Eucharistic Prayers for Masses With Children

In 1975, Pope Paul VI approved the use of five Eucharistic Prayers, three of which were composed for use in Masses with children, as envisioned by the DMC two years earlier.

Someone has already done a comparison on these three prayers. Rather than repeat the work of Felix Just, SJ, here’s the link to his comparison page.

A quick rundown of the three prayers:

Eucharistic Prayer I is most similar to the Roman Canon and the other three mainstream prayers. It includes optional preface acclamations, the standard memorial acclamation after the institution narrative (consecration, and a brief post-acclamation section before the Great Amen. Without the optional acclamations, it quacks like the non-children prayers.

The other two utilize acclamations more frequently, EPMC II during the preface and institution narrative, and EPMC III providing insertions for the Easter season plus acclamations after the institution narrative.

Reception of these prayers runs the gamut, from one of the more alarmist and extreme views to an endorsement of the multiple acclamation forms as being more engaging for the assembly, and possibly a throwback to more ancient forms.

These prayers were composed in French, then translated to Latin, then prepared for the various vernacular languages around the world. Some may see that as a problem, but it does appeal to the most ancient practice of the bishop improvising in the vernacular on a standard structure.

I’ll take each of these EP’s in turn in posts this week.

Generally, I’ll state the reaction of adults to them is largely positive–except for the acclamations, which can be confusing. Most adults respond to the straight-forward language. These prayers demonstrate the importance and advantage of bypassing the Latin for original compositions in the vernacular. Ideally, if such prayers were judged to be of more universal value, they then could be adapted into Latin and then translated for other language groups. Having one or two such prayers each in English, Spanish, and other modern languages would be a boon for good liturgy. Though clearly in the present climate we’re not likely to see that.

Other general comments on the prayers before we get to specifics?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Eucharistic Prayers for Masses With Children

  1. DavAnnb says:

    Personally, I have never been a fan of the Children’s EPs. I think mostly because the pastor at my former parish always used them (omitting the acclamations) for nearly every Sunday mass (but not usually on weekdays). These prayers may have some value, but not appropriate in those circumstances.

    I do find the acclamations, rather, confusing and difficult to remember because of how rarely they are used. Also, if one of the goals is to introduce children to the liturgy, I see little point in teaching them something that does not exist in the typical Roman liturgy.

    Thanks for your comments, I look forward to the rest of the series.

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