How We Celebrate

The Liturgy

Why do we do what we do on Sundays?
“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19.

Liturgy is action.
Jesus said, “Do this to remember me,” not “read this” or “think this to remember me”!

The word “liturgy” means “work,” “work of the people,” and it is work of the people, not for the people (which is the distinction between liturgy and magic, since magic is directed for some outcome for people).  Liturgy is different than a service which often is entertainment at its worst, or passively watching and listening to what is going on at church.  Liturgy, rather, is something we do together (the Greek “Do” in “Do this to remember me,” is plural).

“And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory'” Isaiah 6:3.

What work are we to do when we meet on Sunday?

We gather
The first work is our gathering together in one place.  This gathering takes effort.  You have to get up, drive, and make some effort to be present in mind and body.  This is not always an easy task.

We sing
St. Augustine was fond of saying that those who sing, pray twice.  In liturgical churches like ours, we have no choir to do the singing.  We are all the choir.  We are lead to sing and lift our voices unto the Lord.  For some of us it is a major work to sing on key, but God is tone deaf.  All God hears is the people he loves singing and rejoicing.  I can tell you as a father, the singing of my children delights me.  As a priest I delight in hearing you sing.  Music opens the soul to the movement of the Spirit.  It touches our emotions and refreshes us.

Psalm 150
Praise the LORD
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

We look and listen
We have inherited a tendency to think of worship as primarily the words, and focus a lot of energy on getting the words right.  Words are powerful, and using them carefully is important, but the Christian tradition has always seen there is more to worship than words.  That is why we have processions, vestments, banners, music and singing, bread and wine, architecture, color, art work, crosses, flowers, incense, candles, and gestures.

When we pay attention to what is all around us, we are often caught up in the liturgical energy that directs us to notice God in our presence.  We bring the world of family, marriage, work, troubles, and needs into the presence of God.

We listen most attentively to the Scripture readings.  God is speaking to us through His holy words.  His words are life and we grow to know his will for us by listening with open minds and hearts.  In the scriptures, it says that the word of God is living and active and that all scriptures is God breathed.

We burst into song (the Psalms) after hearing the word from the Old Testament.  God spoke thousands of years ago to his chosen people, yet those words still shape our lives and move us to trust in God as the people of God have done since the time of Abraham.

There is something truly sacred in the singing of the psalms together with the brothers and sisters of your community. This ties us to all of God’s people that have gone before us for thousands of years. There is great power in singing the inspired songs from the Eternal God of the Universe.

Our listening continues as the priest or deacon proclaims the Gospel and preaches the homily.  The work of listening engages our minds and emotions as we apply the scripture lessons to our lives.  The Word is living and gives life, but we must absorb, digest, and embrace the Word of God so some good work can be done.

We pray
After the homily, a time of silence envelopes us as we sit in God’s voice, letting the words rest in the depths of our being.  Then we listen to the prayers of the church, drawing us to pray more deeply and more communally.  We hear others praying.  We are moved to pray.  The energy of the Spirit impels us to lift up our minds and hearts to God, then we may pray for ourselves and others as the Spirit moves.  We might give thanks for some blessing, seek a blessing, pronounce a mighty work of God in our midst, seek a healing, or sit in silent prayer as the Spirit directs.

We give and receive
The work of the Liturgy now moves from the Table of the Word to the Table of the Eucharist.  We offer something of ourselves in the collection.  The work of our week, our daily toil is shared with God in thanks for our ability to work.

Bread and wine are brought to the table to symbolize human labor.  That work is placed upon the altar and blessed, acknowledging God’s gifts in our weekly efforts.

After the priest has blessed the bread and wine, he recalls the words of Jesus at the Last Supper.  In that moment, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus.  We are feed not by bread alone but the Word made flesh, now present in the bread and wine.  Jesus is our food, nourishing our hungry souls.  As He said, “My body is real food, my blood real drink.”

We share a meal with Christ, but it is Jesus himself that is our food.  For some, this is a great work of faith. For others, the real presence of Jesus is true and obvious.  It is the faith of the Church.

Before we share in communion with the Lord, we pray the prayer he taught his friends.  We pray we are worthy friends to utter His prayer and seek His kingdom.

St. Paul directed his churches to “greet one another with a holy kiss,” so before we share common life with Jesus, we reach out to those in the church to be sure we are in communion with each other as well.  We can not be in communion with Jesus and estranged from his people at the same time.  We work at unity, harmony, and peace.  It does not always come easy even for the church.

Now we approach the altar to share in communion with Jesus.  He has united us with him and each other. In this unity we are empowered to break down the walls that separate humankind.  In this communion, we invite Jesus to use our bodies to do his work in the world, our minds and heart to defeat the powers of evil that divide and frighten.

We proclaim and live
As a church, we sit in silence or meditate on our unity with Christ.  That meditation may reveal the work we are to do this week.  It may simply reassure us that Jesus is present in our lives and we have nothing to fear.

Our final work is to be sent forth to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and when necessary to use words.

The Order of the Liturgy

Introductory Rites

Entrance Song


Celebrant: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.
Celebrant: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the
Holy Spirit be with you all.
All: And also with you.
Celebrant: (Invocation) Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Celebrant: (Invocation) Christ, have mercy.
All: Christ, have mercy.
Celebrant: (Invocation) Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Celebrant: Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
All: Amen.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading

Reader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Second Reading

Reader: The Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

Gospel Acclamation


Celebrant: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
Celebrant: A reading from the Holy Gospel According to _______.
All: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Celebrant proclaims the Gospel

Celebrant: This is the Good News of the Lord.
All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


The priest or deacon preaches according to the readings.

General Intercessions (Prayers of the People)

To each intercession, all respond “Lord, hear our prayer,” or some other response.
The Celebrant concludes the Intercessions with a prayer.

All: Amen.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Preparations of the Altar and the Gifts

While the gifts of the people are brought forward to the priest and are placed at the altar, the offertory song is sung.  While the people sing, the priest gives thanks to God for the bread and wine.

Prayer Over the Gifts

The priest prays over the gifts and the people respond.

All: Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer


Celebrant: The Lord is with you.
All: And also with you.
Celebrant: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Lord.


All: Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The priest prays over the bread and wine, recalling Jesus’ words and seeking God’s care over the church.

Memorial Acclamation

Proclaimed by all.

Great Amen

Celebrant: Through him, with him, In him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours,  Almighty Father, forever and ever.
All: Amen! (Either sung or proclaimed with great energy!

The Lord’s Prayer

All: Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

The Celebrant continues with a prayer that expands upon the last petition of the Lord’s Prayer.
All end the prayer with the acclamation:

All: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.

Sign of Peace

Celebrant: Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles:
I leave you peace, my peace I give you.
Look not on our faults, but on the faith of your Church,
and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom
where you live forever and ever.
All: Amen.
Celebrant: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
All:   And also with you.

As is the Christian custom dating back 2000 years, we greet each other with a sign of peace before coming to the Lord’s Table.

Breaking of the Bread

All: Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
grant us peace.
Celebrant: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Happy are those who are called to his supper.
All: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed.


At St. Philip Neri Church everyone is welcomed to share in communion.
We are all Christians and friends of our Lord Jesus.
After communion we have time to meditate on the living presence of Jesus within us and all around us.  After the meditation time, the priest concludes with a prayer.

Concluding Rites

It is our tradition to conclude the Liturgy of the Lord with a time of questions and reflections. This time     draws the community to reflect on the readings, the homily, and the movement of the Holy Spirit in the church. You are encouraged to ask and share.

Celebrant: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
Celebrant: May the God who loves you bless you: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
All: Amen.

The priest then sends you forth to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All:   Thanks be to God.

We are then sent forth in song!




Thank you for your participation in the Celebration of the Eucharist

1. Go to the altar during the collection.

2. The people collecting the offering will bring the bread and wine to Father John.

3. The wine cups and purificators (clothes) will already be on the altar.

4. Father John will hand the bread to the person who will stand on his left and the wine carafe to the person who will stand on his right.

5. The person who receives the bread simply removes the covering folds it and lays it on the left side of the altar.  The bread is placed in the center in front of Father John.

6. The person receiving the wine will pour an equal amount into each of the wine cups (sometimes you will have to pour a bit more into one or the other if you see that they aren’t quite about the same).  All the wine does not need to be poured from the pitcher; if there is low attendance, pour the amount of wine anticipated to be needed and leave the rest in the pitcher.

7. Leave the cups where they are and put the carafe on the plastic container on the table next to where Father John sits (so that jug doesn’t drip the red wine onto the white table covering.

8. After Father John consecrates the bread and the wine, you bow with him.

9. Just before the Doxology (before the Great Amen) when Father John puts a wine cup on the left and right side and he raises the host, each of you will raise your cup while he says “Through him, with him and in him…”

10. After the sign of peace, you return to your place at the altar and Father John will break the bread.

11. When he hands you your pieces, break into 1-2 squares (each piece doesn’t have to be completely broken into the smallest square).

12. After you have received the body and blood, Father John will move in front of the altar to start offer communion to the church.

13. Take your wine cup and the purificator and stand on either side of Father John

14. As you give the wine, say “Blood of Christ” and wipe the cup with the cloth, and rotate the cup for the next person.

15. When everyone is done, Father John will place the plate with any remaining host onto the table next to where he sits.

16. You will place your cup on the table next to the carafe and put the purificator over the wine goblet.

7. Return to your seat, you are done!