MR Prefaces

How about another series? A recent PrayTell discussion branched off to the merits and problems with Roman Rite Eucharistic Prayers. Liturgy geeks often have their own strong opinions. Subjective experiences color most of these. It seems like everybody’s favorite prayer isn’t done enough, and the one(s) everybody hates is prayed way too frequently.

Speaking for myself, I’d say that EP IV is too uncommon, but I’m happy to report I’ve heard it at least two weekends from my new pastor since Christmas. So that’s a good thing.

I’ve never really looked deeply into the Eucharistic Prayer prefaces. The options are mostly restricted to prayers III and I.

In this series, I don’t think I’m going to parse the Latin text. The most motivated among us know where to go for that. Besides, my Latin is fairly limited and I’m no language scholar. More interesting to me is how these short texts communicate in my vernacular, aka English. I will probably compare to the 1998 translation, and I will likiely ignore the 1970 version. Reason? I’ve been looking forward to MR1’s replacement for over three decades.

I will omit the introduction of each preface, which is a variation of this Ordinary Time expression:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

Likewise most of the bridge that leads into the Sanctus. That will keep the posts brief and non-repetitive. More coming soon, starting with the Ordinary Sunday prayers.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to MR Prefaces

  1. Liam says:

    I would comment that, however similar the bridge to the Sanctus is, it’s quite different from the typical pre-conciliar bridge, which is, in unofficial English translation (From the most commonly used non-seasonal preface, that of the Holy Trinity):

    “This the Angels and Archangels,
    the Cherubim, too, and the Seraphim do praise;
    day by day they cease not
    to cry out as with one voice, saying:”

    In the Missal renewed by Conciliar mandate, this bridge has changed not only in form but substance. That change manifests a layer of meaning and function has been added to the Sanctus: an eschatological foretaste of the Parousia, with the entire Body of Christ singing praise, not only the Angelic creation. (And, in said Missal, that Body includes the congregation and ministers – including the presiding celebrant.)

    Virtually no one appears to notice this, as it’s treated, along with much of the Ordo, as aural wallpaper. Habits are hard to break.

    PS: Even before the 1970 Missal, Theodore Marier got his friend Jean Langlais to include some congregational lines for parts the Sanctus-Benedictus of the latter’s Messe Solennelle (I will provide a link separately).

    • Liam says:

      Promised link:

      (An inside-choristers’ handle for this movement was “The Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid, Sanctus”; certainly sounds apocalytpic!)

    • Liam says:

      PPS: I can report, historically, very lusty congregational participation in this one. The congregation’s part is pretty simple.

  2. Devin Rice says:

    Thank you for this series. Looking forward to it. Related to the TC letter series and Tradition: one definition of Tradition is the preservation the memory of the context of scripture that is preserved in the Church that makes allows for greater understanding and prevents misinterpretations. So a fear of the liturgical reform was that cultural background and data of the 2nd Temple and Patristic era that allows the Church to understand the scriptures would be greatly diminished.

    Of course, I have read that the most of new prefaces and orations are taken from previous sacramentary or patristic writings, so that fear may be baseless. I know that Ward and Johnson have done much work in identifying the sources of the prayers and prefaces of the current missal. But there work is pretty hard to combine. I am wondering if anyone (perhaps Liam??) knows of a more widely available reference?

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