All Christian churches are places of worship, they were designed to be used for the worship of God. For Catholics, the central act of worship is the Mass, often referred to as ‘the source and summit’ of the Faith.
The Mass was created by Jesus at the Last Supper, which was His celebration of the Passover meal the night before His crucifixion. Because of this, it builds on the ritual of the Passover and at points uses sacrificial language.
The Mass has four basic movements: the introductory rites, the liturgy of the word, the liturgy of the Eucharist and the concluding rites. Most Masses include the singing of Christian hymns between these movements.
In the liturgy of the word, the bible is read and the priest preaches, drawing out the meaning of these readings.
In the liturgy of the Eucharist, the people present bread and wine to the priest who takes and blesses them, repeating the words of Jesus from the Last Supper. Catholics believe that this bread and wine becomes the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus, which is not symbolic but Jesus ‘wholly and entirely present’.
This belief draws from Jesus’ own words in the New Testament, for example, ‘anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life and I shall raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.’ John 6:54-55
Outside of the Mass, Catholic Churches all contain Jesus in the Eucharist inside the Tabernacle, often a golden box behind the altar at the centre of the Church. This means that any time you are in a Catholic Church you are in a sacred space and can pray in the presence of Jesus.