It’s the “source and summit of the Christian life”!
The Mass is extremely important to the Christian life. As such, the Church has developed a number of different names to refer to it, all of which capture some important aspect of it.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists and explains 11 such names (CCC 1328-1332). There are more names than that in our tradition, but these are particularly important.
Here are the 11 names for Mass given by the Catechism:
The Greek word this comes from means “thanksgiving.” The Mass is an act of thanksgiving to God – the best we can give!
2) Lord’s Supper
The Catechism gives two explanations of this name: first, because of the Mass’ connection to Christ’s “Last Supper”; second, because the Mass anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven.
3) Break of Bread
First, because Jesus used a part of the Jewish Passover tradition that involves the breaking of bread to institute the Eucharist. Second, because his disciples on the road to Emmaus “recognized him in the breaking of the bread.” (cf. Luke 24.35) Lastly, because this is how early Christians referred to the Mass (cf. Acts 2.42)
4) Eucharistic Assembly
Because the Mass is ordinarily celebrated with a group of Christians, visibly manifesting the Church.
Because in the Mass we remember and make present Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice on the cross.
6) Holy Sacrifice
Because Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is made present during Mass, allowing us to unite our selves with him in offering to the Father.
7) Holy and Divine Liturgy
Because of all the liturgies in the Church’s life, the Mass is the most important one.
8) Sacred Mysteries
Because the Mass contains the greatest mysteries of the Christian life: God’s revelation, the incarnation, Christ’s death and resurrection, and communion.
9) Most Blessed Sacrament
Because of all the 7 Sacraments, the Eucharist – the centerpiece of the Mass – the most important. This is because the Eucharist is Christ himself!
10) Holy Communion
Because when we receive the Eucharist, we are mystically uniting ourselves to Christ and his Body.
11) Holy Mass
“Because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God’s will in their daily lives.”