The Worshipping Assembly at Mass

November 19th, 2011  |  Published in New Roman Missal

The Worshipping Assembly at Mass In the celebration of Mass the faithful are a holy people, a chosen people, a royal priesthood: they give thanks to God and offer the Victim not only through the hands of the priest but also together with him and learn to offer themselves. They should endeavor to make this clear by their deep sense of reverence for God and their charity toward brothers and sisters who share with them in the celebration (no. 95). They should become one body, whether by hearing the word of God, or joining in prayers and liturgical song, or above all by offering the sacrifice together and sharing together in the Lord’s Table (no. 96).

Because the whole liturgy is a corporate act of the gathered assembly (GIRM no. 34;), there are certain parts of the Mass that are to be done by the whole assembly in order to express the corporate nature of this act. Through these actions, the entire congregation joins itself to Christ in acknowledging the great things that God has done and in offering the sacrifice (no. 78). These acts include:

• Listening with reverence to the readings of God’s word (GIRM no. 29);
• Engaging in the dialogue of prayer through acclamations, greetings, and responses to spoken and sung prayers (no. 34-37);
• Joining in an action through common postures and gestures (no. 42);
• Participating in the greeting of peace as a sign of ecclesial communion and love for each other (no. 82);
• Participating in specific spoken prayers and other texts, namely:
• the formula of general confession during the penitential rite (no. 51);
• the profession of faith (no. 67-68);
• the general intercessions (no. 69);
• the Lord’s Prayer (no. 81);
• the prayer of humility before sacramental communion (no. 84);
• Participating in the offering during the Eucharistic Prayer, which is spoken or chanted by the priest, but in which all should join as the Church;
• Participating in liturgical song, because singing is a way of expressing both the corporate nature of the act of worship and the intense union to be achieved between God and the Church in Christ through the Holy Spirit. These songs and acclamations are normally to be sung, in whole or in part, by all the participants:
• opening liturgical song (no. 48);
• Kyrie (no. 52);
• Gloria (no. 53);
• Responsorial psalm (no. 61);
• Gospel acclamation (no. 62);
• Song at the preparation of gifts (no. 74);
• Sanctus, memorial acclamation, and Amen (no. 79, 151);
• The Lord’s Prayer (no. 81);
• Lamb of God (no. 83);
• the optional psalm, canticle of praise, or hymn after communion (no. 88).
• For those who are properly disposed (no. 80), full, active, and conscious participation is expressed in partaking in the Holy Communion of the Lord, receiving in the one bread consecrated at this Mass the Lord’s body and blood, in the same way that the apostles received them from Christ’s own hands.