What is a High Mass in the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Mass is the traditional service attended by worshipers in Catholicism and is considered their primary gathering. It is most often celebrated on Sundays, but some notable exceptions are the Saturday night vigil and weekday masses.

Additional Masses are also celebrated on Catholic holy days. The Mass takes place in the most common language in the region where it is located and is composed of ceremonies, psalms, and prayers.

The Mass celebrates the Eucharist or the Sacrament of Eucharist, and it consists of two parts: the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy of the Word is first to take place during the Mass, and it contains a Gospel reading, two Scripture readings, prayers, and psalms.

During the second part of the Mass, the priest prepares the gifts on the altar in what is traditionally called the Liturgy of the Eucharist. He breaks the bread and administers the sacred communion to the church members. The priest concludes the Mass with prayers and psalms after the Eucharist.

Two types of Mass

In the Catholic Church, there are two types of Mass: Low Mass or Missa Privata and High Mass or Missa Solemnis. In Low Mass, the priest reads the prayers, in the traditional dialogue. In the High Mass, however, the priest sings the gospel and the majority of the prayers, save for a few that occur during the Eucharistic ceremony.

High Mass is the longer form of the Mass and consists of more rituals. Another particularity of the High Mass is that many parts are sung instead of just read. Among the rituals used during the High Mass is the use of incense. The sub-deacon and deacon, together with the priest sing many psalms and prayers during High Mass. On Maundy Thursday, the High Mass is the only one celebrated at an early hour. The ceremony called the Absolutions frequently follows the High Mass of the Dead.

The significance of the High Mass

The High Mass is always longer and fancier than a Low Mass. The congregation can participate in the High Mass, as most of its parts are sung. The High Mass is celebrated on Sundays and on holidays such as Easter or Christmas when people have more time to devote to worship.

The Low Mass is celebrated for everyday occasions when the priest reads most of the parts. There is less participation from the worshipers in the Low Mass, as there is no singing. The simpler and shorter Mass can be celebrated daily, during the early mornings during the week.

Characteristics

The worshipers recite some of the prayers together with the priest during the High Mass. However, the chorus and the priest sing most of the High Mass’ parts. The sung prayers are often accompanied by organs. Usually, the High Mass lasts around an hour. However, it can be even longer, between one-and-a-half and two hours depending on the occasion.

During the High Mass, the same prayers are used as the Low Mass. However, this more special Mass has beautified additionally with melodies, psalms, and chants. The whole church can participate in singing these songs, psalms, and melodies.

It is customary in some churches for the priest to bless the congregation with holy water before Mass begins. This ceremony is called the Asperges, taking its name directly from Latin. At the blessing, the first prayer is sung. The Asperges is meant to express the idea of the Mass’ prayer.

As the altar servers, Ministers, and Celebrant enter the church preparing for Mass; the choir sings the Introit, a prayer that contains a portion of one of the Psalms with Antiphon and Gloria. At the English Hymnal’s end can be found the Introits for great feasts and Sundays. Sometimes, this anthem is replaced by singing a hymn.

At the High Mass, the Ministers and Celebrant use incense to bless the altar. This ceremony has the twofold significance. On one side, it symbolizes the ascent of the prayer for mercy and on the other hand is symbolizes waiting for the coming of the Christ King.

On greater feast days and all Sundays, the choir is singing the Creed. The Ministers say the Creed at the altar and go to sit until the singing is done. Typically, the Creed is followed by a sermon and notices.

Here is a recording of a High mass:

History of Liturgical Vestments in the Catholic Church

The liturgical vestments that are worn by the priest and deacon during Mass have evolved to become a symbol of the Catholicism as a whole. Dating back to the Old Testament, the priests wore a different kind of vestment, not at all related to what the clergy in the Catholic Church uses today. Because of the time differences between the era of the Old and New Testaments, the vestments that the ordained in the Catholic Church wear today are based on the Graeco-Roman style, as opposed to the earlier Jewish rabbis cloak. Now, the priest wears the cincture, alb, amice, chasuble and stole.

The amice is a rectangular piece of white cloth that goes over the head, under the neck, and ties around to the back two white long ribbons. It is a small piece of cloth that is meant to cover any normal clothing that is worn underneath the priest’s garments. It also catches any perspiration that may form under the head and neck. During the Graeco-Roman times, it was a head covering, worn under the helmet, that was meant to absorb the sweat that formed while the soldier was active. It caught the sweat that was originally going to run down the soldier’s face, and potentially into his eyes, blinding him.

An alb is a medium length white garment that reaches from over the shoulders down to the shin. It is similar to the soutane, a cloak that was worn in the middle east and was also the commonplace outer cloak worn by citizens and soldiers during the Graeco-Roman era. The majority of modern garments, made in the likeness of the alb, has a stiff collar that removes the need to wear an amice underneath.

The cincture is a rope with two long tassels at each end, tying around the waist, that monks and friars use regularly. During the more standard Novus Ordo mass, the cincture is abandoned. However, during more traditional masses such as the low Latin mass, it is used by the priest, worn over the alb. In the Roman world, the cincture was used as a belt. It is referred to in a prayer that is said before the priest or deacon puts on his garments. “Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity and extinguish in my heart the fire of concupiscence so that, the virtue of continence and chastity always abiding in my heart, I may better serve Thee.”

The stole is a colorful and adorned garment, carrying the likeness of a long scarf, that is secured by the cincture, and was traditionally placed across the chest in the form of X, that being St. Andrew’s Cross.

And finally, the chasuble is a colorful garment worn atop everything else. The name of the chasuble comes from the Latin word casula, which means house. It was similar to a cape, because it covered the rest of the clothing, and was usually made to be quite thicker. Regarding spirituality, it is meant to remind us of the priest’s charity.

You can see the various parts of the vestments as they are now worn demonstrated below:

During the dark and middle ages, two interpretations of the meaning of the liturgical vestments arose, those being polar opposites. One of them, the more popular, compared the individual pieces of the garments to symbols of the Passion; the amice being the blindfold, and the alb acting as the garment that Jesus was given after the scourging, and so forth.

In the end, the vestments serve two purposes; “These should, therefore, symbolize the function of each ministry; However at the same time the vestments should also contribute to the beauty of the rite.” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, #335) The vestments also inspire the priest, and all of the faithful that gaze upon it, to meditate on their rich symbolism.

Why Do Catholics Pray to The Saints?

The Catholic faith, or Catholicism, is a denomination of the Christian faith. The big difference between a Catholic and a Christian is that while Christians do not believe in praying to the dead, Catholics do pray to the Saints. Catholicism follows the beliefs and traditions of the Catholic Churches. It is a set of beliefs, which are recited in the form of Creeds, that reflect the devotion of the practitioners, towards God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Church seeks its truth through three sources; (i) The Bible, (ii) Teachings of the Church and (iii) Traditions of the Church. These three form the core element of this faith.

Catholics believed that the Word of God was revealed to humans by God himself and through the Church. The Scripture supports Their Catechism. The way the Church celebrates Mass is distinct. It is believed to have been formed through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in its members and leaders. No religious community celebrates Mass as do the Catholics. The Mass is celebrated in Seven Sacraments, the Holy Eucharist being the most central part of it. These Masses vary depending on the readings from the Scripture, prayers and the focus of each Mass.

The Catholic Church seeks the virtues presented in the Bible to imbibe them in their way of living. The Bible has models of these virtues in men who have gone before. These are the lives that the Church refers to as Saints and martyrs.

Celebrations are a big part of the community that stretches beyond the events of Christmas, Lent which is followed by Easter, and Pentecost. Additionally, there are days devoted to celebrating aspects of Mary’s Life (the virgin mother of Jesus). Certain days are also kept sacred for honoring St. Joseph, the Apostles, the martyrs who died for their faith, the many Saints, and other significant members of the Church. These are a means of praising God, giving thanks, giving glory, asking for the healing of body and mind, etc. The Mass also seeks guidance to grow in faith and involves praying for those living and dead. It is a way to experience fellowship.

A lot of people wonder why the Catholics pray to the Saints rather than praying directly to God. They pray to the saints because it is a way of asking the community’s departed sister and brothers in Christ, to intercede on their behalf. The Scripture states that those who are now in heaven, hear the prayers of those praying on earth. Revelation 5:8 sheds light on this statement. Of course, some believe that even in the Scripture, where John depicted the Saints in heaven as offering the people’s prayers to God, it could be possible that the prayers offered were not to the Saints but rather to God. The Verse reads: “the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Despite the differences in the interpretation of this Verse, there is mention that the Saints who are in heaven actively intervene and mediate for those praying on earth. John further states that when there is an offering of incense, it is the prayer of the Saints. They pray to the Saints because they are now standing in the presence of God and can more directly offer up our needs and the needs of the whole world for and with us.

People argue whether the importance placed on Saints for interceding is wrong in any way because as we know, the sole mediator between God and man is Jesus. Scripture in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, that it is not wrong for anyone to intercede. The Verse reads thus: “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good and pleasing to God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”.

Thus, we understand why Catholics pray to Saints, because according to the scriptures, prayers offered by Christians on behalf of their fellow humans, please God. Read more on praying to the Saints.

The Catholic Church seeks for its followers to experience and be a witness to the true peace of God. It teaches love above everything. The aim of the Catholic life is to have a personal and intimate relationship with God. The believers ask for intercession often praying to the Saints to make their prayers heard to God.

The Origin of the Papacy

The term papacy refers to the office of the Pope who is the bishop of Rome and presides over the Roman Catholic Church. The history of the papacy is as long as the Catholic church itself. Catholics believe it goes back to the biblical times of Jesus Christ. Matthew:16.18 “And Jesus says to Simon Peter, you are Peter the rock. And on this rock I will build my church.” That is the power that Peter received from Jesus. Peter was however later killed and crucified upside down in Rome. So the basilica of St. Peter is built over the tomb of St. Peter and is an iconic dome that dominates the skyline of Rome. St. Peter’s tomb lies directly beneath the pope’s altar in the Vatican basilica signifying that each bishop of Rome is St. Peters successor.

To date, unlike any other Christians, Rome can put at least a name in every bishop in an unbroken line back to the first century of the Christian era and to St. Peter himself whom Catholics regard as the first pope. It has been nearly 20 centuries of succession by men of great variety. Richard P. McBrien, the author of the “Lives of the Popes” says, among Peter’s successors are warriors, peacemakers, saints, politicians, pastors, reformers and nepotists alike. In the book, there are popes rated the worst of the worst popes. Pope John XII (955 – 964) is documented as having led one of the most immoral lives of any pope in history and died of a stroke allegedly in the bed of a married woman. He was apparently elected pope at the age of 18. Then there was Pope Sabinian (604 – 606), who is said to have sold grain to the hungry for a profit. So unpopular was he, that when he died, his funeral had to be diverted outside the city walls to reach St. Peters Basilica where popes are buried.

While Catholics believe that popes are elected through the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit by Cardinals in a concave separate from the outside world, history has it that the pressures of the outside world have not been absent inside the concave. There was a period when there were interferences in the people elections by various European governments, and because of politics, the papacy moved from Rome to a city in France known as Avignon. And that time is known as the Babylonian captivity of the church.

Despite the bleak history, there has been some outstanding popes. Popes that have been declared saints. Some of them have lived in our times. Pope John XXIII (1958 – 1963) is widely regarded as the most beloved pope in history. A great reformer, he called the second Vatican council in 1962, more than a century after the first Vatican Council. He died of cancer about five years into his papacy. He was succeeded by Pope Paul VI (1963 – 1978), who was another great pope. And his great statement was, “You must be missionaries to yourselves.” Then came Pope John Paul I (1978), the ever smiling pope and was only a pope for 33 days. A man who brought freshness and energy to the church, but unfortunately, he died within a month. His reign was among the shortest in papal history. It is said, he died in his sleep.

Pope John Paul II (1978 – 2005) was chosen to succeed him at the age of 58. He was a pope with energy and probably the most travelled pope. He made the world his parish. He at one point survived an assassination attempt. Later was Pope Benedict XVI (2005 – 2013), who was a great theologian. He was an intellectual. But he did the unprecedented by resigning after seven years into his papacy, breaking away from centuries of tradition. Later on, Pope Francis from Argentina succeeded him as the two hundred and sixty-sixth Pope and is currently the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

Below you’ll find an informative documentary for a more thorough explanation of the papacy.

What are the Basic Tenets of Catholicism?

The Catholic Church has been in existence on the earth longer than any other Christian denomination. The Catholics can trace the Pope’s and the Catholic Church’s authority back to Peter at the time of Jesus Christ. Most other Christian churches broke away from the Catholic Church at one point in time or another. But, they still retain many of the traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church.

If you examine the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, you will find that it is very similar to the Church that Jesus Christ established when he set up his Church. Just as Peter was the head of the Church after Christ was crucified, the Church today has the Pope. Then there are the Cardinals. The Bishops are like the apostles, and then there are deacons and priests. Only men can participate in the leadership roles in the Church.

Quite simply, traditional Catholicism is the set of Catholic beliefs and principles that the Catholic faithful have always practiced throughout the ages. After the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, some reforms swept through the Church, impacting almost everything. The mass was substantially changed (masses were for example always conducted in Ecclesiastical Latin; it was after Vatican II that native languages like English began to be used for the Latin rite of the Church). Many new prayers were added to the mass, while many old prayers were removed. All 7 of the sacraments were revised (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Penance, Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony.) The catechism was updated to be made consistent with the documents of Vatican II and a new code of canon law was issued. The changes were so far-reaching that even the Rosary and the rite of exorcism were modified and changed.

Traditional Catholic priests administer the sacraments according to their traditional form. Catechism classes are taught using older catechisms, such as the Baltimore Catechism or the Catechism of the Council Trent. Other traditional Catholic practices are still followed as well, such as abstaining from meat on all Fridays (in remembrance of Christ’s death) and kneeling to receive Holy Communion.

The Catholic Church rests on a foundation of four core beliefs or tenets. These beliefs are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Here are brief definitions of the beliefs to make them clearer:

One
One stands for the one true gospel of Jesus Christ. Although there are many principles of the gospel, there is only one true gospel and one true Church as Jesus Christ set it up. It also stands for the one body of Jesus Christ.

Holy
Holy means that the Catholic Church is perfect, pure and sanctified; although the members and even the leadership are not perfect the church itself is.

Catholic
The word Catholic can be traced back to the Greek word “katas” which means universal or whole. If you were to look at the statement of beliefs for some Protestant religions, not just the Catholic Church, you would find the term “Catholic” in them as well. When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he commanded his followers to take the gospel to the whole earth so that in theory all people would share one belief and faith.

Apostolic
Just as when Christ was on the earth, the Catholics set up a Church with apostles.

The Catechism Of The Catholic Church states the doctrines for the church, and you can use it as a guide to help you understand the stance that the Catholic church takes and why.

Catholics believe that the true presence of Jesus is in the Eucharist, which most would call communion. Catholics believe in the true presence of Jesus Christ in the bread and the wine, and we believe that the bread and wine are the body and the blood of Jesus Christ.

They do not believe in sola fide or sola scriptura. Simplistically put, these are the beliefs that you go to heaven by believing in the Bible alone and that you do not need the teachings of the church that were handed down.

Catholics do ask saints to pray for them, just like they ask family and friends to pray for us. Catholics do this because there is great power in numbers and since they have already gone on before us and are now in the presence of God.

 

 

5 Misconceptions About The Catholic Church

Here are five common misconceptions about the Catholic church. There are much more, and I could fill dozens of articles with them, but for now, we’re going to focus on the more typical misunderstandings.

1. The Catholic Church does not believe in Evolution and modern science.

A lot of scientific advances have been made through Catholic scholarship. Catholic schools worldwide, including the U.S, teach the theory of scientific evolution as one of the main parts of their science curriculum.

2. Catholics Worship Mary

A lot of people assume that, because we pray to Mary, we are worshipping her, and therefore committing idolatry. This is not true, and it has a straightforward explanation. We aren’t worshipping her, but honoring her. Mary was very holy and was born without sin, as the Bible teaches us. As Jesus’ mother, holy, pure, and immaculate, we are simply honoring her and asking for her intercession in our lives. We ask Mary to intercede for us, not only in our own personal prayers but more so in the Hail Mary. In fact, some of the words for the Hail Mary are taken right out of the Bible. To conclude, we revere her holiness, not only because she was born without original sin, but because she is the Mother of God, and so we ask for her intercession.

3. Confession is Unnecessary

This misconception is popular because no other denomination of Christianity has something like confession that is buried in its roots. In Catholicism, the act of confession is when we evaluate our lives and recent actions and confess anything that is unsavory to a Priest so that we can be absolved of our sins, and obtain a state of grace. John 20:21-23 says this; “…If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” In this passage, Jesus gave his disciples the power to forgive sins, and that tradition has been passed down through the centuries, and made its way into the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

4. Catholics follow the Pope, and not God

We do follow the Pope, in a sense. Before Jesus left, he handed down his power to Peter, as he was the ‘rock of the church’ and because he was also the first disciple of Jesus. To read more on the the papacy, visit this article on EWTN.

5. The Eucharist is purely symbolic and is nonessential to the Mass

The Eucharist is the most important part of the Mass and is the center of the consecration. To help understand the meaning of the Eucharist, we refer to both the New Testament. During the last supper, Jesus tells his disciples to eat and drink of his blood and body; his blood is the wine, and his body being the unleavened bread. “Take this cup, and drink of it; for this is my blood, which shall be shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20) Also, in the Old Testament, God tells the Israelites to spread the blood of a lamb over their doorways to protect their firstborns from death. He also explicitly tells Moses to eat the lamb afterward, as not to waste it. (Exodus 12:12) The correlation is this; Jesus is regularly referred to as the ‘Lamb of God’ and he is the lamb. There are many places in scripture, both in the Old and New Testament, that help to promote the Eucharist. Jesus also says that any who eat of his body and drink of his blood will be saved, and this is the main reasoning behind the use of ‘bread and wine’ in the consecration. Catholicism, being the oldest and most sophisticated form of Christianity, has its fair share of misconceptions and tidbits that are confusing to anyone who is trying to learn more about the Faith. A lot of traditions that we as Catholics follow stem directly from the Bible, so anything that can be questioned in the Catholic Doctrine can be found easily in the Bible. Of course, there are many other misconceptions, but these few that I wrote about are the most controversial ones. I hoped to have cleared up any confusion that you may have had.

Brief History of Lent in Catholicism

Out of all of the Catholic holy days that are observed in the liturgical calendar, Lent is one of the oldest. Of course, like all Christian holy days, it has changed over the years since its inception, but its purpose is the same; it is a time not only physical fasting but spiritual too. Self-examination, penance, self-denial, all in preparation for the coming of Jesus, that being Easter.

One of the Church’s earliest fathers, Irenaeus of Lyons, wrote of a period before the celebration of Easter, but it had only lasted a few days, nowhere near the 40 days that was later decreed.

The Council of Nicea, in 325 A.D, discussed a 40-day Lenten season of fasting and spiritual preparation, but due to the lack of records for that council, it is not clear according to historical facts if fasting was in baptismal preparation, or if it had anything to do with Easter.

Since very beginning of the Catholic Church, however, there has always been some preparation for Easter. One example of this comes to us in the form of a letter sent to Pope St. Victor I, from St. Irenaeus, commenting on the differences of the celebration of Easter between the Western and Eastern churches.”The dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual character of the fast. Some think that they ought to fast for one day, some for two, others for still more; some make their ‘day’ last 40 hours on end. Such variation in the observance did not originate in ourown day, but very much earlier, in the time of our forefathers” (Eusebius, History of the Church, V, 24)

Some of these differences are very specific, such as how the Easterners only fasted on the weekdays, while the Western church’s Lent was one week shorter in total, but encompassed fasting on Saturdays as well as the weekdays. Aside from these small differences, it was held to high standards and was very serious. Only one meal was eaten per day, towards the evening, and it had no meat, fish, or any animal product. You can imagine how bland that would have been.

Until the mid-600’s, the preparation season of Lent began on Quadragesima, the fortieth Sunday. Pope Gregory the Great moved it to Wednesday, which we now have a holy day for, and it is called Ash Wednesday. This act was to secure the exact number of days per Lenten season, not counting Sundays, which were already feast days in and of themselves. Pope Gregory, the same pope that changed the order of the Lenten season and created Ash Wednesday, was also credited with the prefix of ‘Ash.’ You were to mark your forehead with ashes of palm fronds and wear sackcloths, these two things being symbols of repentance in the Bible.

By the 800s, the Lenten acts had already become lax. Instead of fasting until night, you were allowed to eat past 3 PM. By the year 1400, it was changed till noon. Various foods were allowed, such as fish. In 1966, however, the Catholic Church reduced fast days to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday alone, making these two holy days the ones of which we are the most familiar. However, practices in the Eastern Orthodox churches are still stringent and follow guidelines very similar to the ones made when the Lenten sacrifice was made official. Although Lent is mostly a Catholic tradition, it is still observed and practiced in some mainstream Protestant denominations, such as Anglicans and Episcopalians.

As you can see, the history of Lent is quite muddled, but it more or less serves the same purpose as it intended; to physical deny one’s flesh and to spiritually prepare oneself for the celebration of the coming of Jesus.

During the Lenten season, there are ample times to make confessions in order to receive the graces that are available during this important time of year.

The Main Elements in the Liturgy of the Word

The Catholic church is truly the largest and one of the oldest Christian organization on earth. With a membership estimated at 1.29 billion members, the Catholic Church is regarded by its followers as the one true church of Jesus Christ.

The rich traditions, ancient rituals, and deep history make the Catholic church the most respected religious institution worldwide. Catholic gather every Sunday, to offer praise and thanksgiving to God in the hopes of receiving forgiveness and blessing to better their lives. One of the largest parts of the rituals that go on during Sunday Mass is the Liturgy of the Word. The liturgy is an elaborate divine ritual that allows the church’s followers to establish a relationship with God through praise, worship, and readings from the Bible.

The Liturgy of the word in a Catholic mass is divided into four sections; The Reading of Scripture, The Homily, The Profession of Faith and finally The Universal Prayer.

The Reading of Scripture
Old and New Testament Readings: These readings are the highlight of the Liturgy that involves reading the different scriptures in an orderly manner. During most of the year, there are three reading of the scriptures. On the typical Sunday, there are reading taken first from the old Testament and then from the New Testament. It is only on Easter that the reading is taken from Acts of the Apostles which tells the history of the church in its earliest days. The Final reading is from one of the four Gospels.

The Gospel: Members of the Catholic church believe that scripture is holy and inspired by the Holy Spirit, During the reading of the scripture, it is during this time that God comes and communicates with us and instructs us towards a path of redemption and salvation.

Usually, between the reading of the two Testaments, a responsorial Psalm is sung, and people are engaged in meditation on the word. The Gospel is read soon after the two readings of the Testaments. This Gospel receives special ritual signs of reverence and honor before it is read by the priest. The gathered are required to stand for the reading of the Gospel.

The Gospel tells about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is welcomed with an acclamation of praise. Usually, the acclamation is “Alleluia” except on Lent when it changes.

The Homily
The Homily involves the preaching given by the Priest/Deacon on various scriptures and the scripture of the day’s Liturgy. The Priest/Deacon draws practical lessons from the scriptures to help the gathered live much better lives and respond to the calling of Jesus to live in Holiness.

Profession of Faith
The Profession is recited from either the Nicene or Apostles Creed. These creeds are statements of faith that reaffirm the church members’ devotion to the Church’s teachings. The Nicene Creed dates back to the 4th century while the Apostles’ Creed is an ancient baptismal statement of faith from the earliest formation of the church.

Universal Prayer
The Prayer of the Faithful is an intercessory prayer made to God on behalf of the church, the world and the church member entrusting their needs to the only true and loving God.

The Liturgy of the word is something that every Catholic reveres and finds comfort in as the divine practice that brings them closer to God. If you are looking for a detailed explanation of the various parts of the Mass, you can refer to this article on the Vatican Website

The Oldest Catholic Hymns

Hymns are religious songs written for adoration, prayer, or to an address a certain figure, deity or personification. A hymn could also mean as the song of praise. One of the oldest Catholic hymns is the Egyptian great hymn to the Aten which was written by Pharaoh Akhenaten the Vedas. In the today world, the hymns are still being sung though there are instruments to accompany then unlike in the olden days. These hymns have also been modified in the way they are sung. Musicians are using various genres to sing the hymns. The good thing is that in this way the songs are going to live for a very long time, from one generation to another.

The oldest Catholic hymns are important in that they teach theology. These songs are rich and edify one’s faith and mission. They give a form of corporate worship Catholic hymns also an authentic response of expression of emotions. They also display social consciousness. They are also good for singing in congregations. These hymns remind us that we do not worship to attract unbelievers. Catholic hymns also unite various generations of Christians.

Some of the oldest Catholic hymns are Adestes Fideles, Agnus Dei, Ave Maria, Ave Maris Stella, Anima Christi among many others. Aves Maria is one of the oldest Catholic songs that are song most today. It is sung in the wedding ceremonies, church services even in burial. Whenever this song is sung, I tend to have a nostalgic feeling, my consciousness is brought alive. Though it is sung in a language not familiar to me, it has a way of communicating to the depths of my soul.

These Catholic hymns were written by people like, Mateo Albeinz who was a Spanish composer and priest, Johann Christian Bach wrote much liturgical and sacred music. Ludwig Van Beethoven who wrote the famous Missa Solemnis and Mass in C Major, Hector Berlioz who wrote famous requiems, Hinrich Ignaz Franz Biber is known for writing the Rosary sonatas, Antonio Soler, a Spanish priest, and composer. The list is endless of the many composers of these Old Catholic hymns.

Many books have been compiled today about the Old Catholic hymns. This will ensure that the content will not get lost. Modernization has changed a lot of things in the world today and the Catholic hymns have not been left out. New hymns have been composed and people are tending to forget or do away with the old hymns. In some of the hymns books, some of these songs are found to be missing in the list. Songs have been modernized in a lot of ways including revision of the original lyrics.

This way the original meaning of the hymns is being changed. This might lead to us loosing the history of our hymns. Modern Catholics today no longer sing the old hymns. Modernization has taken so much of them and they do not want to be seen as ancient when singing these songs. There is a great need for Catholics today to include these old hymns in our service list today or risk losing the rich and deep content to modernization.