Treasures From Our Tradition

  Preview Weekly Bulletin for September 24th, 2017


Along with the reform of the Roman Canon and the redrafting of an ancient Roman prayer in Eucharistic Prayer II, two additional prayers were announced in 1969. Eucharistic Prayer III is a fresh composition. Like Eucharistic Prayer II, it has no preface of its own, but the presider chooses from a long menu of possible prefaces to become part of the prayer on a particular occasion. Also, like Eucharistic Prayer II it has a way to insert the name of the deceased in Masses for the dead such as funerals and memorials. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal views Eucharistic Prayer III as the best substitute for Eucharistic Prayer I on Sundays and feasts.

In practice, this prayer is used very often at Sunday Mass, and its texts are familiar to all members of the assembly. In this prayer, notice that the priest extends his hands over the gifts and calls down the Holy Spirit to change them into the Body and Blood of Christ. This call of the Holy Spirit is called the epiclesis, and Eastern Christians consider it to be the consecration. Latin Christians have long considered the “institution narrative” to be the consecration. Partly in response to a deep sensitivity to the East, the reformers took care to structure all our new prayers with a strong epiclesis. The poetry and images of Eucharistic Prayer III are fruitful sources of meditation. Why not take a sentence or two into your private prayer?

—Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.