The last word

Lest we forget:

Go forth, the mass is ended.


Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.


Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life.

Those are the biggest changes in the Missal involving the deacon: the three new dismissals.  (I’m partial to the last one myself.)

The most important word, of course, is the one that is the same in all three and that begins all three: “Go.” It’s an urgent reminder that we are not meant to keep the gospel to ourselves in the walls of the church.  We are commissioned to carry it out into the world.  At the end of the day, and the end of the Mass, this is our great calling.  All the other words we’ve prayed have led up to this.  We have been called, and we are being sent.

With that in mind, then, let’s go…

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19 responses to “The last word”

  1. The first one sounds to me like “Get outta here.” The second one I will use on certain occasions…but, I agree…the third is the one I like best!

  2. Greg: Pete

    I used the first one last evening (Sat 4:00pm Mass) and it was so short and so unusual a line for me, my congregation did NOT respond! I may try the third one my next time.

  3. The roots of the word mass mean dismissal. I always take this as a reminder that it is not just what we do there but rather we do – perhaps more importantly – who we are as Christ, when we are dismissed. Amen!

  4. I must admit that I am partial to the third dismissal also, but having a very structured personality style I used the first dismissal at mass last night and received a very lackluster response… My thought at the time was the first dismissal was closest to that which was previously said, “The mass is ended…” and the congregation would know how to respond. Apparently, that wasn’t the case! So much for the preparation we provided leading up to this weekend..

    I will have an opportunity to use the other two today and I will gauge the overall response… Since neither of the other two dismissals do not contain the word “ended” I’m not sure what the response will be…

    This is going to be a challenge over the next few weeks and only time will tell… However, I am greatly encouraged overall by the active participation we received last night and the “and with your Spirit” seemed to go over quite well…

    I did notice that my pastor was having more of a challenge with the new wording of the prayers that he was responsible for… Forty+ years of saying mass the same way is not easily changed over night!

    Pray for us…. :^)

  5. I too used the third option yesterday and todAy, with a favorable though startled response from the people.

    As DeaconKandra said, we deacons have the last word and it leaves an impression All the dismissals are powerful reminders to live out what we have just celebrated.

  6. I too prefer the third “dismissal.” Interestingly, it unintentionally faces down all those modern American political movements that seem eager to imprison Christian values inside church walls as the Soviet Union attempted. Also, most of the many Mass “aids” for the new translation only put down the prayers that had changes for the congregation so if the deacon’s line changed and the congregation’s line didn’t, the prayer wasn’t even printed in most aids– leading to the erroneous conclusion that the dismissal by the deacon had been dropped (as well as option C in the penitential rite which also was not even mentioned in some “aids.” So until my pastor and I went through the new sacramentary together, he thought option C had been dropped because it was not even mentioned in the “aid” we had gotten.)
    Thus when I gave the new dismissal prayer for the first time I got dead silence back from the congregation instead of “Thanks be to God.” I explained the situation at the next Mass and got a good response— Thanks be to God!

  7. To follow up, I went back to our parish’s Sunday 10:30am Sunday Mass (“in-pew caregiver” for an elderly gentleman). Deacon Mel was “on ceremony” and he dismissed using the same short first dismissal I used last night. The congregation’s response was the same — total silence. I wonder if it was because the dismissal and response were not included in the Pew Cards we purchased from Our Sunday Visitor.

  8. Of the options, I too like the 3rd option and got a good response at both Masses this weekend. I am hopeful it will serve as a reminder to be a faithful follower of Jesus and His Church every day of the week. I truly like the structure of the Mass; no longer long winded speeches at the sign of peace or the dismissal!

  9. Say what you all will about the two huge projection screens at my church (3 yrs. old)…but they sure came in handy THIS weekend!

  10. I used the third option as well. I believe it says to each of us the call from our baptisms – To be Christ! To be Christ to others! To be the light of Christ to all!

    We are filled with the Risen Christ in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and fed the Word of God in the Liturgy of the Word, we now need to be examples of this same Christ in the way we live and love in the world around us. We need others to recognize that Christ lives and He lives in me!

    These new dismissals, especially #3, call for just that. If everyone hears it (at least those staying around after communion), the purpose of the Mass is made known. Become the Christ that you are and carry that light out into a darkened world!!

  11. I used the 3rd option last night at the 5:00pm Vigil Mass. Got a good response from the people. I was torn between the 2nd and 3rd options. I don’t like the 1st and 4th options (the 4th is “Go in Peace”), they are too short and seem to be pushing the people out the door. All in all the responses seemed to be less noticable last night at the parish, and we could see some confusion over when to use the aid cards in the pews. I think that using the missalettes will probably be better off in the long run, so the people can follow the flow of thw whole mass and not have to remember when to look at the aid cards.

  12. I also used the 3rd option this morning at both Masses at which I assisted. In both cases, there was a moment of silence before the people realized they were to respond. Sounds like this was a common occurrence throughout the Carholic USA. Overall, there were a few awkward moments, but everyone got through it and nobody got hurt!

  13. I read somewhere that the pope himself had written these responses. In Sacramentum Caritatis Benedict XVI wrote:
    “Finally, I would like to comment briefly on the observations of the Synod Fathers regarding the dismissal at the end of the Eucharistic celebration. After the blessing, the deacon or the priest dismisses the people with the words: Ite, missa est. These words help us to grasp the relationship between the Mass just celebrated and the mission of Christians in the world. In antiquity, missa simply meant “dismissal”. However in Christian usage it gradually took on a deeper meaning. The word “dismissal” has come to imply a “mission”. These few words succinctly express the missionary nature of the Church. The People of God might be helped to understand more clearly this essential dimension of the Church’s life, taking the dismissal as a starting-point. In this context, it might also be helpful to provide new texts, duly approved, for the prayer over the people and the final blessing, in order to make this connection clear. (§ 51, referring to Proposition n. 24)”

    If you can, read the whole document…it is exceptionally good.

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