The Holy Mass could be described as the ritual celebration of what Jesus fulfilled only once in history: The Last Supper on Holy Thursday, His Death on Good Friday and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The celebration of the Mass can be divided into four parts:
- Gathering rites
- Liturgy of the Word of God
- Liturgy of the Eucharist or Meal sharing
- Rite of Commissioning: sending out to live our experienced in the Mass.
Part 1: Gathering Rites:
The purpose of this part is to assemble or gather together, in order to bring the people of God into one body, to listen to His Word and to share the Body of Christ together.
Greeters/Ushers: When we usually gather for any celebration or when friends gather together for a meal, they are greeted at the door and welcomed into the house. The Ushers, who are also called greeters are our volunteers, who do this great job in the vestibule, as you enter the Church.
Use of Holy Water: One of the first things, Catholics do when they enter the Church, is to dip their right hand in the Holy water and make the sign of the Cross. This ritual is a reminder of your Baptism; we were baptized with water and signed with the cross.
Genuflection: It has been a custom in the medieval time to go down on one knee or genuflect before a king or a person of high rank. This secular practice of honor has gradually entered the Catholic Church, in order to honor the presence of Jesus Christ present in the Tabernacle. Today many people express their reverence by bowing as an accepted practice.
Entrance song: When the Mass begins, everyone stands up and sings. Standing is a sign of readiness to begin and much more a sign of welcoming with respect the priest/s, who is/are going to celebrate the Mass. Singing an entrance song helps us to unite our thoughts and voices for the celebration.
To be continued
Fr. Arul Joseph V.