What does “Mass” mean?

Share Publication


We are sending this mail to ask if you know the etymology, or the exact origin of the word “mass”. We have tried to find out, and the only thing we have learned is that this word ‘does not belong to Latin’. We are very interested to know if you can enlighten us on this matter, greetings and thank you.


The Eucharistic Sacrifice received different names in the course of the centuries. From the fourth century onwards, the most frequent name is the Mass, a word that comes from the Latin verb mittere, which means to send. It is a derived and common form of the word mission. The expression “mass” is derived by some from the prayers addressed or sent to God; others from the dismissal of the catechumens (those who are preparing for Baptism), who could not attend the celebration of the Eucharistic mystery, but only the introduction to the Creed. It seems that at first it designated only the ceremony of dismissal of the catechumens but later it signified the ceremonies and instructions that preceded it (Mass of the catechumens). As time passed it came to mean the celebration of the Eucharistic mystery (Mass of the faithful), which is the present meaning.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in number 1332, the Eucharistic sacrifice is called 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.”


Fr. Miguel A. Fuentes, IVE


Original Post: Here
Related Post: Is it always an obligation to go to Mass on holy days

Related Articles

What is patriotism?

Explore the complexities of patriotism and its virtues in this insightful discussion. Fr. Miguel A. Fuentes, IVE, delves into the nuances of love for one’s homeland, the importance of service, and the balance between national pride and criticism. Discover the true essence of patriotism and its significance in today’s world.