Liturgical Terms You Need to Know

From the Editor’s Desk (Friday, 06-05-2015, Gaudium Press) Here are some liturgical terms, related to the Mass, explained by Jimmy Akin, with some additions, which you may like to know.HolySpiritWindow.jpg


Greek, anti- “opposite” + phone “voice.” A short text, typically from Scripture and often used as a refrain said by the congregation (e.g., during the Responsorial Psalm), though it has other uses in the liturgy.


Is the name of the final prayer of the Introductory Rites. It is a prayer that varies depending on the liturgical day. It follows the Gloria and concludes the Introductory Rites. The former translation of Mass referred to it as the “opening prayer,” but its historical name is restored in the new translation.
This prayer has traditionally been referred to as “the collect” based on the fact that the celebrant collects, so to speak, the prayers of the faithful in this prayer addressed to the Father, through Jesus, the Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.


The word comes from ancient Greek meaning “invocation” or “calling down from on high”, and it is part of the Eucharistic Prayer. In it, by means of particular invocations, the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated. It follows the Acclamation (Sanctus) and precedes the Institution Narrative and Consecration. Epiclesis, therefore, is the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine, implicitly or explicitly, in the Eucharistic Prayer. In the Roman Catholic Eucharistic Prayers, the epiclesis is “split,” occurring both before and after the consecration.

Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion

A person authorized to distribute Holy Communion, either for a particular occasion or in a more stable fashion, due to extraordinary circumstances such as lack of ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are bishops, priests, and deacons. All others are extraordinary. Note that the term “extraordinary minister of Holy Communion” is the correct term. Terms such as “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist,” “eucharistic minister,” and “special minister” are all incorrect.

Ordinary of the Mass

Those parts of the Mass that do not change based on the liturgical day. Also called the ordinary. Compare with Proper of the Mass.

Proper of the Mass

The proper of the Mass are those parts of the Mass that change based on the liturgical day. It can be also called the proper or the proper of the day.


Instructions printed in red in a liturgical book (e.g., the Roman Missal) that direct the actions of those participating in a liturgical celebration. Rubrics are typically scattered among the text of the prayers (which are printed in black). In other words rubrics are the instructions for a priest explaining what he has to do during a liturgical service, usually fund in missals or other service books, leaving the sections to be spoken aloud in black.

Source Jimmy Akin Club

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