Mass in the Catholic Church

This resource contains information about:

  • Explains the four actions in Mass: taking, blessing, breaking and sharing in detail
  • Importance of the Eucharist
  • Artefacts used in Mass
  • People involved in Mass

Is particularly relevant in unit 573  GCSE OCR Roman Catholic 2.

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The Eucharist
The name `Eucharist' comes from the Greek word meaning `thanksgiving'. It refers to the celebration
of the Mass and the body and blood of Christ in particular. At the Last Supper, Jesus broke the bread
and gave it to his disciples to eat in memory of him. When the supper ended, he took the cup and
gave it to his disciples to drink in memory of him. Jesus' breaking of bread represented the breaking
of his body on the Cross and the pouring of wine he was about to shed. During Mass, this action is
repeated when the bread and wine is consecrated to remind us of what Jesus did. The point to
changing the bread into the body of Christ and the wine into the blood of Christ is called
`transubstantiation'. The bread and the wine has changed into the body and blood of Christ but still
looks and feel the same.
The Mass commemorates Jesus' four actions: taking, blessing, breaking and sharing.
Taking (oblation)
The offertory is the time in the Mass when the congregation give gifts
to the Church. As well as money that is collected, the bread and the wine
is presented to the priest in the offertory who `takes' these gifts up to
Blessing (consecration)
The priest blesses the bread and wine in an act of consecration, while reciting a
part of the Eucharistic Prayer. At this point, God becomes truly present in the
Church. Only a priest can do this, as he has received the power to do so in his
Breaking (fraction)
The breaking of the bread by the priest is a reminder of when Jesus
broke the bread in the Last Supper.
Sharing (communion)
At the Last Supper, Jesus shared his food with his disciples so it is only
fitting that the bread and wine given in his memory should be
shared with the people now that they have become his body and
blood. At Mass, the priest distributes the body and blood of Christ
to members of the congregation with the help of the Eucharistic

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Artefacts of the Mass
There are a number of special objects used at a Mass:
Candles ­ to symbolise that Jesus is the light of the world and to show God's presence in the
Chalice ­ the cup which holds the wine
Ciborium ­ the special vessel which holds the bread
Cruets ­ the vessels which hold wine and water to be used in the Eucharist
Thurible ­ a vessel for burning incense used at special occasions to symbolise the offerings
rising in a…read more


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