Why do Catholics call it the Mass?

Why do Catholics call it the Mass?


What is the origin of the word “Mass” in the context of the Church?


The name comes from the Latin word “Missa,” it is from the Latin mass ending “ite missa est” which translated to English means “Go, it is sent.” The “It” means the Church, you, and me. So, the Mass gets its name from the liturgical dismissal of the Eucharistic celebration.

Missa was used at the end of the liturgy of the word at the dismissal of the catechumens, and at the end of the Eucharistic celebration. It was around the 6th century that the term was applied to the entire liturgical celebration.

Aside from the possibly more straightforward cultural reasons why Mass became the name, but we focus on the more powerful theological meaning. 

In Matthew 28:19-20, The Great Commission, Jesus said:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This was the call for all Christians to go and spread the Gospel. After the transformational experience of receiving the life of Grace, we must go and spread the discovery abroad. Just like the disciples, when they discovered Jesus, they usually ran and told someone else. So, the call is for us to preach with our lives after we have experienced Jesus in the Eucharist. Those are not two different things, but basically, the former informs and is directly tied to the latter. So we can say the most crucial aspect of the Mass is the “Going” and spreading; living the Life of Jesus in the world and setting it on fire with his love!

Why do Catholics call it the Mass?

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