Draw Near - A Video Guide to the Catholic Mass

source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co0qalRkEJs

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Francis George: I'm Cardinal Francis George, and it's my pleasure as Archbishop of Chicago to introduce you to this teaching resource, Draw Near, a video guide to the Catholic Mass. This video is both timely and timeless. Timely because it coincides with our celebration of the year of Sunday mass in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Timeless because the mass is a gift we have received from Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever. As the Catholic Church observes the year of faith around the world, we are called to strengthen our relationship with Christ Jesus. A better understanding of the mass is one way to make that happen. My hope is that this video and its companion study guide will be valuable tools for those who teach our Catholic faith by explaining who Christ is for it is Christ who is the Eucharist. I thank Father Louis Cameli for his insightful presentation as he walks us through the meaning, the beauty and the spiritual necessity of the mass. The letter of St. James, Chapter 4, verse 8 proclaims, "Draw near. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." We draw near to God every time we go to mass and receive Christ in Holy Communion. I pray that we will all be drawn closer to God through a deeper understanding and appreciation of the mass. May God bless you. Fr. Cameli: One of the TV science channels offers a program entitled, "How it's Made." The show deals with all sorts of things that we use every day, from rubber bands to popcorn, from car engines to ballpoint pens. We learn how these every-day objects are made, and once we step back from familiar things and understand what goes into them, we see them differently, and we appreciate them in a new way. As believers, as people of faith, it's very helpful for us to step back and take another look at what we believe and how we practice our faith. When we think about the center of our faith, the mass is right there as the source and summit of our Christian life. In this video, we will take another look at the mass, a prayer that may seem to be so familiar, but also a prayer that can take on new and deeper meaning. As we walk through the different parts of the mass, we will realize that it is one prayer, the prayer of Jesus who gave Himself up for us in self-sacrificing love on the cross. We make the prayer of Jesus our own. Although there are many parts and rituals that belong to the mass, there are two fundamental movements in the mass. Hearing God's word proclaimed and preached and then, celebrating the Eucharist that makes Jesus' death and resurrection remembered and present to us, the same Jesus who then gives Himself to us as our Bread of Life in Holy Communion. With this introduction, we can begin to look at the mass for deeper understanding and appreciation. Mass begins with a procession of the priest, celebrant and ministers who accompany him. The priest reverences and kisses the altar, which symbolizes Christ. In fact, mass began with our own procession, coming into church, leaving behind the world, our world that may be hurried and a bit chaotic or even struggling and suffering. We walked in. The entrance procession now walks in for us. The entrance chant signals that we are now in a holy place. We have carved out a time and a place where we can meet God, and God can meet us. Priest: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Congregation: Amen. Fr. Cameli: We begin with what is perhaps our earliest personal religious memory and practice, the sign of the cross. We invoke the name of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The God we have come to meet and the God whose life we share. Our path to the triune God is the cross of Jesus. His sacrifice that will be made present in the mass, we are about to celebrate. The short opening dialog between the priest and the congregation uses biblical language. For example, "The Lord be with you and with your spirit," to signify that the Church, in that moment, is now gathered in the presence of the Lord. The penitential rite begins. The different forms of the penitential rite at the beginning of mass asks for God's mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. The prayers draw on pleas for mercy and forgiveness found in the Bible. The purpose of this rite is to enable us to worship God with a purified heart. Jesus, for example, says in Matthew's gospel, "When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother or sister and then come and offer your gift." The Glory to God in the Highest hymn is now sung. It is also known as the Gloria, and it draws its text from the song of the angels at the birth of Jesus. The words are found in St. Luke's gospel, Chapter 2, Verse 14. The Gloria brings us to the praise and thanksgiving of God at the beginning of our worship. To be mindful of God's greatness and to live with gratitude, not only describe our worship, but also an abiding awareness that ought to belong to every Christian life. The Collect or opening prayer as the name indicates collects the prayerful intentions of the people who are gathered for worship. The opening prayer is compactly composed and generally includes an invocation of God, a description of what God has done, a specific petition, and a conclusion that directs the prayer to the Father, through the Son in the Unity of the Holy Spirit. The Collect concludes the first introductory part of the mass. The second part of the mass is the liturgy of the Word. Every act of worship in the life of the church is based on the Word of God that is found in the Bible. The Word of God is proclaimed, heard and explained. God's Word leads us to celebrate the Eucharist. God's Word directs us to live our lives in a renewed and transformed way in the world. We are seated for the first two readings, a posture of receptivity. The first reading is usually taken from the Old Testament. In some way, it echoes a theme that is at the heart of the gospel of the day that we will hear shortly. The Responsorial Psalm takes verses from the Book of Psalms, the inspired prayers of the Old Testament. The Psalm verses respond to the reading we have just heard. The verses enable us to absorb and recognize the message of the reading. The second reading is usually taken from one of St. Paul's letters. Across a series of Sundays, selections from one of Paul's letters may be read. The readings move from chapter to chapter. For example, across his letter to the Romans, Paul's message consistently encourages and challenges believers to embrace their faith in Jesus Christ and to live it out more authenticly. The Gospel Acclamation is usually A sin, Alleluia, which means praise God. We stand to honor the gospel Word that we will receive. Priest: The Lord be with you. Congregation: And with your spirit. Priest: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John. Congregation: Glory be to you, O Lord. Fr. Cameli: The priest or deacon proclaims the gospel. There is a three-year cycle of readings from the gospels. Year A for Matthew, Year B for Mark, the shortest gospel, which is combined with John's gospel. Year C for Luke. The selections generally represent a continuous reading, chapter by chapter of the gospel of the year. Priest: The Gospel of the Lord. Congregation: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. Fr. Cameli: The word homily comes from an ancient Greek word that meant to hold a conversation, to live with familiarity, to associate with. The priest celebrant or occasionally, a deacon, preaches the homily to draw us into a deeper understanding of the Word of God that we have just now heard. The homily also leads and directs us to the Eucharist that will be celebrated. Finally, the homily encourages us to live the Word in the course of our daily life. The Creed or the Profession of Faith is a summary of the Church's faith initially formulated at the Council of Nicea in the year 325 A.D. In the early centuries of the Church's history, councils of bishops met to identify and articulate our faith in understandable terms. Our common profession of faith is a fitting response to the Word of God that we have just heard and received in faith. The Prayer of the Faithful or Universal Prayer concludes the second part of the mass, the liturgy of the Word. Prayer intentions are offered, usually in four categories, for the needs of the Church, for public authorities in the world, for those in special difficulty, and for the local community. When we offer these prayers, we exercise our ministry as the priestly people of God. The liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts. The gifts include the bread and wine that will be used in the Eucharist as well as the monetary offerings, which we bring and which are used to support the Church and care for the poor. In a small procession, representative members of our congregation bring the gifts forward and so symbolize the offering that all of us are making. Prayers of blessing for God's goodness, recited either aloud or silently, accompany the priest's preparation of the gifts. He then washes his hands to express his desire for interior purification as he quietly prays words from Psalm 51. "Wash me, o Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins." After inviting everyone to pray that the offering to God be acceptable, he prays the prayer over the gifts and concludes the rite of preparation. The Eucharistic prayer is a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification, in which the elements of bread and wine are consecrated and become the Body and Blood of Christ. As the memorial or remembrance of what Jesus did the night before He died, the Eucharist makes present His saving sacrifice on the cross in sign and sacrament. For these reasons, the Eucharistic prayer is truly the center and the high point of our celebration of the mass. The Eucharistic prayer begins with a prayerful dialog between priest and people. Priest: The Lord be with you. Fr. Cameli: And with your spirit. Priest: Lift up your hearts. Fr. Cameli: We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord Our God. It is right and just. Then the Preface follows, a prayer often sung, that gives us reasons for offering praise and thanksgiving to God. The Preface concludes with the Holy, Holy, Holy, an acclamation that we say or sing. This acclamation is taken from the prophet Isaiah, Chapter 6 and echoes the worship of the angels before the throne of God in heaven. Our celebration of the mass certainly takes place on earth, but it is also linked to the heavenly worship of all the angels and saints. The main body of the Eucharistic Prayer begins after the Holy, Holy, Holy. There are a number of different Eucharistic Prayers, but they also share a common structure and direction. The Eucharistic Prayers begin with acknowledging the holiness of God and then move to an invocation or calling of the Holy Spirit to come upon the gifts of bread and wine and to change them into the Body and Blood of Christ. The priest extends his hands over the gifts as he makes this prayer invoking the Holy Spirit. This is an ancient gesture, always associated with calling the Holy Spirit, and it is also used in baptism, confirmation, ordination, and other sacramental rituals. The center of the Eucharistic Prayer is the recitation of the Words of Institution, the very words which Jesus gave us the night before He died for us. "This is My body, which will be given up for you. This is the chalice of My blood." The priest pronounces these words not in his own name but in the name and person of Jesus Christ. Faith tells us that the reality of bread and wine becomes the reality of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Faith tells us that in this action, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is made present to us for it is His body given up for us, and his blood poured out for us. After the Words of Institution, the Eucharistic Prayer continues with a brief remembrance of the events that brought us redemption in Christ. Another kind of remembrance follows that links us to the universal Church through the pope and our local bishop. Finally, the prayer remembers the dead who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith. The Eucharistic Prayer concludes with the Doxology or great word of praise. Through Him and with Him and in Him, o God, Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours forever and ever. We respond with the Great Amen, our heartfelt affirmation of the praise of God and indeed, of the whole Eucharistic prayer, which comes to a conclusion with our amen. Fr. Cameli: The communion rite begins fittingly with the Lord's Prayer, the prayer which Jesus Himself gave us and which is found in Chapter 6 of Matthew's gospel. In that prayer, we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. In fact, the Lord Himself will give us the bread of life, his own Body and Blood in Holy Communion. After praying for deliverance from evil and for the gift of peace, we are invited to exchange the sign of peace. When we offer each other the sign of peace, we prepare ourselves for that unity and communion that makes us one in the Body of Christ, which we will shortly receive. While we pray or sing the Triple Lamb of God, the priest breaks the consecrated bread, symbolizing that we who are many are made one by receiving communion from the one bread of life. The breaking of bread also symbolizes the Body of Christ, broken for us, so that our sins can be forgiven, and we can receive eternal life. When the priest offers the Lord present in the Eucharist to us, behold the Lamb of God, we respond by borrowing words from the Roman centurion found in Chapter 8 of Matthew's gospel. We echo the centurion as we say, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed." As we come forward, the priest or minister holds the Eucharist before us and says, "The Body of Christ." Our response is "Amen," which simply means, "It is true. We believe." After Holy Communion, there is some silent time to absorb the holy mysteries, which we have just now celebrated. The Communion rite iteself concludes with the Prayer After Communion, a prayer that sums up the experience of the Eucharist and asks God to let its effects take hold of our lives. The concluding rites of the mass include a Blessing that asks God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to stay with us who have celebrated the holy mysteries of the death and resurrection of the Lord. The Dismissal follows the Blessing. It is an ascending rite that encourages us to bring what we have experienced in the mass to the world. Go and announce the gospel of the Lord. As we conclude our celebration of the Eucharist, we leave God's house. We return to our world and day-to-day life because we have met the living Christ in his Word and sacrament, we have been changed. Now we are responsible for bringing Him into a world in need of its savior.


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1 Stephanie C = "Mass the Latin meaning is Liturgy of the world. Having sacred scriptures,prayers,sacrifice,Hymns,symbols and Food for the soul."
2 Cary W = "This is well done, and seems to follow the doctrine of the church accurately.  This liturgy does set a tone of reverence before God, and gratitude for Christ.  "