Parts of the Holy Eucharist
The Holy Eucharist follows a fundamental pattern that goes back to the earliest centuries of the Christian church. Though the Holy Eucharist is one unified act of worship, it consists of many parts, each with its own purpose and meaning. The entries here follow the order in which the parts occur in the Holy Eucharist.
Introductory Rites The rites that precede the Liturgy of the Word, namely, the Acclamation, the Collect for Purity, the Summary of the Law, the Kyrie, the Trisagion, the Gloria in excelsis and the Collect of the Day. Together these elements have the character of a beginning, an introduction, and a preparation. This ensures that the faithful, who come together as one, establish communion with one another and dispose themselves properly to listen to the word of God and to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in a worthy manner.
Collect of the Day The Collect is the opening prayer through which the character of the celebration is given expression. This prayer literally “collects” the prayers of all who are gathered into one prayer led by the priest celebrant.
Liturgy of the Word The Liturgy of the Word is made up of readings from Sacred Scripture, followed by a homily in which the homilist exegetes and explains the readings for the benefit of the People of God.
Creed A brief, normative summary statement or profession of faith. The Nicene Creed, which is recited at the Holy Eucharist, comes from the Councils of Nicea (AD 325) and Constantinople (AD 381).
Prayers of the People Being taught by God’s holy Word to offer prayers and supplications and to give thanks for all people, the Prayers of the People are a time of intercession for the needs of the church and the world.
The Confession and Absolution of Sin To assist in the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist, the faithful confess their sins against God and neighbor in order to receive forgiveness and absolution.
Peace Now reconciled to God and neighbor, the faithful greet one another with the peace of Christ.
Canon of the Holy Eucharist The central part of the Holy Eucharist, also known as the Eucharistic Prayer of anaphora, which is the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration. It begins with the Sursum Corda (i.e., “The Lord be with you… Lift up your hearts… Let us give thanks to the Lord our God”) and concludes with the final Doxology (“By him, and with him, and in him…”) and Amen.
Epiclesis The prayer petitioning the Father to send the Holy Spirit to sanctify offerings of bread and wine so that they may become the Body and Blood of Christ.
Consecration The consecration is that part of the Eucharistic Prayer during which the priest prays the Lord’s words of institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper (cf. 1 Cor. 11). Through this prayer the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Anamnesis From the Greek, meaning “remembrance.” We remember Jesus’ historical saving deeds in the liturgical action of the Church, which inspires thanksgiving and praise. Every Eucharistic Prayer contains an anamnesis or memorial in which the Church calls to mind the Passion, Resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus.
Doxology A Christian prayer that gives praise and glory to God often in a special way to the three divine Persons of the Trinity. Liturgical prayers, including the Eucharistic Prayer, traditionally conclude with the Doxology “to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.”
Communion Rite The preparatory rites, consisting of the Lord’s Prayer, the Fraction, the Prayer of Humble Access and the Agnus Dei lead the faithful to Holy Communion. The Post Communion Prayer after expresses the Church’s gratitude for the mysteries celebrated and received.
Fraction The priest breaks the Eucharistic bread as a gesture of the breaking of bread done by Jesus at the Last Supper.