The Structure of the Liturgy

High Mass

We read in the Book of Acts that the Church devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).

The Mass is divided into two major segments. The first is the Liturgy of the Word. This is how we devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching. In it we read Scripture, we chant the Psalms and we hear an exposition of God’s Word.

The second major segment is the Liturgy of the Altar. This is how we devote ourselves to the breaking of bread. In it we recall God’s grace to us throughout the ages and above all in the redemption of the world through our Lord Jesus Christ. In it we participate in the New Covenant and unite ourselves with Christ by receiving His Body and Blood.

Fellowship and the prayers are woven throughout both major segments. A key element is the participation of all. The word “liturgy” was derived from a Greek word that meant public service. In liturgy the congregation does not sit by passively watching a performance but participates in the prayers and rites of the Church. The priest is only the officiant. He is not the performer. That is why the priest faces the same direction as the congregation as he leads worship. Together we minister to Christ.

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