The Priest receives these gifts
[the offering] and says a blessing over them, offering them to God,
the work and fruit of our hands, highlighting the great mystery that
God will take food and drink we have made and transform them into a
Heavenly Meal, the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus.
After blessing the gifts, the
Priest prays that God will cleanse him of all iniquity and
symbolically washes his fingers which will touch the Lord.
The People then pray that
God will accept the Priest’s
Sacrifice “for the Praise
and Glory of His Name, for our good and the good of all His Church.”
The Mass has its beginning in the
Last Supper when Our Lord first changed bread
and wine into His Body and Blood. But it also has its links
in the great events of Good Friday. Each Mass
is a continuation and a re-offering of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary.
It takes the holocausts and burnt, bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament
and transforms them into the Holy Sacrifice of the Lamb of God
that redeemed all mankind. [RETURN]
After the Priest recites a short
prayer of praise to God — the “Preface” — the People sing the
Heavenly Chant of the “Sanctus” “with all the Angels and Saints:”
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord,
God of Power and Might,
Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory
Hosanna in the Highest!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the Highest!
The People then kneel in readiness for the moment when
Jesus will become truly,
physically present on the altar.
The Priest begins to pray a great
prayer of thanksgiving and supplication to God called the
“Eucharistic Prayer.” There are a number of Eucharistic Prayers for the
Priest to choose from:
The First Eucharistic Prayer is a translation of the
Canon. The Canon was the only Eucharistic Prayer that was said in the
Latin Rite from the time of the Counter-Reformation until Vatican II. It
is rich in the history of the People of God, it calls on our
Jewish heritage, it reminds us of our Heavenly goal, it calls on each of
the Apostles and the Saints and the Martyrs of the Early Church, each by
name, to intercede for us. (It is my personal favourite!)
The Second Eucharistic Prayer (one of the new ones
introduced by Pope Paul VI after Vatican II) is based on the Eucharistic
Prayers in use in the very early Church. It is beautiful in its simplicity
and many appreciate how it links us to the prayer of the early Church.
Many also appreciate that it is so much shorter than the others! (It is
certainly the most often used, the “default” Eucharistic Prayer, if you
The Third Eucharistic Prayer draws greatly on the
liturgical traditions and imagery of the Eastern Church.
There is also a Fourth Eucharistic Prayer and a
number written especially for Masses with Children.
The common elements of the
Eucharistic Prayers are:
The Consecration -- the moment when
the Priest transforms the bread and wine into the
Body and Blood of Our Lord by repeating the words of
This is my Body (hic est enim corpus meum)
This is the cup of my Blood (hoc est calix sanguinis meus)
Prayer for the Church
Prayer for the Pope, the local Ordinary (Bishop), all
priests and all the Faithful
Prayer for the Faithful Departed (those Faithful who
Invocation of the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and
Finally, the Doxology of Praise by the Priest
followed by the People’s “Great Amen”:
Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the
Holy Spirit, all glory and honour are Yours, Almighty Father, for ever and
The People then stand to say the
Lord’s Prayer together and to share the Kiss of Peace with each other
(usually a handshake or a nod of the head!)
The Priest then breaks
the Body of Christ while the
People pray, “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the
world, have mercy on us.” (Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
The Priest then invites us again
to acknowledge our unworthiness in the “Domine, non sum dignus”:
“Lord, I am not worthy to
receive you but only say the word, and I shall be healed.”
The Priest then eats and drinks
the Body and Blood of the Lord
before proceeding to distribute the Sacrament to each of the People in
turn who wish and are able to receive communion.
This is the great pinnacle of the
Mass, of the Christian Life, of the Church, the moment when
Jesus, truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and
Divinity, enters into our very being, our bodies and souls, making us one
together with Him and with each other, cleaving us to His
Mystical Body, the Church.
Needless to say, a few moments’
quiet reflection and then a song of great joy and praise follow this
At this stage, a second collection
is usually taken. The proceeds of this collection are for the needs of the
parish (maintenance of the Church buildings, paying for the electricity,
funds for the Parish School, etc.) and to provide for the priests.
After consuming any remaining
Precious Blood and placing any remaining hosts in the Tabernacle, the
Priest cleans and purifies the sacred vessels and then sits quietly for a
time in reflection and thanksgiving.
Page last revised
Friday, 22 February 2013 05:54 AM