The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

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In my last post, I began sharing a series of articles to look at basic definitions of words that we should know as Catholics. Maybe we forgot, it has been too long since religious education classes, or perhaps we never learned them in the first place, as catechesis over the last 40 or so years has not been emphasized.

We defined the word Liturgy, which is not necessarily synonymous with Mass. The Liturgy is the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, in public worship of God, and brings about the sanctification of mankind. The Mass is one type of Liturgy. So, then, what is the Mass?

The Mass is the celebration of the Eucharist, which is the very sacrifice of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We celebrate it in the manner instituted by Christ, which he entrusted to the Church as a memorial of his death and resurrection. It is not merely a memorial, however, because his sacrifice is actually made present for us. It is the exercise of the priestly office of Christ, for the glorification of God and the sanctification of our souls.

The usual celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can take place according to the different Rites of the Church. At my parish, we celebrate the Roman Rite, of which there are two forms: the Ordinary Form (which we use, in its English translation) and the Extraordinary Form (sometimes known as the Traditional Latin Mass). 

Since the Mass is only one kind of Liturgy, next time we will look at another type of Liturgy…the Liturgy of the Hours.

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