Celebrating Sunday Mass

Thursday, September 28 2006
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Called to Celebrate

God calls us: We have been called to be the holy people of God. When we were baptized, we became the beloved children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus and of one another, temples of the Spirit. Our Father has saved us by the dying and rising of Jesus Christ. Each Sunday our God calls us together. He invites us to listen to the word as it is spoken to us; to give praise and thanks to the one who saves us; to be nourished with the eucharistic food; and to go back to our daily life with new strength and love.

All celebrate: Catholics are invited to celebrate the Eucharist. By baptism, we have the privilege and responsibility of taking a full part with Christ and his people. While the priest and the other ministers have special tasks to do during the Mass, the whole assembled community is celebrating Jesus’ triumph over sin and death and our share in his victory.

How do we celebrate? Many ways of taking part in the Mass are described in this leaflet. By doing them well each Sunday we can increase our full and active participation. As we learn to celebrate better with Jesus and his people, we become more pleasing to our Lord and grow in his love. We celebrate this Eucharist in memory of Jesus and with him; we look forward to sharing with all God’s people in the unending banquet of heaven.

Liturgy of the Word

In the reading of the scriptures, God is present among us, speaking to us in his word and inviting us to respond in faith and love.

God speaks.

We respond.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Preparation of the gifts: In the collection, we share our gifts with the Church and the poor. Bread and wine are brought to the altar in preparation for the holy meal.

Eucharistic prayer: This is the centre of the Mass, its most important part. The priest invites us to join in praise and thanks as he proclaims this prayer. We offer this prayer to the Father, through Jesus the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

Communion rite: We pray the “Our Father” in preparation for communion. We show that we are at peace with God and God’s people by sharing the sign of peace. Bread is broken to feed us, signifying that we are one in Christ. We come to the altar to eat the bread of life and drink the cup of our salvation.
After silent prayer, the priest prays that we may continue to benefit from this celebration.

Life and Liturgy

Life leads to liturgy: Everything that God’s children do can be a preparation for offering the Sunday Eucharist:

During the Mass we join our daily sacrifices to Jesus’ sacrifice, asking him to help us continue to live each day for him.

Liturgy leads to life: After Mass, our Christian vocation continues. Nourished by God’s word, encouraged by the prayer and example of our sisters and brothers, strengthened by the Eucharistic food for our journey, we go forth as God’s holy people. We are sent to build up God’s kingdom by our love and to defeat the power of evil by our humble, obedient service. We go forth to love and serve Christ, to pray for the world and to praise the Father by our daily life and prayer.

Liturgy and life come together in the Mass. Life gives context to our prayer and our gifts; our praise and offering show that our life is being lived for God.


Jesus was sent by God the Father to be the servant of all and to teach us to serve others in love. Our God invites the Church and all its members to be ministers or servants with Jesus, and so build up the kingdom of God on earth.

Lord Jesus, our brother and our saviour,
we join with you in praising our Father,
in giving thanks for all the gifts
we have received,
and in praying for the world.
Help us to celebrate Mass well,
for you have called us
to be your holy people of praise.

Blessed are you, Lord Jesus,
now and for ever. Amen!

Celebrating Sunday Mass: Liturgical Leaflet, edited by the National Liturgy Office, and published by Publications Service, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 2J2 Canada. Copyright © Concacan Inc., 1987, 2002. All rights reserved. This text may be reproduced for personal or parish use. For commercial licence, please contact the publisher.