Mass is structured into four main sections: introduction, liturgy of the word, liturgy of the eucharist and conclusion. Below is an outline of each section.
Greeting - The priest greets everyone and begins with the sign of the cross
Penitential Rite - We acknowledge we are sinners and ask for forgiveness
Gloria (Sundays and holy days only) - Song of praise to God
Opening Prayer - Priest leads the congregation in the opening prayer
Liturgy Of The Word
First Reading - Usually a reading from the Old Testament
Responsorial Psalm - One of 150 psalms is sung or said
Second Reading (Only On Sundays Or Special Celebrations) - Usually a reading from the letters found in the New Testament
Gospel Acclamation - Alleluia is sung prior to the Gospel. Alleluia is an ancient word expressing great joy.
Gospel - A reading from one of the Gospels, either Mark, Matthew, Luke or John. Here is found the main theme of the Mass.
Homily - Given by the priest, usually explaining the main theme of the Mass or the special celebration of the day.
Creed (Only On Sundays Or Holy Days) - Either the Nicene Creed (long) or the Apostles Creed (short). The assembly professes their beliefs in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
General Intercessions (Prayer Of The Faithful) - The assembly prays to God the Father letting their needs and concerns be known. These are usually very general in nature.
Liturgy Of The Eucharist
Preparation Of The Gifts - The assembly prays to God the Father letting their needs and concerns be known. These are usually very general in nature.
Prayer Over The Gifts - The priest prays over the gifts of bread and wine asking God to accept them and to bless them. These will become the body and blood of Christ.
- Preface - This is the opening prayer of the Eucharistic prayer. The preface introduces the prayers to follow.
- Sanctus - This is the Holy, Holy prayer that is usually sung, but it also can be said. This song is taken from the Book of Revelation. St. John, who was given a vision of Heaven, says that the angels sing this song to God for all eternity.
- Canon - This is the main part of the Eucharist prayer
- Consecration - This is the most important part of the Mass. The priest pronounces the words of Jesus in which he says, "Take this all of you and eat it...Take this all of you and drink from it..." Jesus offers his body and blood to the Father for our sins. It is the same sacrifice that Jesus offered on the cross.
- Memorial Acclamation - Usually sung, but can be said. This is the prayer in which the assembly proclaims the death of Jesus and we await His return.
- Prayers For The Living, Prayers For The Dead, Prayers To The Saints - Since through Baptism, we are always united as one in the Church, even after death, we pray for the entire Church, on earth, in Heaven, and in Purgatory. The Church in Heaven (the Saints) pray for us too.
- Great Amen - The final part of the Eucharist prayer in which the people, after having witnessed seeing the bread and wine change into the body and blood of Jesus, give their approval by saying "AMEN" which means "YES."
Our Father - Before we can share in the body and blood of Jesus, which will unite us to each other through Christ, we must profess our belief that God is OUR FATHER and so we pray the words that Jesus Himself taught us.
Sign Of Peace - After we call God OUR FATHER, we call each other, BROTHER AND SISTER, so we offer each other a sign of peace. We forgive each other first as we want God to forgive us our sins.
Lamb Of God - Usually sung but can be said. Jesus is our sacrifice and He takes away the sins of the world. Words that come from John The Baptist.
Communion - By receiving the body and blood of Jesus, we are united with God and with one another. WE BECOME WHAT WE EAT...THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST. After we receive the body and blood of Jesus, we should be praying, asking God to show us how we can become more like Jesus in our lives.
Closing Prayer - The final prayer of the Mass.
Final Blessing - The priest asks God our Father to bless the people and to protect them against all evil and harm.
Dismissal - The priest dismisses the people telling them to "Go in peace." The dismissal also encourages the people to be what they say they are, the body of Jesus in the world. They do that by doing, saying and acting like Jesus himself.
Here at St. Philip The Apostle, we encourage you to grow in your spirituality with two devotions we practice at our parish: one to the Sacred Heart Of Jesus and the other, Padre Pio Devotion. May you be so filled with the Spirit of Christ, that you will one day be able to say as St. Paul once said, "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me."