Mass, is the central act of worship of the Roman Catholic Church, which culminates in celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Encompassing the Liturgy of the Word (Mass of the Catechumens) and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (Mass of the Faithful), where the bread and wine are consecrated and become the Body and Blood of Christ. The term ‘Mass’ is derived from the ecclesiastical Latin formula for the dismissal of the congregation: Ite, missa est (“Go, it is the sending [dismissal]”). The Church describes the Mass as the “source and summit of the Christian life”. Thus, the Church teaches that the Mass is a sacrifice. It teaches that the sacramental bread and wine, through consecration by an ordained priest, become the sacrificial body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ as the sacrifice on Calvary made truly present once again on the altar. The Catholic Church permits only baptized members in the state of grace (Catholics who are not in a state of mortal sin) to receive Christ in the Eucharist.
Many of the other sacraments of the Catholic Church, such as Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Holy Matrimony, are now generally administered within the framework of the Mass, but before the Second Vatican Council were often or even usually administered outside of Mass. The term “Mass” is commonly used of celebration of the Eucharist in the Latin Church, while the various Eastern rites use terms such as “Divine Liturgy“, “Holy Qurbana“, and “Badarak“, in accordance with each one’s tradition. Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum authorized under certain conditions, more widely than before, continued use of the 1962 form of the Roman Rite, which it called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, while it called the post–Vatican II form promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and revised by Pope John Paul II in 2002 the Ordinary Form. On 16 July 2021 Pope Francis in his apostolic letter Traditionis custodes restricted the celebration of the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Rite and declared that “the liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.”. After the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), the form of the mass changed greatly, most conspicuously in the use of vernacular languages in place of the traditional Latin.
The mass consists of two principal rites: The Liturgy of the Word and The Liturgy of the Eucharist. The first includes readings from Scripture, the Homily (Sermon), and Intercessory Prayer. The second includes the Offering and The Presentation of Bread and Wine at the Altar, their consecration by the priest during the Eucharistic Prayer (or Canon of the Mass), and the reception of the consecrated elements in Holy Communion.
The Mass is at once a memorial and a sacrifice. In the eucharistic prayer, the Church commemorates Jesus Christ and His redeeming work, especially his sacrifice for the sake of all humankind through his Crucifixion. The Church also recalls the origin of the Eucharist in the Last Supper, when Jesus, anticipating his imminent death, offered his disciples bread and wine, saying,
“Take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you,” and, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood,…which will be poured out for you.”Jesus Christ
Jesus instructed the disciples to perpetuate this banquet in his memory.
According to church teaching, Christ’s sacrifice is not only recalled in the mass, it is made present. In the eucharistic prayer, the church asks God the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine on the altar so that by his power they may become the very body and blood that Christ offered on the cross. That change having occurred, Christ is offered anew to God the Father, and the church unites with him in that offering.
The community of worshippers, through participation in the mass, expresses unity and dependence upon God and seeks spiritual nourishment in the attempt to share the gospel, by word and deed, with all people. In the sacrificial banquet of the mass, the church accepts Christ’s invitation to eat his body and drink his blood under the appearances of the consecrated bread and wine. By partaking in this sacred meal, the members of the church join in intimate fellowship with Christ and with one another. Having taken Christ’s sacrifice into themselves, they are spiritually sustained and strengthened to make that sacrifice their own by serving God through serving other
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