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218 • Part II. The Sacraments: The Faith Celebrated

1. The Introductory Rites

The Christian community, united by the Holy Spirit, gathers for worship

in response to God’s call. Jesus, our High Priest, is the principal agent

of our celebration. The bishop or priest acts in the person of Christ,

the Head of the Church. All the worshipers participate actively with

interior devout attention and with external reverence shown by singing

the hymns and giving the responses and, when appropriate, observing

silence. There are also the deacon, the lectors, those who present the

offerings, the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the altar

servers, the musicians, and other ministers. This first movement contains

the Introductory Rites, which begin the celebration of the Mass. These

include the Penitential Rite, the


, and the Opening Prayer.

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be

led to that full, conscious and active participation in liturgi-

cal celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the

liturgy, and to which the Christian people, “a chosen race, a

royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people” (1 Pt 2:9,

4-5) have a right and obligation by reason of their baptism. (SC,

no. 14)

2. Liturgy of the Word

Over the course of the liturgical year, readings from Scripture, especially

the Gospels, provide the heart of this part of the celebration. The procla-

mation of God’s Word and its explanation are meant to arouse our faith

and prepare us for an ever deeper participation in the mystery of the

Eucharist. The readings are followed by a homily from a bishop, priest,

or deacon; the Profession of Faith in the recitation of the Creed; and

intercessory prayers.

3. Liturgy of the Eucharist


The Preparation of the Gifts

(Jesus took bread and wine). The

offerings of bread and wine are received by the priest, who may be

assisted by a deacon. “They will be offered by the priest in the name of

Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice in which they will become his Body