expression of the desire for inward purification.
  23. Prayer over the gifts: The prayer by the celebrant asking that the gifts to be offered be made holy and acceptable.
  24. Eucharistic Prayer: The prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. It is the center and high point for the entire celebration.
  25. Preface Dialogue: The introductory dialogue between the celebrant and assembly in which all are invited to join in prayer and thanksgiving to God.
  26. The Holy, Holy Holy: The response of the community to the preface and a continuation of the general theme of praise and thanks.
  27. Intercessions: A series of prayers for the church, the world, the pope, clergy and laity, and the dead.
  28. Final Doxology: A final prayer of praise of God.
  29. Amen: Called the Great Amen, it is the acclamation by the people expressing their agreement with all that has been said and done in the Eucharistic prayer.
  30. Lord’s Prayer: The prayer of petition for both daily food (which for Christians mans also the Eucharistic bread) and the forgiveness of sins.
  31. Doxology: The response of the people acclaiming the sovereignty of God at the conclusion of the Eucharistic prayer.
  32. Sign of Peace: Before sharing the body of Christ, the members of the community are invited to express their love and peace with one another.
  33. Breaking of the Bread: The celebrant recreates gestures of Christ at the Last Supper when he broke the bread to give to His disciples. The action signifies that in communion we who are many are made one in the one Bread of Life which is Christ.
  34. Lamb of God: An invocation during the breaking of the bread in which the assembly petitions for mercy and peace.
  35. Communion Song: The music that is used as the consecrated bread and wine is distributed to the faithful.
  36. Holy Communion: After saying a preparatory prayer, the celebrant (or other designated minister) gives communion (the consecrated bread and wine) to himself and the other ministers at the altar, and then communion is distributed to the congregation.
  37. Prayer after Communion: The final prayer by the celebrant in which her petitions that the sacrament be beneficial for all.
  38. Concluding Rite: The brief rite which consists of the celebrant’s greeting to all present, final blessing and dismissal.

Note: Do not use “saying Mass” or “performing Mass” INSTEAD USE: “Celebrating Mass”, “Concelebrating Mass”. “Celebrating the Liturgy” or “Celebrating the Eucharist”

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