Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee


31/7/11 – What Happens At Mass, Part XIV: The Memorial Acclamations

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

While the priest leads much of the Eucharistic Prayer on behalf of us all, there are three points where we add our own voices to this prayer of thanksgiving: the Sanctus (Holy, holy), Memorial Acclamation (“the mystery of faith…”) and the Great Amen.

In the previous English translation of the Missal, we had four memorial acclamations.  In the new translation, there are three.  If you have looked over the revised Order of Mass, you will see similarities between the past and present translations, but notice that the most commonly used acclamation, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” no longer exists.

Each of the three memorial acclamations we have now corresponds with one in the Latin edition of the Missal.  The former acclamation, “Christ has died…” was an additional acclamation, loosely based on the first Latin acclamation.  It was unique to the English edition of the Missal.

The current expectation that liturgical texts be translated according to the principle of formal equivalence (that is, a word-by-word translation as much as possible) means that there cannot be additional texts that do not exist in the Latin edition.  Yet there is another difficulty with the former “Christ has died…” acclamation that should cause us to question its suitability.

The entire Eucharistic Prayer is an act of thanksgiving addressed to God the Father.  In each of the revised Memorial Acclamations (and the former three apart from “Christ has died…”), we acclaim the mystery of faith by praying to God.  The acclamation “Christ has died…” did speak about God, but not to God.  The other former acclamations, as well as all of the new translations, allow our prayer to be directed to God, as is evident in the personal pronouns.  For example:

We proclaim your Death, O Lord,
and profess your Resurrection
until you come again.

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17/7/11 – What Happens at Mass, Part XIII: The Eucharistic Prayer

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

The Eucharistic PrayerThe Eucharistic Prayer begins with a Preface specific to the season or feast (as we discussed last week), then continues with one of the prayers proper.  In the Missal we used prior to Vatican II there was one Eucharistic Prayer, the Roman Canon.  This is what we now know as Eucharistic Prayer I, for three more prayers were included in the Missal as part of the reform of the liturgy.  Since then, we have seen the introduction of additional Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation and for Various Needs and Occasions, amongst others.  Three Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children were also composed; these are in the process of revision and will be released in a separate book to the rest of the Missal.

Several of our present Eucharistic Prayers find their origins in much older ones.  While our Missal nowadays has a set number of Eucharistic Prayers which are used by the entire Church, the ancient Eucharistic Prayers of the past typically belonged to particular regions (such as a diocese) or group (perhaps a religious order).  It wasn’t until the invention of the printing press that it became possible to produce a single edition of the Missal for all parts of the world (in Latin, of course).

Each Eucharistic Prayer may have the following in a slightly different order, but each consists of the following components.  Listen carefully next time at Mass to see if you can identify them:

  • Epiclesis: we call upon the Holy Spirit to sanctify the offerings so that they may become the Body and Blood of Christ
  • Consecration: also referred to as the Institution Narrative, when we specifically recall the blessing and sharing of the bread and wine by Christ at the Last Supper, following his command to “do this in memory of me”
  • Remembrance: or anamnesis; we remember Christ’s death and resurrection, and the Church, in the hope that we may be all be united in that same death and resurrection
  • Intercession: we ask that those who have died, as well as all of us still living, may share in the eternal life Christ gained for us.

Through these elements of the Eucharistic Prayer, we recall the work of God throughout the history of salvation, we give thanks for the presence of God here and now, and we look forward to the promise of the resurrection.


10/7/11 – What Happens At Mass, Part XII: The Preface

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

After the Prayer Over the Offerings, we enter into the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer.  As I touched on last week, this always begins with three-fold dialogue between the priest and the people:

            The Lord be with you.                                            And with your spirit.

            Lift up your hearts.                                                We lift them up to the Lord.

            Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.           It is right and just.

The priest greets us, and invites us to join him in the Eucharistic Prayer.  Our desire to share in the Eucharistic Prayer and sacrifice, as indicated by our response “it is right and just”, must be expressed so that the priest may continue with the Mass.  After all, the Mass is not the work of Christ and the priest, but of Christ and his Church – all of us incorporated into Christ through baptism.

Bishop Anthony Fisher leading the PrefaceWhile there are only a relatively small number of options for the Eucharistic Prayer, with some only permissible on specific occasions, there is a larger collection of prefaces.  The Preface leads us into the Eucharistic Prayer by declaring to God (and at the same time reminding ourselves) the reason we celebrate the Eucharist at this particular time.  On most days, they typically reflect the liturgical season we celebrate.  There are, however, also prefaces for particular feast days, for saints, for the dead, and for a range of other needs and occasions.

The Preface then concludes with our prayer of acclamation, the Sanctus (or Holy, Holy).  In the new translation of the Sanctus, the opening phrase has changed from “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might” to “Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts.”  This, like other changes, reflects a closer match with the Latin text.  It also reflects what the priest proclaims immediately before; that what we do in celebrating the Eucharist is not done alone, but in communion with the angels and saints – the entire “heavenly host”.

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3/7/11 – What Happens at Mass, Part XI: Entering Into the Eucharistic Prayer

The introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal is not just a chance to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

After the Profession of Faith, we pray for our needs and the needs of the world through the Prayer of the Faithful.  This concludes the Liturgy of the Word.

The offertory

Bishop Anthony receives the gifts of bread and wine at the Mass of installation of our parish priest, Fr Paul

The gifts of bread and wine are then brought forward and are prepared by the priest.  He then invites us to share in the Eucharistic Prayer.  The invitation to prayer has changed slightly:

Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters),
that my sacrifice and yours
may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.

Like with other parts of the revised translation, this translation is now a closer match to the Latin text, which also refers to the priest’s sacrifice and ours.  The change to “my sacrifice and yours”, however, may seem strange.

In considering this change, we need to consider how each of us comes to the Eucharistic celebration with our own reasons for thanksgiving, with our own needs and concerns.  In a sense, therefore, we offer ourselves at the altar along with the offerings of bread and wine.  This newly revised translation of the Latin phrase, now rendered at “my sacrifice and yours” can hopefully serve as a reminder of our necessary part in this offering and sacrifice of the Mass.

We then enter into the Prayer Over the Offerings and the Eucharistic Prayer.  The Eucharistic Prayer also begins with a newly revised response to “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”  Our response, “It is right and just”, allows the priest to proceed with the Eucharistic Prayer and lead us into the high point of the Mass.  The priest, in beginning the preface, acknowledges our agreement and desire to share in the Eucharist by affirming that “it is right and just” that we give thanks and praise to God.

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6/3/11 – The Doxology and the Great Amen: Who Says What?

During the course of this year, we will gradually begin to use the texts of the revised translation of the Roman Missal.  This is not just a time when we need to learn new words, but will hopefully be an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the Mass.

As we look more closely at how we celebrate Mass, there are some ways in which we celebrate Mass that need to be reviewed.

During the Eucharistic Prayer, we pray together, as one body in Christ, to God.  We are led in this prayer by the priest.  We engage through our own listening and reverent, prayerful silence, and respond vocally through the three acclamations, the Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts…”), the Memorial Acclamation (which we most commonly recall as “Christ has died, Christ is risen…”) and the Great Amen. The Eucharistic Prayer is so important, and our participation in the acclamations is so important, that they are sung whenever possible.

The doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, however, is a part that belongs to the priest to lead.  While we may have been invited to join in with “Through him, with him, in him…”, our part is to clearly give our assent and agreement to the entire Eucharistic Prayer by singing or saying the “Amen”.

So from now on, we ask that you do not say the “Through him, with him, in him…” part, but leave this to the priest.  Let us all ensure instead that we join in – fully, consciously and actively – in what is and should be the Great Amen.

Fr Paul Sireh OCarm, Parish Priest
Robert Barden, Liturgy Coordinator