EPMC I

Here is the text for the first Eucharistic Prayer for Masses With Children.

The preface may be broken up by a splintered Sanctus, then concluded in the usual way:

God our Father, you have brought us here together so that we can give you thanks and praise for all the wonderful things you have done.

We thank you for all that is beautiful in the world and for the happiness you have given us. We praise you for daylight and for your word which lights up our minds. We praise you for the earth, and all the people who live on it, and for our life which comes from you.

We know that you are good. You love us and do great things for us.

[So we all sing (say) together:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.]

Father, you are always thinking about your people; you never forget us. You sent your Son Jesus, who gave his life for us and who came to save us. He cured sick people; he cared for those who were poor and wept with those who were sad. He forgave sinners and taught us to forgive each other. He love everyone and showed us how to be kind. He took children in his arms and blessed them.

[So we are glad to sing (say):
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.]

God our Father, all over the world your people praise you. So now we pray with the whole Church: with {Benedict}, our pope and {name of local bishop}, our bishop. In heaven the blessed Virgin Mary, the apostles and all the saints always sing your praise. Now we join with them and with the angels to adore you as we sing (say):

All: 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.

I confess I don’t get the optional acclamations. This preface is fairly long, but comprehensible. It introduces the respective roles of the first two Persons of the Trinity and links the earthly liturgy to that in heaven: sound theology that children can grasp.

Next comes a brief epiclesis, in which the Holy Spirit’s role in the liturgy is linked to the offering made by worshippers:

God our Father, you are most holy and we want to show you that we are grateful.

We bring you bread and wine and ask you to send your Holy Spirit to make these gifts the body and blood of Jesus your Son. Then we can offer to you what you have given to us.

The institution narrative:

On the night before he died, Jesus was having supper with his apostles. He took bread from the table. He gave you thanks and praise. Then he broke the bread, gave it to his friends, and said:

Take this, all of you, and eat it:
this is my body which will be given up for you.

When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup that was filled with wine. He thanked you, gave it to his friends, and said:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.
Then he said to them: do this in memory of me.

This anaphora delays the memorial acclamation just a bit. The presider makes the explicit connection between what Jesus did and what believers do in the liturgy. Though it seems like a meal of sorts, a consuming of bread and wine, the text further delineates the roles of the Father and Son in the liturgy:

We do now what Jesus told us to do. We remember his death and resurrection and we offer you, Father, the bread that gives us life, and the cup that saves us. Jesus brings us to you; welcome us as you welcome him.

Let us proclaim our faith:

All: AChrist has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
or BDying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.
or CWhen we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.
or DLord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the World.

Five petitions follow. We ask for spiritual joy and for care for loved ones. We petition for the dead, those in need, and for Christians.

Father, because you love us, you invite us to come to your table. Fill us with the joy of the Holy Spirit as we receive the body and blood of your Son.

Lord, you never forget any of your children. We ask you to take care of those we love, especially of N. and N., and we pray for those who have died.

Remember everyone who is suffering from pain or sorrow. Remember Christians everywhere and all other people in the world.

This last acclamation seems a weakish lead-in to the doxology. The reference to first person plural singing is misleading … unless the frowned-upon practice of the people quoting the doxology is in place:

We are filled with wonder and praise when we see what you do for us through Jesus your Son, and so we sing:

Through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.

All: Amen! [may be sung more than once]

I differ with the composers on the extra preface acclamations. I don’t find them helpful. It seems as if the Sanctus was arbitrarily halved, then used to break up a preface that functions perfectly well on its own.

I find myself indifferent on the insert before the memorial acclamation. It works just as well after the singing, leading in to the petitions.

EPMC I is the most-frequently used of the three, probably because clergy and musicians can avoid the multiple acclamations in II and III. It has an advantage of simplicity and clarity of language. The differences from the non-children’s prayers seems almost arbitrary, but it is my favorite of the three.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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