Basic Texts for the Roman Catholic Eucharist
THE ORDER OF MASS

This webpage contains the English translation of the Mass used up until 2011.
As of Nov. 27, 2011, English-speaking Catholics are using a new English Translation of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal.


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 Opening Prayer, Prayer over the Gifts, 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 (the Sacramentary), nor does it contain the brief prayers that the priest is supposed to say "inaudibly" (just before and after proclaiming the Gospel, while mixing the water and wine, while washing his fingers, after the Breaking of the Bread, and just before and after receiving communion).

The "Order of Mass" is based on 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 given here are copyright 1970-1985 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 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, an opening 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 (sometimes also using incense), they go to their chairs.]

Greeting:

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

Option A:

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

All And also with you.

Option B:

Priest The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

All Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
or
All And also with you.

Option C:

PriestThe Lord be with you.

[or Bishop:  Peace be with you.]

All And also with you.

 

[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.]

Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water:

Priest Dear friends, this water will be used to remind us of our baptism. Let us ask God to bless it, and to keep us faithful to the Spirit he has given us.  [or similar words of introduction]

Option A:

Priest God our Father, your gift of water brings life and freshness to the earth; it washes away our sins and brings us eternal life.

We ask you now to bless this water, and to give us your protection on this day which you have made your own. Renew the living spring of your life within us and protect us in spirit and body, that we may be free from sin and come into your presence to receive your gift of salvation.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All Amen.

Option B:

PriestLord God almighty, creator of all life, of body and soul, we ask you to bless this water: as we use it in faith forgive our sins and save us from all illness and the power of evil.

Lord, in your mercy give us living water, always springing up as a fountain of salvation: free us, body and soul, from every danger, and admit us to your presence in purity of heart.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

All Amen.

Option C (during the Easter Season):

Priest:  Lord God almighty, hear the prayers of your people: we celebrate our creation and redemption. Hear our prayers and bless this water which give fruitfulness to the fields, and refreshment and cleansing to man. You chose water to show your goodness when you led your people to freedom through the Red Sea and satisfied their thirst in the desert with water from the rock. Water was the symbol used by the prophets to foretell your new covenant with us. You made the water of baptism holy by Christ's baptism in the Jordan: by it you give us a new birth and renew us in holiness. May this water remind us of our baptism, and let us share the joy of all who have been baptized at Easter.

We ask this 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 is finished, the priest concludes this rite as follows:]

Priest May almighty God cleanse us of our sins, and through the eucharist we celebrate make us worthy to sit at his table in his heavenly kingdom.
All Amen.

[This rite is commonly celebrated during the Easter Season, but may also be used at other times. When it is used, the Penitential Rite is omitted, and the Mass continues with the Gloria (on most Sundays and solemnities) or with the Opening Prayer (during Advent and Lent, and on weekdays).]

or  Penitential Rite:

Priest As we prepare to celebrate the mystery of Christ's love, let us acknowledge our failures and ask the Lord for pardon and strength.
       or  Coming together as God's family, with confidence let us ask the Father's forgiveness, for he is full of gentleness and compassion.
       or  My brothers and sisters, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us call to mind our sins.
      [or similar words of introduction, followed by a period of silent reflection.]

Option A:

All I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and 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 Lord, we have sinned against you:
Lord, have mercy.

All Lord, have mercy.

Priest Lord, show us your mercy and love.

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.
All Lord, have mercy.

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

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

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 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.

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 peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,  almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:  have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:  receive our prayer.
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.

Opening Prayer:

Priest Let us pray.
[After a time of silent prayer, the priest sings or says the Opening Prayer, 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 (or Letter, or Acts) of ... 
[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 also with you.
Deacon (or Priest):  A reading from the Holy Gospel according to... [Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John]
All Glory to you, 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; but the homily may also be based on any liturgical text from the Mass.]

[stand]
Profession of Faith:

[On Sundays and solemnities, the Nicene Creed is normally recited by everyone after the homily. The Apostles' Creed may be used instead, esp. in celebrations of Masses with children.]

NICENE CREED:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, 
    maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. 
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, 
    eternally begotten of the Father, 
    God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, 
    begotten, not made, one in Being 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:]
    by the power of the Holy Spirit 
    he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
    he suffered, died, and was buried.
    On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of 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.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, 
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son. 
    With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. 
    He has spoken through the Prophets. 
    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. 
    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. 
    We look for 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.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
    He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
        and born of the Virgin Mary.
    He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
        was crucified, died, and was buried.
    He descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again.
    He ascended into heaven,
        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    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 the life everlasting.

Amen.

General Intercessions / Prayer of the Faithful:

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 of the Gifts / Preparation of the Altar:

Priest Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
All
:  Blessed be God for ever.

Priest Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, 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, my brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice
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 Church.

Prayer over the Gifts:

[The priest sings or says this prayer, which is different for each Mass. At the end, the people respond:]
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 "Holy, Holy", and then kneel until after the "Great Amen."]

Preface Dialogue:
Priest
The Lord be with you.   All And also with you.
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 to give him thanks and praise.

Holy, Holy (Sanctus):

All
:  Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
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]

Memorial Acclamation:
Priest
:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith: 
All
A - Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
   
or B - Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.
    or C - When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.
 
  or D - Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the World.

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

[stand]


COMMUNION RITE

Lord's Prayer:

Priest Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us.
      or  Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say:
      or  Let us ask our Father to forgive our sins and to bring us to forgive those who sin against us.
      or  Let us pray for the coming of the kingdom as Jesus taught us.

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, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for 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, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever.
All Amen.

Priest The Peace of the Lord be with you always. 
All And also with you.

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 SymbolsBreaking 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 This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper.
All Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I 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.

[Announcements, etc.]:

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


CONCLUDING RITE

[stand]
Greeting:

Priest The Lord be with you.
All And also with you.

Blessing:

Option A:  Simple Form

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

All Amen.

Option B: Solemn Blessing 

Deacon or Priest:  Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing.

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

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

All Amen.

Option C:  Prayer over the People

Deacon or Priest:  Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing.

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

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

All Amen.

Dismissal:Rudolf Koch: Christian Symbols

Deacon or Priest:  Go in the peace of Christ.
   or  The Mass is ended, go in peace.
   or  Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
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 © 1973, 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 20, 2011