“I, through the greatness of your love, have access to your house. I bow down before your holy temple, filled with awe.” (Psalm 5:8)
Upon approaching the altar, the priest and other ministers reverence the altar (a symbol of Christ’s presence) with a bow. The priest and deacon may also kiss the altar as a further sign of reverence for Christ.
Then the priest, together with the people, make the sign of the cross as the priest says, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The assembly answers with the first “Amen” of the Mass, a seal of assent, a confession of faith, an expression of joy.
The greeting of the priest follows. In greeting the assembly, the priest acknowledges the presence of Christ in the midst of the church. At the same time, the liturgical greeting of the priest as a communication of the grace of Christ, the love of the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. In response to this greeting, the people acknowledge the presence of Christ in the person of the priest and in one another. “The Lord be with you. And also with you.”
©2005 Archdiocese of Chicago. Liturgy Training Publications.