New Words for Worship Part 22: Eucharistic Prayers

New Words for Worship Part 22: Eucharistic Prayers
As the revised texts of the Eucharistic Prayers are introduced into our worship, the new words being used will serve to draw greater attention to this central part of the Mass. The Eucharistic Prayer is one unified prayer of thanksgiving from the opening dialogue to the great Amen. The various parts of the prayer fulfil different functions in giving praise and thanks to God.
All of the Eucharistic Prayers in the Missal include the following elements which may vary in order:

The Opening Dialogue between the priest and people announces the start of the Eucharistic Prayer.
The Preface, which changes according to the season or feast, offers God praise and thanks for the wonderful things God has done in Jesus Christ.
The Acclamation after the preface (Holy, holy) joins our praise to the song of the choirs of heaven.
Praise and Thanks continue after the Holy, holy. The word Eucharist means thanksgiving.
The Holy Spirit is invoked over the gifts of bread and wine (the epiclesis) as the priest holds his hands extended over them. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts become the body and blood of Christ.
The Institution Narrative recounts the words and actions of Christ at the Last Supper as he gives himself to the disciples in the form of food and drink. He says to them, Do this in memory [as a memorial] of me.
The Memorial Prayer or anamnesis recalls the whole saving mystery of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. This we proclaim in the people’s acclamation and the priest’s words which follow it.
The Offering in which the entire Church and this assembly offer themselves to God is a participation in the offering of himself which Christ makes on the cross. It is the ‘Sacrifice of Reconciliation’.
A second invocation of the Holy Spirit forms a bridge between the offering and the intercessions to follow, asking that those gathered may become ‘one body, one spirit in Christ’.
The Intercessions that follow are for the members of the Church, living and dead, local and universal (the pope and bishop receive specific mention).
The Final Doxology (‘through him, with him,…’) is the prayer of praise in which the celebrant sums up and concludes the thanksgiving offered to God.
The Eucharistic Prayer is the heart and highpoint of the celebration of the Mass. It is addressed to God and proclaimed by the celebrant in the name of the whole assembly. The people participate in the prayer during the opening dialogue, in the three eucharistic acclamations and by joining their personal praise and sacrifice to that of the Church.

Elizabeth Harrington