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CATHOLIC LITURGY (Liturgy of the Word)





TOPIC: CATHOLIC LITURGY (Liturgy of the Word)







In general liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law.

The word Liturgy literally means work of the people, within the Catholic Church it is used to describe all the public acts of worship that take place, as it draws the people into the work of God.

Liturgy is the divine worship of the Church and includes the celebration of Mass, the celebration of the Sacraments, and the Divine Office or Daily Prayer of the Church.

The Liturgy of the Catholic Church is divided into two:

1. The Liturgy of Word.

2. The Liturgy of the Eucharist.


According CCC 1154 the liturgy of the Word is an integral part of sacramental celebrations. To nourish the faith of believers, the signs which accompany the Word of God should be emphasized: the book of the Word (a lectionary or a book of the Gospels), its veneration (procession, incense, candles), the place of its proclamation (lectern or ambo), its audible and intelligible reading, the minister's homily which extends its proclamation, and the responses of the assembly (acclamations, meditation psalms, litanies, and profession of faith).

Most of the Liturgy of the Word is made up of

readings from Scripture. On Sundays and solemnities, there are three Scripture readings. During most of the year, the first reading is from the Old Testament and the second reading is from one of the New Testament letters. During Easter Time, the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles which tells the story of the Church in its earliest days. The last reading is always taken from one of the four Gospels.

In the Liturgy of the Word, the Church feeds the people of God from the table of his Word (cf.

Sacrosanctum Concilium , no. 51). The Scriptures are the word of God, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the Scriptures, God speaks to us, leading us along the path to salvation.


The liturgy of the word is section into the following:

A). The First Reading:

The Hebrew Scriptures : The first reading is mostly chosen from the Old Testament and during some seasons the Book of Acts might be read. This reading usually harmonizes with the Gospel reading (see below). This reveals the continuity between Israel and Jesus who comes not to replace but to fulfill Israel.

B). The Responsorial Psalm

The Psalm reflects themes in the readings. The Psalm consists of an antiphon. This is a vehicle of prayer and praise – an atmosphere of prayer within which the readings occur.

C). The Second Reading

The Christian Scriptures : This reading is also referred to as the Epistle, is usually from one of the letters in the New Testament which may also include the Book of Acts or the Book of Revelations. While the letters address particular situations in the early Church, their message transcends the centuries to motivate contemporary Christians and deepen our appreciation of the mystery of Christ.

D). The Gospel – Alleluia:

“Alleluia” is a Latin echo of the Hebrew acclamation “Praise God!” and is a key word in Christian worship. Here it heralds the Gospel. In a solemn celebration the church deacon goes to the altar where the Gospel is enthroned. He lifts the book and, accompanied by servants (altar-boys) with candles and on some occasions incense (symbols of Christ’s light), processes with the Gospels held high while choir and community acclaim the good news with “Alleluia,” alternating with verses appropriate to today’s Gospel. Christians acclaim the most wonderful deed of God among humankind, Jesus Christ, here made visible in the book containing His words and message to us all.

E). The Gospel Reading

The Gospel is the climax of the liturgy of the word. Catholic faith teaches that in proclaiming the Gospel, Christ is truly present to the community. For this reason the community stands to witness to Christ’s resurrection which allows him to be present to his people.

As the deacon or priest introduce the Gospels all in the community sign themselves with the sign of the cross traced on the forehead, the lips and over the heart. This signing reminds us “Christ in my thoughts” <forehead>, “Christ from my lips or what I say”<lips> and “Christ in my heart” <over the heart>

Hearing the Gospel proclaimed also reminds and identifies Catholics with the first community which heard these words for the mouth of Jesus. On the conclusion of the reading the minister proclaims, “This is the Gospel of the Lord.” He means not the book, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the “Good News” itself. The community affirms in faith by responding, “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ”.

-Liturgical Cycles

You may have noticed that the Gospel readings stay in one book of the Gospels throughout a given year (with some exceptions), this is due to what we call Liturgical Cycles.

Cycles A, B, and C go through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Gospel of John is read around Christmas, during Lent, and during the Easter season through all three cycles.

Although there are twenty seven books in the New Testament, there are only four Gospels so every Mass, 364 days a year (there is no Mass on Good Friday, the only day of the year that there isn’t), you will hear a reading proclaimed from one of these four.

F). The Homily (ormini-sermon)

Christians believe that “faith comes through preaching.”(Romans 3:13-15). This idea is rooted in Jewish belief that the creative power of God’s word transforms human life.

The Scriptures are not always easy to understand and apply to present life. For this reason the homily breaks open the Scriptures, showing how the word of God addresses us today. What import does the Gospel have for our lives today, for the world we live in, for issues in the community forum?

G). The Profession of Faith

The Creed: The Creed is a written profession summarizing the community’s search for an ever deepening understanding of Jesus and His message.

The Nicene-Constantinople Creed is most often used at Mass, although the Apostles’ Creed may be used at some liturgies. Please note that both creed’s are used by not only the Catholic Church, but also by Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Orthodox and many other Christian faiths.

H). General Intercessions ( Prayers of the Faithful) :

The people petition God for the needs of the Church, society, the parish, people in need, the sick and suffering, and those who have died. They direct our faith which has been deepened through prayer and listening to God’s word to specific situations today. These prayers conclude the Liturgy of the Word.

The prayers follow a pattern on most days, as laid out in the GIRM,

GIRM 70. As a rule, the series of intentions is to be

a. For the needs of the Church;

b. For public authorities and the salvation of the whole world;

c. For those burdened by any kind of difficulty;

d. For the local community.

After the prayers, the people sit while the gifts are prepared and brought forward to the altar.

This ends the Liturgy of The Word.


‘Liturgy is not an event that depends on good ideas and great songs. No one makes up or invents a liturgy. It is something that grew over millennia of faith.’ YOUCAT (paragraph 167)

In the liturgy of the word Christians come together to thank God for God’s gifts. Listening to God’s word (the Bible) they grow in faith more conformed to the mind of Christ. Liturgy celebrates the wonders of creation and gives thanks for the reality of redemption. The liturgy is a celebration not of what God has said, but of God today speaking to our hearts and souls.


=> The Holy Bible

=> Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

We have come to a conclusion on the topic CATHOLIC LITURGY (Liturgy of the Word)

Thanks for your participation, support and contributions. May the God in his infinite mercy continue to be bless and grant you more understanding of his words; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.



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