Concluding Rites, Eucharist and Forgiveness

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The Concluding Rites is the shortest and simplest part of the Mass. It consists of: brief announcements, the priest’s greeting and blessing and the dismissal of the people.

The announcements keep people informed about the various activities and groups operating in the parish and invite them to participate.

Three options are given for the blessing: Simple Blessing, where the priest blesses the assembly in the name of Father, Son and Spirit; Solemn Blessing that includes three invocations after each of which the people answer Amen; Prayer over the People, which consists of a collect to which the assembly responds Amen. These last two are always concluded with a Simple Blessing.

The dismissal is not just a way to end the celebration and say farewell to those who have gathered, although both of these are included.  It is not so much an ending as a commissioning.

We who have united ourselves to Christ’s sacrifice in the Eucharist are sent out into the world to live the mystery we have just celebrated, to be the Body of Christ in our homes, communities and workplaces.

Although singing a recessional hymn is common, a hymn is not included among the elements of the concluding rites. It may be more effective simply to do what the presider has just called us to do: to go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.


Penance is the church’s special sacrament of pardon, and people conscious of having committed grave sin need to celebrate reconciliation before presenting themselves for communion.

But it is important to keep in mind that our participation at Mass grants forgiveness through word, gesture and sacrament. There are many examples of texts and gestures in the Mass that express sorrow and ask for forgiveness.

One of the introductory elements of the Mass is the penitential rite. This may take the form of the community saying together the “I confess…”, or responding to a set of three invocations address to Christ.  The priest concludes the penitential rite with the absolution.

Three times during the “Glory to God” we implore Christ to “have mercy on us”. These words are repeated in the “Lamb of God” which is sung during the breaking of the bread and pouring of the wine.

In the Lord’s Prayer we ask that our sins might be forgiven and that we might be delivered from evil. Immediately before receiving communion we say: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.

The Catechism lists forgiveness of sin as one of the fruits of Holy Communion: “The Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins”. (CCC # 1393)


Elizabeth Harrington