Abbot Jeremy Driscoll is a Benedictine monk of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon.  He teaches at Mount Angel Seminary and the Pontifical University of Sant’ Anselmo, Rome.  Following are notes on Father Jeremy Driscoll’s presentation “What Happens at Mass” at Saint Bernard’s on March 18, 2017 in Billings, Montana.  For complete information please refer to “What Happens At Mass” Revised Edition by Jeremy Driscoll, OSB.

The mystery evolves through the events during a mass.  Mystery in this sense does not mean what we do not know.  “As Saint Paul said a mystery is a concrete something that when you bump into it, you encounter the presence of Christ.  The Cross of Christ was not present previously has not been revealed.”  You know it is there even though you can not see it or feel it but you experience the mystery.”

Preparation for Mass or Laying the Groundwork
Codes and Symbols

The Introductory Rites
The priest acts as our spokesman at the altar, speaks to God in prayer, asks pardon for our sins (the penitential act), and begs His mercy (Kyrie),

Liturgy of the Word
“God speaks” to us.

Preparation of Gifts
Collect offerings then the procession to the altar by representatives of the parish with each member of the assembly participating.  Prayers of Presentation; Little Mysteries and Prayer over the Offerings are included.

Eucharist Prayer
The priest speaks first to the people then narrates the poem one with the assembly.


Concluding Rites
Codes and Symbols

Prayers After Mass

Mystery – executed Jesus Christ is in the mystery of his death the world is saved.

Mystery is hidden in the consecrated host.

Mystery is the whole assembly is made into the mystery which makes the body of Christ.

Mystery is revealed in the reading by the lector.  Physically it is the lector reading to the assembly but it is God talking to the assembly.

There are two movements during mass.  God towards the people then the people towards God.

Ritual action is articulated in Trinitarian terms of sending his son.  So people will be transformed thus causing the people towards the Father with the Holy Spirit at work correlating the action.  Jesus is a mediator being the second part of the trinity.

God is present through the entire mass and not only among the people after receiving communion, the Holy Spirit is bringing the people of the Assembly closer to God.

The mass now utilizes 2 (two) books for reference since Vatican II.  There is more exposure to the liturgy.

Pope Benedict XVI said mass is a great grace filled event referring to Vatican II:

It is indeed the priest alone, who, acting in the person of Christ, consecrates the bread and wine, but the role of the faithful in the Eucharist is to recall the passion, resurrection and glorification of the Lord, to give thanks to God, and to offer the immaculate victim not only through the hands of the priest, but also together with him; and finally, by receiving the Body of the Lord, to perfect that communion with God and among themselves which should be the product of participation in the sacrifice of the Mass. —Second Vatican Council (from Second Vatican Council, “Sacred Liturgy,” Second Instruction on the Proper Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, no. 12.)

Vatican II convened on October 11, 1962 under the pontificate of (Saint) Pope John XXIII.  During 1903 Pope Pius X indicated the renewal of church in particular the mass was needed so changes did not happen overnight.  Great thought and deliberation was given before the council was convened as thoughts to changes in the mass started as early as 1862.

The parts discussed are at a mass with the Bishop presiding such as a Chrism mass or confirmation.

The Mass or Eucharist is the central act of divine worship in the Catholic Church, which describes it as “the source and summit of the Christian life”. In formal contexts, it is sometimes called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.