The Introductory Rite
Entrance Hymn - in lifting our voices to God, we welcome Him into our hearts, in preparation to listen to His word and
to receive Him in the Eucharist.
Greeting and Entrance Antiphon - the priest kisses the altar (as an act of veneration) and leads the congregation in the Sign of the Cross, then begins the Mass with an opening prayer.
Penitential Rite - we recall our sins and tell God that we are sorry for having offended Him. (Sometimes the prayer of repentance is said: 'I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.')
Then we ask God to have mercy on us by singing (usually) 'Lord, have mercy'. Sometimes it is sung in the original Greek: 'Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison'.
Praise God - The 'Gloria' is sung to praise and give thanks to God (except during the seasons of Advent and Lent - which are times of repentance, and are more somber). This is the song that the angels sang when Jesus was born. 'Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.' During the Easter season, the priest sprinkles the congregation with holy water in memory of our Baptism, and we make the Sign of the Cross.
Opening Prayer - The priest recites the prayer for that day, asking that our hearts and minds be opened to the Lord and for guidance to live our lives according to His will.
Incense of Altar, Ambo or Pulpit - (on occasion) the rising perfumed smoke reminds us that we are part of the communion of saints, and our prayers rise to God along with their prayers.