Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Pax in the Liturgy

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

Pax vobis (or vobiscum ), like the other liturgical salutations (e.g. Dominus vobiscum ), is of Scriptural origin. The Gospels contain such forms as: "veniet pax vestra, "pax vestra revertetur ad vos" ( Matthew 10:13 ), "Pax huic domui" ( Luke 10:5 ), "Pax vobis" ( Luke 24:36 ; John 20:21, 26). The salutation, "Gratia vobis et pax " or "Gratia misericordia et pax ", is the opening formula of most of the Epistles of St. Paul and of St. Peter, and occurs also in those of St. John as well as in the Apocalypse. The formula was quoted from the Old Testament by Our Lord and His Apostles (cf. especially "Pax vobiscum", "Pax tecum", Genesis 43:23 ; Judges 6:23 ), and was thus naturally preserved in the liturgy and in Christian epigraphy as a memorial of Apostolic times. Like the Dominus vobiscum , it was first used in the liturgy (in the form of Pax vobis ) by the bishop in welcoming the faithful at the beginning of the Mass before the Collect or the Oratio . When the Confiteor , Introit , Gloria in excelsis were added at a later period, the Pax vobis or the Dominus vobiscum was preserved. The form Pax vobis is now employed by bishops and prelates only -- Dominus vobiscum being used by priests -- at the first Collect. Hence the Dominus vobiscum became the ordinary introduction to all the orations and most of the prayers. The Greeks have preserved the Pax omnibus or Pax vobiscum . There was formally a certain rivalry between the two formulae, Pax vobis and Dominus vobiscum , and some councils (notably that of Braga in 563) ordained that both bishops and priests should employ the same form of salutation (for the texts, see the bibliography). Besides this episcopal or sacerdotal salutation, the words Pax tecum , Pax vobis , or Pax vobiscum are used in the Liturgy at the kiss of peace. On such occasions the Liturgy contains prayers or collects ad pacem (cf. Kiss; Cabrol in "Dict. d'archéol. et de liturgie", s.v. "Baiser de Paix", where all references are given). In the Ambrosian Liturgy, at the end of the Mass, the people are dismissed with the words: "Ite in pace" (cf. "Auctarium Solesmense", 95). Dom Martene (op. cit. in bibliography, III, 171, 174) gives other instances of the use of the word Pax. In Christian epigraphy there is a variety of formulae: pax ; in pace; pax tecum; vivas in pace; requiescat in pace; pax Christi tecum sit; anima dulcissima requiescas in pace; dormit in pace; in locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis (from the formula in the Mass at the Momento of the Dead). See EARLY CHRISTIAN INSCRIPTIONS ; Le Blant, "Inscriptions chret. de la Gaule", I, 264, etc.; Northcote, "Epitaphs of the Catacombs" (London, 1878), v, and bibliography.


Shop Catholic - Buy One Get One 50% OFF

Mix and match any of these bestselling products and enjoy 50% off the second item!

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.


Act of Contrition PDF

Free Catholic Educational PDF Downloads and Resources

PDF educational resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers and it’s 100% FREE. How to Pray the Rosary, Hail Mary, Our Father, Saints, Prayers, Coloring Books, Novenas, Espanol and more. All FREE to download and faithful to the Magisterium. Download Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.