The liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts. This part of the Mass is short, and we’ll only see a few changes to the words we use. In most places on Sunday’s a song is sung as the gifts are collected and the altar is prepared. The Missal calls this the Offertory Chant.
Once the priest has received the gifts and stands at the altar, he praised God, who has provided them… once for the bread and once for the wine. These prayers are to be done “in a low voice.” Most of the prayers as the altar is prepared are done in a low voice, according to the notes in the Roman Missal.
After the priest’s hands are ceremoniously washed, you are invited to pray. “Pray, brothers and sisters, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.” You may notice the expansion of the words “our sacrifice” to “my sacrifice and yours.” In keeping with the Latin, this implies that more than one sacrifice is being offered.
On one hand, the Mass is a single sacrifice offered by all present. On the other hand, each baptized member is offering a sacrifice, in keeping with his or her priestly role. However, each participant in the one sacrifice of Christ. The 1st letter of St. Peter says we are meant to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God though Jesus Christ.
Your response to this plea is changed by the addition of one single word… “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.” The word holy appears in Latin, so its being added to the English. The reason the Lord will hear the prayer and accept the sacrifice of the priest has to do with the holiness of the Church, which benefits from his prayer.
The preparation of the gifts concludes as the priest turns to the appropriate page in the Missal and offers the Prayer over the Offerings. The content of this prayer changes with almost every
Each of these prayers throughout the Missal has been retranslated. The prayer ends the same way with the community saying “Amen.” Mass.
Then the Eucharistic prayer begins. It is the center of the entire
It is a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing. The priest invites you to lift your hearts in prayer. You unite your thoughts with those of the priest who addresses God in the name of the entire community. We join ourselves to Jesus Christ to proclaim the marvelous deeds of God. Mass.
The priest speaks a lot more than the people do during the Eucharistic prayer. You sing the Holy Holy and the Memorial Acclamation. You conclude the prayer with the “Great Amen.” But the rest of the time, you listen and pray in silence. Sometimes its difficult to concentrate fully during this time. The Eucharistic prayer demands a lot of attention, but it rewards a lot of attention as well.
The Eucharistic prayer begins with a dialogue between the priest and the people. There are a few changes to the texts here. Just like at the beginning of Mass, when the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” your response will be: “and with your spirit.” The next part of the dialogue hasn’t changed at all. “Lift up your hearts.” You will say: “We lift them up to the Lord.”
Then, the priest says, “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.” Those are the same words you’ve been hearing. Your response will be different. The new response will be: “It is right and just.” It is much closer to the Latin and just a declarative statement without any explanation. The preface begins with a statement as well. Usually “It is truly right and just.” So when the priest begins his part, he will expand on what you have just said.
The preface explains why it is right and just to give God thanks on this particular occasion, or during this season of the church year, or on this saint’s feast day. Some prefaces are quite generic, but always give specific reasons why we give thanks on this day.
The preface ends with the Holy, Holy. Perhaps the most common phrase to describe the Lord, heard by Isaiah in his great vision in the temple is “Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” The words show that God makes his power shown in a special way through the hosts of angels who attend him. These are the hosts of angels mentioned in the bible who minister at his altar, or who guard us in our weakness, or who fight on our behalf.
The new translations have affected the entire collection of Eucharistic prayers. You’ll have to have a little patience with your priests as we learn the new words. The sentences are longer and more involved, and the vocabulary is broader. In time, it will become more comfortable for us to say and for you to hear.
There is still a variety of choices. Prior to
2, there was only one, the Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer number 1. It is still there, and probably the longest. Vatican
Three more were added after
2. Eucharistic Prayer 2 is the shortest of them and is based on a prayer from the 3rd or 4th century ~ and is the oldest of the Eucharistic prayers. Vatican
Eucharistic prayers 3 and 4 came after
2 also. Number 4 is based on a 4th Century eastern prayer of the Church that gives a summary of salvation history. Some of the Eucharistic prayers were composed for specific circumstances. Two were written for the jubilee year of 1975, expressing the theme of reconciliation. Another has four variations allowing it to make better connection to the intentions of the day. Each variation has its own preface and a changeable part within the body of the prayer. Vatican
All totaled there are 9 choices of Eucharistic prayers in the new Missal. Each of them has been re-translated, so you can expect to hear thing a little differently. Its hoped that the revised translation will reward your attention.
The Eucharistic prayer always flows the same way. If you listen you will always hear the parts of the prayer move the same way. There is always the opening dialogue and the Preface which gives thanks and praise to God. Most of them have a theme that makes them appropriate for the season or feast. The acclamation of the Holy, Holy follows as we join our voices to those of the angels.
After a brief transition, the priest asks the Holy Spirit to come down upon the bread and wine, and change them into the body and blood of Christ. This action of laying on of hands is the epiclesis. Following that is the institution narrative and consecration. The story of the last supper is recounted with the words “this is my body, this is my blood.” As Catholics we believe that the bread and wine turn into the very body and blood of Jesus.
We proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again in the memorial acclamation. The priest offers to God the consecrated bread and wind. It is the perfect self-offering of Jesus Christ. We join ourselves to that offering at every
The intercessions follow… first for the unity of those filled with the Holy Spirit. We pray for the Holy Spirit to come down upon us all, binding us together in unity as we prepare for Communion. We pray for all the living and the dead, for all Christians and for all people in the world.
The entire Eucharistic prayer concludes with the Doxology with praise to the God the Father, through, with and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. You respond in faith with one of the most important words at Mass: “Amen!”
Our Eucharistic prayer is at the heart of the
Even though you mostly listen, you should pay close attention to the beauty of the words used in those wonderful prayers. Mass.