Saturday, March 19, 2005


In this chapter, we'll cover the Liturgy of the Eucharist from the Offertory right to the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer. In the Eucharistic Prayer is where you will find the Central Mystery of the Catholic Faith - Bread and Wine being transformed to the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, right before our very eyes.


74. The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory chant (cf. above, no. 37b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance chant (cf. above, no. 48, or blog article "Let's Take a Tour of the IGMR - Part I"). Singing may always accompany the rite at the offertory, even when there is no procession with the gifts.

This may be a hymn, a motet, or (ideally) the Offertory as prescribed in the Roman Gradual. One should, however, be aware of the nomenclature here. "Preparation of the Gifts" or "Preparation of the Altar and Gifts" is the action going on by the priest. It is still traditionally known as the "Offertory", the priest offering the gifts of Bread and Wine to Almighty God. The hymn is still called (as you see in the above paragraph) the "Offertory Chant" - not "Presentation Hymn" or "Preparation Hymn" as many pseudo-liturgists call it, but the "Offertory Hymn". Don't let the wannabes fool you.


79a. Thanksgiving (expressed especially in the Preface): In which the priest, in the name of the entire holy people, glorifies God the Father and gives thanks for the whole work of salvation or for some special aspect of it that corresponds to the day, festivity, or season.

The preface starts with a dialog (said or sung) between celebrant and congregation (The Lord be with you/And also with you/Lift up your hearts/etc.). This is followed by a prayer of thanksgiving, set usually be season or feast, said or sung by the celebrant.

79b. Acclamation: In which the whole congregation, joining with the heavenly powers, sings the Sanctus. This acclamation, which is part of the Eucharistic Prayer itself, is sung or said by all the people with the priest.

The last paragraph of the prayer of thanksgiving introduces this acclamation (the "Sanctus", or "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord") , which really, like the Gloria, is a hymn ("Now we join with the angels and archangels in the unending hymn of praise") sung by all. It should be sung straight through, and (also like the Gloria) the text is not to be altered in any way.

After the Sanctus is sung, the priest recites the first of two major bodies of the Eucharistic Prayer. There are now NINE Eucharistic Prayers for the celebrant to choose from (the original four, plus two for Masses of Reconciliation, and three for Masses with Children). The very first (beginning with "We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving") is known as the "Roman Canon". Until the current Mass, this was the ONLY Eucharistic Prayer, and was simply named "The Canon of the Mass".

79e. Anamnesis: In which the Church, fulfilling the command that she received from Christ the Lord through the Apostles, keeps the memorial of Christ, recalling especially his blessed Passion, glorious Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven.

After the elevations of the Body and Blood of Christ, this Anamnesis (commonly known as the "Memorial Acclamation") is sung. The priest intones "Mysterium Fidei"/"Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith", and the people respond by singing one of the approved acclamations. There are three in Latin, four in English. The four in English are as follows.
  1. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
  2. Dying you destroyed our death; rising you restored our life; Lord Jesus, come in glory.
  3. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.
  4. Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world.

In the ongoing re-translation process, it is said that the first of these acclamations might be eliminated. Two common communion hymns, "Keep in Mind" (by Lucien Deiss) and "We Remember" (by Marty Haugen) are just that - hymns. These are NOT Memorial Acclamations. This very common practice should be avoided by all means.

From that point, the second major body of the Eucharistic Prayer is prayed by the celebrant.


79h. Final doxology: By which the glorification of God is expressed and is confirmed and concluded by the people's acclamation, Amen.

The people's acclamation is just that - AMEN. The word "Amen" may be repeated multiple times (three is most common), though officially it is single. Other texts like "for ever and ever, for ever, alleluia" and "heaven and earth are full of your glory, hosanna on high" should not be added. Just "Amen." Further, the "Per Ipsum"/"Through him" prayer is intoned by the priest(s) only. The congregation comes in only on "Amen."

And Amen, I say to you, as we close this portion of the tour. Part four, coming soon, will guide you through the rest of the Mass - the Communion and Concluding rites.

+In Christ,

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