INTRODUCTORY RITES: We begin with the Sign of the Cross, symbol of our faith, of our belief in salvation through Jesus' life, death & resurrection. We reply "Amen". So be it. The celebrant extends to us the "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" - grace, love and fellowship. "We are welcomed, received and empowered". (Thomas Howard - 'On Being Catholic') We come into the presence of the Trinity.
PENITENTIAL RITE: We gather knowing that we are not perfect, that sin separates us from God and neighbour and we ask God's mercy and forgiveness. Did you ever notice that this is the only time in the Mass we use the word "I"? 'I' acknowledge that 'I' alone am responsible for my sins; 'I' ask the prayers of Mary, the Angels, the Saints and my brothers and sisters to help me do better in following God's law of love and, with the priest's words signifying God's forgiveness, 'I' am once more in communion, in community, with my brothers and sisters and prayers are now prefaced with "we". Take some time to read the words of the "Confiteor" and pray them deeply. "The forgiveness of our sins is the prize that no friend, no spouse, no father or mother, no counselor, no therapist, and no psychiatrist can offer to us." (Thomas Howard).
KYRIE ELEISON: We are united through these Greek words with the early Church. With these words we joyfully invoke the mercy of God.
(adapted and taken with permission from Anne Perez, Dir. Religious Ed., Holy Family Parish, St. Petersburg, Fla.)