After the candidates “accept the Gospel,” the presider turns to the sponsors and assembly for their “affirmation.”
53. Then the celebrant … asks … in these or similar words.
Sponsors, you now present these candidates to us; are you, and all who are gathered here with us, ready to help these candidates find and follow Christ?
After a positive response, then something other than a prayer follows:
Father of mercy,
we thank you for these your servants.
You have sought and summoned them in many ways
and they have turned to seek you.
You have called them today
and they have answered in our presence:
we praise you, Lord, and we bless you.
All sing or say:
We praise you, Lord, and we bless you.
This acclamation, either sung or spoken, is not optional. It’s an expression of praise rather than creed, more akin to the Gloria or the Children’s Eucharistic Prayer acclamation. It keeps the ritual focus on God, a response to God’s agency of grace in the lives of the candidates and the community.
My other comment on this is that the acclamation is joined to the text that preceeds it. Ideally, the presider would sing this text, which is not really a prayer, but an expression of praise of God. Technically, the rite gives the option, “these or similar words” to the preceding question, but not to this. Too bad: the text is a little pedestrian. An excellent musical setting would help here, but most composers look to the rituals that follow and pour their best into these.