Basic Texts for the Roman Catholic Eucharist
THE ORDER OF MASS

This webpage contains the new English translation of the third edition of The Roman Missal, in use as of 11/27/11.


This webpage is intended to help you become familiar with the "Order of Mass" used in the Roman Catholic Church. The texts and responses spoken by all the people are indicated in bold type below. Some of the greetings and prayers spoken by the presider (the priest or bishop) at each Mass are also included, in order to help you understand the structure and flow of the Mass more fully. The postures prescribed for Masses in the United States are indicated in small print. (Note: Standing, sitting, or kneeling during certain parts of the Mass may differ in other countries.)

This webpage is not intended for priests to use in celebrating the Eucharist, since it does not include those texts which are different at each Mass, such as the three presidential prayers (the Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, and Prayer after Communion), or the readings used during the Liturgy of the Word. It also does not contain the full "rubrics" (the explicit instructions printed in red) of the Roman Missal, nor does it contain the brief prayers that priests are supposed to say "inaudibly" (just before and after proclaiming the Gospel, while mixing the water and wine, while washing their fingers, after the Breaking of the Bread, and just before and after receiving communion).

The "Order of Mass" is based on the third edition of the Missale Romanum (The Roman Missal, revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Council and published by authority of Pope Paul VI). The English translations of the prayers and responses are copyright 2010 by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), and reprinted here with permission. The explanations printed in small italics are by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. The previous English translation of the Mass is also still available by clicking here.

The Basic Structure of the Mass has four parts: two main parts and two framing rites:


INTRODUCTORY RITES

[stand]
Rudolf Koch: Christian SymbolsEntrance Procession:

[After the people have assembled, a Gathering Song or Entrance Antiphon is sung or recited as the priest and the ministers enter the church and process to the altar; after reverencing the altar, and sometimes also using incense, they go to their chairs.]

Liturgical Greeting:

[All together make the sign of the cross.]
Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

Option A:

Priest: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.

All: And with your spirit.

Option B:

Priest: Grace to you and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

All: And with your spirit.

Option C:

Priest: The Lord be with you.

[or Bishop: Peace be with you.]

All: And with your spirit.

[The priest or another minister may then briefly introduce the Mass of the day, saying something about the readings, the feast, and/or the special occasion being celebrated.]

Penitential Act:

Priest Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

Option A:

All: I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Option B:

Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.

AllFor we have sinned against you.

Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy.

All: And grant us your salvation.

Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

All: Amen.

Option C:
[The following or other invocations may be spoken by the priest
or another minister, but the priest always gives the final blessing.
]

Minister: You raise the dead to life in the Spirit:
Lord, have mercy.  or  Kyrie, eleison.
All: Lord, have mercy.  or  Kyrie, eleison.

Minister: You bring pardon and peace to the sinner:
Christ, have mercy.  or  Christe, eleison.
All: Christ, have mercy.  or  Christe, eleison.

Minister: You bring light to those in darkness:
Lord, have mercy.  or  Kyrie, eleison.
All: Lord, have mercy.  or  Kyrie, eleison.

Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
All: Amen.

Kyrie:

[The following acclamations are sung or recited, either in English or in Greek, unless they have already been used, as in option C above.]

Priest: Lord, have mercy.  All: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: Christ, have mercy.  All: Christ, have mercy.
Priest: Lord, have mercy.  All: Lord, have mercy.

 or 

Priest: Kyrie, eleison.  All: Kyrie, eleison.
Priest: Christe, eleison.  All: Christe, eleison.
Priest: Kyrie, eleison.  All: Kyrie, eleison.

Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water:

[On Sundays, especially during the Easter Season, this rite may take the place of the usual Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass;
afterwards, the Mass continues with the Gloria (on most Sundays and solemnities) or with the Collect (during Advent and Lent, and on weekdays).
]

Priest: Dear brothers and sisters, let us humbly beseech the Lord our God to bless this water he has created, which will be sprinkled on us as a memorial of our Baptism. May he help us by his grace to remain faithful to the Spirit we have received.

Option A:

Priest: Almighty ever-living God, who willed that through water, the fountain of life and the source of purification, even souls should be cleansed and receive the gift of eternal life; be pleased, we pray, to bless + this water, by which we seek protection on this your day, O Lord.

Renew the living spring of your grace within us and grant that by this water we may be defended from all ills of spirit and body, and so approach you with hearts made clean and worthily receive your salvation.

Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Option B:

Priest: Almighty Lord and God, who are the source and origin of all life, whether of body or soul, we ask you to + bless this water, which we use in confidence to implore forgiveness for our sins and to obtain the protection of your grace against all illness and every snare of the enemy..

Grant, O Lord, in your mercy, that living waters may always spring up for our salvation, and so we may approach you with a pure heart and avoid all danger to body and soul.

Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Option C (during the Easter Season):

Priest: Lord our God, in your mercy be present to your people's prayers, and, for us who recall the wondrous work of our creation and the still greater work of our redemption, graciously + bless this water. For you created water to make the fields fruitful and to refresh and cleanse our bodies. You also made water the instrument of your mercy: for through water you freed your people from slavery and quenched their thirst in the desert; through water the Prophets proclaimed the new covenant you were to enter upon with the human race; and last of all, through water, which Christ made holy in the Jordan, you have renewed our corrupted nature in the bath of regeneration. Therefore, may this water be for us a memorial of the Baptism we have received, and grant that we may share in the gladness of our brothers and sisters who at Easter have received their Baptism.

Through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

[After blessing the water, the priest moves through the church sprinkling all of the people while an antiphon or other song is sung. When the sprinkling and the song are finished, the rite concludes as follows:]

Priest: May almighty God cleanse us of our sins, and through the celebration of this Eucharist make us worthy to share at the table of his Kingdom.
All: Amen.

Gloria:

[This ancient hymn of praise is used on all Sundays outside of Advent and Lent, on solemnities and major feasts, and in solemn local celebrations. It is preferably sung by the whole congregation, but may also be sung by the choir or recited by all. The priest may begin with a brief sung or spoken invitation for the people to praise God.]

All: Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Collect:

Priest: Let us pray.
[After a time of silent prayer, the priest sings or says the Collect, which is different for each Mass. At the end, the people proclaim their consent.]
All: Amen.

[sit]

LITURGY OF THE WORD

Rudolf Koch: Christian SymbolsFirst Reading:

Lector: A reading from the Book of... (or the Letter of...; or the Acts of the Apostles).
[Different readings are prescribed for each day. At the end of the reading, the lector proclaims, and the people respond:]
Lector: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God!

Responsorial Psalm:

[The choir and/or cantor sing or recite the psalm; the people join in the repeated response.]

Second Reading:

[A second reading is prescribed for all Sundays and major feasts, but not for most weekdays or minor feasts.
The lector's introduction and conclusion and the people's response are the same as in the First Reading, above.
]

[stand]
Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation:

Choir or Cantor: Alleluia!   All repeat: Alleluia!
Choir or Cantor: [verse]   All repeat: Alleluia!

[The "Alleluia" may be repeated two or more times, especially during the Easter Season. If it is not sung, it should be omitted.]
[During the Season of Lent, a different "Gospel Acclamation" is used, such as "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory!" or "Praise and honor to you, Lord Jesus Christ!" or "Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!" or something similar.]

Gospel:

Before the Gospel Proclamation:
Deacon (or Priest): The Lord be with you.
All: And with your spirit.
Deacon (or Priest): A reading from the Holy Gospel according to... [Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John]
All: Glory to you, O Lord!

After the Gospel Proclamation:
Deacon (or Priest): The Gospel of the Lord.
All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

[sit]
Homily:

[The bishop, priest, or deacon then speaks to the people, usually focusing on that day's scriptures and/or on the feast or special occasion being celebrated at that Mass; the homily may also be based on any liturgical text from the Mass.]

[stand]
Creed (Profession of Faith):

[On Sundays and Solemnities, the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is normally recited by everyone after the homily. The Apostles' Creed may also be used, esp. in celebrations of Masses with children.]

NICENO-CONSTANTINOPOLITAN CREED:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
  [bow during the next two lines:]
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

APOSTLES' CREED:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Amen.

Universal Prayer (a.k.a. Prayer of the Faithful, or Bidding Prayers):

Lector: …let us pray to the Lord.
All: Lord, hear our prayer.  [or a similar response, repeated after each petition]

[sit]

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

Rudolf Koch: Christian SymbolsPresentation and Preparation of the Gifts:

Priest: Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God for ever.

Priest: Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands it will become our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God for ever.

[If there is no singing during the presentation of the gifts, the priest may say the preceding prayers aloud, and the people may respond. But if a presentation song is being sung, the priest recites these prayers inaudibly, and the people's response is omitted. Then, after the priest has washed his hands and the music is finished, he invites the people to join in prayer:]

[stand]

Priest: Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.
All: 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.

Prayer over the Offerings:

[The priest sings or says this prayer, which is different for each Mass. At the end, the people sing or say in response:]
All: Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer:

[The priest may choose from among four regular Eucharistic Prayers, or two other Eucharistic Prayers for Masses of Reconciliation. On appropriate occasions, the priest may also choose from among three Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children, or four recently approved Eucharistic Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions. Each prayer has a similar structure, including some responses and acclamations by all the people. There are also many choices for the "Preface," depending on the liturgical season, the feast of the day, and the ritual or occasion being celebrated at that Mass. Click here for the full texts of the various Eucharistic Prayers.]

[The posture of the people during the Eucharistic Prayer is different in various countries and regions; in the United States, the people normally stand until the "Sanctus", and then kneel until after the concluding "Amen."]

Preface Dialogue:
Priest: The Lord be with you.   All: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.   All: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.   All: It is right and just.

Sanctus:
All: Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

[kneel]

Mystery of Faith (Memorial Acclamation):
Priest: The mystery of faith:
All: AWe proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
  or BWhen we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.
  or CSave us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.

Doxology and Great Amen:
Priest: Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.
All: Amen! [may be sung more than once]

[stand]


COMMUNION RITE

Lord's Prayer:

Priest: At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:

All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


Priest: Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
All: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.

Sign of Peace:

Priest: Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles, Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity
in accordance with your will. Who live and reign for ever and ever.
All: Amen.

Priest: The Peace of the Lord be with you always.
All: And with your spirit.

Deacon or Priest: Let us offer each other a sign of peace.
[The ministers and all the people exchange an embrace, handshake, or other appropriate gesture of peace with those near them, according to local custom.]

Rudolf Koch: Christian SymbolsFraction of the Bread:

All: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

[kneel]

[This text may be sung or recited, and may be repeated several more times until the breaking of bread and the preparation of the communion vessels is finished; but the last phrase is always "Grant us peace."]

Communion:

Priest: 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.
All: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

[The manner of receiving communion differs significantly between various countries, dioceses, and even individual parishes. In the United States, the people normally process to the front in lines, receive communion standing, and then return to their places in the congregation. In some cases, the ministers may go to other locations within the church to distribute communion, or may even approach individuals at their places (esp. the elderly or infirm). Communion is now usually offered "under both species", i.e., both the consecrated bread and the consecrated wine. It may be distributed by priests, deacons, or designated lay persons, called "Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist." Communicants are encouraged to receive the consecrated bread in their hands, but may also receive communion on the tongue. After returning to their places, the people are encouraged to remain standing until everyone has received communion, but in many parishes the people immediately sit down or kneel for silent prayer.]

Communion Minister: The body of Christ.   Communicant: Amen.
Communion Minister: The blood of Christ.   Communicant: Amen.

Communion Song:

[During the reception of Communion, an appropriate song is sung, or at least a short "Communion Antiphon" is recited.]

[sit]
Period of Silence or Song of Praise:

[When the distribution of Communion is completed, there may be a period of silence for individual prayer, or a psalm or song of praise may be sung. The people either stand, sit, or kneel during this time, although the posture of the congregation should be unified.]

[stand]
Prayer after Communion:

Priest: Let us pray.
[All pray in silence for a while, unless a period of silence has already been observed. Then the priest sings or says the Prayer after Communion, which is different for each Mass. At the end, the people proclaim their consent.]
All: Amen.


CONCLUDING RITES

[Announcements, etc.]:

[If there are any announcements, acknowledgements, reflections, eulogies, or similar actions, these are best included here.
The people may remain standing, or may be invited to sit, depending on the length of the announcements or other activity.
]

[stand]
Final Blessing:

Option A: Simple Form

Priest: The Lord be with you.

All: And with your spirit.

Priest: May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son,
+ and the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

Option B: Solemn Blessing

Priest: The Lord be with you.

All: And with your spirit.

Deacon or Priest: Bow down for the blessing.

[One or more invocations may be spoken, and the people usually respond "Amen" to each one. The following conclusion is always used.]

Priest: And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you forever.

All: Amen.

Option C: Prayer over the People

Priest: The Lord be with you.

All: And with your spirit.

Deacon or Priest: Bow down for the blessing.

[The priest may choose from several options, depending on the occasion or the special need. The following conclusion is always used.]

Priest: And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you forever.

All: Amen.

Dismissal:Rudolf Koch: Christian Symbols

Deacon (or Priest): Go forth, the Mass is ended.
  or  Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.
  or  Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.
  or  Go in peace.
All: Thanks be to God!

 

[Recessional and Closing Song]:

[Although it is traditional in many countries and many parishes to sing a final song or to have some instrumental music played as the priest and ministers process out of the church, this is not prescribed in the Order of Mass.]


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Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

This webpage was compiled by Felix Just, S.J.
This page was last updated on October 9, 2014