The Introductory Rites help us to focus our attention at Mass. The Mass usually begins with the Procession of the Priest, Lectors and Altar Servers from the Church entrance to the Sanctuary. We generally participate by standing and singing an Entrance or Gathering Hymn which should set the tone for the celebration, intensify our unity and lead our thoughts to the mystery we are about to celebrate. Listen to the lyrics of the song; allow them to touch your heart. (Occasionally, during Lent for example, the Processional and Entrance Hymn may be omitted and replaced by a period of prayer and reflection.) After bowing to the altar, the priest kisses the altar because it represents the Body of Christ and is the sacred place of sacrifice.
After the Sign of the Cross and a greeting from the priest, we participate
in the Penitential Rite. During this time we should recall our own failures,
sins, selfishness and pride. We need to ask God for His pardon and mercy.
(Sometimes we use the Rite of Sprinkling instead, to recall our Baptism.)
Next, the Gloria is usually recited or sung (preferably). The Gloria is
an ancient hymn that praises the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Again, we
all know (or should know!) the words but we need to "feel" them come alive
for us individually. Following a short silent pause for each person to
offer his/her intentions, the presider summarizes everyone's prayers by
reciting or chanting the Opening Prayer. Listen to his prayer, make its
sentiments your own, and respond with a resounding "Amen! "