Liturgy of the Eucharist (Oct. 25)


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Theological Question

How is the Eucharist a response to Word? Where did the Eucharistic Prayer come from? What does it mean? What does it do?


Students will learn the basic structure of the Eucharistic Prayer and the differences between the prayers in the sacramentary.


Students will learn how to select a preface and a Eucharistic Prayer for the appropriate season or feast.


(after the class has been completed)

Idea starters

  • Prayerfully read the four primary Eucharistic Prayers, and journal on their similarities and differences.
  • Find out what Preface is being used in your parish this Sunday, and journal on its meaning.


  • Download this form and evaluate the Communion Rite in your parish. Offer some comments in the online forum.

Read (to prepare for Nov. 1)

 Posted by at 3:43 pm
  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Katherine,

    Thanks for a great description! The only thing I’d point out is that is the choir is singing by themselves after communion, it is not strictly speaking a song of praise. A song of praise is sung by the entire assembly. The singing of a piece done only by the choir or a specific minister is a practice left over from the pre-Vatican II liturgy that is still done in some places. However, the GIRM only allows for either a period of silence or a song of praise sung by all.

    If you are serious about purchasing a Roman Missal, World Library Publications sells a personal edition. The type is kind of tiny, but it is easy to carry. It’s expensive though.
    You can see it here:

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Diane. A good way to learn the meaning of the different prayers is to pray with them as part of your daily prayer. I would start with II, since that is probably the most familiar. Then I might dwell on IV since that is the most “different” of the prayers, I think. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Maggie. I like how you are noticing where the assembly is most united. That’s a good clue to the quality of your liturgy. Before Vatican II, the liturgy was thought of more as an individual’s personal time with God. When I was in grade school, when the reformed liturgy was still new, the nuns told us not to look at other people during Mass, and to attend to our own prayers. From the description of your parish’s liturgy, we’ve come a long way!

  • Nick Wagner

    HI Gary. Thanks for a very clear and thoughtful reflection. You really did a good job capturing the flow of the liturgy. I’m glad the meaning of the Mass has been heightened for you.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Jerry. I agree that people don’t like change. I don’t like change much myself. However, our job as leaders is to help parishioners see a new way of doing things that is more enticing to them than remaining in the past. It’s a tough job sometimes, but that’s why we get the big bucks!

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Candice. I’m glad the readings were helpful, but I’m sorry your were sick. I hope you’re better now. See you Wednesday!

  • Nick Wagner

    Guardini is one of my favorite writers on the liturgy! He was a big deal in the liturgical movement leading up to the Second Vatican Council. He had a very clear vision about what liturgy could do. One of his famous phrases is, “We have to recover a forgotten way of doing things.”

  • Nick Wagner

    HI Christine. Thanks for your reflection. I’m glad to hear the Mass has new meaning for you. That seems to be a theme in the comments for this class!

  • Dan Kacir

    When I completed the liturgy evaluation a few weeks ago for the
    church I attend, I scored them with high marks. As I’m learning more
    about liturgy structure and ritual, I’m beginning to pick up on
    things I’ve never noticed before. This past Sunday the music was sung
    by the children’s choir. While most of the assembly was preoccupied
    with other things, all I could hear was about twelve young voices
    singing and the sight hum of a few adults. When the scripture
    readings were spoken, the readers stumbled upon various words and had
    to repeat them. While the priest was reciting the Eucharistic Prayer,
    the children’s study group was returned to the church. I heard the
    pounding feet of children running up the isles to welcoming parents
    that overshadowed the prayer. While this is a minor issue, it did
    cause a distraction from the liturgy. This can be easily corrected
    with coordination and planning with the liturgy team and Sunday
    school director.

    There was a lot of information to dwell upon from class last Wednesday.
    I am having a difficult time trying to connect the Constitution and common sense.
    The Constitution of the Church defines the liturgy and duties in a
    legal presentation. At the same time, it was mentioned in class, that
    common sense is to be used in certain situations. I can understand
    that practical applications based on common sense may be used from
    time to time, but if they defy the Constitution, then common sense is
    subjective, and the Constitution can be easily abused. In my
    opinion, proper interpretation plays a key role in execution of
    liturgical duties.

  • Katherine Cottingham

    Thanks, Nick. I hope to one day have time to read more of Guardini’s writings on the Liturgy. I’m pretty sure I’ve occasionally have noticed his name among the writers of meditations presented in the Magnificat magazine.

  • Katherine Cottingham

    Thanks for the personal Roman Missal idea & the link to purchase.
    The choir comment I will probably wait to address at our parish liturgy meeting sometime in the near future after I have time to fully read & digest what the GIRM has to say, as you have mentioned & I thank you for pointing this out.

  • Christopher Pacifico

    I don’t think everyone in the congregation truly understands the importance of the Eucharist. Or if they truly believe that the bread and wine becomes truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ through the Eucharistic prayer performed by the priest. I believe that most Catholics especially the cradle Catholics believe that the bread and wine we receive each mass are merely representation – speaking from my own perspective before ILM because I am also a cradle Catholic. It’s how I viewed Eucharistic before. The faith of most cradle Catholics have been passed down through generations from their parents and parents before them and so on much of which did not come with explanation. If everyone pays attention to what goes on at the altar as the gifts are being prepared and even when these gifts are brought to the altar, everyone can see how wonderful this celebration truly is and how lucky and privilege we are to be partakers of his salvation.

  • Gina Pacifico

    My apology this is not about our class material from last week but I’d like to share something from one of our topics of discussion last Sunday in our Couples for Christ household meeting. We were discussing if we should pursuit re-organizing and setting rules in our choir. Most of the members of our choir do not want or cannot commit to a choir practice. So the basic rule some of the members wants to implement is that “If one cannot practice that week, then that person should not sing in the choir for that Sunday.” It sounds very simple, right? But the reality is not. One said, “Are we ready to lose some members because they cannot commit to practice?” Another one said, “What should we do to those who in their hearts truly wants to serve through music but cannot commit to practice – do we tell them they cannot join the choir? Another said, “How about those who we know can’t sing – do we kick them out of the choir?” As you can see we have a dilemma at hand. Others mentioned quotes from the Bible to justify those who cannot commit and those who do not have the gift of voice to sing but wants to serve. To make the matter worst, I mentioned what I’ve learned in our ILM class that every piece in the celebration affects another. Everyone should practice for their role. Singing in the choir without practice is like a lector who comes to mass not prepared to read the scripture because he/she did not practice reading the scripture before mass or like a priest who did not prepare a homily. Everyone agreed with me but yet we are still faced and do not know how to proceed with our dilemma. I suggested a friendly questionnaire to the choir members as a self check of their commitment to the ministry. We decided to put off any actions in this matter until next year. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Gina Pacifico

    In addition, I consider myself blessed to now have an understanding of the liturgy of the Eucharist. If only the whole congregation can appreciate the chance of re-living the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection through the Eucharist when we receive his body and blood
    at each mass as one community, then everyone will be a renewed person and will have
    a renewed heart, mind and soul knowing that Jesus is within each of us. But of course the congregation must also understand that the Eucharist only becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ after the priest says the Eucharistic prayer. I see mass or Eucharistic celebration differently now.

  • Vince Duong

    Through the lesson Liturgy of the Eucharist, I‘ve learned the importance of the Eucharistic Prayer. In the Eucharistic Prayer we pray to God the Father, through the Son, that the Holy Spirit will transform bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, so that we might enter deeper communion with God and one another. We also pray that we are transformed so that we “may be filled with every grace and heavenly bless­ing.” This prayer, then, is our response to God’s immense gift of love given to us, especially in the Eucharist.

    I found the wonderful definition about the Eucharistic Prayer from the USCCB page: “The
    Eucharistic Prayer is the heart of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In this prayer, the celebrant acts in the person of Christ as head of his body, the Church. He gathers not only the bread and the wine, but the substance of our lives and joins them to Christ’s perfect sacrifice, offering them to the Father.”

    The above statement makes me think and pay more attention when I attend mass because I am part of the offering, therefore mass is more meaningful for me from now on …

  • Luis Cardoso

    Informative and Meaningful. Mr. Nick Wagner began last week’s class (10-14-15) having students using colored sticky notes. On a pink note we wrote an important idea we had learned; on a blue note a question the reading elicited. What Mr. Wagner seeks during our sessions is what he wants regarding the church’s liturgy: Active participation on the part of everyone.
    Other important thoughts discussed last week:
    The design of the liturgy allows the Holy Spirit to speak to us;
    The Homily is a liturgical and communal act being God’s word for today;
    The Word of God is more than Scripture alone;
    The Church has always honored the Word of God and the Eucharistic
    mystery with the same reverence;
    To create a flow to the liturgy the quality of Transparency is needed. The lector, cantor, etc.,
    does not call attention to herself.
    All the words of the liturgy are filled with meaning.

  • Luis Urias

    In our class on liturgy of the Eucharist, we began by breaking the class into two teams (the holy rollers and the bread winners-we all won). We all learned together a lot about liturgy as it applies to the Holy Eucharist, either directly or indirectly. A couple of things we learned from the team assignment questions were, “the console of Trent was held in 1545” and “that the center or heart of the Eucharist celebration is the Eucharist prayer because it is a prayer of many elements and attributes including sacrificing-ourselves, offering-to God, animism and unity.

    We then broke-down the Eucharist prayer; I counted into nine sections. We see right away the structure of, You-Who-Do-Through. A quick breakdown of the prayer is as follows:

    1 – Opening dialog between the Son and the Father ending with Amen.
    2 – Thanks Giving
    3 – Holy
    4 – Epitasis’
    5 – Consecration, story of the last supper
    6 – Anamnesis – time of remembering what happened in the past is still happening
    7 – Offering of ourselves
    8 – Intersession
    9 – Doxology, ending with Amen

    During the last part of the class we talked about how specific parts of the prayer are interchangeable with preapproved (special Children or Reconciliation prayer), depending on the celebration or time of the liturgical calendar.

  • Patricia

    Preface VIII of the Sundays of Ordinary Time was selected by our Pastor, Fr. Michael Hendrickson for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time because he felt it best connected to the first reading and the Gospel reading.
    The preface begins by giving praise and thanksgiving to our Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God. From the Preface: “For when your children were scattered afar by sin…you gathered them again to yourself,” reflects back to Sunday’s first reading when Jeremiah addressed the people in exile “I will gather them from the ends of the world.” God in his greatness and mercy will gather his children back, console them and guide them like a loving Father who will see that none shall stumble.
    The Gospel reading was about a blind man named Bartimaeus who had great faith and hope that Jesus would cure him. Jesus cured more than his blindness–the last sentence states Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak and followed Jesus on the way. The “Way” is the term used by the earlier followers of the Church and reflects back to the preface “that a people formed as one by the unity of the Trinity, made the Body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit, might, to the praise of your manifold wisdom be manifest as the Church.”
    The Eucharistic Prayers 1-4 have the same eight elements: thanksgiving, acclamation, epiclesis, consecration, anamesis, oblation, intercession and Doxology. All four follow the ancient Jewish Berakah prayer of You, Who, Do, Thru. All four mention the Pope and Bishop. All four Eucharistic Prayers have the same acclamation, consecration, anamesis and Doxology:
    The elements that differ are thanksgiving, epiclesis, oblation and intercessions. EPI&III do not have a proper preface and EPII&IV do.
    Eucharistic Prayer I, is probably the most ancient and longest and wordy. The epiclesis comes at the beginning but does not name the Holy Spirit. Words used in the oblation
    are: “sacrifice of praise to your servants”and “oblation of our service.” Anemesis mentions blessed Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. Intercessions are for those who have died and
    Apostles and Martyrs (and lists them) and female saints.
    Eucharistic Prayer II is the shortest EP prayer. Epiclesis comes at the beginning. Words used in the oblation are “…we celebrate the memorial of his Death and Resurrection, We offer you , Lord, the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Salvation with no mention of a sacrifice. Intercessions mention the Pope, Bishop, those who have died, Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph,
    the Apostles and all the Saints.
    Eucharistic Prayer III is the most recent source. Epiclesis comes at the beginning. The words used in the oblation are Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, a holy and living sacrifice and eternal offering to You. Intercessions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, Apostles and
    Martyrs, Saint of the day.
    Eucharistic Prayer IV is long. Epiclesis is in the middle. The words used in the oblation are Death, Resurrection and Ascension“we offer you the sacrifice acceptable to you which brings salvation to the world.” Intercessions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, Apostles and Saints.
    I truly enjoyed working on this homework assignment.
    Focusing on the Eucharistic Prayer and relating it to the eight elements and
    the Berakah prayer makes a beautiful mass experience now even richer and more
    meaningful. It just gets better
    and better!

  • Laura Barker

    I found the form to evaluate the Communion Rite really helpful in terms of breaking down what took place at mass piece by piece and determining whether or not it all flowed as well as it should. In general, the mass went off pretty well and I don’t think too many parishioners noticed the hiccups that occurred. (1) The priest noticed that there were not enough hosts and someone had to dash off to grab some more; 2) the communion glasses were not filled evenly with wine so some had too much and some too little; 3) there were not enough Eucharistic ministers on hand and those that were did not realize that wine was not being offered to some of the parishioners, etc.)
    At the 5 pm mass the Lord’s Prayer was spoken with confidence by all. Some held hands while others did not. The Sign of Peace always seems to be an awkward moment among parishioners. You can imagine them cringing and thinking, “Do I really need to shake their hand? Oh good, no one is near me so I don’t have to do it!” It is usually a cordial handshake rather than a ritual sign of peace, reconciliation and commitment to the Body of Christ. Often people give the sign of peace to only a few people (sometimes avoiding shaking hands altogether and just make the peace sign like we are back in the 70’s) and wait patiently until the priest is done.
    I’ve noticed that during the Fraction Rite some priests go at a different pace then others. Sometimes it can seem very long and slow as the priest pauses to gaze at the bread. On Sunday the rite was very calm and organized. The priest did a great job in making it a dignified ritual for the whole assembly to see. The congregation sang Lamb of God with confidence.
    As I noted earlier, we had a couple of missteps during communion but most people did not notice and seemed to go with the flow. Our communion ministers generally do a good job. Its heartwarming, however, when you get a communion minister who just seems so full of God’s love and joy when they hand you the bread and wine. I’ve gone to other churches where the Eucharistic ministers — and even the priest — seem very stern and cranky. To me, the bread never tastes or feels like unleavened bread but rather a type of processed, tasteless paper product. Sorry, just being honest. The wine is usually good, though once I did get a sip of some that had turned. Everyone sings after communion. We praise God with one voice which definitely helps unify the Body of Christ.

  • Daniel Lesieutre

    It has been instructive to prayerfully read and study the four Eucharistic Prayers, and they speak volumes to me. How does God choose to speak to me through these Eucharistic Prayers? Which ones speak to my spirit – God’s Spirit living in me and at this point in my life? But, these are the prayer of the community, how do they speak to my particular one? Are some best used seasonally, like in Lent or Advent? Disclaimer: these are my thoughts; God’s speaks to each differently and even that can change with time.

    I prefer the tone and language of EP2 and EP4. Both are positive in their relation between God the Father and his creation/creatures. I will come back to that.

    The tone of EP1 is very formal in language and reverent and majestic in regards to God the Father. God is merciful, and we are humble and petition him. God is due homage, Jesus is holy and unblemished, his hands are holy and venerable, he is a pure, holy, and spotless victim … All of this is true, but the image of a loving personal God is not reflected to me through EP1. In a sense, I get an “Old Testament” language image of God in EP1. Now, God could alter that view in an instant, because I could use more humility and more reverence. From a community point of view, EP1 is appropriate for the solemn preparation seasons of Advent and Lent because of its reverent and penitential tone.

    The language of EP3 is also formal and comes across as legalistic at times; “therefore” is used many times. (God the Father) You are … You have … You give …, therefore, we humbly implore …, we pray …, we offer …. God summons us before him …, He is compassionate, He is merciful. An impression of judge is given. And, like EP1 all of this is true, but, at least for me, the image of a loving personal God does not flow easily. A full and proper understanding of God’s love, compassion and mercy is needed. EP3 is also appropriate in the reverent and penitential times of Advent and Lent.

    What I like about EP2 and EP4 is that they draw me into Heavenly Banquet, of sharing a meal with Jesus to the glory of God the Father through the Holy Spirit. The image of a loving Creator/Father and Jesus, one with us, comes through these more fully.

    In EP2, it is right and just to give God thanks and praise. We have been made worthy by Jesus. Jesus is the beloved Son; we are his brothers and sisters; he breaks the bonds of death for us. God is the fount of holiness and pours out the Holy Spirit for us. EP2 is written with some active verb language which makes it living; God is our loving Father, he gave us his Son as our brother, more so than the reverent/petition and legalistic EP1 and EP3 prayers.

    EP4 takes EP2 to an even higher level. It is wholly written with active verbs: living, existing, abiding, dwelling, giving … God and his actions are described in positive terms: wants to fill his creatures with blessings and joy, living and true, in your loving kindness, in wisdom and in love, formed man in your own image, did not abandon, … There are heavenly images of angels. Jesus accomplishes the Fathers plan through his passion, death, and rising and sends the Holy Spirit from the Father bring perfection and sanctifying creation. EP4 has very rich imagery and is positive and uplifting on so many levels, and it draws the whole community into the wonders of God. Its speaks to God’s love and acceptance and his desire that we love, trust and have confidence in his will for our lives. I would welcome its use more.

  • Luis Cardoso

    I missed last week’s class due to illness. Item 72 in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states the following: “For Christ took the bread and the chalice, gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat and drink: this is my Body; this is the chalice of my Blood. Do this in memory of me.”
    During my time with ILM I’ve always tried to bring what I’ve learned regarding the pastoral care for our parish. When someone in the parish approaches me with doubts or questions about the faith and our liturgy, I ask myself, what can I say to help this person draw closer to God? The person will want to know what I believe and how strongly I believe–what does the Mass mean to me, and how important is it for me? Our Lord’s words, “Do this in memory of me”, says everything. I go to Mass to draw to closer to Christ, to find out about myself, and to discover what I need to do each day to become a better servant. This is a primary function of the liturgy for me. Everything starts with the personal and then moves out. Then, I must do my best to serve others.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Luis. I like that you highlighted the fact that the eucharistic prayer is the center and heart of the eucharistic celebration. This is a difficult thing to make clear by the way we celebrate the liturgy. The more leaders like you realize that is our goal, the more progress we will make.

    One thing I want to point out is that there is only one eucharistic prayer with interchangeable parts. That is the last one we mentioned, the Eucharistic Prayer for Use in Masses for Various Needs. That prayer has four thematic prefaces and corresponding sets of intercessions.

    The prayer is in the Roman Missal, and you can also see the prayer here:

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Patricia. I really like that you took the initiative to find out from your pastor why he chose the preface that he did. And I’m glad he had an answer for you! You’ve put in a lot of effort analyzing the four main eucharistic prayers. That kind of leadership will pay off in helping your community make the eucharistic prayer the center of your worship. Good job.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Laura. This is a really good job of analyzing and evaluating your communion rite. I know what you mean about communion ministers either being filled with the love of God or seeming to be cranky. It makes a big difference. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Nick Wagner

    HI Daniel. I like how you analyzed the emotional impact and writing style of the eucharistic prayers. I’m still getting used to the new translations, and I find all of them a little more formal (and maybe leagalistic) than the previous translations. I do like EP4 a lot. I don’t hear it used very often, perhaps because it is long. Perhaps we could start some kind of movement for getting it used more often. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nick Wagner

    HI Luis. I hope you are feeling better. This is a terrific reflection on the command to “do this in memory of me.” If you can help your parish to focus on that phrase and what it means to them, that would go a long way toward making the eucharistic prayer the center of your parish’s worship. Thanks for these good thoughts.

  • Jocelyn

    Last week’s topic is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The activity we had questioning each other about the reading materials engaged us in discussions and gave us a lot of information regarding the Eucharist. We focused on the Eucharistic Prayer and its elements which are: thanksgiving, acclamation, epiclesis, Institution narrative and Consecration, anamnesis, oblation, intercessions and concluding doxology. (described in detail in General Instruction of the Roman Missal #79) Three of these elements are sung, namely acclamation, anamnesis and concluding doxology. We have learned that Eucharist is the center of the mass and Communion is the climax of the Eucharist. Eucharist and Communion are defined as well as differenciated. We were also given the opportunity to look at a Sacramentary and see the different versions of the Eucharistic Prayer from 1. Roman Canon; 2. Hippolytus-Apostolic Tradition; 3. New Composition; 4. Based on Prayer of St. Basil. The Children’s Eucharistic Prayer is not in the Roman Missal but still can be used. It is also helpful to look at the Ordo for suggestions on Eucharistic Prayer for each day. One cannot make up a Eucharistic Prayer. I have learned so much today and a lot of my questions regarding the Liturgy of the Eucharist have been answered and clarified.

  • Daniel

    I had written this with my reflection but removed it before posting regarding the use of EP2 over EP4..

    Is the real reason we hear EP2 the most because it is short, as is often said? Maybe. If EP1 and EP3 are best suited for Advent and Lent, the primary choice for other times is EP2 or EP4. So depending on the readings, homily, and the size of the community, EP4 may not be practical.

  • Jeanette

    Well, I am going to try this again. You would think that after the “special
    effects” happened a few times I would learn!
    In the past, and again the other day, after entering almost my complete
    reflection the screen disappeared to the right – out of sight! Could not get it back, could not

    Well, I am going to try this again. You would think that after the “special
    effects” happened a few times I would learn!
    In the past, and again the other day, after entering almost my complete
    reflection the screen disappeared to the right – out of sight! Could not get it back, could not find it. Sometimes if I “sweep” the mouse box
    it comes back – not this time. So . . .
    I begin again but in Word, then copy into the Internet software.

    I attended the vigil mass for Sunday since
    the “US Traveling” Blessed Statue of Our Lady of Fatima was at Holy Family (HF)
    for the day and the vigil mass was the conclusion of her visit. Needless to say, the liturgy was overfilled with many guests as well as our own parishioners.

    The evaluation sheet helped me focus a bit better on those around me and how they were led and participated or not led and not participated in worship. But it also makes this reflection a bit long in the tooth!

    Our presider was Fr. Andrew, our newly
    installed Pastor, a very vibrant and inclusive priest. Our music ministry was the Filipino Choir who gifts us with their beautiful voices and encouraging leadership in special
    masses and during the Simbang Gabi Novena before Christmas. Our Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers (EMs) overall, are pretty well trained, however at times they get mixed up as to their assignment, but the others pick up the pieces and continue on.

    On any given Sunday or large gathering of 100 or more, where the Eucharist is being distributed, there will be four Ministers for the Consecrated Hosts and four Ministers of the Cup/Precious Blood – to include the presider and one more person to go to the Tabernacle to retrieve the Ciborium for the hosts that remain after communion.

    With that background – using the Evaluation sheet as a guide . . .

    ~ The Our Father. With the overhead screens for projection of
    long prayers and songs, as Fr. Andrew began the Our Father it seemed like most people reached for the hands of those next to them of family and friends, although they did not reach across the aisles. I think the practice is waning at Holy Family, as there seems to be increasing numbers who are not holding hands at all. I believe this is due to a
    greater presence of diversity from cultures where this practice has not been part
    of their tradition. Many simply cross their arms in what is (I understand) a
    reverent position for them.

    With the leadership of the Filipino Choir, the Our Father was sung and I would say almost with gusto. I think maybe the guests were feeling particularly encouraged.
    The members of HF do sing it regularly as I think it may be the most
    comfortable piece of music used in the Liturgy – vocally to sing as well as
    familiar words. That helps to make it unifying.

    The Sign of Peace – seems to raise the noise level a bit as people reach out beyond their close neighbors, sometimes crossing the aisle or walking down a few to “greet” a friend. Yes, it is more of a time of greeting or well wishing than of repentance or reconciliation.
    But I think it is a time where people feel the unity of friendship and maybe as the Body of Christ to each other.

    Neither Fr. Andrew nor Fr. Edsil (Parochial Vicar) gives the Sign of Peace to anyone after they have offered it to the assembly. The EMs began assembling on the step behind Fr. after only a few moments – as our direction is – you may give the sign of peace but only one or two people ON your way up to the sanctuary.

    The Altar Servers brought up the tray with the 6 Cups and the 3 Bowls for the Eucharist.
    As Fr. began the Lamb of God or rather . . . as we sang the Kordaro Ng Diyos . . .the “Star Ministers” began their duties of pouring the Consecrated Wine into the Cups and dividing the Consecrated Hosts into the three bowls – leaving some in the fourth bowl for the Priest.

    I love the Kordaro Ng Diyos and since I was an EM, I forgot to look into the assembly – but
    tried to focus on the words since I can not see the screen and do not really remember them from heart but sing to what I hear. I cannot tell you if people joined in or not. I know that we sang the 3 verses and the ministers finished when we finished.

    I think we look like a lot of people up there, but hopefully we moved with purpose and not speed. Our training is heavy on reverence, moderation, and dignity. Since I was “up there” it
    is hard to remember how everyone was moving.

    Fr. began the “ Lord, I am not worthy . . “ as soon as the “Star Ministers” stepped
    back into their places. Fr. had broken one piece off of the Host into his chalice and lifted up the other two together as we prayed. It seems that all those I could see in the Assembly prayed – again – unity.

    As Father took communion the music group began a communion song which I remember was familiar but at this moment can not remember it, although all the ministers sang. We have a distribution pattern that Fr. followed and within a few moments all of us had moved from our spots behind the Altar to the corresponding spot in front of the Assembly.
    If we all moved as trained, it should look pretty seamless, very neat, with purpose.

    As a Minister of the Eucharist, I try to look at each person coming forward but often they are focused on the Host or the Cup. Most of the people bowed before coming up and did not seem to be hurrying or rushed. Almost all respond with an Amen – when they didn’t and were already reaching for the host, I said, Amen. I think the people at the end of the line might have felt communion took a long time, since we had a “standing room only crowd” – unusual for HF. But they did not show it. We did have two communion songs and I remember looking out seeing the line stretch around the last pews. But no one seemed to be hurried or running out the doors.

    Because of the visiting Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a member of the choir sang the Ave Maria after communion so the time for silence was not too long. Fr. prayed the Prayer After Communion and looked toward the lector for the announcements but there was a surprise for

    Since this was the vigil Priesthood Sunday – our Sacristans had planned a “gift” for our priests. Kathleen (our head Sacristan) came out from the side and asked Fr. Andrew to come to the center aisle as the parish would like to recognize him on Priesthood Sunday – she thanked him for giving his life to the service of Christ, and to us, and invited everyone to join her in a blessing (that was on the screen) to pray over Fr. Andrew. He was surprised and honored as the assembly prayed with great intent and unity!

    I think the assembly feels most united at the Our Father and again when they prayed over Fr. Andrew even though so many were guests. I think they have an appreciation for our Pastor, and their own priests.

    Now, St. Jude, please help me copy this over and submit it!

  • Klarissa dela Fuente

    Last Thursday, I attended daily Mass at St. Frances Cabrini. I was so excited to recognize the 8 elements of which the Eucharistic Prayer consists of because to be honest, in the past I had not recognized them before. Oftentimes, I would space out during the entire prayer, not knowing the significance of anything the priest is saying.

    From EP II:

    “Father, it is our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ…”

    When the priest was glorifying God and giving thanks, I knew right then and there in my heart and mind that we were celebrating the source and summit of our faith: the Eucharist. I am grateful for understanding this better, and will continue to take it to prayer so that my relationship with Christ deepens each and every day.

  • Semi Gurbiel

    I really liked the class of last week. I loved the activity of breaking into two groups and ask questions of the reading we had done. It was a good way to evaluate how much we have learned about liturgy. Learning all the elements of Eucharistic Prayer; has been new to me. I never thought that the Eucharist prayer would involve so many parts, such as the thanksgiving, the acclamation, epiclesis, institution narrative and consecration, Anamnesis, oblation, intercessions, and concluding doxology. I also learned that that Eucharist is the center of the mass and Communion is the climax of the Eucharist.

    Overall I learned the huge difference between Eucharist and Communion. Eucharist is in its best sense, is an action we do and a means of becoming more than ourselves, while communion, in its most limited sense, is something we get that we use for our own. (Diana Macalintal in Eucharist and Communion). In Diana’s article she also cites that the key fruits of the Eucharist (the mass) is a renewal of our call to mission in other words, the primary effect of our celebrating the Mass should be our strengthened desire of proclaim the Gospel and feed the hungry wherever we go.

    Nick I’m starting to like liturgy.

  • Luis Estrada

    What impacted me the most out of
    last week’s class was the fact that we are the Body of Christ, and through the
    Liturgy we must sacrifice ourselves with Jesus on the Altar. Jesus allows us to
    be part of his sacrifice, and nothing has more value of that. I also realized
    that consuming the blood of Christ also signifies a sacrifice. We need to fully

    We discussed the main elements of
    the Eucharistic Prayer. I learned that there is a participatory action between
    the presider and the assembly which simulates the dialogue of the Father and
    the Son.

    I enjoy the questions and
    answers, and the chocolate. Having this type of activities stretches you to
    learn more. Luis Estrada

  • John

    That was indeed a very fun and eventful evening where our class was split into two teams and were asked to come up with four questions to ask the other team to see if they can win the prize of those delectable dark chocolates! Moreover, it was great to see some of our classmates competitive but inspiring for us to ask questions that needed clarification or understanding. Within our group, it was great to discern our own questions to ask because many of us even didn’t know the answer. For me personally, knowing many of the answers wasn’t any indicator that I was trying to be a “smartass” but was a strong sign that I am genuinely loving liturgy and would love to be a liturgist. All the readings I’ve done so far have made me reflect my own parish and various other parishes to see what works and doesn’t work while appreciating the diversity or adversity that every parish encounters.

    One of the questions that stood out to me, and where Diana and Nick expanded on, was how many species is required to have a full participation of the Eucharist. Although the answer was obvious, understanding why the cup/chalice containing the blood of Christ was important was a different issue. Aside from the transubstantiation from wine into blood, the blood of Christ that we drink is the “blood poured out” for all of us who receive it. Since Jesus Christ died for us on the cross, would we, as brothers and sisters who are Christian, pour our own lives for Jesus? That was beautiful and the article from Diana enhanced our understanding more between Eucharist and Communion.

    Lastly, when all of us were able to look at the Roman Missal (even though it’s the previous edition), we got to really appreciate what the priest sees, reads, and proclaims. At that moment, we were able to discuss the various Eucharistic Prayers and when it can or can’t be used including ones for special occasions. Nevertheless, I have come to really appreciate the structure itself of the Eucharistic Prayer. Nick was correct that many of us may believe the highest point of the Eucharist Prayer is Institution Narrative & Consecration. However, it is to note that the entire Eucharistic Prayer, itself, should be one beautiful flow of Dialogue, Preface, Sanctus, Epiclesis, Institution Narrative & Consecration, Memorial Acclamation, Anamnesis & Offering, Intercessions, Doxology. To put it simply, not one part of the structure should disjoint another part of the structure. On my part, I know that I will come to appreciate the structure of the Eucharistic as similarly as I’ve come to love the you, who, do, through prayers used throughout Mass.

    Wonderful sessions last night. Thank you.

  • John


  • miguel guzman

    Hello Nick, and Diana, another great class. It was great to see the class participate. I have learned so much from my classmates, in what they share and contribute to the Class. I am so thankful for them. In Class, we were split into two groups Both groups had to have 4 questions to give to the other. Then, both teams had to answer the questions that were given to one another. One of the questions was when Communion is ended, What becomes of the remaining Wine that is still left over in the Chalice. How do we dispose of the Wine. The answer that was given is that the remaining Wine left in the Cup is will not be discarded. It is, by no means, ever poured into the ground, or the Sacrarium. It is strictly prohibited. We talked about receiving Communion during Mass. If you do not participate in the Mass, You still receive Communion. We talked about Epiclesis = It talks about remembrance, the Church as an Institution of Christ. Jesus giving Communion to his Disciples. The memorial of Christ’s Resurrection and Death is brought about, and the Church is brought up again as the Body of Christ in the World. The story of When God created the Earth, on the Seventh Day. There would be a Day of Rest, which is the Sabbath. To not work, but to celebrate God.The Sabbath, It is God’s Holy Day. On every Sunday of the year that we go to celebrate God. we are going to Church. Which is the House of the Lord. This is where we reflect and praise God for his Love, Forgiveness, renewing our Faith, and giving us Hope.The Liturgy of the Eucharist was made by Christ, during the Last Supper The Sacrifice that he made for us on the Cross, He died for our Sins. Our Sins have been forgiven.

  • Marcy Golebiewski

    This post is about the communion rite at Queen of Apostles. First, because it is flu season, there is no blood of Christ poured out for the assembly, no shaking hands or grasping hands during the Our Father. The Lord’s Prayer is not sung, but the children are invited around the alter to say the Our Father, which is prayed confidently by children and adults. The sign of peace feels like a sharing of Christ’s peace more than individuals reconciling with each other as suggested in the evaluation form. I had never thought of it the former way. The fractio. Rite looked calm. Fr. thuc broke the bread in a reverent way. The hosts appeared to be freshly consecretated in the mass vs. brought from the Tabernacle. Clearly, there are always hosts that go back to the Tabernacle so they are used somewhere. The assembly sang the Lamb of God confidentially since the music is well known. The assembly was able to process to communion right after the Extraordinary Ministers received communion. THere were 3 ministers plus they priest and everyone came up by row in an orderly fashion with the felons row first. There was one communion song sung. Although it was a new one, the music was not difficult and the words we e projected all the wall to aid participation. There was not a song of praise after communion, instead there was some silence. The prayer after communion came before the announcements. I do think there was a spirit of unity. However, I cannot help by feel that some of the meaning of the different parts of liturgydoes not always come through to the assembly.

  • Greg Ripa

    I really enjoyed the discussion about helps and hindrances to the Eucharistic prayer. While the entirety of the Eucharistic prayer is supposed to be the source and summit of the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy, most of the assembly sees the summit as the institution narrative. This may be attributed to language that is difficult to understand especially since the most recent translation, the pacing of the prayer and the slowing of the pacing that often accompanies the institution narrative, and its overall length.

    But, the Eucharistic prayers have a great poetic and lyrical nature that helps the church pray and realize that this truly is the source and summit of the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy. Not all of the prefaces and prayers are poetic or lyrical in nature due to issues of translation but a lot of them are quite beautiful in my opinion.

    Below are some of my favorite poetic and lyrical phrases from the lesser-known texts of the Eucharistic prayers:

    * Through him the children of light rise to eternal life
    and the halls of the heavenly Kingdom
    are thrown open to the faithful.
    (Preface II of Easter)

    * For through his Paschal Mystery,
    he accomplished the marvelous deed,
    by which he has freed us from the yoke of sin and death,
    summoning us to the glory of being now called
    a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
    a holy nation, a people for your own possession,
    to proclaim everywhere your mighty works,
    for you have called us out of darkness
    into your own wonderful light.
    (Preface I of Ordinary Time)

    * By the Spirit’s descending in the likeness of a dove
    we might know that Christ your Servant
    has been anointed with the oil of gladness
    and sent to bring the good news to the poor.
    (Preface of the Baptism of the Lord)

    * For when he asked the Samaritan woman for water to drink,
    he had already created the gift of faith within her
    and so ardently did he thirst for her faith,
    that he kindled in her the fire of divine love.
    (Preface of the 3rd Sunday of Lent)

    * For you anointed your Only Begotten Son,
    our Lord Jesus Christ, with the oil of gladness
    as eternal Priest and King of all creation,
    so that, by offering himself on the altar of the Cross
    as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace,
    he might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption
    and, making all created things subject to his rule,
    he might present to the immensity of your majesty
    an eternal and universal kingdom,
    a kingdom of truth and life,
    a kingdom of holiness and grace,
    a kingdom of justice, love and peace.
    (Preface of Christ, King of the Universe)

    * For by your Word you created the world
    and you govern all things in harmony.
    You gave us the same Word made flesh as Mediator,
    and he has spoken your words to us
    and called us to follow him.
    He is the way that leads us to you,
    the truth that sets us free,
    the life that fills us with gladness.
    (Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs 3 – Jesus, the Way to the Father)

  • Lee Campbell

    Hi Nick, As usual I enjoyed the class. Dividing the class in 2 teams was a lot of fun .It was challenging coming up with 4 questions. Getting the correct answers against the even team was a challenge as well. A little healthy competition in Liturgy class, who knew?. As I have attended mass since the beginning of this course it has been interesting noticing all that goes into each liturgy. I am not sure if I was more critical before or now because I am looking for a flow of prayer. Not interrupted with non ritual moments. On one hand I am less critical because seeing what it takes to put together a good (or bad) liturgy would be difficult. It takes time, effort and thought. On the other hand because it takes such effort it seems like it should be good all the time and that is not always true. The focus the Celebrant puts on it definitely makes the difference. “The way we pray is how we do. This is what Christ asked of us.” The Reign of God is happening right now and it goes out of us to Christ and back to the Reign of God, demonstrated by your drawing. I interpeted it as reciprocating love.The love that begins with God to me and goes back to God and then back to me then out to others and back again. This is what should happen to us at each and every mass. And I agree every mass is a family mass. We are one big family of God.

  • Jane

    As every class has been, our class on Feb 1 was a pleasure to attend. Being an auditor and not having journeyed through ILM with the rest of you, I did not realize just how competitive you all are! The questions we tested each other with were good ones; some were ahas, some had me pondering and all had me going back to the readings the next day. Thank you for helping me gain a better understanding.

    Nick and Diana, I appreciated the breakdown of the Eucharistic prayer parts. I won’t be able to listen to these prayers the same any more. Not a collection of individual parts strung together but a beautiful flow of one prayer; going forward my attention can only be with a deeper understanding and appreciation. In particular pulling on the anamnesis; past, present and future at the same time. I became a Catholic as an adult and part of what drew me to the Catholic Mass was the connection in sign, symbol and ritual to the early church. It made me feel a closer connection to Christ and to the Apostles. We were doing it the way they did it. Now I understand that I am connecting to that at every mass in the anamnesis of the Eucharistic Prayer. Beautiful.

    Now to the question posed by Nick at the end of class: How do we/can we educate the assembly so they, too, have a better appreciation of the Eucharistic Prayer? Of the flow of the mass? The obvious would be homilies and bulletins but are people really listening to the homily or reading the bulletin articles? To make a point- in our church we pick up and move the candles from the Ambo to the Altar hoping that it makes a noticeable statement of movement from the Liturgy of the Word to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. One day I was talking about this with a fellow parishioner who said “we move the candles? What are you talking about?” If the assembly isn’t noticing physical movement can we expect them to learn from a homily or bulletin article? In our church our priest will sometimes do a 4-minute catechesis series before the final blessing and dismissal and it could be put in here. But then, we’ve learned this isn’t really supposed to be in the mass at all so…. A conundrum to be sure.

    See you all on Wednesday.

  • Paty R.

    I found all the evaluation/observation forms very useful. I must confess that I printed out all at once, and gave them to some member of our parish liturgy committee, a couple of weeks ago, to help us with our own evaluations. I am glad I did it because these past two weekends everything changed with the flu season adaptations, but it has been something very good because has given us a better sense of our community and how we can serve better.

    For the observation of the Communion Rite, during the Lord’s Prayer, children are called to join the priest at the altar, before the adaptation most people joined hand, after the adaptations for a moment there was a little confusion but the priest asked the children to put their hand in prayer position so the rest of the community followed the instruction. It seems that in most of our Sunday Masses this moment and when saying “Lord, I am not worthy…” is when the entire assembly is most united.

    About the Eucharistic Prayer, the focus of our last class, I would like to say that I have been helping in preparing the book for different Masses. I know that usually for Sunday Masses most priests favored the use of EP III. Until now I never stop to “see” the differences between the EPs. When the books are prepared for the masses we follow the instructions of the priest or just their likings because we know that Father X likes this or that.
    For the Spanish Mass, our priest has been using the EP IV. It is the longest. Since is used very seldom, I am curious, so I need to ask him why he likes it.
    Putting the 4 EP side by side I have a better vision not only of the usage, but their meaning for us – the faithful- and the importance of our “full and conscious participation”.
    Also, I see why EP II, is more suitable for daily masses: the words that came to my mind: harmony, balance, flow. There are only 2 readings, therefore the Liturgy of the Eucharist needs to be short too in order to keep the balance with the Liturgy of the Word.

    Nick and Diana, thank you for another a great class!

  • Anthony Ordona

    Another informative class, gained a greater appreciation of the theology behind the various parts of the mass in particular the Eucharistic prayer. In particular, the guidelines regarding the usage of the different prayers. With each class, i understand why each aspect of the mass is important and why it is important that it flows smoothly. The explanation on how the Eucharistic prayer is the summit of the celebration instead of the concentration of the bread and wine was very informative. I also liked your comment that it should be said with reverence. It may made think back to a couple of our past pastors and how i thought they dragged it too long! If the liturgy is said well and with the reverence due it, it will enable to pray better and understand what is being said the prayers. The competition at the beginning of class made me realize how much preparation is required for a good liturgy. I also remembered our discussion about the disposal of the leftoever wine after communion since i was serving the blood at my monastery yesterday. We had plenty left over so instantly drank what was left afterwards remembering the lessons learned last week.

  • Stella Lal

    It was really beautiful to see the different Eucharist Prayers and gain an understanding of how the different prayers and the prefaces are chosen and when they can be used.

    It really hit home when Diana and Nick mentioned that this is the part where the tone changes, the congregation becomes quiet and the priest takes over. It is also a part where the congregation may disconnect. It is really good to be reminded that while this part may seem as a disconnected portion, it is actually part of the continuum of the community’s celebration of the Eucharist.

    I have had the fortune of listening to one priest who prays the Eucharistic Prayer that gets my total attention and helps me listen to every word he says. I wish this was more common place.

    We also gained good understanding of the main elements of the Eucharistic prayers: thanksgiving, acclamation, epiclesis, Institution narrative and Consecration, anamnesis, oblation, intercessions and doxology.

    Diana explained beautifully, in a way only she can, almost poetically, to be fully in communion we need to receive the body and blood of Christ. By so doing, we participate in the cup that Christ drank referred to in Luke 22.42. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

    Nick pointed out that it is essential that we follow the liturgy as it is meant to be but being scrupulous about it is sinful; I really liked that comment.

  • Nick Wagner

    HI John. I’m impressed with how much information you absorb from the readings and the classes. As you say, you really do have a love for this subject. Beyond just remembering what you read or hear, however, you also have a knack for seeing how to apply what you learn in the parish. Great job!

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Mike. This is another great summary of what happened in class. You are good at identifying the core of the conversation and making the discussion clear. I’m glad you liked the class participation. I did too. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Marcy. You have a good eye for detail in the actions and flow of the liturgy. I would agree that the meaning of the different parts of the liturgy does not always come through to the assembly. That’s true not just at QofA, but almost everywhere. I think most of us who were raised in Western, first-world cultures have limited sense of symbol and imagination. I’m not sure what the solution is, but liturgy is all about symbolic language. We have to keep trying. Nice reflection.

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Greg. I really like that you pulled out the sections of the Eucharistic Prayers you thought were most lyrical. That made me think, in connection with what Marcy wrote, that perhaps our parishes could find ways to reflect over a block of weeks on two or three symbolic moments or lyrical prayers that we find in the Mass. Perhaps in conjunction with something like a Lenten day of prayer. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Lee. I know what you mean. Sometimes it’s hard for me to just pray at Mass and not worry about the details. I am more able to let go when, as you say, it’s obvious that folks put some time and effort into making the liturgy as good as possible. If, on the other hand, it’s pretty obvious no one was paying attention to even the simple things, I begin to have a difficult time. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time teaching about liturgy. So Mass will be better next time I go! :)

  • Nick Wagner

    Hi Jane. As I wrote below on Greg’s post, I think one possibility might be to help folks reflect on the symbolic actions or the lyrical prayers of the Mass at times outside the liturgy. I also think if we could get parishioners to pay more attention to art of any kind, we’d probably see a better response in the liturgy. Maybe we need to have parish art fairs. Or field trips to plays and concerts.

  • Phan Nguyen

    The Eucharistic Prayer is the longest prayer within the Mass. As I tried to read it slowly, I felt like having a personal conversation with God. The words are beautiful, and sound like a poem. It would be wonderful if it can be chanting by the presider. Reading a preface I found this sentence from Preface IV
    “For, although You have no need of our praise,
    yet our thanksgiving is itself Your gift,
    since our praises add nothing to Your greatness
    but make us growth in Your grace, through Christ our Lord.”
    It is a sincere and very humble prayer. Since God’s knowledge, wisdom and greatness are infinite, in a scientific sense, nothing we do by ourselves is worth offering to God. However there is only one sacrificial gift that is pleasing to God is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ who is infinite in everything. This precious gift is also available to us every day at the Mass.

    On the petition in the prayer of the Lord, we humbly ask God for enough food to eat, and more importantly for the need to sustain us day by day. The comment in the General Institution of the Roman Missal added a deeper meaning: we are asking to receive the body of our Lord Jesus, to be in union with Him from day to day. Having God surpasses having everything else in the world.

  • Mariann

    For observation the Liturgy of Eucharist & Communion rite in my parish, the Lord’s prayer is not sung, the whole assembly say the Our Father loudly, which is prayed confidently. They was not hold hands or some cross their hands to pray. In the sign of peace, they make the sign by gesture feel like a ritual sharing of Christ’s peace show in their face with smile more than reconciliation, some did it feel simply like a handshake. In fraction rite, every mass, use the host is freshly, and before communion, the minister brought the host from the tabernacle used more and the host put back to the Tabernacle after communion. The assembly sing the lamb of God very confidently when the priest broke the first piece of bread. For the communion part, there was one communion song sung, some special Mass, they use two songs.After communion, there was a good amount of silence, but I saw in different mass, some quire sung the meditation song after communion, then the prayer after communion came before the announcements. In my view, there was a peaceful and spiritual the entire assembly feel most united, that is good in communion with the entire body of Christ.
    In the last class, I am impressed for class was divide into two teams and were asked to coming up with four questions to ask other team to get the correct answers. It is very fun when other team that raised a little competition from each answer from other teams to learning and understanding about the liturgy.
    I also like that Nick and Diana help us to use the Roman Missal book. I learned lots of things because I just know how to use the book of my Vietnamese language, I don’t read the general instruction of the Roman Missal until I learned the liturgy class and pay attention when I read and what I learn in liturgy class. As Diana explain that when the books are prepared for masses we follow the instruction of the Bishop/ priest who say mass will know what part of the Eucharistic prayer that he like to use. That is very interesting to readings the book and sharing in liturgy class, I learn lots and reflect myself how to do for good and to observe how minister work in my parish about liturgy. Some do liturgy for longtime, that challenge to change if the liturgy have to update. Thank you Nick for help us in this class and we bring to the parish to serve what we learn. That I gained good understand of the entire Eucharistic Prayer should be one beautiful flow of Dialogue, Thanksgiving, Memorial Acclamation, Epiclesis, Institution Narrative, Consecration, Anamnesis & Offering, Oblation, Intercessions and doxology. Thank you very much.