The Eucharistic Prayer

Notes taken from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal copyright © 2002 the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) in the English translation. Copyright © 2005 Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, in the emendations and editorial arrangement.

78. Now the centre and summit of the entire celebration begins: namely, the Eucharistic Prayer, that is, the prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest invites the people to lift up their hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving; he unites the congregation with himself in the Prayer that he addresses in the name of the entire community to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. F u r t h e rm o re, the meaning of the Prayer is that the entire congregation of the faithful should join itself with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of Sacrifice. The Eucharistic Prayer demands that all listen to it with re v e rence and in silence.

79. The chief elements making up the Eucharistic Prayer may be distinguished in this way: a. 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.
b. 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.
c. Epiclesis: in which, by means of particular invocations, the Church implores the power of the Holy Spirit that the gifts offered by human hands be consecrated, that is, become Christ’s Body and Blood, and that the spotless Victim to be received in Communion be for the salvation of those who will partake of it.
d. Institution narrative and consecration: in which, by means of words andactions of Christ, the Sacrifice is carried out which Christ himself instituted at the Last Supper, when he offered his Body and Blood under the species of bread and wine, gave them to his Apostles to eat and drink, and left them the command to perpetuate this same mystery.
e. 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.
f. Offering: by which, in this very memorial, the Church – and in particular the 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 to be consummated, through Christ the M e d i a t o r, into unity with God and with each other, so that at last God may be all in all.
g. Intercessions: by which expression is given to the fact that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the entire Church, of heaven as well as of earth, and that the offering is made for her and for all her members, living and dead, who have been called to participate in the redemption and the salvation purchased by Christ’s Body and Blood.
h. Final doxology: by which the glorification of God is expressed and which is confirmed and concluded by the people’s acclamation: Amen.