The Penitential Rite
As catholics, it’s important that we celebrate the Eucharist with a clean heart. That’s why at the beginning of each mass we have the penitential rite. We take a moment of silence to call to mind our sins and ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness. This is done in a few different ways.
We may repeat after the priest or deacon, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.” In this we ask pardon from all three persons of the Holy Trinity. We may also say or sing “Kyrie Eleison” which is greek for “Lord have mercy.”
Finally we may recite a longer prayer called the Confiteor, a Latin word which means “I confess” in which we say:
“I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,through my most grievous fault; therefore 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.”
The penitential rite ends with the prayer of the priest, “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.”
In the penitential rite, our venial sins are forgiven. But this general confession of sins does not replace individual confession with a priest. We must always remember that if we have committed any mortal sins, we must make a sacramental confession before receiving the Eucharist.