Describing parts of the mass to non-Catholics/Christians


Hi all,

I hoping some of you might be able to help me. I’m trying to put together the Order of Service for my sisters Catholic wedding Mass. There’s be over 100 guests at the service, but half of them will be non-Christians, and another 40% are protestants (not sure how observant). Basically it’s only our immediate family who are Catholic, but we see this as a great opportunity to show our friends this vital aspect of our lives, and hopefully give people a good impression of Catholic tradition and spirituality.

What I would like to do is have little descriptions and notes on the different parts of the Mass, that would help people understand what it means to us as Catholics, and to help them engage with it on some level, even if obviously as non-Catholics they aren’t really going to get it.

So, if anyone has any thoughts to share, or nice ways of describing the: Kyrie/Penitential Rite, Gloria, The Offering, Eucharist, and/or any of the little things like genuflecting, sign of the cross, etc.

I was hoping that people might have come across some nice words or thoughts? I seem to remember hearing a priest at a mixed wedding giving a good introduction to the Penetential Rite, where he explained that “there are times when we all feel we have let down those close to us, or have failed to be the kind of person we want to be.” While that doesn’t capture the full meaning of sin and penitence, it gives people who would otherwise be turned off my ‘archaic’ language a chance to understand what’s going on.

Thanks in advance for any help!



Depending on how much time you have, you may be able to get a copy of Dr. Edward Sri’s ‘A Biblical walk through the Mass’ that may aid in your paraphrasing. For instance, for the Confiteor, I might write:

We are called to prepare ourselves for the sacred encounter with the Lord every time we go to Mass and so the priest invites us to “prepare ourselves to celebrate these sacred mysteries” by humbly confessing our sins publicly before Almighty God and the congregation. Just as Israel needed to wash their garments and consecrate themselves before approaching the Lord at Sinai, we, too, need to cleanse our souls from sin before we approach God in the Mass. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin (Ps. 51:2).

It might be a bit long for a brochure, but just a thought.


Here are some suggestions.
Kyrie/Penitential Rite : With these prayers we ask God for forgiveness of our sins, God is so loving that he forgives even our most grave offenses willingly and even sent his Son to die on the cross in reparation of our sins.
Gloria: Here we praise God for his great glory.
Offering and Eucharist: On Holy Thursday Jesus said to his apostles “do this in memory of me” Jesus also called himself the bread of life when he said “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.”(John 6: 53-56) to fulfill this Jesus comes down to us in every mass in the form of bread and wine so that we may receive him, and through receiving him gain eternal life. The Eucharist is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross, but it is offered in an unbloody manner. In the Eucharist the merit earned for us by Jesus on the cross is applied to us. God humbles himself to take the form of bread and wine so that he may remain on our altars forever as a sign of his infinite love for us.
Genuflecting: We genuflect to show our reverence to God, the King of Kings, who is truly present in the tabernacle. When genuflecting the right knee should touch the ground, this comes from the tradition of genuflecting to a king to on the left knee to show loyalty, and genuflecting to God on the right knee to show absolute reverence, obedience, and submission.
Sign of the cross: We make the sign of the cross to show our belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and also as a participation in the command of Jesus to go forth and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Hopefully this was able to help you.
Oremus pro invicem


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