Six people from All Saints parish were installed as prayer leaders who could celebrate a Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest.

We would like you to experience a deeper appreciation for the Mass and are giving a short description at the beginning of Mass each week.

Parts of Mass we have covered are as follows:

The Procession

The very first part of the Mass we see is the Procession. From the early church on, the procession is symbolic of the journey we are on together as a single community.

Our faith creates this united community and our Priest brings us together when he moves through us from the back of the church to the front, visually touching all parts of our church, uniting us as one community as we continue to celebrate the Mass.

The servers and the lector (and in some instances the Eucharistic ministers) accompany him, creating a solemn procession as they enter our church to celebrate the Mass.

The Entrance Song

The entrance song was added to be a joyful, not painful, part of this procession. The purpose is to joyfully open the celebration of the Mass and foster unity of those who have gathered – with a song, using it to introduce their thoughts to the theme of the Mass or season. If there is no music, the entrance antiphon is simply spoken.

There is a great freedom allowed when choosing this song and it is meant to create an atmosphere of celebration.

The entrance song is a simple prayer, one in which everyone should participate joyfully. So now let’s all unite and participate, singing out our entrance song with the joy its intended to have.

The Veneration of the Altar

The veneration of the altar, reminds us not only are we here to celebrate, but to worship as well. This is the part where Father kisses the altar after he has approached it. It has been going on since the early church as a sign of honor since the altar is the “Table of the Lord.” In the past, the altar was venerated by kissing it three times during the Mass, now it is kissed only twice, once at the beginning and at the end of the Mass.

The veneration at the beginning is an act of greeting, which recalls the common table used by the united community is holy and sacred to all actions of the community during Mass. It is the place where prayer ascends like incense before God. It is venerated by the Priest in the name of all celebrating Mass today.

The Sign of the Cross

The sign of the cross is a form of self-blessing with strong baptismal overtones, reminding us that salvation comes to us from the victorious cross of Jesus Christ. The greeting is an invitation for all of us to actually experience the presence and power of the Lord in the community we form.

Romano Guardini, a noted theologian, wrote: “When we cross ourselves, let it be with a real sign of the cross…let us make a large, unhurried sign, from forehead to breast, from shoulder to shoulder, consciously feeling how it includes the whole of us… It is the holiest of all signs.”

The introduction is brief and helps us focus upon the special character of the celebration or upon those who are present.

The Penitential Rite

In the Gospel of Matthew, Christ calls for reconciliation with others before offering sacrifice. Also, an ancient document states that on the Lord’s Day people are to come together to break bread and to give thanks “after first confessing their sins” so that the sacrifice will be pure. The rite concludes with the priest’s absolution, which, however, does NOT substitute for the Sacrament of Penance.

Our participation in this rite proclaims our own sinfulness before a merciful and forgiving God and shows that we are ever converting, ever in need of reconciliation with God and others.

The focus is not on us, but on the merciful God.

The Sprinkling Rite

The Sprinkling Rite may replace the Penitential Rite at any Sunday Mass but is usually used during the Easter season.

The sprinkling with water is a visual reminder of Baptism (the foundational sacrament of all repentance) and the unique character of Sunday. Through the sacraments of Christian initiation we die, are buried, and rise again with Christ: we thereby share in Christ’s victory over sin and death.

The custom seems to have originated in eighth-century monasticism as a sign of sanctification. A procession moved through the cloister, and its rooms were sprinkled. Soon the rite was celebrated before the principal Mass in parish churches where it progressively took on a baptismal character. It served as a reminder of the life-giving waters flowing from the font.

Lord Have Mercy

This week’s message: “Lord have mercy”. After the Penitential Rite, the ”Lord Have Mercy” is always begun, unless it has already been included as part of the Penitential Rite. The entire community participates by reciting or singing the prayer. By so doing we praise the Lord for his goodness and implore his bounty on behalf of all humankind.

This short litany was traditionally a prayer of praise to the risen Christ. He has been raised and made “Lord,” and we beg him to show his loving kindness.

The custom seems to have originated in eighth-century monasticism as a sign of sanctification. A procession moved through the cloister, and its rooms were sprinkled. Soon the rite was celebrated before the principal Mass in parish churches where it progressively took on a baptismal character. It served as a reminder of the life-giving waters flowing from the font.

The Gloria

Today we light the second Advent candle, which signifies peace.

The next part of the Mass is the Gloria. The Gloria is a joyful hymn whose content is primarily that of praising God. It emphasizes the festive and special character of certain Sundays and feasts. It may be introduced by the celebrant, cantor, or choir. The Gloria is only sung on Sundays outside Advent and Lent and on solemnities and feasts, which emphasizes its special and solemn character.

The Collect

The next part of the Mass is the Collect. This prayer serves as more of a conclusion of the Introductory Rites and the prayer that has occurred. The collect is a prayer of the gathered community whose members are now aware that they are in God’s presence. After an invitation, the assembly silently expresses its needs and desires which are then “gathered up” by the celebrant and presented to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. All make this prayer their own by acclaiming Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

The next part of the Mass is the Liturgy of the Word. Full importance must be given to this part of the Mass. The purpose of the Liturgy of the Word is to touch, move, and transform hearts. When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God Himself speaks to His people, and Christ Himself is present in His own word. Therefore, all must listen with reverence to the readings for they make up an element of greatest importance in the Liturgy. By their silence and singing the people make God’s word their own by means of the Profession of Faith. Finally, having been nourished by it, they pour out their petitions in the Prayer of the Faithful for the needs of the entire Church and for the salvation of the world.

The First Reading

The presence of the Old Testament reading manifests the Church’s firm conviction that all Scripture is the word of God. There is a continuity between the two Testaments: both lead the congregation to Jesus Christ. As. St. Augustine so succinctly stated it, “In the Old Testament the New is hidden, in the New Testament the Old appears.” And according to St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, “The writings of Moses are the words of Christ.”

Sacred Silence

Sacred silence is part of the celebration to be observed at designated times. At the conclusion of a reading or the homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard.

The Responsorial Psalm

The responsorial psalm is not just a response to the reading. It helps the gathered assembly create an atmosphere of prayer, one in which all can recall what God has done and continues to do. To a certain extent the psalm serves as a meditative extension of the reading, offering us through poetry a rich opportunity to savor the word of God.

The Second Reading

The next part of the Mass is the Second Reading. In the second reading the congregation often encounters the early Church living its Christian faith. The witness of the apostolic community provides an example for all time since Christians of every age are to recall the love of the Father enfleshed in Christ, the good news of redemption, the duty of Christian love. All followers of Jesus are to live decently and without blemish, to be tolerant of one another, to be steadfast in the faith.

Alleluia/Gospel Acclamation

It has often been said that the alleluia is the victory song of a Paschal people.

In the words attributed to St. Augustine, “We are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song.” Used as the Gospel Acclamation, the Alleluia accompanies the Gospel procession during which the whole liturgical assembly praises Christ who comes to proclaim the good news of salvation. The acclamation is to be sung; when not sung, it is to be omitted. The people stand to express their readiness for the Gospel reading.

The Gospel Reading

The reading of the Gospel is the high point of the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy itself teaches that great reverence is to be shown to it by setting it off from the other readings with special marks of honor: whether on the part of the minister appointed to proclaim it prepares himself by a blessing or prayer; or on the part of the faithful, who stand as they listen to it being read and through their acclamations acknowledge and confess Christ present and speaking to them; or by the very marks of reverence that are given to the Book of the Gospels.

The Good News of salvation, a living word, is proclaimed by the Risen Lord. It is Christ present among his own who continues to speak to his people as he calls them to faith and conversion.

The Homily

The homily, an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word, is a continuation of God’s saving message which calls for faith and conversion. It is neither interpretation of the Bible nor moral preaching but a joyful proclamation of God’s saving deeds in Christ. Basing his preaching on the liturgical texts, the homilist breaks the bread of God’s word by showing how God is continuing to act and speak among his people today. Christianity is a religion that tells a story, and it is by hearing this story that the members of the liturgical assembly are called to become a holy people so that they can better celebrate the Eucharist and offer themselves with and through Christ in the Eucharistic prayer.

Profession of Faith

This is a communal profession of faith in which the people who have heard the Word of God in the lesson and in the homily may assent and respond to it, and may renew in themselves the rule of faith as they begin to celebrate the Eucharist. It is a response to the person of Christ present in the word.

The profession links the Liturgies of the Word and Eucharist as the congregation recalls the mysteries of faith which will again be proclaimed in the Eucharistic prayer. The people accept God’s word before they move on to the celebration of the Eucharist, which itself is a profession of faith.

The Prayer of the Faithful

Vatican II restored this important prayer from the early Church to the current liturgy. It has the following structure: 1) the celebrant addresses the people and relates the mystery being celebrated; 2) the deacon or another minister announces a series of intentions with the people responding after each intention; 3) after a brief silent prayer the celebrant addresses the Father, summarizing the intentions, and asks God to look favorably upon the prayers of the congregation which, in turn, responds, Amen.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

At the Last Supper Christ instituted the Paschal Sacrifice and banquet by which the Sacrifice of the Cross in continuously made present in the Church whenever the priest, representing Christ the Lord, carries out what the Lord himself did and handed over to his disciples to be done in his memory. The Church has arranged the entire celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist in parts corresponding to precisely the words and actions of Christ:

1. At the preparation of the Gifts, the bread and the wine with water are brought to the altar, the same elements that Christ took into his hands.

2. In the Eucharistic Prayer, thanks is given to God for the whole work of salvation, and the offerings become the Body and Blood of Christ.

Through the fraction and through Communion, the faithful, though they are many, receive from the one bread the Lord’s Body and from the one chalice the Lord’s Blood in the same way the Apostles received them from Christ’s own hands.

The Preparation of the Gifts

The faithful should sit while the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory is taking place. The purpose of the rite is to prepare bread and wine for the sacrifice. It consists very simply of bringing the gifts to the altar. The altar is prepared; the gifts are “set apart” and presented as a sign of the community’s desire to become one in the sacrifice of Christ; the bread and the wine are placed on the altar as the celebrant praises God for his gifts which will become the body and blood of the Lord. Finally, in the prayer over the gifts the priest sums up the meaning of all that has taken place. The purpose of the rite is to prepare the altar, the gifts, and the community for the offering to come.

Preparation of the Altar

Just as the Ambo was the focal point of the Liturgy of the Word, so the altar-table is the focal point of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The preparation of the altar makes clear that something new is beginning. An acolyte or other lay minister arranges the corporal, the purificator, the chalice, and the Missal upon the altar. The Christian altar is a table at which the Church’s faithful assemble to give thanks to God and receive the body and blood of Christ.

Presentation of the Gifts

It is praiseworthy for the bread and wine to be presented by the faithful. They are accepted by the priest or the deacon and carried to the altar. Money or other gifts for the poor or for the Church are also brought forward and put in a suitable place but away from the Eucharistic table. It is a symbolic expression of the gathered assembly’s participation in the Eucharist and in the social mission of the Church.

Prayers at the Presentation of the Gifts

After placing the bread and wine on the altar, the priest pours wine into each of the cups. He then blesses the water and pours a small amount into the cups saying a short prayer which begins, “by the mystery of this water and wine…” The water stands for the congregation whereas the wine stands for the blood of Christ. When the water is united with the wine in the cup, we are made one with Christ thereby joining and uniting us with Him in who we.

The priest then elevates the bread praying, “Blessed are You, Lord….” We respond, “Blessed be God forever.” The priest then elevates the cup of wine praying, Blessed are You, Lord…” We respond, “Blessed be God forever.” The priest then says, “Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice…” Our response is, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice…”

Prayers at the washing of hands and over the offerings

Washing one’s hands as a sign of inner purity was customary in both Judaism and early Christianity. When the priest washes his hands at the side of the altar, it is an expression of his desire for interior purification. As he washes his hands he prays the words of Psalm 51, verse 2, “Wash away my iniquity, cleanse me of my sin.” Upon returning to the middle of the altar, the priest invites us to pray, saying, “Pray brethren …” We conclude the prayer by responding, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice…”

This prayer over the offerings concludes the preparation of the bread, wine, altar and community. It requests divine acceptance and expresses our desire to unite ourselves with the offering to come.

Eucharistic Prayer

This begins the center and summit of the entire celebration. It is a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest invites us to lift up our hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving; he unites us with himself in the prayer that he addresses in the name of the entire community to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. The meaning of the prayer is that all of us should join ourselves with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of sacrifice. The Eucharistic prayer demands that we all listen to it with reverence and in silence.

The Epiclesis

The next part of the Mass is the Epiclesis. To sanctify is a role properly attributed to the Holy Spirit who completes and brings fullness the work of the Father and the Son. Both gifts and people are transformed by the power of the Spirit: the gifts of bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the people enter into communion with Christ and with each other; they are unified, given life and sanctification.

The Narrative of Institution

Just as the Eucharistic Prayer is part of a continuous action extending from the preparation of the gifts to the Communion, so the words of institution are part of the Eucharistic Prayer. All that God has accomplished in creation and salvation history is fulfilled, signified, and made present in the person of the crucified and risen Christ. Christ’s words are a promise, and through the power of the Holy Spirit they accomplish what they signify: His Eucharistic Body and Blood,

His Real Presence with all the riches of the Kingdom.

The Memorial Acclamation

The memorial acclamation not only helps sustain the assembly’s attention from the end of the Holy, Holy to the Great Amen, but is also a manifestation of the congregation’s active participation in the Eucharistic Prayer. Sharing in the Eucharist by virtue of their baptismal priesthood, the faithful express and affirm belief that the whole mystery of the Risen Christ is present and active in the celebration.

The Anamnesis

Anamnesis is a recalling of memory that makes the works of Christ in the past become the present reality. By doing what Jesus has done the Church makes living memory of Christ’s saving deeds. The fullness and power of the Paschal Mystery continue to be present as an ongoing reality when the Church celebrates the Eucharist.

The Offering

The priest chooses one of four Eucharistic prayers, each of which is a statement of offering. We join with the priest in making this offering. In this prayer of praise to the Father we offer ourselves with and through Jesus Christ, who in turn joins our offering to His own. With Christ as our Mediator, we should be drawn day by day into ever closer union with God and with each other so that finally God may be all in all.

The Intercessions

Having requested the help of the unifying Spirit we ask the Father that salvation and redemption be brought not only to our own members, but to all, both the living and the dead. In this request we unite ourselves to Christ who “lives forever to make intercession.”

The Final Doxology

This is a prayer of praise which summarizes the entire Eucharistic prayer. The words of the prayer offer glory and honor to the Father through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. The prayer is offered in the name of the congregation which confirms and approves this action by its “Amen.”

The Communion Rite

Since the Eucharistic Celebration is the Paschal Banquet, it is desirable that in keeping with the Lord’s command, His Body and Blood should be received as spiritual food by the faithful who are properly disposed.

Rite of Peace

Since the risen Christ is the source of all peace, this gesture expresses faith that Christ is present in His people. It is both a call to reconciliation, unity, and communion, as well as a seal which ratifies the very meaning of a Eucharistic assembly whose members both find and pray for peace in one another.

Breaking of the Bread

Christ’s act of breaking bread at the Last Supper gave the entire Eucharistic Action its name in apostolic times. It signifies that the many faithful are made one body by receiving Communion from the one Bread of life, Christ, who died and rose for the salvation of the world. The priest breaks the Eucharistic Bread after the Peace Rite.

The “Commingling”

The priest breaks the Bread and puts a piece of the host into the chalice to signify the unity of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the work of salvation, namely, of the living and glorious Body of Jesus Christ. The priest quietly prays, “May the mingling of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, bring eternal life to us who receive it.  Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in your love and mercy, I eat your body and drink your blood. Let it not bring me condemnation, but health in mind and body.”

Lamb of God

As the priest is breaking the bread, the congregation participates in singing this litany, which is also known as the “Agnus Dei”, in preparation for communion The Private Preparation of the Priest and the Congregation.  The priest, with hands extended, quietly prays the preparatory prayer of communion: “Lord Jesus Christ, with faith in Your love and mercy, I eat Your body and drink Your blood. Let it not bring me condemnation but health in mind and body.”

While the priest is praying silently, each of us is offered the opportunity for individual silent prayer before Communion.

The Invitation to Communion

When the prayer is concluded the priest genuflects, elevates the consecrated host slightly above the chalice and prays aloud, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…” to which we respond, “Lord, I am not worthy.”

The Distribution of the Eucharist

Communion is a gift of the Lord, given to the faithful through the minister appointed for this purpose. The Church has always required from the faithful respect and reverence for the Eucharist at the moment of receiving it. Of special significance is the invitation to receive the Lord’s Body since it highlights the importance of the gathered people as the body of Christ. Now we are the Body of Christ and His members as we acknowledge when we respond, “Amen.” We are witnessing to the sacrament of unity.

The Purification of the Vessels

After Communion the consecrated bread that remains is to be reserved in the tabernacle. When more of the precious blood remains than was necessary for Communion either the priest, deacon or the extraordinary minister of Communion may consume the remainder. All of the vessels used in the distribution of Communion are cleansed by the priest or deacon at a side altar called the credence table.

Silent Prayer

When the distribution of Communion is finished, the priest and faithful spend some time praying privately. The faithful may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence is observed.

Prayer After Communion

To bring to completion the prayer of the People of God, and also to conclude the entire Communion Rite, the priest, standing at the chair and facing the people, recites the prayer after Communion. At the end of the prayer the people say the acclamation, Amen.


When the prayer after Communion is concluded, brief announcements to the people may be made, if they are needed. The priest may also make concluding comments to the entire sacred action before dismissal.

Greeting and Blessing

The priest greets us once again saying, “The Lord be with you” to which we respond, “And also with you.” Then the priest blesses us making the sign of the cross and saying, “May Almighty God bless you the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” We respond, “Amen.” In this final blessing the priest prays that the greatest of all benefits may be given in abundant measure to those who have shared in God’s word and Christ’s body.


The dismissal sends each of us out to do good works, while praising and blessing the Lord. Pope John Paul II often spoke of what some people call, ”the liturgy after the Liturgy.” The Eucharistic celebration does not stop at the church door. We, the people, are now sent forth to carry out the mission of the Church, a mission of healing, justice, and proclamation. All liturgy has a social dimension.