Catholicism: What We Do

Sometimes we repeatedly do things without much thought, like routines and rituals. They help us feel secure because we know what happens next. Most of us have some sort of morning ritual. Be­fore we go to bed we usually follow a routine which helps us to relax. We don’t think much about it, they seem to happen automatically. Have you ever given much thought to what and why we do what we do when you go to Church?

The Church Worldwide

If you travel the world, you know that if you visit a certain coffee shop or fast food chain you will mostly likely get the same thing no matter where you are. Did you know that it’s the same way with the Roman Catholic Mass? All around the world, whether you are in the Notre Dame in Paris, a small chapel in New Zealand or a foreign Mission like Good Shepherd’s it’s the same. We have the same ritual, the readings, prayers and responses are the same except perhaps in a different lan­guage.

Sancta Missa

Some people might argue that the Mass was easier when it was universally celebrated in Latin. I could agree in some ways, but we would still need to have our personal missal to find the translation since Latin is no longer taught in school. The whole purpose of celebrating Mass in the language of the community is to bring the people closer to the liturgy, to be included in the celebration. In November 1964 with the begin­ning of the new Liturgical Year, the Mass was now easily understood. By 1969 most Churches discontinued using Latin in the Mass.


The Roman Catholic Church has always been changing and moving forward, with the times and attitudes of the people. Rituals and routines give us securi­ty, but we should remain open to something new. I believe we should ask ourselves why we do what we do. Once we have an answer, we can look for ways to make it better.