EPMC III

The third Eucharistic Prayer for Masses With Children includes alternate texts for the Easter season, including a preface:

Priest: We thank you, God our Father.

*You made us to live for you and for each other. We can see and speak to one another, and become friends, and share our joys and sorrows.

[*during the Easter Season, the preceding paragraph may be replaced with the following:
You are the living God; you have called us to share in your life, and to be happy with you for ever. You raised up Jesus, your Son, the first among us to rise from the dead, and gave him new life. You have promised to give us new life also, a life that will never end, a life with no more anxiety and suffering.]

And so, Father, we gladly thank you with every one who believes in you; with the saints and the angels, we rejoice and praise you, saying:

Holy, Holy (the “Sanctus”, based on the praise of the Seraphim in Isa 6:3):

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.

Priest: Yes, Lord, you are holy; you are kind to us and to all. For this we thank you. We thank you above all for your Son, Jesus Christ.

Also a pre-epicletic narrative:

*You sent him into this world because people had turned away from you and no longer loved each other. He opened our eyes and our hearts to understand that we are brothers and sisters and that you are Father of us all.

[*during the Easter Season, the preceding paragraph may be replaced with the following:
He brought us the good news of life to be lived with you for ever in heaven. He showed us the way to that life, the way of love. He himself has gone that way before us.]

He now brings us together to one table and asks us to do what he did.

Father, we ask you to bless these gifts of bread and wine and make them holy. Change them for us into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your Son.

Priest: On the night before he died for us, he had supper for the last time with his disciples. He took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread and gave it to his friends, saying:

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

In the same way he took a cup of wine. He gave you thanks and handed the cup to his disciples, saying:

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.

Priest: God our Father, we remember with joy all that Jesus did to save us. In this holy sacrifice, which he gave as a gift to his Church, we remember his death and resurrection.

Father in heaven, accept us together with your beloved Son. He willingly died for us, but you raised him to life again. We thank you and say:

All: Glory to God in the highest. [or some other suitable acclamation of praise]

There is no explicit memorial acclamation, and neither is there a set acclamation. Presumably a standard acclamation would suit here, and this may be EP III’s advantage over the others: it could be utilized as that bridge to “mainstream” worship.

Priest: Jesus now lives with you in glory, but he is also here on earth, among us. We thank you and say:

All: Glory to God in the highest. [or some other suitable acclamation of praise]

Priest: One day he will come in glory and in his kingdom there will be no more suffering, no more tears, no more sadness. We thank you and say:

All: Glory to God in the highest. [or some other suitable acclamation of praise]

Priest: Father in heaven, you have called us to receive the body and blood of Christ at this table and to be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Through this sacred meal give us strength to please you more and more.

Lord our God, remember {Benedict}, our pope, {name of local bishop}, our bishop, and all other bishops.

The third Easter insert:

*Help all who follow Jesus to work for peace and to bring happiness to others.

[*during the Easter Season, the preceding paragraph may be replaced with the following:
Fill all Christians with the gladness of Easter. Help us to bring this joy to all who are sorrowful.]

Bring us all at last together with Mary, the Mother of God, and all the saints, to live with you and to be one with Christ in heaven.

Priest:  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]

Father D asked about the omission of the extra acclamations, and I have heard of that “adaptation” from one or two priests. I don’t know that it’s completely kosher, but I doubt anybody is prepared to call a presider on it.

I knew of one priest who thought the Sanctus was too much and omitted that–I considered that the most extreme adaptation I’ve heard of.

Getting back to this prayer, I would have liked to see a few more prefaces: Advent, Lent, a votive Mass for the Holy Spirit, for Mary, and perhaps for First Eucharist (though Easter does fit the bill rather well).

Getting to the question of the appropriateness of these prayers for children, I offer the following comments:

  • The biggest problem with the pastoral use of Eucharistic Prayers is not their lack of variety but the poor use of the voice in proclaiming them. Clergy may tend to be less careful and skilled at Masses With Children. These prayers might serve as a liturgical speed bump for some priests. Of course, they have to choose to use them.
  • The memorial acclamation is much more ingrained today than in the 70’s. As the decades have passed, the lack of the MA in prayers II and III strike me as more distraction than pastorally appropriate.
  • Personally, I find the multiple acclamations a problem. I suspect they would work better in the prayers if the entire EP was sung, an option rarely used on Sundays, and practically non-existent at Masses with children. Too bad.
  • Omitting the extra stuff: people do it, but it’s probably under the radar of the liturgical police, who probably think the EPMC’s shouldn’t be used anyway.
  • Many adults appreciate the straight-forward language of these prayers. It leads me to believe the current direction of translation employed by Vox Clara and ICEL is likely going in the wrong direction. As I opined above, it’s not the repertoire, but how the words are misused.

Any thoughts?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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