‘Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord’: The Concluding Rites

Aaron Lambert

This article is the final piece in a series to help the faithful experience Mass in a deeper way than ever before. Click the links below to read the other parts!

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Introductory Rites

Part 3: Liturgy of the Word
Part 4: The Liturgy of the Eucharist

Following Holy Communion, as you walk back to your pew after having received the most sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the only appropriate response is one of contemplation and awe. What a gift for the God of the Universe to allow us, his most precious creation, to partake in the sacred mystery of communion with him through the Eucharist. 

Over the course of the celebration of the Mass, our minds have been fed, our souls have been nourished, and we have been physically united with Christ through the consumption of his flesh. As God’s chosen people, we are now prepared to go back out into the world, spiritually rejuvenated and refreshed, to share the Good News of the Gospel with those we encounter each day through our actions and through our words. But the Mass isn’t over quite yet. 

Greeting and Blessing 

Once more, and for the final time in the Mass, the priest greets the congregation: “The Lord be with you,” and once more recognizing the spirit of Christ in the priest, the congregation responds: “And with your spirit.” Following this, the priest offers a blessing to the congregation. Usually, it is a simple trinitarian blessing, but on special occasions, the priest may instruct the congregation to bow down to receive a longer blessing. 

Priestly blessings can be found all throughout the Old Testament and are yet another tangible example of the connection the modern Church has to the early Church. Blessings are much more than simply some nice words; they invoke the spirit of God and are a powerful reminder of what we were created for: to love and be loved by God. As you make the Sign of the Cross while the priest says the blessing, remember who you belong to and how you came to belong to Him. It is through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and it alone that we experience full communion with the Lord. 

Dismissal 

After this final blessing, the congregation is dismissed. In the early Church, the Latin words used to send people forth were “Itemissa est” (literally meaning “Go, she—meaning you, the Church—has been sent”). The word “Mass” takes its namesake from “Missa,” which is related to the word “Missio” – the English root of the word “mission.” 

The Church, in her wisdom, has always recognized that its mission is not to sit in a fortified bunker protected from the world and its culture, but rather to go out and proclaim the Gospel. This command is reflected in the final proclamation of the Mass, which is always one of the following four phrases: “Go forth, the Mass is ended”; “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord”; Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”; “Go in peace.” The common thread between these four phrases? GO. 

Pope Benedict XVI wrote about the missionary nature of the Church and its relation to the Mass in Sacramentum Caritatis: “After the blessing, the deacon or the priest dismisses the people with the words: Itemissa est. These words help us to grasp the relationship between the Mass just celebrated and the mission of Christians in the world. In antiquity, missa simply meant ‘dismissal.’ However in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word ‘dismissal’ has come to imply a ‘mission.’ These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church. The People of God might be helped to understand more clearly this essential dimension of the Church’s life, taking the dismissal as a starting- point.” 

So, in heeding these final words, this final call, this holy command: Let us go forth and announce the Gospel of the Lord, glorifying the Lord by our lives. 

Featured image by Daniel Petty|Denver Catholic

COMING UP: Preparing your Home and Heart for the Advent Season

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The Advent season is a time of preparation for our hearts and minds for the Lord’s birth on Christmas.  It extends over the four Sundays before Christmas.  Try some of these Ideas to celebrate Advent in your home by decorating, cooking, singing, and reading your way to Christmas. Some of the best ideas are the simplest.

Special thanks to Patty Lunder for putting this together!

Advent Crafts

Handprint Advent Wreath for Children 
Bring the meaning of Advent into your home by having your kids make this fun and easy Advent wreath.

Materials
Pink and purple construction paper
– Yellow tissue or construction paper (to make a flame)
– One piece of red construction paper cut into 15 small circles
– Scissors
– Glue
– Two colors of green construction paper
– One paper plate
– 2 empty paper towel tubes

1. Take the two shades of green construction paper and cut out several of your child’s (Children’s) handprints. Glue the handprints to the rim of a paper plate with the center cut out.

2. Roll one of the paper towels tubes in purple construction paper and glue in place.

3. Take the second paper towel and roll half in pink construction paper and half in purple construction and glue in place.

4. Cut the covered paper towel tubes in half.

5. Cut 15 small circles from the red construction paper. Take three circles and glue two next to each other and a third below to make berries. Do this next to each candle until all circles are used.

6. Cut 4 rain drop shapes (to make a flame) from the yellow construction paper. Each week glue the yellow construction paper to the candle to make a flame. On the first week light the purple candle, the second week light the second purple candle, the third week light the pink candle and on the fourth week light the final purple candle.

A Meal to Share during the Advent Season

Slow-Cooker Barley & Bean Soup 

Make Sunday dinner during Advent into a special family gathering with a simple, easy dinner. Growing up in a large family, we knew everyone would be together for a family dinner after Mass on Sunday. Let the smells and aromas of a slow stress-free dinner fill your house and heart during the Advent Season. Choose a member of the family to lead grace and enjoy an evening together. This is the perfect setting to light the candles on your Advent wreath and invite all to join in a special prayer for that week.

Ingredients:
– 1 cup dried multi-bean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
– 1/2 cup pearl barley (Instant works great, I cook separate and add at end when soup is done)
– 3 cloves garlic, smashed
– 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
– 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
– 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
– 1 bay leaf
– Salt to taste
– 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (basil, oregano)
– Freshly ground black pepper
– One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
– 3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)
– 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra for garnish

1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 1 tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down and add their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours. 

2. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve with a baguette.