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THE MASS. It has gone by many names over the centuries: the Breaking of the Bread, the Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy, the Unbloody Sacrifice, the Mystical Supper of the Lamb, and many more. Any title falls short of capturing what is the “source and summit” of Christian faith. And yet, every title contributes to deepening our entry into this greatest Mystery of our faith.
The Mass: this simplest title most likely derives from the sending forth in Latin: Ite MISSA est (“Go forth, the Mass is ended”; or, more literally, “Go, She (the Church) has been sent”). The Mass is our greatest prayer because it is the prayer of Christ in his Paschal Mystery, in his supreme response to the Father, which includes his own “going forth” to the right hand of God. The ritual that clothes the Mass both invites and disposes the baptized to join in Christ’s response of offering, sacrifice, blessing and praise.
On these webpages, you can find a wealth of resources and catechetical material for deepening your understanding of and entry into the Great Mystery that is the Mass. The pages follow, to some extent, the outline and content of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, with the different times of the Church year, the Sacraments and the sacramentals, but it also includes the daily prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours—the marking of the day with prayer that culminates in and follows from the Mass. Our own obligation to serve the liturgy and to prepare and celebrate the ritual with love and devotion can hopefully be aided by the materials found here.
The New Evangelization is a stirring up of the never-quenched fires of faith and mission that derive from and lead back to the Mass. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is engaging the New Evangelization with a focus on the basics of Faith, Worship and Witness. As our faith is strengthened and our worship renewed, it is hoped that our witness will serve the transformation of minds and hearts, as well as the culture of our country. Go and Announce the Gospel of the Lord. It is the Mass.
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