The Catholic Church has a number of rituals and practices like the Mass, Baptism, Confession, receiving Communion, praying the Rosary, Last Rites, etc. The Mass, in particular, is the most important ritual in Catholics as it is the Lord’s Supper.
In fact, it is described as the “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The term Mass is derived from the Latin word ‘missa’ meaning dismissal.
It comprises four sections, that is, the Introductory Rites, Liturgy (Greek term for worship) of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, and Concluding Rites.
The introductory rites help people come to the state of prayer and humility by encouraging them to remember their sins and glorify God.
The Liturgy of the Word, in turn, includes readings from the Hebrew scriptures, the Responsorial Psalm, reading from the Christian scriptures (Epistle), the Gospel reading, the Homily, Creed (the Profession of Faith), and the General Intercessions (Universal Prayer).
Thus, the Christians thank God for His gifts and listen to the word of God through scriptural readings to grow in faith.
Similarly, Liturgy of the Eucharist includes preparation of the altar and the gifts of bread and wine, Eucharistic Prayer, and Communion Rite.
The sacrificial gifts of bread and wine transform into the body and blood of the Christ. This transformation is referred to as transubstantiation.
The Eucharist is among the seven sacraments that are meant to confer grace upon the believer who has faith in God and the sacraments. The sacraments are divided into three types.
They are: the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist), the sacraments of healing (Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick), and the sacraments of Christian Commitment (Holy Orders, Marriage). To gain a deeper insight into the Catechism of the Catholic Church, visit this page.
Coming to the concluding rites, they focus on sending the blessed Christians are sent back to the world having been nourished in the sacraments.
The Mass is also referred to as the Divine Liturgy by the Byzantine-Rite Eastern Catholic Churches. You can read more about the Liturgy of the Mass, its origin, and journey up to the modern times at www.newadvent.org.
Plus, there are rituals like the Last Rites meant for preparing the soul of the dying person for death, Pilgrimages, Praying the Rosary (The Apostle’s Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Fatima Prayer, Hail Holy Queen, etc.), and so on.
There are several other rituals in the Roman Catholic Church but they have been lost by now. Certain rituals are now considered antiquated and hence, they have been eliminated or fallen into disguise now.
Nevertheless, rituals like lighting candles in memory of the dead, making the cross sign, etc. are strong even in the present times.
All in all, the rituals are meant to augment one’s worship and create an atmosphere of reverence as they reflect our deepest beliefs. You can read more about the importance of rituals on this site.