Order of the Mass With Gestures and Postures

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The Order of the Mass  With Gestures and Postures during the mass

Presider Assembly

Section of the Mass Example
Introductory Rites May be preceded by Welcome & Announcements from the Lectern
  • Entrance
Introit (from Bible) or Opening/Processional Hymn
  • Greeting
 ✠ The Lord be with you And with your spirit
  • Penitential Act
Kyrie/Lord have Mercy/Confiteor
  • Glory to God
Gloria – always sung
  • Collect (Opening Prayer)
Let us Pray: Almighty Everliving God – – .Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Liturgy of the Word Read at the Ambo
  • First Reading
Generally from the Old Testament: The Word of the Lord Thanks be to God
  • Responsorial Psalm
A Psalm or a Canticle (e.g., Canticle of Zechariah)
  • Second Reading (only on Sundays and solemnities)
Generally from the Epistles: The Word of the Lord Thanks be to God
  • Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. Verse before the Gospel Alleluia.
  • Gospel
The Lord be with you And with your spirit A Reading from the Gospel according to X Matthew, Mark, Luke, of John Glory to you O Lord – 3 Cycles A, B, C changed yearly – Proclaimed by a Priest or Deacon
  • Homily
A message from the Priest of Deacon based on the Readings
  • Profession of Faith (on Sundays, solemnities, and special occasions)
“I believe …” We bow at the phrases “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
  • Universal Prayer
For the Church and all others “Lord hear our prayer “E pule kakou.”
Liturgy of the Eucharist “Communion Prayer”
  • Presentation of the Gifts and Preparation of the Altar
Offertory hymn – procession to the Altar, reception of bread, wine, and collection monies, laying out chalices and ciboria
  • Prayer over the Offerings
E.g., Lord, may the offering of your people be pleasing to you ..
  • Eucharistic Prayer
The Source and Summit of our Faith
    • Opening dialog
The Lord be with you and with your Sprit. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God It is right and just.
    • Preface
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks
    • Holy, Holy, Holy
The Sanctus – ends with Hosanna in the highest
    • Epiclesis
Transubstantiation – so that they may become for us the Body and ✠ Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Consecration
Take this, all of you … This is my Body / my Blood
    • Mystery of Faith
E.g., Lord by your Cross and Resurrection …
    • Second half of prayer,
Ends Through him, with him, and in him in the Unity of the Holy Spirit
Communion Rite We pray standing with hands folded
  • The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father …
  • Sign of Peace
The Peace of the Lord be with you And with your spirit Let us share the sign of Christ’s Peace
  • Lamb of God
Agnus Dei – Lamb of God you take away the sins of the World, … The Body is broken and a small piece (the fraction) is dropped into the Chalice.
  • Behold the Lamb of God
Lord I am not worthy …
  • Conclusion of the Prayer
Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father,
  • Communion
The body of Christ Bow and say AMEN The blood of Christ Bow and say AMEN
  • Prayer after Communion
Let us Pray.   …  Amen
Concluding Rites From the Presidential Chair
  • Optional announcements
From the Lectern
  • Greeting and Blessing
The Lord be with you And with your spirit May Almighty God Bless you in the name of XAMEN
  • Dismissal
The Mass has ended. Go in Peace. Thanks be to God
  • Recessional hymn
Presider and other ministers process out.


It is our privilege and joy to participate in any Mass because it is the Most Perfect Prayer. From start to finish, it is time we give to God as an offering of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise for all his Great and Good Gifts.


Gestures and Postures of the Assembly at Mass

The following list accompanies the article “Gestures for Worship — Relearning Our Ritual Language”, and is reproduced here with permission from the publisher.

Copyright © 2016 Adoremus. All Rights Reserved.

Entrance Rites

  • Make the sign of the cross with holy water (a sign of baptism) upon entering the church.
  • Genuflect toward the tabernacle containing the Blessed Sacrament and the Altar of Sacrifice before entering the pew. (If there is no tabernacle in the sanctuary, or it is not visible, bow deeply, from the waist, toward the altar before entering the pew.)
  • Kneel upon entering the pew for private prayer before Mass begins.
  • Stand for the entrance procession.
  • Bow when the crucifix, a visible symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, passes you in the procession. (If there is a bishop, bow when he passes, as a sign of recognition that he represents the authority of the Church and of Christ as shepherd of the flock.)
  • Remain standing for the entrance rites. Make the sign of the cross with the priest at the beginning of Mass.
  • Strike your breast at the “mea culpa(s)” (“through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”) in the Confiteor.
  • Bow and make the sign of the cross when the priest says “May Almighty God have mercy…”
  • Bow your head when you say “Lord, have mercy” during the Kyrie.
  • If there is a Rite of Sprinkling (Asperges), make the sign of the cross when the priest sprinkles water from the aspergillum in your direction.
  • Throughout the Mass, bow your head at every mention of the name of Jesus and every time the Doxology [“Glory be”] is spoken or sung. Also when asking the Lord to receive our prayer.
  • Gloria: bow your head at the name of Jesus. (“Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son…”, “You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ…”)

Liturgy of the Word

  • Sit for the Scripture readings.
  • Stand for the Gospel at the Alleluia verse.
  • When the priest announces the Gospel, trace a cross with the thumb on head, lips and heart. This gesture is a form of prayer for the presence of the Word of God in one’s mind, upon one’s lips, and in one’s heart.
  • Sit for the homily.
  • Creed: Stand; bow your head at name of Jesus; on most Sundays bow during the Incarnatus (“by the power of the Holy Spirit … and was made man”); on the solemnities of Christmas and the Annunciation all genuflect at this moment.
  • Make the sign of the Cross at the conclusion of the Creed at the words “I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

Liturgy of the Eucharist

  • Sit during the offertory.
  • Stand as the priest says “Pray brethren that my sacrifice and yours…” and remain standing to respond, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands…”
  • If incense is used, the congregation bows toward the thurifer when he bows to the congregation both before and after he has incensed them.
  • The congregation remains standing until the end of the Sanctus (“Holy, holy”), when they kneel for the entire Eucharistic Prayer.
  • At the moment of the Consecration of each element, bow the head and say silently “My Lord and my God”, acknowledging the Presence of Christ on the altar. These are the words of Saint Thomas when he realized that it was truly Christ who stood before him (John 20:28). Jesus responded, “Because you have seen me, you believed. Blessed are they that do not see and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
  • Stand at the priest’s invitation to recite the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Reverently fold your hands and bow your head as you pray the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Remain standing to exchange the sign of peace, if the invitation is made. (The sign of peace may be either a handshake or a bow of the head towards those nearest you, accompanied by the words “Peace be with you”.) This should be a short, quiet, reverent, greeting to those immediately nearby.
  • In reciting (or singing) the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God…”), strike the breast at the words “Have mercy upon us”.
  • Kneel at the end of the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God…”).
  • Bow your head as you say, Domine non sum dignus… (Lord, I am not worthy…) and strike your breast three times as you say Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.

Reception of Communion

  • Leave the pew (without genuflecting) and walk reverently toward the altar, with hands folded in prayer.
  • Make a gesture of reverence as you approach the priest in procession to receive Communion. If you are kneeling at the Communion rail, no additional gesture is made before receiving.
  • You may receive the host either on the tongue or in the hand.
  • If the former, open your mouth and extend your tongue, so the priest can place the Host properly. If the latter, place one hand over the other hand, palms open, to receive the Host. With the lower hand, take the Host and reverently place it in your mouth. (See Holy See’s 1985 directives).
  • If you cannot receive communion, you may still participate in the Eucharistic procession by folding your arms in an “X” over your chest. This signifies to the ministers of the Eucharist that you will not be receiving communion, and the minister will instead sign a blessing following the recommendations of the Bishop
  • If you are carrying a child, it is much less awkward to receive on the tongue.
  • If you also receive from the chalice, make the same gesture of reverence when you approach the minister to receive.
  • Make the sign of the cross after you have received Communion.
  • Kneel in prayer when you return to your pew after Communion, until the priest sits down, or until he says “Let us pray”. (GIRM 160 American adaptation says that people may “stand, sit or kneel”.) Bishop Larry Silva has recommended that “all remain standing in solidarity with the members of the assembly who are still approaching the Eucharist until the ciborium with consecrated hosts is returned to the tabernacle.” All make a profound bow with the minister who genuflects before the tabernacle. The Priest Celebrant sits in the Presidential Chair and then the assembly may be seated or kneel for a brief period of reflective prayer and gratitude.”

Conclusion of Mass

  • Stand for the concluding prayers.
  • Make the sign of the cross at the final blessing, as the priest invokes the Trinity.
  • Remain standing until all ministers have processed out. (If there is a recessional, bow in reverence to the crucifix as it passes by.)
  • If there is a hymn for the recessional, remain standing in your pew until it concludes. If there is no concluding hymn, remain in your pew until all the ministers have gone out of the main body of the church.
  • After the Mass is concluded, you may kneel for a private prayer of thanksgiving.
  • Genuflect reverently toward the Blessed Sacrament and the Altar of Sacrifice as you leave the pew, and leave the nave (main body) of the church in silence.
  • Make the sign of the cross with holy water as you leave the church, a reminder of our baptismal obligation to carry Christ’s Gospel into the world.
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