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Mass

Introduction

Mass, religious service of the Roman Catholic Church, which has as its central act the performance of the sacrament of the Eucharist . It is based on the ancient Latin liturgy of the city of Rome, now used in most, but not all, Roman Catholic churches. The term Mass [Lat. missa, =dismissed] probably derives from the practice of dismissing the catechumens—those not yet initiated into the mystery of the Eucharist—before the offertory and from the words Ite, missa est [Go, you are dismissed] spoken to the faithful at the end of the Mass. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholics; in the Eastern churches the Mass is generally called the Holy Liturgy or the Offering. For non-Roman liturgies, see liturgy .

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.