‘Mass’ is one name for the central act of Christian worship, instituted by Christ on the night before his death. Other names include the ‘Eucharist’, and ‘Holy Communion’.
This act of worship is one of the two great sacraments of Christianity.
The mass has two parts:
(1) A service of praise, prayer, Bible reading, and teaching (a 10-minute sermon), related to the season of the church year.
(2) A ‘sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving’, in which we present bread and wine, consecrate them as Christ’s body and blood, offer them to God in a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice, and eat and drink them in an act of communion with God and with one another.
At Solemn High Mass, this worship is performed with a high level of ceremony. Three sacred ministers conduct the service, wearing traditional vestments. Most of the service is sung or chanted, some by the choir alone, some by choir and congregation. Incense is burned as a symbol of the honour and prayer that we are offering to God.
Solemn High Mass lasts about 90 minutes. To take communion it is expected that you will have received the sacrament of confirmation, which involves instruction in the Christian faith, or that you are a communicant member of another Christian denomination.