Wednesday, July 22, 2009


After receiving Communion the Communion Rite is not finished! The rite ends with the praying of the collect or Prayer after Communion. That is why it is inappropriate to have the announcements read or other such thing before the collect is prayed. We are not done yet!

The form of this prayer is similar to the collect at the beginning of Mass. There is a call to, “Let us pray,” at which time we are called to silent prayer. (Hopefully you are given a little time to do this.) The prayers are then collected into one great prayer offered on behalf of the congregation to the Father, thought the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. This concludes the Communion Rite and if there are any horrid little announcements to be read or some such thing this is the time to do it.

Now that we have been renewed, fed, instructed, we have praised God, been blessed by Him, and brought closer to Him, now that we have celebrated and have even touched God we have once more the call and response, “The Lord be with you.” “And also with you.” A final blessing is given just before we are sent out to live what we have celebrated. “May Almighty God bless you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

“Amen!” we cry out, ready to live anew the life to which Jesus has called us.

“This Mass is ended. Go in peace.”

How grateful we are for this great gift in which were privileged to participate. “Thanks be to God!”

The Mass ends right here. The concluding hymn is not part of the Mass. If you have stayed for the, “Thanks be to God,” you have stayed for the entire Mass and in doing so have fulfilled your Sunday obligation. The mandate of Vatican II for full, conscious, and active participation has been met.

Manners however might call us to something higher. Participating in the closing hymn, allowing the priest to take leave of the sanctuary, making a connection with other parishioners is not a matter of liturgy, it is a matter of community. It shows that we understand what it is to be Church. That is not to say that there are times that we might need to hurry on a particular day, but in general staying to offer a prayer of thanksgiving perhaps, going to coffee and donuts, stepping outside to speak to people with whom you have a connection, this is all part of trying live what we have just celebrated.

“That they might be one of the first to get out of the parking lot.” Er, I mean, “That they might be one.”

Well, so much for a quick overview of the Mass! But we are done. But, my friends, we have just scratched the surface. The depths of the beauty of the Mass is infinitely deeper. There is so much more to explore and there has been a mere taste here. If you “got something out of” this series please consider continuing your exploration of this “source and summit” of our lives; the cause and symbol of our unity.


Kevin said...

Father this series has been a true joy to read and I thank you. Hopefully you will continue with new topics.
I enjoy and appreciate a Priest that has removed so much ego and self from his teaching and just lets the truth and strength of the Word stand on it's own merit. I'm more than a little tired of the "Rock Star Priest" syndrome that seems all too prevalent today.

I will pray for your sisters full recover, for yourself and your ministry-Kevin

Anonymous said...

As a parishioner, I too want to thank you, Father, for taking the time in your busy day to teach us and build up our faith. The Mass is central to our worship and we will pray the Mass better the more we understand what is happening.

Odysseus said...

-“Thanks be to God!”
The Mass ends right here.-

LOL I will always remember seeing some people leaving at this point when I was about eight years old. Jealous, I asked my mother, "How come some people get to leave early?"

She said, "Some people think mass is over after communion." She looked down at me, put a finger in my face, and added "But it isn't!"

It's even more prolonged in the traditional mass. The priest says "Ite, missa est" and if you think you are going anywhere soon, boy are you in for a surprise! LOL There is still the blessing, the last gospel, three hail mary's, the salve regina, another prayer, st. michael's prayer, the sacred heart of jesus....

and all on your knees!

And then the really righteous people (those not laden with rambunctious children like mine) stay for the thanksgiving prayers!

Patrick said...

Thank you Father.