Liturgy of the Eucharist
Preparation of the Altar - Because the liturgy of the Eucharist is a re-presentation of the events of the Last Supper, the
priest has to prepare the altar (table) for the Eucharistic banquet. The altar servers assist the priest by bringing the empty
chalice, communion cups and plates, and the cloths (purificators).
Offering of Gifts - the gifts of bread, wine and money are brought to the altar. We should also be offering our works and our whole lives to God as spiritual sacrifices at this time. The money collection is taken up by the ushers and is necessary to pay for the operation and maintenance of the church and to help the poor. At times, we are also encouraged to bring gifts of food and other things for the poor. The gifts of money and food also represent a sacrifice, because even though our families could use the money and food we chose to give it to help the Church and others. Parishioners are encouraged to volunteer to bring up the gifts as the offerings represent gifts from the entire church community.
Offertory Hymn - is sung as the altar is prepared, the collection is taken and the gifts are presented.
Prayer over the Gifts - The priest prays that the gifts and sacrifices we offered will be acceptable to God. We respond: 'Blessed be God forever', and 'May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of His name, for our good, and the good of all His Holy church.' and 'Amen.'
Eucharistic Prayer - is the prayer that changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We respond to the first part of the priest's prayers with: 'And also with you'; 'We lift them up to the Lord' and 'It is right to give him thanks and praise'. After the priest calls upon the Lord in the prayer of the Preface, we respond with the same prayer that the angels sing to God in Heaven: 'Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Hosts, 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.'
The Consecration - The priest re-presents the sacrifice of Jesus at the Last Supper:
The priest first holds up the bread and says:
'Before He was given up to death, a death He freely accepted, He took bread and gave You thanks. He broke the bread, gave it to His disciples, and said: Take this all of you, and eat it: this is My Body which will be given up for you.' (Bell may be rung to call attention to the moment of the consecration of the bread.)
Then the priest raises the chalice with the wine and says:
When supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to His disciples, 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. Do this in memory of Me. (Bell may be rung to call attention to the moment of the consecration of the wine.)
A miracle happens. It is the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body, and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. This miracle is the Mystery of the Eucharist! It still looks and tastes like bread and wine, but the substance is truly Jesus!
Memorial Acclamation is a short profession of our belief in Jesus' sacrifice, resurrection, and promise to return at the end of the world. We say: 'Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.' (This is the most common acclamation used, but there are three others as well).
At the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, after the priest says: 'Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.' We give our assent to the miracle which has taken place, with our response of the great 'Amen!'
Lord's Prayer - is recited in preparation for receiving Jesus in Holy Communion by saying the prayer that Jesus taught us. We praise God, ask for our daily bread and forgiveness for our sins: 'Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.'
Sign of Peace - is offered as a promise of peace and unity with Jesus in Heaven. When we shake hands with each other, we are making peace with each other so that our souls are prepared to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
Breaking of the Bread - The priest breaks the host and we ask for mercy and peace so that we might be ready to receive Communion. We pray: 'Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.'
Receiving Holy Communion - Just before Communion is distributed, we pray with the priest, asking God to make us worthy to receive His great gift: 'Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.'
Then all those who have made or are making their First Holy Communion, have fasted for at least one hour before, and are in a state of Grace (free from mortal sin), may receive Communion. It is important to remind ourselves of what we are about to do when we receive Communion: that it is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord. As Communion is distributed, it is proclaimed to each person, The Body of Christ, and The Blood of Christ. The person receiving the Body and Blood responds, 'Amen' ('I believe' and I really want to be one with God). The host/wine should be consumed immediately after it is received, while standing before the priest or Eucharistic minister, as a sign of respect. The Vatican has documented and verified many miracles proving the actual presence of Christ in the 'consecrated host'.
Communion Hymn is sung during Communion to express our happiness that we are to be able to receive Jesus.
Prayer after Communion During the period of silence which follows the hymn, we should be quietly praising and talking with Jesus. It is believed that Jesus is physically present within us for a period of fifteen minutes after receiving Communion. It is a time for prayer, thanksgiving and respectfulness.
The priest reads the special Prayer for that day, requesting the ability for us to live and act according to what we have promised when we received Communion.