Some Catholics and those who are interested in learning about the Catholic faith are not quite sure of the sequence, (or order) of the Mass, nor do they know “why” the Catholic Church does certain rituals during the Mass and what the historical background pertaining to them is. This page in the future will develop as the readers send in their questions concerning which part of the mass isn’t understood, and will be designed to help them understand it better.
What to do at the beginning of Mass?
When entering gently dip your fore finger in the holy water font and make the sign of the cross. This is a sign of spiritual cleansing. During the
penitential rite opening prayer of the mass we recollect our sins and ask for Gods forgiveness.Lord have Mercy, Christ have Mercy, Lord Have mercy….
There is no need to dip in the font when exiting Mass; this should be done when entering.
Before sitting down, you should go to one knee and genuflect.Also, before the alter or wherever the tabernacle is kept, this should also be done. This is a sign of adoration for the Lord. Remember as Catholics we believe in his real presence.
During the Our Father:
Recently many people have begun to hold hands during the Lords prayer. While this appears to be something nice and harmless, the Holy See discourages it. We should never do anything that distracts from being in total and complete one with our lord during this prayer. We need to try as hard as possible to focus. It is better to close your eyes, if needed and reflect on the solemn words given to us by our Lord (the lords prayer is a prayer given to us by Jesus himself).
Should we stand or kneel?
Recently many parishes have begun to request that all parishioners remain standing after the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. I often here this is a sign of unity. I take exception with this because our unity is in the body of Christ. Remember right before the beginning of the consecration the Priest asks us to lift up our hearts and we respond, “we lift them to up to the lord.” That is where the unity is for a Catholic. On the other hand, Protestants don’t share that same unity so physical gestures like holding hands are important to them.
The Holy See official teaching is for the individual to take whatever posture they are most comfortable with: standing, sitting, kneeling and can reflect
When receiving communion:
This, for lack of a better word, is the highlight of the Mass.You are about to receive the actual body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
During this time, I often witness people getting in line for communion, looking around saying hello to people, etc…. This time should be used to take thought in the wonderful gift you are about to receive. This is the precious body and blood of our Lord. Just before receiving you should give a deep bow or better yet kneel to one knee or both for that matter. This should be done while the person just before you is receiving, (so as not to interfere with the flow).
When is Mass over?
Mass is NOT over after receiving communion.We should not depart from the church until the Priest has given us his final blessing. And out of
respect for the people in the choir, not until they are done singing. How would you feel if you were singing and people just hurried out before
After exiting your pew it is important to give final kneel (genuflect) as you are departing the presence of the Lord.
I always say a brief thank you for the gift God has just given me. Conversation should be reserved for outside the church building.
Clothes attire for Church:
Many people feel it doesn’t matter how they dress when they come to church. I often hear “God doesn’t care what I look like as long as I am here”.
While there may be some truth to that, what does your appearance say to God?
Do you dress better for work then Mass?
Does your dress distract other people?
When you go to a wedding, you dress appropriately out of respect for the married couple. At church you should dress appropriately out of respect for God.