What Happens During a Catholic Mass?

The Catholic Mass is an act of worship to God in which the members of a Catholic community come together to pray, profess their faith, listen to the scriptures and participate in the Eucharist. Catholics believe that the center of the Mass is the consecration of the Eucharist.

The Mass is divided into two distinct, yet interrelated parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. At the heart of the Liturgy of the Word are readings from the New and Old Testament. The song leader or choir and the congregation also recite a Psalm in between the first and second scripture readings. On Sundays and other special days, the priest and congregation also recite the Nicene Creed, which is a summary of core Christian beliefs, and offer prayers for the living and dead.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist is the heart of the Catholic Mass. Catholics believe that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ once they are consecrated. Several prayers by the priest accompany the Eucharist, and those in the congregation who are Catholic and free from mortal, or serious, sins can receive the Eucharist. The Mass closes with a final blessing from the priest and sometimes a hymn.