Dear Parishioners of Saint Patrick Parish,
As we continue our year of Eucharistic Revival, let’s take a look at our encounter with the Lord in the sacred liturgy, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
In particular, the Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the liturgy. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ’s perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father.
The introductory dialogue establishes that this prayer is the prayer of the baptized and ordained, is offered in the presence of God, and has thanksgiving as its central focus. Following this dialogue, the celebrant begins the Preface, which is followed by the Eucharistic Prayer.
The following ordering is the traditional Liturgy of the Eucharist:
- Presentation of the Gifts and Preparation of the Altar
The bread, wine, and collection is meant to pass through the assembly before they are presented at the altar…God is inviting our active participation in the Eucharist.
- Prayer over the Offering
Listen carefully to this prayer which often points out that there is a holy exchange occurring between what we offer and God’s Gift for us.
- Eucharistic Preface
This declares to God (while reminding ourselves) the reason we celebrate the Eucharist at this particular time (season, solemnity, feast of a saint, funeral, wedding, etc.)
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- First half of prayer, including Consecration
Beginning with thanksgiving, the priest calls upon the Holy Spirit (epiclesis), and then consecrates the bread and wine (Institution Narrative) at which point they become the Body and Blood of Christ
- Second half of prayer, ending with Doxology
After the Consecration, the Church remembers (anamnesis) and then declares what she is offering (Oblation); the last part of the prayer lifts up a number of intercessions before the declaring Christ as the sole mediator and supreme and eternal Priest when the celebrant sings “Through Him, and with Him, and in Him…” (Final Doxology).
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Sign of Peace
- Lamb of God
The breaking of the bread signifies that Christ who is sacrificed is broken and to be shared. The commingling of a small fraction of the Host into the chalice signifies the sole, glorious person of Christ present in the Eucharist.
- Prayer after Communion
While certain prayers change at each Mass, based on the particular Sunday, solemnity, or other day of the calendar, the main structure and core content always remain the same.
While praying at Mass, what parts have you noticed change? What always appears to be the same? Have you noticed when the principal prayers (orations) match the images found in the readings of that day? What other insights flow from your experience of Eucharist?
Yours in Our Eucharistic Lord,