When breaking down the Mass into its parts, there are two main categories: the ordinary and the proper. The ordinary is the part of the Mass that remains the same every week. The proper is that which changes with the feast or liturgical season. The ordinary of the Mass includes the Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Offertory prayers, Sanctus, Eucharistic Prayer, and the Agnus Dei. We may sing different musical settings of many of these parts, but the texts themselves remain the same.

The proper of the Mass includes the Opening Prayer, Readings, Preface, and the Prayer After Communion. The others, sometimes called the “minor propers,” are almost entirely neglected by many churches. These include the Introit (or Entrance Antiphon), Alleluia, Offertory, and Communio (or Communion Antiphon). We use many of these in our liturgies now. In the coming weeks, we will explore each of these propers, learning what they are, why they are important, and what our parish is doing to use these in our liturgies.
(Originally appeared in Christ, Prince of Peace bulletin, 11/07/2010)