FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK
ELEMENTS OF THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
The Eucharistic Prayer is the center of the entire Mass, and is a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest invites the entire congregation to join him, uniting themselves with him in this prayer to the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Although the words used are a bit different for each Eucharistic Prayer, they all share in these elements:
a) Thanksgiving: This is alluded to in the Preface (sometimes expressly mentioned) and is when 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 a specific aspect of a particular day or season.
b) Acclamation: The entire congregation, joining together with the heavenly powers, to proclaim the Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. This acclamation is part of the Eucharistic Prayer.
c) Epiclesis: the church implores the power of the Holy Spirit over the gifts by a particular invocation, asking that these gifts offered by human hands be consecrated so they may become the Body and Blood of the spotless victim.
d) Institution Narrative and Consecration: through the words and actions of Christ, spoken by the ministerial priest, the sacrifice instituted by Christ at the Last Supper is carried out. We make present again the Last Supper, when under the species of bread and wine Christ offered his Body and Blood to his Apostles to eat and drink, and left them the command to perpetuate this same mystery.
e) Anamnesis: the Church, fulfilling the command that she received from Christ through the Apostles, keeps the memorial of Christ, recalling especially his blessed Passion, glorious Resurrection and Ascension into heaven.
f) Offering: The universal Church, in conjunction with each particular church here and now gathered, offers in the Holy Spirit the spotless Victim to the Father. The church’s intention, however, is that the faithful not only offer this spotless Victim, but also learn to offer themselves and so day by day be consummated, through Christ the mediator, into unity with God and each other, so at last God may be all in all.
g) Intercessions: expression is given to the fact that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the entire church, in heaven and on earth, and that the offering is made for her and for all her members, living an dead, who have been called to participate in the redemption and salvation purchased by Christ body and blood.
h) Final Doxology: by which the final glorification of God Is expressed and which is confirmed and concluded by the people’s acclamation: Amen.
The above comes from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (basically the play book for saying Mass). All Eucharistic prayers have each of the above elements, although expressed in a variety of ways. We do not want to rush through these prayers, and hopefully with this explanation, they can become even more of an intentional prayer, with a better understanding of all the faithful as to what is being offered to God.