15/5/11 – What Happens at Mass, Part VIII – The Collect and Readings

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

Opening PrayerAfter the Gloria, we conclude the Introductory Rites with the Opening Prayer.  The opening prayer is also referred to as the collect.  As this name suggests, the prayer serves the purpose of collecting together the intentions of all the people who are assembled to celebrate the Mass together.  It then also helps us all to draw our minds towards what we are to celebrate.  After the priest invites us to pray, there should be a brief period of silence to allow us to bring our intentions to mind.

In the new English translation of the Roman Missal, each of the opening prayers has been revised.  We will more than likely be able to tell when the revised opening prayers are used, because their language and structure will change.

Deacon proclaiming the gospelAfter the opening or collect prayer, we then move into the Liturgy of the Word.  The scriptures are proclaimed and we participate by listening.

The main part of the Liturgy of the Word is made up of the readings from Sacred Scripture together with the chants occurring between them. The Homily, Profession of Faith, and Prayer of the Faithful, however, develop and conclude this part of the Mass. For in the readings, as expounded by the Homily, God speaks to his people, opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and offering them spiritual nourishment; and Christ himself is present in the midst of the faithful through his word.  By their silence and singing the people make God’s word their own, and they also affirm their adherence to it by means of the Profession of Faith.  Finally, having been nourished by it, they pour out their petitions in the Prayer of the Faithful for the needs of the entire Church and for the salvation of the whole world.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 55

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