Mass (liturgy)

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For more detailed information on history and theology of Eucharist in general, see Eucharist, Eucharistic theology, and Origin of the Eucharist.
A 15th-century Mass

"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is commonly called in the Catholic Church,[1] Western Rite Orthodox churches and many Old Catholic, Anglican,[2] and Lutheran churches.[3] Apart from "Eucharist" others are the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly (synaxis)", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and Divine Liturgy" and "Holy Communion". In these denominations, the term Mass often colloquially refers to the entire church service in general.[4] In general, Protestants avoid the term "Mass" and use such terms as Divine Service or service of worship, for doctrinal reasons.[5] For the celebration of the Eucharist in Eastern churches, including those in full communion with the Holy See, other terms such as the Divine Liturgy, the Qurbono Qadisho or Holy Qurbana and the Badarak are normal.

The term "Mass" is derived from the Late Latin word missa (dismissal), a word used in the concluding formula of Mass in Latin: "Ite, missa est" ("Go; it is the dismissal").[6][7] "In antiquity, missa simply meant 'dismissal'. In Christian usage, however, 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". (Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum caritatis, 51)

The Roman Catholic Church accepts Eucharist in the Orthodox tradition as valid while also distinguishing between the Mass in Catholic understanding from that which some Anglicans and Lutherans refer to as the Mass. This is because the Catholic Church considers that those denominations lack the sacrament of orders and therefore "have not retained the proper reality of the eucharistic mystery in its fullness."[8] In the Decree on Ecumenism, produced by Vatican II in 1964, the Catholic Church also notes its understanding that when other faith groups (such as Lutherans, Anglicans, and Presbyterians) "commemorate His death and resurrection in the Lord's Supper, they profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and look forward to His coming in glory."[9] So further dialogue on the Lord's Supper, sacraments, and worship was recommended. On the other hand, historically, the Lutheran Church has stated that the Lutheran Mass is "the only Mass founded in the Scriptures of God, in accordance with the plain and incontestable institution of the Saviour."[3][10]

Mass in the Catholic Church[edit]

Catholic Church
Structure of the
Roman Rite Mass

""

Roman Missal, chalice (with purificator,
paten and pall), crucifix, lit candle

A. Introductory rites
Entrance
Greeting of the altar
Act of penitence
Kyrie Eleison
Gloria
Collect
B. Liturgy of the Word
Biblical readings
Responsorial psalm
Homily
Profession of faith
Prayer of the Faithful
C. Liturgy of the Eucharist

See also: Eucharist in the Catholic Church

Preparation of the gifts
Prayer over the offerings
Eucharistic Prayer
Communion rite:
The Lord’s Prayer
Rite of peace
Fraction
Reception of Communion
D. Concluding rites
Source: General Instruction of the Roman Missal[11]

Catholicism Portal

The Catholic Church sees the Mass or Eucharist as "the source and summit of the Christian life", to which the other sacraments are oriented.[12] The Catholic Church believes that the Mass is exactly the same sacrifice that Jesus Christ offered on the Cross at Calvary. The term "Mass" is generally used only in the Latin Church, while the Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches use the analogous term "Divine Liturgy" and other Eastern Catholic Churches have terms such as Holy Qurbana.

Within the fixed structure outlined below, which is specific to the Roman Rite, the Scripture readings, the antiphons sung or recited during the entrance procession or communion, and certain other prayers vary each day according to the liturgical calendar. For more information regarding the structure and history of Mass in the Roman Rite see Mass (Catholic Church)

Introductory rites[edit]

A priest offering the Mass at the St Mary's Basilica, Bangalore

The priest enters, with a deacon, if there is one, and altar servers (who may act as crucifer, torch-bearers and thurifer). After making the sign of the cross and greeting the people liturgically, he begins the Act of Penitence. This concludes with the priest's prayer of absolution, "which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance".[13] The Kyrie, eleison (Lord, have mercy), is sung or said,[14] followed by the Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest), an ancient praise, if appropriate for the liturgical season.[15] The Introductory Rites are brought to a close by the Collect Prayer.

Liturgy of the Word[edit]

On Sundays and solemnities, three Scripture readings are given. On other days there are only two. If there are three readings, the first is from the Old Testament (a term wider than "Hebrew Scriptures", since it includes the Deuterocanonical Books), or the Acts of the Apostles during Eastertide. The first reading is followed by a psalm, either sung responsorially or recited. The second reading is from the New Testament, typically from one of the Pauline epistles. A Gospel Acclamation is then sung as the Book of the Gospels is processed, sometimes with incense and candles, to the ambo. The final reading and high point of the Liturgy of the Word is the proclamation of the Gospel by the deacon or priest. At least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, a homily, a sermon that draws upon some aspect of the readings or the liturgy of the day, is then given.[16] Finally, the Creed is professed on Sundays and solemnities,[17] and it is desirable that in Masses celebrated with the people the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful should usually follow.[18]

Liturgy of the Eucharist[edit]

Consecration of the host during Mass in the Grotto of the Annunciation, Nazareth.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the altar and gifts,[19] after which the congregation stands, as the priest gives the exhortation to pray, "Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father." The congregation responds: "May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good, and the good of all his holy Church." The priest then pronounces the variable prayer over the gifts.

The Eucharistic Prayer, "the centre and high point of the entire celebration",[20] then begins with a dialogue between priest and people. The priest continues with one of many Eucharistic Prayer thanksgiving prefaces, which lead to the reciting of the Sanctus acclamation. The Eucharistic Prayer includes the epiclesis, a prayer that the gifts offered may by the power of the Holy Spirit become the body and blood of Christ.[21] The central part is the Institution Narrative and Consecration, recalling the words and actions of Jesus at his Last Supper, which he told his disciples to do in remembrance of him.[22] Immediately after the Consecration and the display to the people of the consecrated elements, the priest says: "The mystery of faith", and the people pronounce the acclamation, using one of the three prescribed formulae.[23] It concludes with a doxology, with the priest lifting up the paten with the host and the deacon (if there is one) the chalice, and the singing or recitation of the Amen by the people.

Communion rite[edit]

Father Murphy gives out Communion during Mass in a Dutch field in the front line, October 1944

All together recite or sing the "Lord's Prayer" ("Pater Noster" or "Our Father"). The priest introduces it with a short phrase and follows it up with a prayer called the embolism and the people respond with the doxology. The sign of peace is exchanged and then the "Lamb of God" ("Agnus Dei" in Latin) litany is sung or recited, while the priest breaks the host and places a piece in the main chalice; this is known as the rite of fraction and commingling.

The priest then presents the transubstantiated elements to the congregation, saying: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb." Then all repeat: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." The priest then receives Communion and, with the help, if necessary, of extraordinary ministers, distributes Communion to the people, who usually approach in procession.[24] Silence is called for following the Communion procession. A Prayer After Communion is then proclaimed by the priest while all stand.

Concluding rite[edit]

The priest imparts a simple blessing or a solemn blessing to those present. The deacon or, in his absence, the priest himself then dismisses the people, choosing one of four formulas, of which the first is "Ite, missa est" in Latin or its equivalent in other languages. The congregation responds: "Thanks be to God." The priest and other ministers then leave, often to the accompaniment of a recessional hymn.

Example in art; Out of Mass, Joan Ferrer Miró

Mass in Anglicanism[edit]


"Mass" is one of many terms used to describe the Eucharist in the Anglican tradition. More frequently, the term used is either "Holy Communion", "Holy Eucharist", or the "Lord's Supper". Occasionally the term used in Eastern churches, the "Divine Liturgy", is also used.[25] In the English-speaking Anglican world, the term used often identifies the Eucharistic theology of the person using it. "Mass" is frequently used by Anglo-Catholics.

Structure of the rite[edit]

The various Eucharistic liturgies used by national churches of the Anglican Communion have continuously evolved from the 1549 and 1552 editions of the Book of Common Prayer which both owed their form and contents chiefly to the work of Thomas Cranmer, who had rejected the medieval theology of the Mass in about 1547.[26] Although the 1549 rite retained the traditional sequence of the Mass, its underlying theology was Cranmer's and the four-day debate in the House of Lords during December 1548 makes it clear that this had already moved far beyond traditional catholicism.[27] In the 1552 revision, this was made clear by the restructuring of the elements of the rite while retaining nearly all the language so that it became, in the words of an Anglo-Catholic liturgiologist (Arthur Couratin) "a series of communion devotions; disembarrassed of the Mass with which they were temporarily associated in 1548 and 1549".[26] Some rites, such as the 1637 Scottish rite and the 1789 rite in the United States, went back to the 1549 model.[28] From the time of the Elizabethan Settlement in 1559 the services allowed for a certain variety of theological interpretation. Today's rites generally follow the same general five-part shape[29](some or all of the following elements may be altered, transposed or absent depending on the rite, the liturgical season and use of the province or national church):

  • Gathering: Beginning with a Trinitarian-based greeting or seasonal acclamation ("Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy spirit. And Blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen").[30] Then the Kyrie and a general confession and absolution follow. On Sundays outside of Advent and Lent and on major festivals, the Gloria in Excelsis Deo is sung or said. The entrance rite then concludes with the collect of the day.
  • Proclaiming and Hearing the Word: Usually two to three readings of Scripture, one of which is always from the Gospels, plus a psalm (or portion thereof) or canticle between the lessons. This is followed by a sermon or homily; the recitation of one of the Creeds, viz., the Apostles' or Nicene; is done on Sundays and feasts.
  • The Prayers of the People: Very varied in their form.
  • The Peace: The people stand and greet one another and exchange signs of God's peace in the name of the Lord. It functions as a bridge between the prayers, lessons, sermon and creeds to the communion part of the Eucharist.
  • The Celebration of the Eucharist: The gifts of bread and wine are brought up, along with other gifts (such as money and/or food for a food bank, etc.), and an offertory prayer is recited. Following this, a Eucharistic Prayer (called "The Great Thanksgiving") is offered. This prayer consists of a dialogue (the Sursum Corda), a preface, the sanctus and benedictus, the Words of Institution, the Anamnesis, an Epiclesis a petition for salvation and a Doxology. The Lord's Prayer precedes the fraction (the breaking of the bread), followed by the Prayer of Humble Access and/or the Agnus Dei, and the distribution of the sacred elements (the bread and wine).
  • Dismissal: There is a post-Communion prayer, which is a general prayer of thanksgiving. The service concludes with a Trinitarian blessing and the dismissal.

The liturgy is divided into two main parts: The Liturgy of the Word (Gathering, Proclaiming and Hearing the Word, Prayers of the People)and the Liturgy of the Eucharist (together with the Dismissal), but the entire liturgy itself is also properly referred to as the Holy Eucharist. The sequence of the liturgy is almost identical to the Roman Rite, except the Confession of Sin ends the Liturgy of the Word in the Anglican rites in North America, while in the Roman Rite and in Anglican rites in many jurisdictions the Confession is near the beginning of the service.

Special Masses[edit]

The Anglican tradition includes separate rites for Nuptial Masses, Funeral Masses, and votive Masses. The Eucharist is an integral part of many other sacramental services, including ordination and Confirmation.

Ceremonial[edit]

Some Anglo-Catholic parishes use Anglican versions of the Tridentine Missal, such as the English Missal, The Anglican Missal, or the American Missal, for the celebration of Mass, all of which are intended primarily for the celebration of the Eucharist. Many Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Church of England use A Manual of Anglo-Catholic Devotion (successor to the earlier A Manual of Catholic Devotion). In the Episcopal Church USA, a traditional-language, Anglo-Catholic adaptation of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer has been published (An Anglican Service Book).

All of these books contain such features as meditations for the presiding celebrant(s) during the liturgy, and other material such as the rite for the blessing of palms on Palm Sunday, propers for special feast days, and instructions for proper ceremonial order. These books are used as a more expansively Catholic context in which to celebrate the liturgical use found in the Book of Common Prayer and related liturgical books.

These are often supplemented in Anglo-Catholic parishes by books specifying ceremonial actions, such as A Priest's Handbook by Dennis G. Michno, Ceremonies of the Eucharist by Howard E. Galley, Low Mass Ceremonial by C.P.A. Burnett, and Ritual Notes by E.C.R. Lamburn. Other guides to ceremonial include the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite (Peter Elliott), Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described (Adrian Fortescue), and The Parson's Handbook (Percy Dearmer). In Evangelical Anglican parishes, the rubrics detailed in the Book of Common Prayer are sometimes considered normative.

Mass in Lutheranism[edit]

In the Book of Concord, Article XXIV ("Of the Mass") of the Augsburg Confession (1530) begins thus: "Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. We do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it... we keep the traditional liturgical form... In our churches Mass is celebrated every Sunday and on other holy days, when the sacrament is offered to those who wish for it after they have been examined and absolved (Article XXIV)".

Martin Luther rejected parts of the Roman Rite Catholic Mass, specifically the Canon of the Mass, which, as he argued, did not conform with Hebrews 7:27. In that verse, the Old Testament priests, who needed to make a sacrifice for sins on a regular basis, are contrasted with the single priest Christ, who offers his body only once as a sacrifice. The theme is carried out also in Hebrews 9:26, 9:28, and 10:10. He composed as a replacement a revised Latin-language rite, Formula missae in 1523 and the vernacular Deutsche Messe in 1526.

In German, the Scandinavian languages, Finnish, and some English Lutherans, use the word "Mass" for their corresponding service,[31] but in most English-speaking churches, they call it the "Divine Service", "Holy Communion, or "the Holy Eucharist".

The celebration of the Mass in Lutheran churches follows a similar pattern to other traditions, starting with public confession (Confiteor) by all and a Declaration of Grace said by the priest or pastor. Followed by the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, collect, the readings with an alleluia (alleluia is not said during Lent), homily (or sermon) and recitation of the Nicene Creed. The Service of the Eucharist includes the General intercessions, Preface, Sanctus and Eucharistic Prayer, elevation of the host and chalice and invitation to the Eucharist. The Agnus Dei is chanted while the clergy and assistants first commune followed by lay communicants. Postcommunion prayers and the final blessing by the priest ends the Mass. A Roman Catholic or Anglican of the Anglo-Catholic party would find its elements familiar, in particular the use of the sign of the cross, kneeling for prayer and the Eucharistic Prayer, bowing to the processional crucifix, kissing the altar, incense (among some), chanting, and vestments.

Lutheran churches often celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday, if not at every worship service. This is in keeping with Luther's preference and the Lutheran confessions.[32] Also, eucharistic ministers take the sacramental elements to the sick in hospitals and nursing homes. The practice of weekly communion is increasingly the norm again in most Lutheran parishes throughout the world. This restoration of the weekly Mass has been strongly encouraged by the bishops and pastors of the larger Lutheran bodies.

The celebration of the Eucharist may be included in weddings, funerals, retreats, the dedication of a church building and at annual synod conventions. The Mass is also an important aspect of ordinations and confirmations in Lutheran churches.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "II. What is This Sacrament Called?". Catechism of the Catholic Church. Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Seddon, Philip (1996). "Word and Sacrament". In Bunting, Ian. Celebrating the Anglican Way. London: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 100. 
  3. ^ a b Joseph Augustus Seiss (1871). Ecclesia Lutherana: a brief survey of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Lutheran Book Store. "Melancthon, the author of the Augsburg Confession, states, that he uses the words Mass and theLord's Supper as convertible terms: "The Mass, as they call it, or, with the Apostle Paul, to speak more accurately, the celebration of the Lord's Supper," &c. The Evangelical Princes, in their protest at the Diet of Spires, April 19th, 1529, say, "Our preachers and teachers have attacked and utterly confuted the popish Mass, with holy, invincivle, sure Scripture, and in its place raised up again the precious, priceless SUPPER OF OUR DEAR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, which is called THE EVANGELICAL MASS. This is the only Mass founded in the Scriptures of God, in accordance with the plain and incontestable institution of the Saviour." 
  4. ^ John Trigilio, Kenneth Brighenti (2 March 2007). The Catholicism Answer Book. Sourcebooks, Inc. "The term "Mass", used for the weekly Sunday service in Catholic churches as well as services on Holy Days of Obligation, derives its meaning from the Latin term Missa." 
  5. ^ Brad Harper, Paul Louis Metzger (1 March 2009). Exploring Ecclesiology. Brazos Press. "Luther also challenged the teaching that Christ is sacrificed at the celebration of the mass. It is important to pause and note that contrary to popular Protestant opinion, official Roman Catholic teaching denies that Christ is, in the mass, sacrificed time and time again. According to the The Catechism of the Catholic Church, "The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit."" 
  6. ^ Missa here is a Late Latin substantive corresponding to the word missio in classical Latin.
  7. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Liturgy of the Mass". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  8. ^ "Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism), Section 22". Vatican. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism, Section 22". Vatican va. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Denominational Differences –Other Denominations. Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. "Differences remain about both the number and the nature of the sacraments. Roman Catholics speak of seven sacraments, while Lutherans tend to speak of only two (or three). More important than number is how the sacraments are understood. To take a single example, Lutherans believe that in the Sacrament of the Altar (Communion) Christ’s body and blood are truly present in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, but they do not accept the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which teaches that the elements are permanently changed from the substances of bread and wine to the substances of body and blood. Transubstantiation is rejected for several reasons: It is a philosophical explanation for a work of Christ’s almighty Word which we can only believe, not explain. In seeking to explain a mystery it changes the plain and simple meanings of God’s Word (Scripture refers to the elements as both bread and wine and body and blood, 1 Cor 11:26-27)." 
  11. ^ General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Copyright © 2011, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.
  12. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324
  13. ^ GIRM, paragraph 51
  14. ^ GIRM, paragraph 52
  15. ^ GIRM, paragraph 53
  16. ^ GIRM, paragraph 66
  17. ^ GIRM, paragraph 68
  18. ^ GIRM, paragraph 69
  19. ^ GIRM, paragraph 73
  20. ^ GIRM, paragraph 78
  21. ^ GIRM, paragraph 79c
  22. ^ Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25
  23. ^ GIRM, paragraph 151
  24. ^ GIRM, paragraph 160
  25. ^ "The Catechism (1979 Book of Common Prayer): The Holy Eucharist". Retrieved November 19, 2011. 
  26. ^ a b MacCulloch, Diarmaid (1996). Thomas Cranmer. London: Yale UP. p. 412. 
  27. ^ MacCulloch, Diarmaid (1996). Thomas Cranmer. London: Yale UP. pp. 404–8 & 629. 
  28. ^ Neill, Stephen (1960). Anglicanism. London: Penguin. p. 152,3. 
  29. ^ Seddon, Philip (1996). "Word and Sacrament". In Bunting, Ian. Celebrating the Anglican Way. London: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 107,8. 
  30. ^ Book of Common Prayer p. 355 Holy Eucharist Rite II
  31. ^ Hope, Nicholas (1995). German and Scandinavian Protestantism 1700 to1918. Oxford University Press, Inc. p. 18. ISBN 0-19-826994-3. Retrieved November 19, 2011. ; see also Deutsche Messe
  32. ^ Preus, Klemet. "Communion Every Sunday: Why?". Retrieved November 18, 2011. 

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Baldovin,SJ, John F., (2008). Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics. The Liturgical Press.
  • Bugnini, Annibale (Archbishop), (1990). The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975. The Liturgical Press.
  • Donghi, Antonio, (2009). Words and Gestures in the Liturgy. The Liturgical Press.
  • Foley, Edward. From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist, Revised and Expanded Edition. The Liturgical Press.
  • Fr. Nikolaus Gihr (1902). The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically Explained. St. Louis: Freiburg im Breisgau. OCLC 262469879. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  • Johnson, Lawrence J., (2009). Worship in the Early Church: An Anthology of Historical Sources. The Liturgical Press.
  • Marini, Piero (Archbishop), (2007). A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal. The Liturgical Press.
  • Martimort, A.G. (editor). The Church At Prayer. The Liturgical Press.

External links[edit]

Roman Catholic doctrine

Present form of the Roman rite of the Mass

Tridentine form of the Roman rite of the Mass

(For links on Post-Tridentine vs. "Tridentine" controversy, see Mass of Paul VI)

Anglican Doctrine and practice

Lutheran doctrine