Liturgy of the EucharistPater Noster (Our Father) stained glass window (detail) | St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, Wisconsin | Francis Deck, designer | Emil Frei Studio, St. Louis

Liturgy of the Eucharist

As Canons Regular, Norbertines wholeheartedly embrace a Eucharistic spirituality which professes that:

the Liturgy is the font and summit from which and to which all the Church’s activity flows.

—Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy

Catholics worship God in a variety of ways, but the chief act of corporate or communal worship is the Liturgy of the Eucharist, known as the Mass—an English word derived from the Latin text of the priest’s dismissal of the congregation at the end of the liturgy (“Ite, missa est”). Throughout the centuries, the liturgy of the Church has taken a variety of regional and historical forms, but one thing has remained constant: the Mass has always been the central form of Catholic worship.

Very early on, the Church saw the Mass as a mystical reality in which the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is renewed. As far back as the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul’s epistles, one can find descriptions of the Christian community gathering to celebrate the Lord’s Supper—the Eucharist.

The stained glass windows of the south clerestory in the St. Norbert Abbey Church symbolize the major parts of the Catholic Mass.

In the Liturgy of the Word (Preparatory Rites) the assembly speaks to God (Penitential Rites) and then God responds by speaking in the Scriptural Readings and homily. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the assembly offers its gifts and themselves to God (Offertory Rites). God transforms these gifts into Himself (Consecration) and returns them to the participants (Communion).

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