Lost Acclamations: The Old A

The credal statement formerly known as Memorial Acclamation A has passed into Catholic history. It still seems to pop up here and there in Christendom. A blogger at a Lutheran Church in Iowa said this:

Our confidence comes from knowing Jesus – the way – the truth – and the life. There is an Easter acclimation (sic) that the church has used to help us remember this hope and comfort that we have.  It goes like this – Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. A phrase that perfectly summarizes where our focus and trust should be right now.

Christ has died for your sins. Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient to forgive every sin that you have ever committed.  All of Jesus’ perfect life and righteousness was given to you through his death and the blood that was shed.

Christ is risen.  In this Easter season we especially celebrate this fact, however, it is something that we can and should celebrate all year long. Jesus Christ is not dead. He is alive. There were over 500 witnesses to this fact. He has now ascended to heaven.

Christ will come again. This is what we’re waiting for right now.  Jesus to return.  Jesus has promised that he will come back – and not only that he has promised to be with us always – until the end of the age.

This Christian Reformed Church has it big on their front page on the internet. When I did a search on the google earlier, I found a fair bit of music. Not only the 1970-2010 acclamation set to music cited in hymnary, but also expanded songs based on the sentence on YouTube.

This site has seen discussions on this and its sister texts in the years leading up to the English language MR3. One tart commentator mentioned the old A text was the only one of the four without a reference to “us.” (That old anthropocentric meme again.) Others are skeptical about “interrupting” the Eucharistic Prayer. Of course, we already do that with the Sanctus. So it’s not surprising our liturgical formation breaks up the anaphora into parts, and the “real” EP only begins after singing the Holy.

My pastoral inclination would have been to leave the old A alone, but I don’t think anybody really misses it. Songs based on B, C, and D persist. None are hugely popular in any of my parishes. Likely not in yours either.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to Lost Acclamations: The Old A

  1. Liam says:

    The Memorial Acclamations would be way down in my triaged list of conciliar reforms of the Mass to defend. They aren’t really about having an acclamation; they appear to be more of a canonical housekeeping finesse over the removal of “the mystery of faith” from the so-called consecration formula. (The consecration formula has never fully mapped onto Scriptural accounts of the Last Supper*, which isn’t surprising because the Mass is not a historical reenactment of that or of Calvary or of Easter Sunday morning.) The inclusion of the acclamations produces a script-level attention to the Eucharistic Prayer (which text are we doing this week?) that may have the opposite effect of what it’s idealized to achieve.

    * St John’s Gospel famous omits it in favor of the Mandatum, but St John’s Gospel show great familiarity with at least St Mark’s Gospel and expressly explains that it is omitting material while it includes unique material; it is a self-consciously complementary Gospel. St Luke’s account of the Last Supper differs in a notable respect from St Mark/Matthew, having two takings of the cup bracketing the offering of bread.

  2. “The inclusion of the acclamations produces a script-level attention to the Eucharistic Prayer (which text are we doing this week?) that may have the opposite effect of what it’s idealized to achieve.”

    Agreed. It’s why I change them seasonally and use only one per Mass setting. My music director in grad school was even more conservative. He didn’t use Mass settings and only changed one item about once a year. In my 6 years with him, the Alleluia was a constant (except for Lent, obviously) as was the Lord’s Prayer and the Great Amen.

    • Liam says:

      The usual *functional* rationale given for the Memorial Acclamation is typically summarized in the form of “it’s bad liturgy to have such a long prayer by the presider” and the acclamation punctuates it congregationally. The problem with that rationale is that, lurking beneath it, is the justification for the preconciliar “silent” Canon covered by the Sanctus and Benedictus. Retaining the non-silent Eucharistic Prayer is *much* higher on my triage list, but I suspect many non-traditionalists may be incapable of imagining that it would need to be strongly defended. But it does. It may seem at times that I adopt traditionalist-adjacent positions, but the reality is quite different. I am identifying where there are tensions and even contradictions within the positions (more particularly, the assumptions behind them) of those of us who embrace the conciliar reforms, where they are most vulnerable to exploitation by the anti-reform forces and that we need to deal with that by prioritizing their relative importance.

      • I’d probably edit the complaint that it’s bad liturgy to have such a long prayer merely recited by a presider less than skilled. Treated as a given, it becomes something never polished or even studied. Just consider how many times we’ve seen priests page through the Missal after the dialogue to find a preface.

      • Liam says:

        True, but inserting an acclamation does zip to remedy that, either!

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