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Ite, Missa Est


The concluding formula of dismissal in the Latin Mass (see roman rite). Although mentioned for the first time in the Ordo Romanus I (PL 78:948), it presumably belonged to the most ancient Latin Mass of Rome. Similar dismissal calls were already customary in old Roman assembly practice: Ilicet (ire licet, it is permitted to leave; see Vergil, Aeneid 6.23; Dölger, 123): Discedite Quirites (depart, Roman citizens; Dölger, 122). Ite, missa est has the meaning "Go, it is the dismissal," to which the assembly responds Deo gratias, "Thanks be to God."

The Ite, missa est is used at all Latin Masses except the evening Mass of Holy Thursday, other Masses followed by a procession, and Masses for the Dead (see re quiem mass; for its medieval liturgical use, see benedicamus domino). The dismissal was to be proclaimed by the deacon in the name of the bishop (or celebrant), in a loud voice, and sung to a melody, probably similar to the one given for Mass XV (see Dölger, 119). Since Vatican Council II the concluding formula of dismissal in vernacular Masses in the English-speaking countries is "The Mass is ended; go in peace."

Bibliography: f. j. dÖlger, in Antike und Christentum 6 (1940) 81132. Graduale Romanum (New York 1961). j. a. jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr. f. a. brunner, 2 v. (New York 195155) v.2. c. mohrmann, "Missa," Vigilae Christianae 12 (1958) 6792. w. apel, Gregorian Chant (Bloomington IN 1958).

[c. kelly]

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