Jegsy Scarr

Ask a Catholic! (i.e, me...)

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How is a Catholic Mass conducted?

 

You mean the Order of the Mass, and whatnot? Well, in the Western Church, Masses follow pretty much the same structure every time, unless it's a special occasion like at Christmas, Easter, or so one, and things like wedding and funeral Masses. But even then, the basic structure is pretty similar. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, they use a slightly structure for Mass, but the main elements will still be covered. But I've never been to one of their Masses, so I can only tell you about the Western (Latin) Rite of the Mass, which is what's used in the UK, the USA, and so on.

 

So the first part of the Mass is called the Liturgy of the Word. Before Mass begins and we're going into the Church, we'll make the sign of the cross using the holy water at the door, find a seat inside in one of the pews, and genuflect to the tabernacle before sitting down. Usually, we'll kneel and pray for a while until it's time for Mass to begin. They'll usually ring a bell to mark the beginning of Mass, and we'll all stand and sing a hymn together, while the priest, deacons, altar servers etc. will walk from the back of the church to the altar at the front, genuflect to the tabernacle, and take their places up at the front of the church (sanctuary).

 

The priest and the congregation will all make the sign of the cross, and the priest will give a greeting (usually "The Lord be with you" to which the response is "And with your spirit"). We'll then say the Penitential Act together, which is basically a public acknowledgement that we are all sinners. It usually includes a prayer called the Confiteor, followed by a prayer called the Kyrie. Depending on the time of year, the next thing is sometimes a prayer called the Gloria, which is a prayer giving praise to God. The priest will then say the Opening Prayer, which will relate to the "theme" of the Mass.

 

After the introductory part of the Mass, everyone will sit down and we'll listen to Scripture readings. There's always at least one Reading, with two Readings used at Sunday Masses, and more used for special occasions like Easter. So we'll start with the First Reading, which is usually from the Old Testament. Then there's a Psalm, which is said or sung. If it's a Sunday, then there's the Second Reading, which is usually from the New Testament, but not from the Gospels. Finally, everyone will stand for a prayer called the Gospel Acclamation, and we'll remain standing while a Gospel passage is read by the priest (unlike the other readings which can be read by anyone, it's always a priest, deacon or bishop who reads the Gospel at Mass). After that, everyone will sit down again, and the priest will give a homily, which is kind of the same thing as a sermon, but it's directly related to the Scripture readings for the day.

 

We'll then stand and recite the Creed together (either the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed). There will then be the General Intercessions (Prayers of the Faithful), where someone will read a list of petitions to God, and everyone will respond (usually "Lord, hear our prayer" or something similar). Usually it's be stuff like, "We pray for the Church" or "We pray for our country" or "We pray for the victims of [recent disaster]" or whatever. We'll also pray for those in the parish who are sick and for those who have died recently or on the anniversaries of their deaths. Usually, there'll be a list of their names read out. We'll all sit down again, and that concludes the first part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word.

 

The second part is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Usually, another hymn will be sung, and there's usually what's called the Offertory Procession, where the bread and wine for the Eucharist is brought up to the front of the church to the altar. At the same time, there's usually a collection taken up in the congregation, where baskets will be passed around for donations. Next, there's the "preparation of the gifts" where the deacon or priest will prepare the bread and wine for the consecration. Usually in the Western Church, it's unleavened bread wafers, which are called "hosts". The priest will then say another prayer, thanking God for the bread and wine which we have to offer to Him. The priest will wash his hands, and then will say a few more prayers.

 

Then everyone in the congregation will kneel. The priest will say the Eucharistic Prayer, which what happened at the Last Supper, and narrates what Christ said. He uses the same words used by Christ, and he'll be speaking in first person. It's kind of difficult to explain it, so I'll just give you one of the actual prayers used (there are a few variations, but it's basically the same, and the part in red stays the same):

 

 

 

At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: 

TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT: FOR THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.

In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and, once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying:

TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT: FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT, WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.

 

 

The actual consecration, when we believe the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, happens when the priest says "This is my body" and "This is the chalice of my blood". There's then another prayer called the Mystery of Faith which is said by everyone, which proclaims our believe in Christ's Resurrection and that He will come again. The priest will then conclude the Eucharistic Prayer.

 

We'll then all stand for the Lord's Prayer. Usually after that, everyone in the congregation will offer each other the "sign of peace", which is where we'll shake hands with everyone standing beside us, basically as a sign that we are one family in faith. Next, there's a prayer called the Agnes Dei (Lamb of God), and we'll kneel again. The priest will hold up the consecrated Host and the Chalice and say a few more prayers. He'll then be the first to receive the Eucharist, followed by any deacons and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (lay people who are permitted to distribute the Eucharist).

 

Then everyone in the congregation who's properly disposed to receive Communion (i.e. Catholic, not in a state of mortal sin, and have fasted for at least an hour before) will form a line and come up to the altar, where they will receive the Eucharist from the priest, deacon or extraordinary minister. They'll then go back to their seats to kneel and pray.

 

Afterwards, we'll all stand for the final prayer from the priest. If there's any announcements or whatnot, then they're usually said now. After that, the priest gives a final blessing, we'll make the sign of the cross again, and we'll usually sing a final hymn together. And that's the end of Mass! As we leave, we'll do what we did before the Mass, genuflecting as we leave the pews and making the sign of the cross with the holy water on the way out of the Church.

 

So...yeah, that's basically it. I've covered the main parts, anyway, but obviously I've not included every single word or anything. So any other questions, feel free to ask!

 

xxx

 

P.S. Oh, and if you're thinking, "Wow, there's a lot of standing and sitting and kneeling in a Catholic Mass"...yeah, there is...

 

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There's a lot more involved than I thought!

How long would the Mass typically last?

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There's a lot more involved than I thought!

How long would the Mass typically last?

 

A Sunday Mass will usually last about an hour (I'd say between 45 minutes to about 1 hour 15 minutes). Daily Masses are usually shorter, about half an hour or so. Masses for special occasions like Christmas, Easter or weddings will be longer. The longest Masses I've been to were Easter Vigil Masses (held on the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday), which have a lot of extra readings, prayers and whatnot (plus, we light candles!). Those Masses will easily last for two hours or more.

 

xxx

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priests are supposed to not reproduce right? why don't they just castrate the priests

 

:huh:

 

I'm...not even sure where to begin with this one...

 

Well, castration is a form of mutilation, so they're not going to do that...

 

Also, some priests do get married and have kids. It's only in the Western Rite of the Church that priests are required to be celibate. In the Eastern Catholic Church, they can get married.

 

...Seriously, what?

 

xxx

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:huh:

 

I'm...not even sure where to begin with this one...

 

Well, castration is a form of mutilation, so they're not going to do that...

 

Also, some priests do get married and have kids. It's only in the Western Rite of the Church that priests are required to be celibate. In the Eastern Catholic Church, they can get married.

 

...Seriously, what?

 

xxx

I'm pretty sure he was joking.

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I'm pretty sure he was joking.

 

Yeah, I suppose so. It's kind of hard to tell on the internet, I guess, especially without a  :) or a  ;) or a  :D or a  :lol: or a  :P or something. Or a lol, that'd do too...

 

xxx

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Why do some priests have to remain celibate?

 

Well, it's been a discipline in the Church for centuries now. It's for a few reasons. One is simply to imitate Christ, who was celibate, and encouraged those who were able to consecrate themselves entirely to God to do so (Matthew 19:12). It means that the men who become priests are (hopefully) the men who are willing to dedicate their entire life to serving God.

 

It's also very symbolic, since the Church is the Bride of Christ. Priests are married in a sense, since they're married to the Church. So if it's an exclusive marriage, then it's even better.

 

And on a practical level, it means priests don't have to divide their time between their parish and their family. Being a priest is a very demanding vocation, and they don't get a lot of free time.

 

Here's a papal encyclical on the subject if you're interested. It's a little long and very complex, but it's got a lot in it:

 

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_24061967_sacerdotalis_en.html

 

xxx

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Are Catholic's required or urged to make some sort of religious pilgrimage to a certain location at some point in their life? I believe some religions require or recommend it at some point in a followers life, not sure about Catholicism though.

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Are Catholic's required or urged to make some sort of religious pilgrimage to a certain location at some point in their life? I believe some religions require or recommend it at some point in a followers life, not sure about Catholicism though.

 

No, it's not required. Saying that, we have a lot of pilgrimage sites. The obvious ones would be Vatican City and the Holy Land, but we also have a lot of pilgrimage sites like Fatima, Lourdes, Loreto, and so on. Quite a lot of them, actually, especially in Europe. Although it's not required, it's encouraged, and you'll see a lot of parishes organising trips to pilgrimage sites.

 

Personally, I really want to visit the Vatican and the Holy Land at some point in my life, and hopefully a few other places.

 

xxx

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So my question is about marrying somebody of another faith, such as someone who is protestant, Mormon, etc.

I know the Mormon church doesn't recognize a marriage if both are not Mormon and the ceremony is not performed in the Mormon church. Somebody told me the Catholicism was similar. Is that true? Also, what would happen if the let's say a couple, one is Lutheran and the other Catholic, were to marry, but both wished to maintain their religion and not switch?  

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So my question is about marrying somebody of another faith, such as someone who is protestant, Mormon, etc.

I know the Mormon church doesn't recognize a marriage if both are not Mormon and the ceremony is not performed in the Mormon church. Somebody told me the Catholicism was similar. Is that true? Also, what would happen if the let's say a couple, one is Lutheran and the other Catholic, were to marry, but both wished to maintain their religion and not switch?  

 

No, it's not true. It's not encouraged to marry someone of a different faith, but it is allowed. If the non-Catholic is a baptised Christian (e.g. a Protestant), then they would require permission from the local bishop. If the non-Catholic is unbaptised, then they'll need a dispensation from the bishop, or the marriage won't be valid. To give the dispensation, the bishop would have to make sure that these conditions are met:

 

 

(Canon 1125-1126)

1/ the Catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;
 
2/ the other party is to be informed at an appropriate time about the promises which the Catholic party is to make, in such a way that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and obligation of the Catholic party;
 
3/ both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage which neither of the contracting parties is to exclude.

 

The marriage can take place in a Catholic church. If the non-Catholic is a Christian, then it is also okay for them to marry in a non-Catholic Christian church, as long as they have permission and as long as there's a Catholic priest present (while the non-Catholic clergy person officiates). If the non-Catholic isn't Christian, then they could get permission to marry outside of a church building altogether. 

 

xxx

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I find the "all that is in his or her power" to raise the children Roman Catholic part kind of vague. Since the non-Catholic person is not required to allow the children to be raised Roman Catholic, wouldn't all that is in the other person's power be to just try to convince them to allow it? I feel this would be especially problematic for a wife, as in Roman Catholocism the wife is supposed to submit to the husband, so he has the final say. For a Roman Catholic husband I suppose there is a small chance this could be advantageous, though, if the wife is also of a religion (and dedicated enough to it) that requires the wife to submit.

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I find the "all that is in his or her power" to raise the children Roman Catholic part kind of vague. Since the non-Catholic person is not required to allow the children to be raised Roman Catholic, wouldn't all that is in the other person's power be to just try to convince them to allow it? I feel this would be especially problematic for a wife, as in Roman Catholocism the wife is supposed to submit to the husband, so he has the final say. For a Roman Catholic husband I suppose there is a small chance this could be advantageous, though, if the wife is also of a religion (and dedicated enough to it) that requires the wife to submit.

 

That's one of the main reasons why marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic is discouraged. There's no way to "force" someone to raise their kids Catholic, so you only have their word that they'll allow you to do so. If they don't agree, or agree and then change their mind later, then there isn't very much you can do.

 

xxx

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That's one of the main reasons why marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic is discouraged. There's no way to "force" someone to raise their kids Catholic, so you only have their word that they'll allow you to do so. If they don't agree, or agree and then change their mind later, then there isn't very much you can do.

 

xxx

On the other side of the coin, it's probably very freeing for Roman Catholics who want to marry a non-Catholic who does not want their children raised Roman Catholic. They can honestly tell the authority of the church that they brought it up to their significant other and that they refused and not get kicked out of the church.

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So here's another one. Let's say the female is non-Catholic, like me, and the husband is Catholic. If the wife wished to use birth control, and after discussion, including all religious and personal reasons, the couple decides to go on birth control because it is what the wife wishes. Is this bad for the husband?  I know it is against the Catholic religion to use non-natural forms of birth control, but what would happen if one party isn't Catholic, and the one who isn't would be the one using it. I know in marriage you do become one, but in a way going on birth control is an individual choice. A wife doesn't need her husband's permission to do so, even if it is deceitful. 

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I'm excited to see some of the things that people have respectfully discussed here, Jegsy-Julie. I've been reading but will leave the answering to you as I am getting my bearings and maybe can share a bit in the future as well.

One of the things I love about being Catholic is going to the same comforting "home" wherever I am every Sunday (I love to travel). I grew up in an Asian country, traveled to Europe, moved to another Asian country before living in different states in the US and wherever I've been, the Eucharistic Celebration aka Mass is the same! Some have culturally-incorporated differences but the sit-stand-kneel and structure are always the same. It feels really good, like great childhood memories good.

(This is my first post. Yay!)

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So here's another one. Let's say the female is non-Catholic, like me, and the husband is Catholic. If the wife wished to use birth control, and after discussion, including all religious and personal reasons, the couple decides to go on birth control because it is what the wife wishes. Is this bad for the husband?  I know it is against the Catholic religion to use non-natural forms of birth control, but what would happen if one party isn't Catholic, and the one who isn't would be the one using it. I know in marriage you do become one, but in a way going on birth control is an individual choice. A wife doesn't need her husband's permission to do so, even if it is deceitful. 

 

It would be bad for the husband, yes. If he was agreeing to his wife's request to use contraception, because they had decided that's what she wanted to do, then yes, the husband would be sinning. The same would be true if the husband wanted to use contraception and the wife agreed.

 

As you say, with something like the Pill, the wife could take it without the husband's knowledge. In that case, it's not his fault, so he wouldn't be sinning.

 

xxx

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In your opinion, do you think all Bibles should be written in.....?

 

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In your opinion, do you think all Bibles should be written in.....?

 

 

You realise that no one else is going to get that joke? :P lol!

 

xxx

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Well, it's been a discipline in the Church for centuries now. It's for a few reasons. One is simply to imitate Christ, who was celibate, and encouraged those who were able to consecrate themselves entirely to God to do so (Matthew 19:12). It means that the men who become priests are (hopefully) the men who are willing to dedicate their entire life to serving God.

 

It's also very symbolic, since the Church is the Bride of Christ. Priests are married in a sense, since they're married to the Church. So if it's an exclusive marriage, then it's even better.

 

And on a practical level, it means priests don't have to divide their time between their parish and their family. Being a priest is a very demanding vocation, and they don't get a lot of free time.

 

Here's a papal encyclical on the subject if you're interested. It's a little long and very complex, but it's got a lot in it:

 

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_24061967_sacerdotalis_en.html

 

xxx

Jegsy I was baptized Melkite catholic and I think the Vatican allows them to become priests if there were allready married before they decided to become priests . Melkite are eastern rite catholics and in line with the Vatican . I received communion into the Roman Catholic Church but I was baptized Melkite .

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Jegsy I was baptized Melkite catholic and I think the Vatican allows them to become priests if there were allready married before they decided to become priests . Melkite are eastern rite catholics and in line with the Vatican . I received communion into the Roman Catholic Church but I was baptized Melkite .

 

That's right. I thought I'd mentioned that there are some married priests, too, but I must have forgotten. Yeah, a lot of priests in the Eastern Catholic churches are married, but as you say, they have to be married before they are ordained.

 

Also, there are some exceptions made with Roman Catholic priests, too, but it's not that common. One reason might be that you have a man who's a married Anglican priest, who then converts to Catholicism and would like to be a Catholic priest. Even though he's married, the Church might still ordain him. Since priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine, they can make exceptions.

 

xxx

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That's right. I thought I'd mentioned that there are some married priests, too, but I must have forgotten. Yeah, a lot of priests in the Eastern Catholic churches are married, but as you say, they have to be married before they are ordained.

 

Also, there are some exceptions made with Roman Catholic priests, too, but it's not that common. One reason might be that you have a man who's a married Anglican priest, who then converts to Catholicism and would like to be a Catholic priest. Even though he's married, the Church might still ordain him. Since priestly celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine, they can make exceptions.

 

xxx

thanks jegsy, i didnt know about the anglican exception :)

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I'm excited to see some of the things that people have respectfully discussed here, Jegsy-Julie. I've been reading but will leave the answering to you as I am getting my bearings and maybe can share a bit in the future as well.

One of the things I love about being Catholic is going to the same comforting "home" wherever I am every Sunday (I love to travel). I grew up in an Asian country, traveled to Europe, moved to another Asian country before living in different states in the US and wherever I've been, the Eucharistic Celebration aka Mass is the same! Some have culturally-incorporated differences but the sit-stand-kneel and structure are always the same. It feels really good, like great childhood memories good.

(This is my first post. Yay!)

 

 

This is a great post and its just amazing to think when the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world do things the same way :)

 

John 17:23: “I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.†

 

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

 

Just as Ignatius of Antioch ( the closest disciple of john said in the first century) emphasized in the first century.

 

Wishing everyone a blessed Advent( kinda late I know haha)

 

10 things about advent - Jimmy Akin

 

http://jimmyakin.com/2013/11/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-advent-2.html

 

 

 
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