The Act of Penitence follows the greeting at the beginning of Mass.
The priest invites those present to acknowledge their sins and seek the mercy of God. The Act of Penitence can be expressed in different ways. The form we frequently use on Sundays is to recite or sing the “Lord, have mercy” or “Kyrie Eleison” with the inclusion of special invocations directed to Christ. Another way is to recite the confiteor, “I confess to almighty God.” St. Thomas uses this form during Lent.
The Act of Penitence concludes with the priest’s absolution: “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.” We express their humble acceptance of God’s forgiveness and mercy by saying, “Amen.”
The Act of Penitence softens our hearts to receive the Word and readies us to celebrate the Eucharist. On Sundays, instead of the usual Act of Penitence, the blessing and sprinkling of water may take place, accompanied by the singing of a song like “Send Us Flowing Water.”
We use the sprinkling rite at masses with baptisms, on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and on the Sundays of Easter.