The Mass is one service::http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/mass?view=uk . To go to Mass means that you will be taking communion.
 When talking of this specific service.
 The priests say the Mass.
Student or Learner
Dear teachers and experts,
I have three questions as follows:
(1) A catholic can also say he(or she) goes to church? If I am a catholic and someone ask me if I go to church, should I say: 'No I don't go to church, I go to mass.'?
(2) When do I have to capitalize mass? What's the difference between go to mass and go to Mass? What about the mass or the Mass?
(3) What's the meaning of say mass? Who's supposed to say mass, priests or the lay people who attend a mass?
As always, thank you so very much in advance,
and may the peace be with you!
Catholics go to church. As Anglika explained, the specific service/ritual is called the Mass. (For example, my husband is a Methodist, and when he goes to church, the specific ritual led by the minister is called a "service.") But in general terms, Catholics will still ask "Where do you go to church?" "I go to St. Mark's on Main Street." Or "I'll be late to your brunch; I have to pick up my Grandma at church after 11:00 Mass."
Deer Anglika and Ouisch,
Thank you very much for the explanations.
But I have to ask one more question: what does "(for a priest) to say mass" exactly mean? I think I kind of know the meaning, but not so sure at the same time.
There's a book titled "How Not to Say Mass" a guidebook about liturgical principles - does this title really mean how not to speak out of turn during the Mass?
Any help from anybody will be greatly appreciated.
Peace be with you!
When a priest says Mass, he is actually simply conducting the prescribed formal ceremony prescribed by Catholic liturgy. Each Mass follows the same, very specific "script" - the priest and the altar boys make a formal procession up the aisle to the altar. He pauses and says to the assemblage "May the Lord be with you," to which the congregation replies "And also with you." From there he proceeds onto the altar. There is very little deviation in the Mass - the priest performs the same actions and says the same words every time (unlike some religious services, where the preacher or minister gives a different sermon and leads different prayers from week to week).
In most Catholic churches, there are small "booklets" placed in the pews (seats) with the wording of the entire Mass printed in it, so the worshippers know when to stand, sit or kneel, and know how to properly respond to the Priest's words.
Thank you so very much for the detailed explanation.
May peace be with you!
In my extreme youth (we're talking short trousers here ) I served Masses that lasted 15 minutes and others that lasted for more than an hour. Another variable is the degree of ceremony ('High Mass' takes longer than 'Low Mass', and sung High Mass takes even longer). Another variable is the length of the sermon. And another variable is how many priests are celebrating it; since 1966, 'concelebrations' have been permitted, and the more priests that are involved the longer it takes.
My memory may be defective; the events I remember took place more than 50 years ago. (And this is probably too much information anyway. )
As Ed McMahon used to say, "You are correct, Sir." The Mass follows a very specific script, except for a few "ad lib" portions - the different scriptures that would be read, and the "homily," which was the portion where the priest made his own commentary (which, in other churches would probably be similar to the "sermon"). On Wednesday nights (in our parish, at least) there was a special Novena mass held, where the deviation from norm was a point mid-way through the service where worshippers were invited to call out requests for prayers for specific family members/friends.
Your service at Mass reminds me of a man I used to work with many years ago. He was 6 ft. 4 inches tall, had the upper body of a football player, and a deep, booming voice. One day he happened to be explaining some paperwork to me when he turned away and made this high-pitched soft squeak that sounded like "chew!" I suppressed a giggle and asked "What was that?" "I sneezed," he said, somewhat crossly. "You call *that* a sneeze?!" I now laughed out loud. He glared at me for a moment and then replied, "I was an altar boy for six years, they taught us to sneeze quietly."
I sometime go just to the church.