The main act of communal worship in the Roman Catholic Church is the Holy Mass. When possible Mass is celebrated daily. The main weekly celebrations take place on Sunday. The Saturday evening celebration is the vigil Mass (the first Mass of Sunday).
The morning Mass of Sunday (usually at 10 a.m.) is particularly suited for families; a children’s liturgy group takes care of young parishioners in approximately the 3-11 year age range during the Liturgy of the Word.
We welcome visitors, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, to join us in the celebration of Mass.
The structure of the Mass – A Catholic Mass has four parts.
1. The Introductory Rites
The Mass may begin with a Hymn as the Priest (Celebrant) processes to the altar. The people are welcomed by the Celebrant, and the congregation joins in the Penitential Rite in which we reflect on and acknowledge our shortcomings in the sight of God and ask for His forgiveness. We ask for God’s mercy and (except during the solemn seasons of Advent and Lent) proclaim His Glory by singing or reciting the Gloria.
2. The Liturgy of the Word
A number of readings from Scripture are given. On Sundays and special feast days there are usually three main readings, The first usually from the Old Testament, one from the letters of the New Testament, and one from the Gospels which give accounts of the life of Christ. On other days, there are two main readings. The readings are interspersed with psalms and acclamations in which the congregation participate. Following the readings, the Priest will usually deliver a homily.
Following the Homily the congregation usually recite the Profession of Faith (the Creed). On the Masses of Sunday there are Prayers of the Faithful. These prayers of petition to God for the needs of the Church, society, the parish, people in need, the sick and suffering, and those who have died. These prayers conclude the Liturgy of the Word. On the Sunday Masses, before the next part of the Mass begins, a collecting plate is circulated, in which members of the congregation may place their financial contribution towards the upkeep of the Parish. This is a voluntary contribution, and many parishioners may have made other arrangements to contribute through bank standing orders.
3. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
The Eucharist is the Sacrament at the heart of Mass, the great Thanksgiving that commemorates Christ’s Last Supper on Earth, and His Sacrifice on the cross. The bread and wine that will be consecrated are brought in procession to the altar and offered up to God along with the collection offerings.
Before the Eucharistic Prayer the Priest recites a Preface prayer which concludes with the Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy”), in which the congregation joins During the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest intercedes with God on behalf of all people, living and dead. At the solemn moment of Consecration, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ in an echo of the Last Supper and Christ’s gift of himself, body and soul, for His people. They also pray together the Our Father, the prayer of Christ Himself that binds us all together in the one family of God.
The congregation then comes forward to receive the consecrated bread and wine, the act of communion that affirms their common membership of the Church of Christ. While only baptised Catholics may receive the communion bread and wine, we welcome all who wish to receive the blessing of the Church to come forward at this time, placing their hands across their body resting on their shoulders.
4. The Concluding Rites
After receiving communion, the congregation returns to their seats for a period of quiet reflection. At this time, announcements are made to inform the parishioners of forthcoming events in the life of the Parish. Occasionally a second voluntary collection may be taken to raise money for some particular good cause. The priest then dismisses the congregation in a spirit of thanksgiving and joy, sending them out to spread the good news of the Gospel.