As explained in greater detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its shorter Compendium, the liturgy is something that "the whole Christ", Head and Body, celebrates — Christ, the one High Priest, together with his Body, the Church in heaven and on earth. Involved in the heavenly liturgy are the angels and the saints of the Old Covenant and the New, in particular Mary, the Mother of God, the Apostles, the Martyrs and "a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes and peoples and tongues" (Revelation 7:9). The Church on earth, "a royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9), celebrates the liturgy in union with these: the baptized offering themselves as a spiritual sacrifice, the ordained ministers celebrating at the service of all the members of the Church in accordance with the order received, and bishops and priests acting in the person of Christ.
The Catholic liturgy uses signs and symbols whose significance, based on nature or culture, has been made more precise through Old Testament events and has been fully revealed in the person and life of Christ. Some of these signs and symbols come from the world of creation (light, water, fire, bread, wine, oil), others from life in society (washing, anointing, breaking bread), others from Old Testament sacred history (the Passover rite, sacrifices, laying on of hands, consecrating persons and objects).
These signs are closely linked with words. Though in a sense the signs speak for themselves, they need to be accompanied and vivified by the spoken word. Taken together, word and action indicate what the rite signifies and effects.
Sacraments in the Catholic Church are efficacious signs, perceptible to the senses, of grace. According to the Church's theology, they have been instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, and through them divine life is bestowed on us. They are means by which Christ gives the particular grace indicated by the sign aspect of the sacrament in question, helping the individual to advance in holiness, and contributing to the Church' s growth in charity and in giving witness. Not every individual receives every sacrament, but the Catholic Church sees the sacraments as necessary means of salvation for the faithful, conferring each sacrament's particular grace, whether forgiveness of sins, adoption as children of God, confirmation to Christ and the Church. The effect of the sacraments comes ex opere operato (by the very fact of being administered). Regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering the sacraments, Christ provides the graces of which they are signs. However, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block their effectiveness in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and, in addition, their words and ritual elements nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.[Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 224]
There are seven Sacraments:
Singing and music, especially Gregorian chant, are associated with the liturgy. The Gregorian chant, also called cantilena Romana, has been, since its codification, (putatively under Pope St. Gregory the Great, although actually occurring later,) and remains the official music of the Latin Rite Catholic Liturgy, prescribed by Church documents to be given "pride of place" in Her liturgies. This form of music of the Church is contained in the Sacramentary Roman Missal as well as the chant books, e.g. graduale Romanum, antiphonale, liber cantualis. Other Rites within the Catholic Church, (e.g. Maronite, Byzantine, Ambrosian) have their own forms of chant which are proper to their Divine Liturgies. Gregorian chant provides the Latin Church with a musical identity, and like the ancient Liturgical language, provided and still provides Her Liturgies with a unifying element as Her catholicity ("universality',) has become more apparent, via the international travel of recent popes, worldwide media originating in the Vatican, etc.
Also associated with the liturgy are sacred images, which proclaim the same message as do the words of Sacred Scripture sung to the sacred melodies of the chant, and which help to awaken and nourish faith.
In addition to the sacraments, instituted by Christ, there are many sacramentals, sacred signs (rituals or objects) that derive their power from the prayer of the Church. They involve prayer accompanied by the sign of the cross or other signs. Important examples are blessings (by which praise is given to God and his gifts are prayed for), consecrations of persons, and dedications of objects to the worship of God.
Popular devotions are not strictly part of the liturgy, but if they are judged to be authentic, the Church encourages them. They include veneration of relics of saints, visits to sacred shrines, pilgrimages, processions (including Eucharistic processions), the Stations of the Cross (also known as the Way of the Cross), Holy Hours, Eucharistic Adoration, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Rosary.
In its devotion the Church makes a distinction (Catechism of the Catholic Church, s2132) between respectful veneration on one hand and adoration or worship on the other. Adoration is due to God alone - this includes the Eucharist, since Christ is truly present. Veneration of an image or relic of a saint is defined as respect paid to what is represented in the image, not the image itself.
Sunday, which commemorates the resurrection of Christ and has been celebrated by Christians from the earliest times (1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10; Ignatius of Antioch: Magn.9:1; Justin Martyr: I Apology 67:5), is the outstanding occasion for the liturgy; but no day, not even any hour, is excluded from celebrating the liturgy. The sole exception is for the Eucharistic liturgy on Good Friday and on Holy Saturday before the Easter Vigil, when it is not celebrated.
The Liturgy of the Hours consecrates to God the whole course of day and night. Lauds and Vespers (morning and evening prayer) are the principal hours. To these are added one or three intermediate prayer periods (traditionally called Terce, Sext and None), another prayer period to end the day (Compline), and a special prayer period called the Office of Readings (formerly known as Matins) at no fixed time, devoted chiefly to readings from the Scriptures and ecclesiastical writers. The Second Vatican Council suppressed an additional 'hour' called Prime. The prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours consist principally of the Psalter or Book of Psalms. Like the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours has inspired great musical compositions. An earlier name for the Liturgy of the Hours and for the books that contained the texts was the Divine Office (a name still used as the title of one English translation), the Book of Hours, and the Breviary. Bishops, priests, deacons and members of religious institutes are obliged to pray at least some parts of the Liturgy of the Hours daily, an obligation that applied also to subdeacons, until the post VCII suppression of the subdiaconate.
New Testament worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24) is not linked exclusively with any particular place or places, since Christ is seen as the true temple of God, and through him Christians too and the whole Church become, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, a temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). Nevertheless, the earthly condition of the Church on earth makes it necessary to have certain places in which to celebrate the liturgy. Within these churches, chapels and oratories, Catholics put particular emphasis on the altar, the tabernacle (in which the Eucharist is kept), the seat of the bishop ('cathedra') or priest, and the baptismal font.
"The mystery of Christ is so unfathomably rich that it cannot be exhausted by its expression in any single liturgical tradition. The history of the blossoming and development of these rites witnesses to a remarkable complementarity. When the Churches lived their respective liturgical traditions in the communion of the faith and the sacraments of the faith, they enriched one another and grew in fidelity to Tradition and to the common mission of the whole Church." (CCC 1201) As catholic or universal, the Church believes it can and should hold within its unity the true riches of these peoples and cultures.
"In the liturgy, above all that of the sacraments, there is an immutable part, a part that is divinely instituted and of which the Church is the guardian, and parts that can be changed, which the Church has the power, and on occasion the duty, to adapt to the cultures of recently evangelized peoples." (CCC 1205)
Likewise, the great variety of Catholic spirituality enables individual Catholics to pray privately in many different ways. The fourth and last part of the Catechism thus summarized the Catholic's response to the mystery of faith: "This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer." (CCC 2558)
An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles.
In others, the term is used for one who has been inducted into a particular liturgical ministry, even when not performing those duties.Altar candlestick
Altar candlesticks hold the candles used in the Catholic liturgical celebration of Mass.Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, also called Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament or the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, is a devotional ceremony, celebrated especially in the Roman Catholic Church, but also in some other Christian traditions such as Anglo-Catholicism, whereby a bishop, priest, or a deacon blesses the congregation with the Eucharist at the end of a period of adoration.Cavalcade of Magi
The Cavalcade of Magi is a traditional parade of kings coaches, practically in all Spanish cities and also in some cities and towns in Mexico. The Magi (of which tradition holds there were three: Melchior, Gaspar, and Baltasar) ride through the streets, as their page boys throw candies to children.
It is celebrated every January 5 (the day preceding the feast of Epiphany) in the evening. When the night comes the children must go to bed early after cleaning their shoes and the following morning they have the gifts of the Magi that they have requested before in a letter. According to this tradition, the children who have behaved badly during the previous year receive coal rather than candy, though (as in the case of Santa Claus) this is not a frequent occurrence. They might get coal candy, though.
The great cavalcade of Madrid is retransmitted live on TVE 1 (the public Spanish broadcaster) every year. The cavalcade of Alcoy is the oldest in the world and is a major draw of international tourism for Spain.
In Poland the first Cavalcade took place in 2008 in Warsaw. In 2016, the parade took place in over 450 Polish cities.Cistercian Rite
The Cistercian Rite is the liturgical rite, distinct from the Roman Rite and specific to the Cistercian Order of the Roman Catholic Church.Code of Rubrics
The Code of Rubrics is a three-part liturgical document promulgated in 1960 under Pope John XXIII, which in the form of a legal code indicated the rules governing the celebration of the Roman Rite Mass and Divine Office.
Pope John approved the Code of Rubrics by the motu proprio Rubricarum instructum of July 25, 1960. The Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated the Code of Rubrics, a revised calendar, and changes (variationes) in the Roman Breviary and Missal and in the Roman Martyrology by the decree Novum rubricarum the next day. The official publication was in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 52 (1960), pp. 593–740.
The Code of Rubrics replaced the rules previously given in the Roman Breviary. In the Roman Missal, it replaced the sections, Rubricae generales Missalis (General Rubrics of the Missal) and Additiones et variationes in rubricis Missalis ad normam Bullae "Divino afflatu" et subsequentium S.R.C. Decretorum (Additions and alterations to the Rubrics of the Missal in line with the Bull Divino afflatu and the decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites that followed it). As Pope Pius X himself declared in his Apostolic Constitution Divino afflatu, by which he revised the Psalter of the Roman Breviary, the change of the Roman Breviary was intended to be followed up by a revision of the Roman Missal. Accordingly, while awaiting that revision, the first of the two sections of the Roman Missal mentioned continued to be printed as before, although the second rendered some of its provisions invalid. This anomalous situation was remedied in the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal, which printed in their place the parts of the Code of Rubrics that concerned the Missal. In its turn, the Code of Rubrics was superseded by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal of 1970, but it remains in force for celebrations of the Roman Rite Mass in accordance with the 1962 Missal, as authorized by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007.Commemoration (liturgy)
In the Latin liturgical rites, a commemoration is the recital, within the Liturgy of the Hours or the Mass of one celebration, of part of another celebration, generally of lower rank, that is impeded because of a coincidence of date.Concelebration
In Christianity, concelebration (from Lat., con + celebrare,to celebrate together) is the presiding of a number of presbyters (priests or ministers) at the celebration of the Eucharist with either a presbyter or bishop as the principal celebrant and the other presbyters and bishops present in the chancel assisting in the consecration of the Eucharist. The concelebrants assist the principal celebrant by reciting the Words of Consecration together with him, thus effecting the change of the eucharistic elements. They may also recite portions of the Eucharistic Prayer. Concelebration is often practiced by ministers/priest of Churches that are in full communion with one another, e.g. the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Church.Flabellum
A flabellum (plural flabella), in Christian liturgical use, is a fan made of metal, leather, silk, parchment or feathers, intended to keep away insects from the consecrated Body and Blood of Christ and from the priest, as well as to show honour. The ceremonial use of such fans dates back to Ancient Egypt, and an example was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. A flabellum is also a fan-shaped structure on the fifth legs of horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura).Funghellino
The funghellino (Italian for "small mushroom") is a short mushroom-shaped stand used in the Roman Catholic liturgy. It is placed on the altar at a Pontifical Mass to hold the bishop's and higher prelates' skullcap (zuchetto) during the Eucharistic prayer.Latin liturgical rites
Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Latin tradition Catholic liturgical rites employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Roman Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.
The Latin rites were for many centuries no less numerous than the liturgical rites of the Eastern autonomous particular Churches. Their number is now much reduced. In the aftermath of the Council of Trent, in 1568 and 1570 Pope Pius V suppressed the Breviaries and Missals that could not be shown to have an antiquity of at least two centuries (see Tridentine Mass and Roman Missal). Many local rites that remained legitimate even after this decree were abandoned voluntarily, especially in the 19th century. In the second half of the 20th century, most of the religious orders that had a distinct liturgical rite chose to adopt in its place the Roman Rite as revised in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council (see Mass of Paul VI). A few such liturgical rites persist today for the celebration of Mass, since 1965-1970 in revised forms, but the distinct liturgical rites for celebrating the other sacraments have been almost completely abandoned.Liturgical drama
This article focuses on the technical term liturgical drama; for general aspects of medieval performance, see the article on Medieval theatre.Manuterge
Manuterge is the name given by the Roman Catholic Church to the towel used by the priest when engaged liturgically.Misericord
A misericord (sometimes named mercy seat, like the biblical object) is a small wooden structure formed on the underside of a folding seat in a church which, when the seat is folded up, is intended to act as a shelf to support a person in a partially standing position during long periods of prayer.Moveable feast
A moveable feast or movable feast is an observance in a Christian liturgical calendar that occurs on a different date (relative to the dominant civil or solar calendar) in different years.The most important set of moveable feasts are a fixed number of days before or after Easter Sunday, which varies by 35 days since it depends partly on the phase of the moon and must be computed each year. In Eastern Christianity (including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Eastern Catholic Churches), these moveable feasts form what is called the Paschal cycle, which stands in contrast to the approach taken by Catholic and Protestant Christianity.
Most other feast days, such as those of particular saints, are fixed feasts, held on the same date every year. However, some observances are always held on the same day of the week, and thus occur on a range of days without depending on the date of Easter. For example, the start of Advent is the Sunday nearest November 30. In addition, the observance of some fixed feasts may move a few days in a particular year to not clash with that year's date for a more important moveable feast. There are rare examples of saints with genuinely moveable feast days, such as Saint Sarkis the Warrior in the calendar of the Armenian Church.Odour of sanctity
The odour of sanctity (also spelled odor), according to the Catholic Church, is commonly understood to mean a specific scent (often compared to flowers) that emanates from the bodies of saints, especially from the wounds of stigmata.Pontifical High Mass
In the context of the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Catholic Church, a Pontifical High Mass, also called Solemn Pontifical Mass, is a Solemn or High Mass celebrated by a bishop using certain prescribed ceremonies. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. Although in modern English the word "pontifical" is almost exclusively associated with the Pope, any bishop may be properly called a pontiff. Thus, the celebrant of a Pontifical High Mass may be any bishop, and not just a pope.Vigil
A vigil, from the Latin vigilia meaning wakefulness (Greek: pannychis, παννυχίς or agrypnia ἀγρυπνία), is a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance. The Italian word vigilia has become generalized in this sense and means "eve" (as in on the eve of the war).Vimpa
A vimpa (plural: vimpae) is a veil or shawl worn over the shoulders of servers who carry the mitre and crosier during liturgical functions when they are not being used by the bishop, in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and some other western churches.
|Order of Mass|
|Parts of the|
Sanctuary / Altar
|Other liturgical services|