Six ways to actively involve the neophytes in the Eucharistic Prayer

6 thoughts on “Six ways to actively involve the neophytes in the Eucharistic Prayer”

  1. Now that I’m a little bit older, I’ve observed the following: For children, they are little sponges; less conceptual, more cognitive. They learn facts and retain them very well. When the eucharistic prayer is broken down into all of its components and each explained, they can put it all together. They even say, “what about the rest of it?” Of course they just went through the rest of it, but the point being that it isn’t just one long boring prayer.
    For older adults, I see a lot of trouble with ‘big’ church words, like consecration, consubstantial, incarnate, etc. They will often recount their earlier childhood or young adult experiences and ask why things changed. And they ask why we used to kneel but now the pastor say we have to stand in unity.
    Again, breaking it all down to the individual parts helps with those ‘Oh’ moments tremendously.
    Young adults. Ah yes, a group that eagerly captures the existential mood and meaning of the prayer for their own. This is great! New words and phrases make it easier for them to right the wrongs of this not so perfect religion that was passed on to them, but it makes them a little bit exclusive. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and new it all. My dad would just say, “you haven’t lived yet”.
    These are just some of my reflections I thought might be worth sharing. I always like your presented information that helps me reflect on my experiences. Thank you.

  2. A priest presider I know well who leads the Euchariastic Prayer very prayerfully slows down as
    he comes to the prayer asking the Spirit to overshadow the gifts of bread and wine (and ourselves)
    and lays his hands carefully over the gifts; it’s the power and grace of the Holy Spirit that consecrates
    the gifts, transforming them into the body and blood of Christ. (not the narration of the Supper:
    “This is my Body…my Blood”) and the Elevation.

  3. Nick: As part of our RCIA mystagogical sessions, we took some time reflecting on the exsultet as a springboard – including some discussion on stories from salvation history (heard in our Easter Vigil readings, sung in our psalms, and ritualized during the service of light) – but also some reflection on the eucharistic prayer, since the Exsultet follows a eucharistic prayer pattern.

  4. @Steven: thanks for your comment! And thanks for highlighting your reflections with young adults. My experience with college students is that they still see the EP as a long prayer with moments for the assembly to “chime in” as if the EP is not for them and they just listen passively rather than respond with enthusiasm to the musical acclamations. I like your comment of capturing the meaning of the prayer in their own. I will ask some of my students what they think of the EP that day.
    Now, it also gets me thinking about EP for Masses with Children – with all the insertion of acclamations. Do communities use it with success of a more conscious participation? I have actually never experienced this EP as a child – maybe I would have benefitted from it? Then again, I was a child with the previous translation of the Missal.

  5. @judy: I like that image. It reminds me of the importance that priests have in liturgical presiding and how they must act with grace so that they themselves can “speak” of themselves as a symbol for the assembly. How has this example of the priest affected your life? Where have you seen God in that?

  6. @justn – oooo I forget about that juxtaposition of the EP with the Exsultet – do you have any resources of a comparison between the two? Article? Book? Dissertation?

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