78. Now the center and high point of the entire celebration begins, namely, the Eucharistic Prayer itself, that is, the prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The Priest calls upon the people to lift up their hearts towards the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving; he associates the people with himself in the Prayer that he addresses in the name of the entire community to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the meaning of this Prayer is that the whole congregation of the faithful joins with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of Sacrifice. The Eucharistic Prayer requires that everybody listens to it with reverence and in silence.
The role of the priest is pretty clear. The priest facilitates the prayer and thanksgiving of the people. The priest associates the people with himself–is this not more of a union than a separation or distinction? I would have to suggest that there is something inappropriate about the recent emphasis on separation. In a Pauline sense, we have different parts of the body called to different roles. But at liturgy, the body is one. Not a stratum of classes.
The meaning of the Eucharistic Prayer: “the whole congregation” offers sacrifice. Can’t get much more explicit than that.