Basic Texts for the Roman Catholic Eucharist
THE ORDER OF MASS
This webpage is intended to help you become familiar with the "Order of Mass" used in the Roman Catholic Church. The texts and responses spoken by all the people are indicated in bold type below. Some of the greetings and prayers spoken by the presider (the priest or bishop) at each Mass are also included, in order to help you understand the structure and flow of the Mass more fully. The postures prescribed for Masses in the United States are indicated in small print (note: standing, sitting, or kneeling during certain parts of the Mass may be different in other countries).
This webpage is not intended for priests to use in celebrating the Eucharist, since it does not include those texts which are different at each Mass, such as the three presidential prayers (the Opening Prayer, Prayer over the Gifts, and Prayer after Communion), or the readings used during the "Liturgy of the Word." It also does not contain the full "rubrics" (the explicit instructions printed in red) of the Sacramentary, nor does it contain the brief prayers that the priest is supposed to say "inaudibly" (just before and after proclaiming the Gospel, while mixing the water and wine, while washing his fingers, after the Breaking of the Bread, and just before and after receiving communion).
The "Order of Mass" is based on the Missale Romanum (The Roman Missal, revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Council and published by authority of Pope Paul VI). The English translations of the prayers and responses given here are copyright 1970-1985 by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), and reprinted here with permission. The explanations printed in small italics are by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
The basic structure of the Mass has four parts: two main parts and two framing rites: