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Eucharistic Prayer and Communion Rite
THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
Central to the Liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass is the Eucharistic Prayer. The priest offers this prayer on our behalf and we participate through the opening dialogue and the three acclamations, and by joining our personal praise and sacrifice to that of the Church.
The following elements are included in all thirteen Eucharistic Prayers in the Missal, though the order varies:
thanksgiving, especially in the preface which gives thanks for the whole work of salvation or for some special aspect of it.
acclamation, the “Holy, holy” sung by the people and presider after the preface. Here we join the singing of the angels and saints before God’s throne.
invocation or epiclesis, the calling down of the Holy Spirit on the gifts of bread and wine;
institution narrative, the retelling of the scriptural account of Christ’s words and actions at the last supper;
memorial prayer or anamnesis (‘lest we forget’) which recalls the paschal mystery;
offering in which the entire Church and this assembly offer Christ and themselves to God in union with Christ;
second invocation of the Spirit, this time on those gathered that they may become “one body, one spirit in Christ”;
intercessions for the Church and the world, the living and the dead;
final doxology (“through him, with him,….”), the prayer of praise in which the celebrant sums up and concludes the thanksgiving offered to God.
THE COMMUNION RITE
The Rite of Communion is the culmination of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The elements that make up the rite are:
The Lord’s Prayer – this is one part of the Mass in which everyone can and must participate fully, consciously and actively.
The Sign of Peace – a symbolic gesture of imparting to others the blessing of Christ’s peace. We share the sign of peace deliberately and sincerely with just those around us.
The Breaking of the Bread – the name by which the Eucharist was first known - signifies that the many faithful are made one body through the Body of Christ which is broken and shared. The ‘Lamb of God’ is sung until the breaking and pouring (Fraction Rite) are complete.
Receiving Communion is both a communal and personal action of the body of Christ. In the communion procession we walk together to the Lord’s Table where we share the paschal meal with Christ and with one another.
The Communion Song begins while the priest is receiving the Sacrament and continues for as long as the Sacrament is being administered to the faithful. We sing together to express our spiritual union as members of the one body of Christ and to emphasise the communitarian nature of this part of the liturgy.
A period of Silence comes after all have received communion. This is the time to give thanks and to pray for the strength to be bread for our world of family, work, and community in the days ahead.
The Prayer after Communion brings together the individual prayers of the assembly, praying that the Eucharist will be effective in their live.