The Mass Broken Open: Part I

A four-week reflection

By Michael Morison, Jonathan Lewis, Fr. Patrick Michaels

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish

3 Oakdale Avenue

Mill Valley, CA 94941

“The Mass Broken Open,” Week 1

Before the Opening Song, read the following:

The Mass is made up of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, with an introduction and a conclusion. Today we will be reflecting on the Introductory Rites or Gathering Rites, which prepares us for the Liturgy of the Word. The Introductory Rites help us to gather together not just physically in the same place but to gather us spiritually in the same space, a people united by God’s Spirit; to pray for ourselves, each other and the world.

The Opening Song

As we begin to celebrate Eucharist we gather in one place to pray as The Body of Christ. We stand to show honor and attention to the prayer that we are entering into together. When we sit next to others in the community, and open the song book to join in the song, we show that we are willing to join into prayer together.

Let us reflect:

-Have I come to join this community in prayer?

-Am I standing in a place in the church where others can feel connected to me?

-Am I ready to join my voice with others, no matter how I might feel about my voice?

The Opening Song is announced and the procession ensues.

Once the priest is in place, before he begins, read the following:

The Sign of the Cross

We begin our prayer together by marking ourselves with the sign of our faith: the cross. When we pray in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit we remind ourselves that God is present in us and we actively call God’s presence forth to gather us as his sons and daughters.

Let us reflect:

-Am I aware of God’s presence in me and in others?

-How can I open myself to God’s presence in me and in others through our prayer together?

After announcement of the Mass intention and the greeting (The Lord be with you…) read the following:

The Penitential Rite

Aware of God’s presence in us and in one another, we remember the times that we have failed to imitate God’s presence and respond to His love for us this past week. More important than anything is that together we return to God knowing that He is always ready to embrace us and forgive us.

Let us reflect:

-What stands in the way of me receiving God’s love?

-What keeps me from loving myself, my neighbor, or God?

The priest leads the Penitential Rite.

Then read the following:


The Gloria is a song of praise for all that God is doing in our lives. We join our voices together in praise, placing us in a relationship to a loving God who is revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit to us all.


After the Gloria read the following:


The collect, or opening prayer, gathers all of our prayers, hopes, joys, and sorrows into a single prayer of the whole community. As the priest says, ‘let us pray’, we pause in silence to collect all of those prayers in our hearts so that he can offer them to God with one voice. And it is this united prayer that propels us, heart and soul, into the Liturgy of the Word.

Let us reflect:

-What are the prayers, hopes, joys, and sorrows I want to offer to God at this Mass today?

After the Collect is prayed, read the following:

This concludes the Introductory Rites. Next week we will continue with the Liturgy of the Word.

Intellectual property and written text 2011: Michael Morison, Jonathan Lewis, Fr. Patrick Michaels, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Mill Valley, CA.

Graphic by Steve Erspamer, Liturgy Training Publications


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