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Mass (liturgy)

A 15th-century Mass
A 15th-century Mass
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", 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".[1] The term "Mass" is one of the most common in connection with Catholic Latin liturgical rites. It is used also of similar celebrations in Old Catholic Churches, in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism, in Western Rite Orthodox Churches, and in some Lutheran churches. But most Protestants prefer terms other than "Mass", which to them denotes Roman Catholic ritual and understanding of the Eucharist. 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 Holy Qurbana and the Badarak are normal.

For information on the theology of the Eucharist and on the Eucharistic liturgy of other Christian denominations, see "Eucharist" and "Eucharistic theology".

For information on history see Eucharist and Origin of the Eucharist, and with specific regard to the Roman Rite Mass, Pre-Tridentine Mass and Tridentine Mass.

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").[2][3] "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)

Contents


Mass in the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church sees the Mass or Eucharist as "the source and summit of the Christian life", to which the other sacraments are oriented.[4] 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

The priest enters, with a deacon, if there is one, and altar servers (who may act as crucifer, torch-bearers and thurifer). He then invites those present to take part in the Act of Penitence, which concludes with the priest's prayer of absolution, "which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance." [5] The Kyrie, eleison (Lord, have mercy), is sung or said, [6] followed by the Gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the highest), an ancient praise, if appropriate for the liturgical season.[7]

Liturgy of the Word

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 second reading is from the New Testament, typically from one of the Pauline epistles. The final reading and high point of the Liturgy of the Word is the proclamation of the Gospel, read 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.[8]

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Mass in the Grotto of the Annunciation, Nazareth.
Mass in the Grotto of the Annunciation, Nazareth.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the ceremonial placing of the gifts of bread and wine on the altar,[9] 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",[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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

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 sin 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.[14]

Concluding rite

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.

Mass in Anglicanism

Sagada]], Mountain Province, Philippines.

"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 employed.[15] In the English-speaking Anglican world, the term used identifies the Eucharistic theology of the one using it. "Mass" is an Anglo-Catholic term.

Structure of the rite

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[16] Although the 1549 rite retained the traditional sequence of the mass, its underlying theology was protestant. In the 1552 revision, this was made abundantly plain 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". [17] The futher development of the 1552 rite is described in the Article on The Book of Common Prayer and some rites such as the 1637 Scottish rite and the 1789 one in the United States of America went back to the 1549 model.[18] 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[19](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; followed by the Collect for Purity; the Gloria in Excelsis Deo or some other song of praise, Kyrie eleison, and/or Trisagion; and then the collect of the day. During Lent and/or Advent especially, this part of the service may begin or end with a penitential rite.
  • 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 the Apostles' or Nicene Creeds;
  • The Prayers of the People: Very varied in their form. The passing of the peace may be included at this point.
  • 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 are 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 the rest of the world the Confession is near the beginning of the service.

Special masses

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

Some Anglo-Catholic parishes use Anglican versions of the Tridentine Missal, such as the English Missal, The Anglican Missal, or 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 David Michno, Ceremonies of the Eucharist, by Howard E. Galley, 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 (i.e. Protestant) parishes, the rubrics detailed in the Book of Common Prayer are considered normative.

Mass in Lutheranism

A Lutheran priest elevating the host. 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 . 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 , , and . 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,[20] 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.[21] 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

References

Bibliography

Further reading

  • 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.
  • 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

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

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