After the Second Vatican Council, significant changes occurred in how we worship, not least of which was the shift to the vernacular.   The documents were promulgated, and leaders were expected to just make the changes, often before they understood them.  This has created no end of confusion for Catholics over the past 45 years.  
     The Vatican has called for a new translation of the Liturgy, that more closely follows the original Latin.  This translation has to become normative and it provides us with an opportunity to go back and to try to understand the Liturgy better as we adapt to the changes in the wording of prayers.  It is an opportunity to "own" the prayer and make it our own, so that we may enter more deeply into the faith we celebrate.
     Jonathan Lewis, Mike Morison, and Fr. Pat Michaels pooled their resources to come up with a series "The Mass Broken Open," to reflect on the meaning of the Mass.  The script follows:

“The Mass Broken Open,” Series II, Week 1


When it is time for Mass to begin, read the following:


The Mass is made up of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, with an introduction and a conclusion.  Today we will be reflecting on the Introductory Rites or Gathering Rites, which prepares us for the Liturgy of the Word.  The Introductory Rites help us to gather together not just physically in the same place but to gather us spiritually in the same ­­­space, a people united by God’s Spirit; to pray for ourselves, each other and the world.


The Procession

            The priest and assisting ministers process toward the altar with the Book of the Gospels held high.  This dynamic movement transports the whole assembly from our everyday lives into the space of God’s Kingdom.  The Book of the Gospels is placed on the altar, because Jesus is the Word made flesh, present in the community, in the gospel, in Eucharist (the altar), and in the priest, who expresses his union with Christ by kissing the altar of sacrifice.


The Opening Song

            As we begin to celebrate Eucharist we gather in one place to pray as The Body of Christ. We stand to show honor and attention to the prayer that we are entering into together. When we stand with others in the community, and open the song book to join in the song, we show that we are willing to join into prayer together, joining the procession to the altar.


Let us reflect:


-Have I come to join this community in prayer?

-Am I standing in a place in the church where others can feel connected to me?

-Am I ready to join my voice with others, no matter how I might feel about my voice?


The Opening Song is announced and the procession ensues.
Once the priest is in place, before he begins, read the following:


The Sign of the Cross

We begin our prayer together by marking ourselves with the sign of our faith, in which we were baptized: the cross. When we pray in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we remind ourselves that God is present in us.


The Greeting defines our roles.

Jesus acts in the person of the priest, present in a unique way through ordination.  In this role, the presider gathers us, the baptized, as the Body of Christ, by extending his hands wide in a gesture of openness that embraces all.  Repeating the Judeo-Christian greeting which reminds us of our identity and calling, he greets us: “The Lord be with you.”  In our response we recognize Christ as head of the Church represented by this liturgical assembly.  This is the first of four times this dialogue occurs in the Mass.


After announcement of the Mass intention and the greeting (The Lord be with you…) read the following:


The Penitential Rite

Aware of God’s presence in us and in one another, we remember the times that we have failed to share God’s presence and respond to His love for us this past week.  More important than anything is that together we return to God knowing that He is always ready to embrace us and forgive us.


The priest leads the Penitential Rite.

Then read the following:



The Gloria is a song of praise for all that God is doing in our lives. We join our voices together in praise, placing us in a relationship to a loving God who is revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit to us all. It is a song.  Just as you would not recite the National Anthem or the Happy Birthday Song, but sing them; the Gloria expresses our praise best when sung.

Please find the worship aid with the music and new wording of the Gloria, and join in our song of praise.


After the Gloria read the following:



The collect, or opening prayer, gathers all of our prayers, hopes, joys, and sorrows into a single prayer of the whole community. As the priest raises his hands in the ancient gesture of openness before God and all gathered, he says, ‘let us pray.’ We pause in silence to collect all of those prayers in our hearts so that he can offer them to God with one voice.  And it is this united prayer that propels us, heart and soul, into the Liturgy of the Word.


After the Collect is prayed, read the following:


This concludes the Introductory Rites.  Next week we will continue with the Liturgy of the Word.



“The Mass Broken Open,” Week 2


Before the Liturgy of the Word, read the following:


The Mass is made up of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, with an introduction and a conclusion.  Today we will be reflecting on the Liturgy of the Word which includes the scriptural readings up to the preparation of the gifts.  The Liturgy of the Word helps us recognize that we too are participating in Salvation History, God’s ongoing activity in our world, as we encounter God’s love in the stories of generations that have experienced that love before us.  We do not read them as though we were reading a newspaper, but we proclaim them as God’s living Word, speaking to us now.  We encourage you to look up the scripture readings found in the missalette under the date for the current Sunday.  The lector approaches the sanctuary to proclaim the readings as the community is seated in a receptive posture to hear God’s Word.  Stepping up to the Ambo, the table of God’s Word, the lector begins.


The First Reading:

…is taken from the Old Testament, except during the Easter Season when it is taken from the Acts of the Apostles.  Chosen to match the theme of the gospel of the day, in this reading we see God’s plan for salvation unfolding, where it finds its fulfillment in the gospels.


The first reading is read.

After the first reading, read the following:


The Responsorial Psalm

… is our response to the first reading.  “In the first reading God speaks to us, in the responsorial psalm we speak to God.”1 Using scripture we echo the people who have gone before us in praising God for all he has done for us.  As they were written to be sung, we continue the tradition by singing them.


The cantor leads the congregation in the psalm.

After the psalm, read the following:


 1 Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, “What Happens At Mass”


The Second Reading

… is a reading taken from one of the letters in the New Testament, to teach us about living Christianity.  Largely, a letter is proclaimed from beginning to end over a number of weeks.  Although, not chosen to align with themes from the other readings, it often does, because each of the letters is about God’s love and call.


The second reading is read.

Then read the following:


The Gospel Acclamation

…gives praise to God for the good news we are about to hear.  Except during Lent, we sing “alleluia” at the beginning and end of the acclamation which means “praise the Lord.”  During the acclamation the assembly rises, out of respect for the Gospel, the “good news” of Jesus who speaks to us as the living Word of God.  [If there is a deacon, he approaches the presider asking for a blessing for the grace to proclaim the Word.]  The [deacon or] priest processes the Gospel Book from the altar to the ambo. 


The acclamation is sung.

After the gospel acclamation is sung, read the following:


For the second time the priest [or deacon] and people call forth the presence of God in each other with the greeting of “The Lord be with you.”  As he announces the Gospel, and we respond with “Glory to you O Lord,”  we join the priest [or deacon] making the sign of the cross on our foreheads, lips, and hearts, praying that God’s Word may fill our thoughts, words, and in the deepest part of ourselves. 


The dialogue ensues.

 After the dialogue, read the following:


The Gospel

…is the “Good News” of Jesus Christ, revealed in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. He continues to speak to us of God’s love and plan for us, inviting us to be his disciples today.


The gospel is read.

After the gospel, read the following:


The Homily

…is meant to open up the readings of the day so that they speak to the lives of God’s people gathered in his presence.  The homily leads us to a deeper awareness of God at work in our lives, Salvation History, which continues through us today.  Through the priest’s words, Jesus invites us to celebrate his presence among us in the Eucharist.  At the end of the homily we participate in a period of silent reflection:


The homily is preached.

After the homily read the following:


The Creed

The Nicene Creed (found on page 12 in our missalettes) is the primary expression of our belief as a Church: the creed in which we were baptized.    When we stand to proclaim this ancient creed, we re-affirm our baptism and our belief in God’s ongoing activity in Salvation History.  As we profess the creed, we unite in our faith as a Church with all who have proclaimed it through the ages.


The Nicene Creed is proclaimed.

After the Creed, read the following:


The Prayers of the Faithful, or General Intercessions

Believing we are responsible for each other and the world, and that God hears our prayers, we exercise our baptismal priesthood by calling down blessing upon our world.  This prayer helps to expand our vision from our personal life experience to the world’s life experience that is ours as well.


The Prayers of the Faithful are prayed.

After the Prayers end, read the following:


Next week we will look at the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

“The Mass Broken Open,” Week 3, Series II


As people are seated after the Prayers of the Faithful, read the following:


The Mass is made up of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, with an introduction and a conclusion.  Today we will be reflecting on the Liturgy of the Eucharist which begins with the Preparation of the Gifts and continues through the Prayer After Communion.  It is helpful to look at the Liturgy of the Eucharist as having four parts based on Jesus’ action at the Last Supper: Take, Bless, Break, Give.  He took bread and wine, he blessed them, he broke the bread, and gave the bread and wine to his disciples.  In the same way we take bread and wine, we bless them, we break the bread and it is given back to us transformed.


As the ushers begin to take up the collection, and while the gifts are being brought forward, read the following:


The Preparation of the Gifts:

…comes from Jesus taking the bread and wine at the Last Supper, receiving them as gifts.  In response, we offer ourselves along with the bread and wine, gifts from the earth and human labor, taken from among the community which are received by the priest, and offered to God on our behalf. As the bread and wine are received to be blessed and transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, we prepare to be transformed as well.  The priest offers bread, returning what God has given for transformation.  Water is added to the wine, as the priest prays that through the humanity we already share with Christ, we might also share in his divinity.  Wine is then offered, again a gift for transformation.  The priest washes his hands, purifying himself, as Christ makes the hands of the priest his own.


Let us reflect:


- Am I ready to offer my life to God, no matter how imperfect, joined together with these gifts as they are brought forward?


After the priest has washed his hands read the following:


The Prayer Over the Gifts

…completes the preparation of the gifts, where the priest offers them to God on our behalf.  He invites us to pray that our gifts will be received; we stand and respond affirming our desire that God receive our gifts.  He then prays the prayer over the gifts of bread and wine that they and we might be transformed.  We respond “Amen,” which means “yes, so be it.”


After the completion of the prayer read the following:


The Eucharistic Prayer

… echoes Jesus’ blessing of the bread and wine at the Last Supper, is also the moment of transformation for us.  The prayer includes the Preface, the Holy, Holy, and the Eucharistic Prayer itself (which we will look at next week in greater detail).


The Preface

…does not refer to an introduction but to a prayer proclaimed in the presence of the assembly.  The priest, as the leader of the Church’s prayer, in order to continue, needs our voiced response. This invitation and dialogue ensures that we are all on the same page and continue together.  For the third time the priest and people call forth the presence of God in each other with the greeting of “The Lord be with you.”  He then proclaims our intent to give praise and thanks to God, with our whole hearts.  The priest offers a prayer of thanksgiving to God the Father through Jesus, his Son, for what he has done for us, and continues to do now, in Salvation History.


The Preface is prayed.

Then read the following:


The Holy

We are not alone in our praise of God. Singing the Holy unites our voices with all who celebrate Mass throughout the world today and all who have gone before us and who continuously give praise to God in heaven with the angels. This song of praise reminds us that at Mass heaven touches earth and that we are entering into God’s time and God’s space.


Once the people have knelt, read the following:

We kneel after the song in reverence and in awe of God’s activity among us, and to surrender ourselves to the power of God’s transforming love.


Let the Eucharistic Prayer continue, and after the Great Amen, read the following:


The Communion Rite

…begins at this point and continues through the Prayer After Communion.  We move from the Eucharistic Prayer, where bread and wine become Christ, present among us, to our allowing Christ to dwell within us in Communion.  This part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist reveals how we must be joined to one another if we wish to be joined with Christ.  That union takes place as we allow ourselves to be broken open.


The Our Father

… is a prayer that echoes our relationship with God, helping us to prepare to receive Communion.   It expresses our dependence on God and our confidence in the power of his love in our lives.  It also reminds us that we are broken, as we ask God to ‘forgive us our trespasses,’ and of our need to allow our hearts to be broken open ‘as we forgive those who trespass against us,’ so that this relationship with God and the community may continue to grow.


The Our Father is prayed.  Then read the following:


The Sign of Peace

…gives concrete evidence that we have allowed our hearts to be broken open.  Through a handshake, a hug, or a kiss we show that we must be in union with each other to be in union with God.   We take the peace that God’s love brings us and share it with those in the community around us.


Before the Lamb of God begins read the following:


The Fraction Rite, during the Lamb of God,

…is where the priest takes the large host and breaks it, representing that all the hosts are broken from ‘one bread’ to be shared.  Jesus allowed his own life to be broken open and given to us by dying on the cross. We can die to our pride and self-centeredness by breaking open our own lives so they can be shared with God and one another.  Here we recognize that it is not our worthiness that allows us to receive Jesus, it is his desire to “come under our roof” to heal us with his love, joining us into one Body.


Then after the dialogue, before the procession to communion begins, read the following:



The Communion Procession

Christ gives himself in bread and wine, transformed, so that we might share in his life, becoming more like him.  As we join in a song giving God praise for what he is doing in our lives through the Eucharist, we move in procession to receive Jesus, who gives us his risen life.  As we approach to receive the Eucharist, in the form of bread and wine, we bow our heads slightly, acknowledging the extraordinary gift we are about to receive.  The minister declares “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ,” and we affirm our belief responding aloud, “Amen.” 

After all have received, we observe our third profound silence to take in all that God is accomplishing in us. 


After silence has been observed, read the following:


The Prayer After Communion

…concludes the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  The priest, united with us, gives voice to our gratitude for all God has done in our lives, and what He is preparing us for: salvation, perfect union in God’s love.


The Prayer After Communion is prayed.  Then read the following:


Next week we will look at the Eucharistic Prayer and the Concluding Rites.



“The Mass Broken Open,” Week 4, Series II


After the Prayer Over the Gifts, read the following:


The Mass is made up of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, with an introduction and a conclusion.  Today we will be reflecting first on a part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Eucharistic Prayer, which begins with the Preface and the Holy, Holy and ends with the Great Amen. This section represents the “bless” portion of Jesus’ action “take, bless, break and give.”  The Preface begins the prayer with thanksgiving, while the Holy, Holy is our acclamation or song of praise in union with heaven.   After these, we kneel for the   heart of the Eucharistic Prayer.


The Preface and Holy are prayed.

Before the Prayer continues, read the following:


The Epiclesis:

The epiclesis is a word that means “invocation” or “calling down upon.” The priest extends his hands over the gifts. He calls upon the Holy Spirit to come down and transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  Then, he blesses the gifts with the sign of the cross. Through the epiclesis, we ask the Spirit to be with us in a special way, to transform us through the Eucharist.


Lord, you are holy indeed,

the fountain of all holiness.

Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy,

so that they may become for us

the body  X  and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.


Read the following:


The Words of Institution:

…recall the actions and words of Jesus with his disciples at the Last Supper.  We respond to his command to “do this in memory of me.”   When the priest prays the words from the Last Supper, Jesus speaks to each of us through him.   In this moment we sit at table with Jesus as he offers us the fullness of his life and love.


Before he was given up to death,

a death he freely accepted,

he took bread and gave you thanks.

He broke the bread,

gave it to his disciples, and said:


Take this, all of you, and eat it:

this is my body which will be given up for you.


When supper was ended, he took the cup.

Again he gave you thanks and praise,

gave the cup to his disciples, and said:


Take this, all of you, and drink from it:

this is the cup of my blood,

the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.

It will be shed for you and for all

so that sins may be forgiven.

Do this in memory of me.

Read the following:


The Memorial Acclamation:

…is our response to what we have witnessed.  We acclaim with joy God’s work among us throughout history, in hope and expectation of the eternal union his love promises.


Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.


Read the following:


The Anamnesis:

The anamnesis is a word meaning “to remember.” As we remember Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, present to us on the altar, we join our lives to his.  As Jesus is taken, blessed, broken and shared, so are we.  In the context of the anamnesis a second epiclesis occurs: we call upon the Holy Spirit to unite us with the saints of heaven, the Church on earth, the living and the dead, all of whom have been called to share in the redemption of Christ. Through the Eucharist, we are united in the Body of Christ.


In memory of his death and resurrection,

we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup.

We thank you for counting us worthy

to stand in your presence and serve you.

May all of us who share in the body and

blood of Christ be brought together in

unity by the Holy Spirit.


Lord, remember your church throughout the world;

make us grow in love, with Benedict XVI, our pope,

«Bishop» our bishop, and all the

men and women who serve your church.


Remember our brothers and sisters

who have gone to their rest

in the hope of rising again;

bring them and all the departed

into the light of your presence.

Have mercy on us all;

make us worthy to share eternal life

with Mary, the virgin mother of God,

with the apostles, and with all the saints

who have done your will

throughout the ages.

May we praise you in union with them,

and give you glory through your Son, Jesus Christ.

Read the following:


The Doxology

…is a prayer that gives honor and glory to God through, with, and in Jesus.  The priest elevates the Body and Blood of Christ as we respond with a resounding “Amen!”  We respond to the transformation that has taken place through the Eucharistic Prayer, affirming in one united voice, “Yes! So be it!”


Through him, with him, in him,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all glory and honor is yours,

Almighty Father, for ever and ever.


R. Amen.

The Mass continues uninterrupted until the conclusion of the Prayer After Communion.

Then read the following:


The Concluding Rite

…represents a swift movement from the reception of Eucharist to being sent out into the world to bring the “Good News.”  The announcements are made, as necessary, to inform people of the broader life of the community.  The priest greets us one final time with “the Lord be with you,” which marks the last movement of our liturgy: The commissioning of all present to go forth energized and renewed in Christ to be the “Good News” for others.  We are blessed with the sign of the cross, as we are sent, not on our own but with God. 

The sending forth is so important that we call the whole prayer “the Mass,” derived from the phrase “Ite missa est,” meaning “Go! It is the dismissal” or “Go! You are sent forth.”


Intellectual property and written text 2011: Michael Morison, Jonathan Lewis, Fr. Patrick Michaels, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Mill Valley, CA.

Note: The translation of Eucharistic Prayer II is the old translation.

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