Ask Father Faith: November 3, 2011

How did the order of the Mass evolve?
               –Adrina, 8th grade, St. Teresa Catholic School, Titusville

Of course the development of Liturgy is an entire course of study and there are many books that have been written to account the history and theology of the church’s worship.   But, as a very short answer, from the first gatherings of the Church following the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the apostles (and their successors) presided over celebrations where they “broke the bread” and “shared the cup” recalling the words and the actions of the Lord Jesus at the Last Supper.  This celebration of the Eucharist was proceeded by readings from the Sacred Scriptures, thus the earliest Liturgies of the Word and the Eucharist.  As time progressed,  these celebrations became more stylized, more Scripture was added, ministries began to evolve, the Church began to grow, music became an essential part of prayer and by the time we got to the middle of second century, the Order of Mass began to look very much like we celebrate today!  Some of the Prayers that we use at Mass date back even to that time in the Church’s prayer!

This week’s question was answered by the Very Reverend Robert Webster, Director of the Office of Liturgy for the Diocese of Orlando.