General Instruction



1. When Christ the Lord was about to celebrate the Passover meal with his disciples and institute the sacrifice of his body and blood, he directed them to prepare a large room, arranged for the supper (Lk 22:12). The Church has always regarded this command of Christ as applying to itself when it gives directions about the preparation of the sentiments of the worshipers, the place, rites, and texts for the celebration of the Eucharist. The current norms, laid down on the basis of the intent of Vatican Council II, and the new Missal that will be used henceforth in the celebration of Mass by the Church of the Roman Rite, are fresh evidence of the great care, faith, and unchanged love that the Church shows toward the Eucharist. They attest as well to its coherent tradition, continuing amid the introduction of some new elements.





The following are excerpts from the New English Translation of the Roman Missal


Greeting of the Assembled People When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest stands at the chair &, together with the whole gathering, signs himself with the Sign of the Cross. Then by means of the Greeting he signifies the presence of the Lord to the assembled community. By this greeting & the peopleís response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest. After the greeting of the people, the priest, or the deacon, or a lay minister may very briefly  introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day (GIRM, no. 50)


The Penitential Act-After this, the Priest calls upon the whole community to take part in the Penitential Act, which, after a brief pause for silence, it does by means of a formula of general confession. The rite concludes with the Priestís absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance.


From time to time on Sunday, especially in Easter Time, instead of the customary Penitential Act, the blessing and sprinkling of water may take place as a reminder of Baptism. (GIRM, no. 51)


The Kyrie Eleison After the Penitential Act, the Kyrie, eleison (Lord, have mercy), is always begun, unless it has already been part of the Penitential Act. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore  his mercy, it is usually executed by everyone, that is to say, with the people and the choir or cantor taking part in it.  Each acclamation is usually pronounced twice, though it is not be excluded that it be repeated several times, by reason of the character of the various languages, as well as of the artistry of the music or of other circumstances. When the Kyrie is sung as a part of the Penitential Act, a trope precedes each acclamation. (GIRM, no. 52)


The Gloria in Excelsis The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is a most ancient and venerable hymn by which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other. It is intoned by the Priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by everybody together or by two choirs responding one to the other.

It is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character. (GIRM, no 53)


The Collect Next the Priest calls upon the people to pray and everybody, together with the Priest, observes a brief silence so that they may become aware of being in Godís presence and may call to mind their intentions. Then the Priest pronounces the prayer usually called the Collect and through which the character of the celebration finds expression. By an ancient tradition of the Church, the Collect prayer is usually addressed to God the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit (Cf. Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem, IV, 9:CCSL 1, p. 560; Origen, Disputatio cum Heracleida,no. 4: Sources chretiennes 67, p.62; Statuta Concilii Hipponensis Breviata, no. 21: CCSL 149, p.39), and is concluded with a Trinitarian ending, or longer endingÖ (GIRM, no. 54)


The Liturgy of the Word The main part of the Liturgy of the Word is made up of the readings from Sacred Scripture together with the chants occurring between them. As for the Homily, the Profession of Faith and the Universal Prayer, they develop and conclude it. For in the readings, as explained by the Homily, God speaks to his people (Cf. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, no.33), opening up to them the mystery of redemption and salvation, and offering spiritual nourishment; and Christ himself is present through his word in the midst of the faithful( Cf. ibiden, no.7). By silence and by singing, the people make this divine word their own, and affirm their adherence to it by means of the Profession of Faith; finally, having been nourished by the divine word, the people pour out their petitions by means of the Universal Prayer for the needs of the whole Church and for the salvation of the whole world.( GIRM, no. 5)


Silence The Liturgy of the Word is to be celebrated in such a way as to favor meditation, and so any kind of haste such as hinders recollection is dearly to be avoided. In the course of it, brief periods of silence are also appropriate, accommodated to the assembled congregation; by means of these, under the action of the Holy Spirit, the word of God may be grasped by the heart and a response through prayer may be prepared. It may be appropriate to observe such periods of silence, for example, before the Liturgy of the Word itself begins, after the First and Second Reading, and lastly at the conclusion of the Homily( Cf. Missale Romanum, Ordo lectionum Missae, editio typica altera, 1981, no.28) .( GIRM, no.56)


The Biblical Readings  In the readings, the table of Godís word is spread before the faithful, and the treasures of the Bible are opened to them ( Cf. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, no.51). Hence, it is preferable that the arrangement of the biblical readings be maintained, for by them the unity of both Testaments and of salvation history is brought out. Nor is it lawful to replace the readings and Responsorial Psalm, which contain the word of God, with other, non-biblical texts ( Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Vicesimus quintus annus, 4 December 1988, no.13: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 81 ( 1989) p. 9l0. (GIRM, no.57)


The Homily-The Homily is part of the Liturgy and is highly recommended (Cf. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, no- 52; Code of Canon Law, can. 767 ß 1), for it is necessary for the nurturing of the Christian life. It should be an explanation of some aspect of the readings from

- Sacred Scripture or of another text from the Ordinary or the Proper of the Mass of the day and should take into account both the mystery being celebrated and the particular needs of the listeners (Cf. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction Inter cEcurnenici, 26 September 1964, no.54: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 56 (1964) p.890) (GIRM, no. 65)


The Profession of Faith-The purpose of the Creed or Profession of Faith, is that the whole gathered people may respond to the word of God proclaimed in the readings taken from Sacred Scripture and explained in the Homily and that they may also honor and confess the great mysteries of the faith by pronouncing the rule of faith in a formula approved for liturgical use and before the celebration of these mysteries in the Eucharist begins. (GIRM, no. 67)


The Universal Prayer-In the Universal Prayer or Prayer of the Faithful, the people respond in some sense to the word of God which they have received in faith and, exercising the office of their baptismal priesthood, offer prayers to God for the salvation of all. It is desirable that there usually be such a form of prayer in Masses celebrated with the people, so that petitions may be offered for holy Church, for those who govern with authority over us, for those weighed down by various needs, for all humanity and for the salvation of the whole world (Cf. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no.53). (GIRM, no.69)