Sunday, December 19, 2010

What do you do in the Eucharistic Prayer?

In "The Sprit of Liturgy" the Pope speaks of the Eucharistic Prayer as "being in crisis". I must say being a regular celebrator of both forms of the Roman Rite, the crisis is in the Novus Ordo and especially when celebrated versus populum.
In the usus antiquior the silence shouts "PRAYER", in the usus recentior celebrated ad orientem there is a strong indication prayer is taking place but when it is celebrated facing the people, well, I am not sure what is going on and what the people are meant to do, I must confess I don't know what our !st Communion children are taught to do in the Eucharistic Prayer.

What do you do during the Eucharistic Prayer?
Do you join the priest in saying the Eucharistic Prayer? I am told in some liberal parishes priests encourage people to join in, even here some people follow the prayer in their missals, a few even move their lips.
Do you just wait for the priest to finish - not sure what to do? This seems to be why most priests opt for the short and quick EP2.
Do you say your own prayers? It always strikes me as a bit rude to deliberately pray about something else when the priest is addressing God.

In "The Sprit of Liturgy" the Pope speaks about returning to silent Eucharistic Prayer, or saying it silently but announcing in some way key words. In Britain on his visit he used Latin, which in most people's minds is bit like silence with sound and people commented on the profound sense of prayer.

The Eucharistic Prayer should be the moment of profound intercession for the Church, the world, salvation, mission. The answer is presumably a return to celebrating ad orientem and in silence.

Fr Mark Kirby gives 10 reasons for celebrating ad orientem:

1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is experienced as having a theocentric direction and focus.
2. The faithful are spared the tiresome clerocentrism that has so overtaken the celebration of Holy Mass in the past forty years.
3. It has once again become evident that the Canon of the Mass (Prex Eucharistica) is addressed to the Father, by the priest, in the name of all.
4. The sacrificial character of the Mass is wonderfully expressed and affirmed.
5. Almost imperceptibly one discovers the rightness of praying silently at certain moments, of reciting certain parts of the Mass softly, and of cantillating others.
6. It affords the priest celebrant the boon of a holy modesty.
7. I find myself more and more identified with Christ, Eternal High Priest and Hostia perpetua, in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary, beyond the veil, before the Face of the Father.
8. During the Canon of the Mass I am graced with a profound recollection.
9. The people have become more reverent in their demeanour.
10. The entire celebration of Holy Mass has gained in reverence, attention, and devotion.


georgem said...

I listen and try to concentrate on what the priest is saying, though I get a bit distracted by one celebrant who waves the host and chalice from side to side when he intones: "Take this all of you". I suppose he is trying to be inclusive or something.
Generally, from the Preface on I try to listen and concentrate; much easier, I find, with the EF. I always miss the names of the saints when they are not given (mostly).
The pauses to pray for the living and the dead are now becoming shorter to the point of non-existence and that's a pity because we lose the communion of saints aspect of the church of ages.

Just another mad Catholic said...

I read that one should exercise the priesthood of the laity duirng the eucharistic prayer offering the Holy Sacrifice according to its 4 principle ends during the various parts e.g. offer the Holy Sacrifice in praise, adoration and thankgiving during the commemoration of the living as well as praying for benefactors and oneself.

Offer the Holy Sacrifice in propitiation for ones own sins, those of all present ,of the whole world as well as the Holy souls at the commemoration of the dead.

Adore Our Lord at the Consecration.

Admitedlly it is easier to do this if the Priest is using the Roman Cannon.

Patricius said...

As one who made his First Communion in 1962- I try to say the Eucharistic Prayer internally - silently - excepting the words of consecration or "narrative of institution"(as I've heard some priests call it). Which, I have to admit, is rather similar to what I did with the English in my missal before the changes. In other words I try to unite myself with what is going on in the only way I know. This does mean,however, that I am easily irritated by priests who use Eucharistic Prayers other than 1- 4 or muck about adapting them for Feminists (e.g. "again and again you offered a covenant to US" instead of "man".

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B. said...

Thank you, Father, for taking note of my post.

Peter said...

I think that we can read the same prayer as the priest and so join with the sacrifice as mentioned in Mediator Dei paragraph 98 and others.
Of course if we do so we will notice every variation from the prescribed texts. For this reason, and others, I do wish that Priests would not make their own variations.

Richard Collins said...

Pray in silence - I only go to the EF :)

Jacobi said...

We are required to listen to the Eucharistic Prayer with reverent silence, difficult when the priest breaks off to announce which of the myriad of choices he can use, all thought up by PC liturgical bureaucrats.

I see the Mass "versus populum" or worse still,"ad populum", increasingly as distracting, and certainly not conducive to reverent prayer.

I was fortunate today to attend an EF Mass and was struck once again by the natural "flow" of prayer during the Canon, from the congregation through the priest to God.

The Reform of the Reform is under way in the OF of the Mass and a key elements of this is for priests to turn round and lead their congregations in prayer towards God.

So, could all you right-minded priests out there stop being so coy - and get on with it!

Michael1 said...

A question that I have never seen answered continues to trouble me. Those of us old enough to remember Mass pre-1965 recall that it was celebrated to the rattle of rosary beads and the turning of pages of prayer books such as 'The Garden of the Soul.' When Mass changed to involve the congregation, many complained they could no longer say their prayers as they had to join in the Mass. The challenge for all, but perhaps especially for enthusiasts of the extraordinary form, is to work out how that which is prayed is the Mass itself.

Just a thought.

Joshua said...

A friend of mine told me that as a child he had no idea that the priest was praying at Mass - he thought that instead the priest talked to the people for longer or shorter intervals. The NO, alas, can give this impression of endless didacticism.

I try and unite myself with the sentiments of the prayer: at the epiclesis, I bow somewhat and pray "Jube, Domine, benedicere - Veni, Sancte Spiritus - Veni, Domine Jesu"; at the Consecration, I bow more deeply, perhaps say a silent Amen after each phrase of the Words of Consecration; at the Elevation, I look up, and say such silent aspirations as "My Lord and My God - Ave, verum Corpus natum... - Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem"; at the Anamnesis, I imagine stretching my arms out in the form of a cross as the priest does in the Dominican and Ambrosian rites; at the "communion epiclesis", I make the sign of the cross; during the Intercessions in the Eucharistic Prayer I unite myself to the intentions being enumerated; at the Doxology I bow again somewhat at the Minor Elevation, at the words "omnis honor et gloria".

This method applies, mutatis mutandis, to both Traditional and modern Mass.

Sometimes I will read along in the Latin, sometimes not - whether it be EF or OF.

Jonathan Marshall said...

Someone rather cleverer than I (it may have been OTSOTA) said that the best thing about the EF Mass was that it allowed him to be a "human being" rather than forcing him to be a "human doing".

The silent canon is a wonderful and profound thing; as you say, it shouts "PRAYER" - whatever form that prayer may take. Liberals have always quoted examples of people "slyly" reading newspapers etc during the pre-conciliar Mass, or of people praying the Rosary during the canon.

As far as the first is concerned, then that's a matter between the person concerned and God. I don't doubt that there are just as many people who are "switched off" during an NO Mass. As for the latter point - what is wrong with praying the Rosary during the canon - particularly if one is concentrating on the Sorrowful mysteries?

Ad orientem is both the historically and the theologically correct way to offer Mass (see "Turning Towards the Lord" by Uwe Michael Lang), and I always ask those who perjoratively refer to the priest saying Mass "with his back to the people" if they would say that my great uncle (who was was killed in WW1 leading his platoon) died "with his back to his men".

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think Pope Bxvi sees more of crisis in OF rather than EF.

Fr Ronan Kilgannon said...

Whatever the benefits of the EF, my guess is that the majority of Mass going Catholics would not want the OF replaced. So I wonder if it is a vain hope of those who prefer - for many good reasons - to offer Mass in the EF. I rather like what the Pope is doing, in showing the way by example of how to offer the OF in a reverent and dignified manner. As for the Canon, I offer myself to God, my little world and all the world, in and through the words and actions of the priest who is there 'in persona Christi'.
Fr Ronan Kilgannon Erem. Dio.

Fr. Tom Pomeroy said...


Are you going to give us your answer as to what people are to do during the Eucharistic prayer?


Delia said...

Another benefit of 'ad orientem' surely is that it opens one up to the future, to look forward to the Second Coming of Our Lord. Otherwise, the focus is inwards, to the past and present.

Jacobi said...

Fr Pomeroy,

GIRM (2005),page 24,items 78,79.

It's all quite simple. You offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, we respond where appropriate, e.g., the Sanctus,and otherwise follow, i.e., participate, in reverent silence.

umblepie said...

Fr Ronan Kilgallon,
You may or may not be right in suggesting that the majority of Catholics prefer the NO to the EF Mass, however I suspect that this is due to most people's dislike of change rather than for any 'spiritual' reason, also most Catholics have never experienced or been offered the EF Mass, the availability of which is only very slowly increasing, and usually on a fairly localised basis. We have a situation where many Catholics do not know or appreciate what the EF Mass offers, because they have never experienced it, and they are reluctant to 'rock the parochial boat' by pressing for it. If the hierarchy of England, Wales, and Scotland, implemented a planned programme of re-introducing the EF Mass in every diocese, reasonably accessible to those who wished to attend, not in opposition to the NO but as an alternative, in line with the directions of the Holy Father- then inevitably and certainly the fruits of such pastoral care would enrich and strengthen our faith and our Church.

pjsandstrom said...

With all due reverence, Fr. Kirby's approach seems to be making the Eucharist the 'private devotion of the priest celebrant' and his terms of devotion are more than a bit docetist -- Jesus was incarnated for a reason (which many of those in love with 'ad orientem' seem to want to ignore).

Crouchback said...

Fr Kilgannon....

Your wrong.....I've been attending Traditional Masses on and off....mostly On, for the last 30 years. My wife had been very hostile to the Traditional Mass until Summorum Pontificum, Fr Z, Fr Tim, Fr Ray, Fr Mildew, Let the Welkin Ring, Damian Thompson and many others became her daily reading on the net.
About two years ago she started attending regular Traditional Masses.....Indult Masses on her own, not SSPX with me, I sometimes go to the Indult Masses, but mostly go with my parents to the SSPX. Anyway my wife is now something of a minor authority on the Mass, she has been a catholic all her life....but she is more committed than ever, better informed....and much happier attending the Real Mass......

If only the Bishops could see the positive things in the Traditional Mass instead of trying to stick with the failed 1960's Poptastic Mass. Reform of the Reform will not work in the Mass, it has to be One or the Other.....there are too many stuck with tired old country 'n western masses, these guys are hostile and they need to be sorted out.

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