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HOLY MASS

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some notes by the site editor which may interest - see also links to external websites (which open in a new window / tab)

Why is Holy Mass important?

The Catholic Church calls the Mass 'the source and summit of our Christian lives' (Catechism, 1324).  It is both source and summit because, at Mass, we encounter Jesus in a unique way. There we come into his presence, uniting our lives with him: there we receive Christ himself in Holy Communion, which is truly his Body and Blood.

At Mass our souls are filled with his power and strength and we are given the means to love one another, as Christ commanded (John 13:34).  Finally the Mass is the best way of giving thanks to God for all the gifts he has given us.  Another word for the Mass is 'Eucharist', which means 'thanksgiving'.

["It is the centre of Christian religion, the heart of devotion, the essence of piety. It is a mystery beyond description that encloses the abyss of divine charity. Through it God touches us in reality and gives us His graces and favours with abundant generosity. Prayer, united to this divine Sacrifice has a power beyond words … by it each one overflows with heavenly blessings" ~ St Francis de Sales on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.]

Structure of the Mass
Introductory Rites.
Liturgy of the Word:

  • Readings:  We listen to God's word in the Bible - through which he speaks to us with a promise for our lives
  • Homily
  • Profession of Faith
  • Intercessions
Liturgy of the Eucharist
  • Preparation of the Gifts: The bread and wine are brought to the altar.  In spirit we offer our lives as well
  • Eucharistic Prayer: Jesus is made present, and through him we offer our prayers to the Father for the needs of the world.
  • Communion Rite We receive Christ's body and blood, a moment of intimate closeness to Jesus
  • Concluding Rites:  We are sent out 'to love and serve the Lord', and to bring his Good News to others.

Resources:

General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) is the official guide to the celebration of Mass prepared for the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world. A revised version of GIRM was published in 2002 in the new 3rd edition of the (Latin) Roman Missal. New Missal - English Translation information (2011). 

The official translation of GIRM was been published in advance of the rest of the Missal, because of its importance as a teaching document for the Church. For more details see:-www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/GIRM/index.html  it is available from cts books or read as PDF

Celebrating the Mass is a pastoral guide to the celebration of Mass prepared by the Bishops of England and Wales and addressing the particular situation and needs of the Church in their dioceses. It is intended to assist people in their understanding of the Liturgy of the Mass, and to be a companion to GIRM. It is available from cts books or read as PDF

Liturgy 

With Hearts and Minds is a resource for small groups, intended to assist participants to a deeper appreciation of the nature and role of the Liturgy in the life of the Christian community; to participate more deeply in the Liturgy.  Separate books for participants and Leaders.
for more details see:- www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/GIRM/index.html#WHM  available from cts books or see information sheet PDF

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Of relevant interest: from the messages of Our Lady according to the testimony of the Medjugorje visionaries

The Eucharist: Our Lady recommends Sunday Mass, and when possible, daily Mass. It has been reported by the visionaries that Our Lady has cried when speaking of the Eucharist and the Mass. She said: "You do not celebrate the Eucharist as you should. If you would know what grace and what gifts you receive, you would prepare yourselves for it each day for an hour at least." (1985)

The evening Mass in Medjugorje is the most important moment of the day because Our Lady is present and She gives us Her Son in a special way. The Mass is more important than any of Our Lady’s apparitions. Marija said that if she had to choose between the Eucharist and the apparition, she would choose the Eucharist. Our Lady said: "The evening Mass must be kept permanently." (October 6, 1981)

She also asked that the prayer to the Holy Spirit always be said before Mass. Our Lady wants to see the Holy Mass as "the highest form of prayer" and "the centre of our lives" (according to Marija). Vicka also says that the Blessed Mother sees the Mass as "the most important and the most holy moment in our lives. We have to be prepared and pure to receive Jesus with a great respect. The Mass should be the centre of our lives" Our Lady is crying because people do not have enough respect toward the Eucharist. The Mother of God wants us to realize the extreme beauty of the mystery of the Mass. She has said: "There are many of you who have sensed the beauty of the Holy Mass… Jesus gives you His graces in the Mass." (April 3, 1986) "Let the Holy Mass be your life." (April 25, 1988 - see below in full)

This means that the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ must become our life, together with the hope of His second coming. During Mass, we receive the Living Christ and in Him we receive the whole mystery of our salvation that must transform and transfigure us. The Holy Mass is the perfect expression of the mystery of Christ in which we can fully participate in His life. Our Lady has said:

"Mass is the greatest prayer of God. You will never be able to understand its greatness. That is why you must be perfect and humble at Mass, and you should prepare yourselves for it." (1983)

Our Lady wants us to be full of joy and hope during Mass and to make an effort so that this moment will "be an experience of God". Surrender to Jesus and the Holy Spirit is a very important part of the messages because it is the only path to holiness. To be open to the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments is the way we are going to be sanctified. In this way, Our Lady will obtain for us, the grace to become Her witnesses in the world to fulfil the plan of God and Her plan. Our Lady has said:

"Open your hearts to the Holy Spirit. Especially during these days the Holy Spirit is working through you. Open your hearts and surrender your life to Jesus so that He works through your hearts." (May 23, 1985)

April 25, 1988 "Dear children! God wants to make you holy. Therefore, through me He is inviting you to complete surrender. Let Holy Mass be your life. Understand that the church is God's palace, the place in which I gather you and want to show you the way to God. Come and pray. Neither look at others nor slander them, but rather, let your life be a testimony on the way of holiness. Churches deserve respect and are set apart as holy because God, who became man, dwells in them day and night. Therefore, little children, believe and pray that the Father increase your faith, and then ask for whatever you need. I am with you and I am rejoicing because of your conversion and I am protecting you with my motherly mantle. Thank you for having responded to my call."

April 3, 1986 "Dear children! I wish to call you to a living of the Holy Mass. There are many of you who have sensed the beauty of the Holy Mass, but there are also those who come unwillingly. I have chosen you, dear children, but Jesus gives you His graces in the Mass. Therefore, consciously live the Holy Mass and let your coming to it be a joyful one. Come to it with love and make the Mass your own. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Holy Family Parish Queen of Peace Prayer Group (Medjugorje)

“One of the most admirable effects of Holy Communion is to preserve souls from falling and to help those who fall from weakness to rise again. Therefore, it is much more profitable to approach the divine Sacrament frequently with love, respect, and confidence, than to keep back from an excess of fear.” ~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

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