THE ENTRANCE PROCESSION
The assembly’s worship begins with the opening song and procession, which help to create an ambiance of celebration and a sense of identity and common purpose.
·The opening song should be such that everyone is able in some degree to join in singing it. It may consist of an antiphon and psalm or another appropriate song. When no singing is possible, the recommended antiphon may appropriately be used by incorporating it into the introductory remarks that may follow the greeting.
·A procession of ministers through and from the assembly expresses visibly the relationship of the priest celebrant and the other ministers to the congregation.
·Depending on the occasion, the procession is led by ministers carrying the censer (thurible) with burning incense, the cross and two candles. They are followed by acolytes and other ministers, then the deacon or reader carrying the book of gospel, if it is to be used, or the lectionary. Concelebrants, the deacon of the Mass and the priest celebrant then follow. If the book of the gospels has been carried, it is placed on the altar upon arrival in the sanctuary.
The altar is an abiding symbol of Christ and the center of the Eucharistic action.
·The priest and deacon, together with the concelebrants and other ministers in the procession, bow to the altar on arrival as a sign of reverence. If a tabernacle containing the blessed sacrament is in the vicinity, they genuflect. Afterwards, the priest and deacon and any concelebrants, then make an additional reverence to the altar with a kiss. On more solemn occasions, this reverence may be enhanced by the use of incense.
·After the procession and the reverencing of the altar, the priest and the deacon proceed to the chair. From there the priest greets the people and leads the opening rite.