Hello Matthew (drafdog), thank you for your post (#6),
Everybody is different and we all have a different attention span, at different times in our lives. I am fortunate because I am usually not distracted during the Mass. This is in part, because I know what is coming next and I am looking forward to it.
For me, I break down Mass into many sections, there are many times for quite prayer and reflection, for instance, during the collection offering, and after communion, so it is at these points one does get somewhat of a “break”.
As far as the length of the Mass goes, which is generally one hour, the Police and the Military schedule training and classes at 55 minutes to one hour, because all studies have revealed that, that is how long a person can stay focused. I believe that the “one hour” model is also used in schools here in the United States for the same reason.
The length of Mass, is one of the many, many reasons why I feel the Mass is perfect, God knew how long our attention span was before any “study” was conducted because He created us.
Here is how you can view the Mass in segments and this might help you with your ability to concentrate on the Mass and be less distracted.
First, when you go to Mass, if you don’t already, think about what you are about to participate in, you are about to witness a miracle, God with us. You are for one hour, going to be united with all other Catholics worldwide, who are also attending Mass at their parish and united with all of the Angels and Saints and Jesus, Heaven on Earth! Wow, if we think of it this way, then how could we ever be distracted?
The Mass can be divided into these (25) sections:
*]ENTRANCE SONGS (taken from Psalms)
*]GREETING (of peace, a blessing / making the sign of the Cross)
*]PENITENTIAL RITE (I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters…)
*]KYRIE (Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy…One of the Churches most ancient prayers)
*]GLORY (Glory to God in the highest…)
*]OPENING PRAYER (“that God will increase in our faith”…)
*]THE FIRST READING (Old Testament)
*]THE RESPONSORIAL PSALM
*]THE SECOND READING (New Testament)
*]THE GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (Alleluia, Alleluia…)
*]THE GOSPEL READING (Gospel)
*]THE HOMILY (SERMON)
*]THE PROFESSION OF FAITH (the Creed – “We believe in one God…”)
*]THE PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL (“Lord hear our prayer”)
*]PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS – (Blessed are you Lord God…") Invitation prayer (“May the Lord accept this sacrifice…”)
*]PREFACE (“Lord have mercy…Holy Holy, Holy Lord…”)
*]PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
*]EUCHARISTIC PRAYER (“…Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus Christ come in glory…”)
*]THE LORD’S PRAYER (the Our Father prayer)
*]RITE OF PEACE (“I leave you peace my peace of give you…")
*]BREAKING OF THE BREAD (Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us…”)
*]COMMUNION (…“Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”)
*]COMMUNION SONG (PSALMS)
*]THANKSGIVING PRAYER (“Lord, you renew us at this table with the bread of life…”)
*]CONCLUDING RITE (another blessing with the sign of the Cross, “The lord be with you…Go in peace…”)[/LIST]I hope this helps…God Bless.