The Mass begins as God gathers His people together in community. The Introductory Rites help us strengthen that gathering and form a worshipping community. We begin by standing in song as the celebrant, representing Christ, the servers and lector process forward, come from the midst of the community to lead the celebration. Following the opening song, the presider opens the celebration with the sign of our Christian faith, the sign of the cross.
Next, we begin preparing ourselves to worship our God by asking forgiveness for our sins in one voice as a community. Our desire to purify ourselves is voiced in the Kyrie, or Lord, have mercy. Traditionally, the Kyrie Eleison has been proclaimed in the ancient Greek, and many churches continue that to this day.
Next the assembly offers a hymn of praise and petition to our Savior Jesus Christ in the form of the Gloria. Drawing its refrain from the song of the angels at the Birth of Our Lord, the Gloria is a joyful song which is omitted during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent.
Finally, we come to the focus of the Introductory Rites, the Collect. This is the prayer to which the entire rite leads, where our individuality is lost to form a common identity. Led by the presider, we are drawn as one into the Body of Christ by the opening prayer. This prayer embodies the entire purpose of this rite, to form a worshipping community. After we voice our assent in the Amen, we are seated to move into the next rite, the Liturgy of the Word, to hear the Word of God in Sacred Scripture.
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