Friday, December 9, 2011

The Structure of the Mass

With the recent changes to the English translation of the Mass, it is a good opportunity to talk about a diagram that I created based upon a "Mass of explanation" I saw a few years ago.  It was given by our Pastor to the second grade Religious Education children I was teaching.  I took some notes and turned it into the diagram below.

Click here for a PDF version

Here's a quick overview.   The Mass is divided into two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  There are two movements within each.  In the Liturgy of the Word, we first speak to God in the Processional Hymn, the confiteor, the Gloria and the Collect.  Then God speaks to us in His Word and in the presider's Homily.   The two Liturgies are connected by the Creed.  In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we first offer to God in the Offertory, the prayers over the Gifts and the Consecration.  Then God takes what we bring, transforms it and offers it all back to us from the Prayer after consecration, the great Amen and reception of Communion, finally sending us forth changed.

I very much liked creating this diagram because it helped me to break down the parts and find an underlying structure to the Mass.  I hope it's helpful to you too.


  1. Do you think it's different for the Extraordinary Form?

  2. Nice! There are just two quibbles I have. I would have liked to have seen that it is God's initial calling and inspiration that draws us to liturgy, and that it is God that sends us forth to proclaim the Gospel, evangelize the world, etc. -- God in the beginning and end of the "M."

    The other is that the Prayers of the Faithful are missing, which fit fine in the schema, after the Creed.