How Well Do You Know the Catholic Mass?


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Peace be with you! Peace be with this quiz! If you grew up Catholic, you've definitely been to mass. It is a commandment, after all! A lot of Catholic traditions are packed into an hour-long service. Just how well do you know the Catholic mass?

The Catholic faith goes back to the time of Jesus Christ. St. Peter is said to be the first Pope of the Catholic Church. Since then, the faith has amassed over 1 billion followers worldwide. One of the most widely followed pillars of the religion is the 10 Commandments. 

While you'll find a list of rules to practice and follow, the third commandment is why we're here! This one reminds all believers to attend mass every Sunday. Have you been attending? Enough to remember all the happenings of mass?

There are seven sacraments in the church. Which one of them occurs every Sunday at mass? The second reading is usually a letter written by which saint? What is the name of the cup used for the wine? What position must your arms form if you're not ready to receive the body and blood of Christ?

If these answers are a piece of cake, it looks like someone's been going to mass and often! From the processional hymn to the recessional hymn, can you remember all that takes place within an hour-long mass? 

Let's find out!

The Catholic mass is generally called this, for the community.

A worship service is how a Catholic mass is generally viewed. Some shorten it to “service."


What basic sacrament is celebrated in the mass?

Eucharist is the sacrament celebrated in the mass. There are seven such sacraments, all celebrated in a different way.


True or false: Can a Catholic mass be held outside a Catholic church?

These days, it’s uncommon to see a Catholic mass being celebrated outside the church. As long as the whole process is done properly, it can be held outside, practically anywhere.


What important book is needed in the celebration of a mass?

The Bible is an important tool used in a mass. In fact, the structure of the mass came from writings described in the Bible.


Generally, how many parts does a Catholic mass have?

The are two major parts of the mass. But some people could explain it as four parts, but that means merely subdividing the two into two more.


The first part of the mass actually has a term. What is it?

The Liturgy of the Word is the first part of the mass. It starts from the moment the priest begins the ceremonies, up until the introduction of the celebrated sacrament.


What is the second part of the mass called?

The Liturgy of the Eucharist is where the celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist gets focused on. It’s literally and figuratively connected to the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.


Upon entering the church to hear mass, what do Catholics first do, which is related to their baptismal rites?

You will notice small structures filled with holy water on the sides of the entrance door, usually as a part of a statue of an angel or something decorative. Catholics first dip their index and middle fingers to wet them there, then they make the sign of the cross with the wet fingers.


When doing the sign of the cross, which body parts are involved here?

The sign of the cross is made by a person through lightly tracing the literal image of the cross in front of their face and chest area. To begin, one touches the middle of the forehead first, then the middle of the chest, then the left and right side of the collarbone area, and some end it by touching the chin or their lips, completing a crossed T image.


Where do the people who hear mass position themselves inside the church?

The congregation gathers inside and sits on the pews. Sometimes, the church also adds additional chairs at the back if there is a huge influx of devotees at a given time.


Who usually heads the procedure for the mass?

A priest is the one assigned to conduct a mass. Only men are allowed to become priests.


Meanwhile, where can you spot the priest in the church as he conducts the mass?

The priest conducts a mass in an altar. A simple table with the image of a crucifix sometimes could make do as an altar, when a mass is conducted outside.


Before sitting on the pews, what other initial greeting of respect do churchgoers do?

Catholics face the altar and genuflect as a sign of respect to God. This involves kneeling a little bit using only one knee, either touching the ground or just barely touching it.


When the mass starts, everybody is required to assume this position, which they also assume at different parts of the mass. Which position is this?

The most basic sign of respect and reverence is standing up. This is why most of the time, people are standing up during several major portions of the mass.


Aside from collective prayers, churchgoers also do this rhythmic thing in unison. What’s this thing?

Prayers are either recited or sung in the mass. It’s a celebration after all, so singing is permitted.


To conclude a prayer, often led by the priest, what is one word everybody recites to signify their agreement and reverence?

“Amen" is originally from a Hebrew word. It translates to “so be it.”


Whenever the priest greets everyone “The Lord be with you,” what’s the proper response?

The priest will greet everyone “The Lord be with you” in different parts of the mass. Everyone is expected to reply “And also with you.”


Whose words are mainly discussed and celebrated during the Liturgy of the Word portion?

The Word of God is the highlight of the Liturgy of the Word. It’s a throwback to how things came about as described in the Old Testament, and leads into lessons learned from the New Testament, all pertaining to the teachings and workings of God.


In the Liturgy of the Word, what do they call the materials selected from the Bible, aimed to share with churchgoers during that day?

The readings are the portions where someone is tasked to read a selection from the Bible. Sometimes, people from the congregation are selected to do the readings.


What’s the technical term for the songs sung in a mass?

Psalms are songs but often sacred and solemn in nature. Some are direct lifts from the Bible’s Book of Psalms.


There are usually 3 readings plucked from different parts of the Bible. One reading is usually from this specific apostolic writing penned by this saint. Which is he?

Saint Paul wrote many letters. Some of these letters are found in his book, and are lifted as readings during mass.


Other readings are also plucked from one of the 4 special subgroup of books from the Bible. What’s this subgroup called?

One of the readings will always be from the Gospels. Luke or John often come up, and so does Matthew and Mark.


During the readings, what position do the churchgoers assume?

The congregation is allowed to sit at certain portions of the service. When the readings are being done, people can sit.


A summary of the teachings of the Catholic church is recited during mass, and it’s collectively termed this.

“I believe in God the Father almighty…” is how the creed begins. Technically, it’s called The Apostles’ Creed.


After the readings, the priest then delivers a special message to the churchgoers. What is this portion called?

The homily comes after all the readings are done. It’s the time the priest directly addresses the congregation to share with them his interpretation of the readings of the day, in connection with current goings-on in their society.


During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, what meal props do the priest takes out, to symbolize the celebration?

The sacramental bread used to celebrate the Eucharist is literally symbolized by the host, or also called hostia. It’s usually made of wheat flour, and is not very tasty, even if it has salt.


The host and wine are part of the communion portion of the mass. What do they actually symbolize in the Catholic faith?

The body and the blood of Christ is symbolized through the sacramental host and the blessed wine used by the priest. It stems from the last supper by Christ and is also a symbol of what He literally sacrificed to save humankind -- Himself.


Depending on the church, they pass around small baskets or use other devices to collect some things from the churchgoers. What do they collect?

Monetary offerings are also voluntarily accepted by the church. Either they have small decorated baskets passed in every pew, or someone has a long stick with a cloth bag attached on one end where people can shoot their money in.


What special cup is used by the priest to pour in the wine?

The chalice is yet another symbol from Jesus’ last supper. They used a chalice-shaped cup to drink from, which is replicated in the mass.


The collected monetary offering, along with the host and wine, are then brought towards the altar. What’s the term for this portion?

The offertory is where the monetary collections and the sacramental bread and wine are offered to the altar, for God’s blessing. Sometimes, other special goodies are donated by the congregation, which are also included here.


Before partaking of the celebrated symbolic meal, everyone recites or sings this special prayer. What’s it called?

The Lord’s Prayer is sometimes recited plainly in a mass. In some churches, the opt to sing it, so there’s a ready musical composition for it.


Supposedly, who gave humankind the words to The Lord’s Prayer?

Jesus was supposedly the one who taught people how to say The Lord’s Prayer. It’s the most accurate way of praying to Him, so His son should know.


Before going to communion, community harmony is symbolized by saying this phrase to each other.

“Peace be with you” is the traditional way of wishing one well. There’s no special reply required.


When the priest gives each churchgoer a host, what phrase does he say each time?

Each time the priest gives a person a host, he says “The Body of Christ.” The person is required to answer “Amen” before accepting the host.


Before the mass ends, the priest gives everyone one final bit of benevolent protection. What is this called?

The priest blesses the congregation before concluding the worship service. Everyone leaves the church with that special blessing.


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