January 3rd

The General Instruction recommends the First Eucharistic Prayer be used on Sundays and major feasts. (cf. General Instruction of the Roman Missal # 365)  The First Eucharistic Prayer addresses the Father through the Son.  The priest then blesses the gifts and asks that the Father accept the gifts that we offer.

The priest then prays for the Church throughout the world.  We pray for our Holy Father, our bishop, and for all “who hold and teach the catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles.”  It is important that we pray for all the members of the Church; we are all members of the mystical body of Christ and it is good for us to lift the other members of the body up in prayer.  This prayer is also a beautiful reminder that our Catholic Faith is Apostolic: it can be traced back to the Apostles and through the Apostles to Jesus Christ.

The next part of the Eucharistic Prayer is called the “Commemoration of the Living”; there is a brief pause which gives us a moment to call to mind those for whom we wish to pray for in a special way at that Mass.  The Mass is the most efficacious prayer that we can offer to God.  It is good for us to remember our family and friends during the Mass, and ask God to assist them with His grace.  The priest then prays for all who are gathered together at that Mass, and for all our loved ones.

Following the commemoration of the living the Saints are honored and we beseech their prayers, that through their intercession we may constantly be assisted and protected.

The first Saint to be mentioned is Our Blessed Mother.  Mary is the Mother of God and Queen of all Saints and therefore is always mentioned first.  Immediately following her, Saint Joseph, the foster-father of Our Lord, is named.  The twelve Apostles (Saint Paul is listed instead of Judas Iscariot) are then named.  They come right after Our Lady and Saint Joseph because they are the foundation upon which the Lord founded His Church.  Saint Peter and Saint Paul are listed first because of their importance: Saint Peter was the first Pope and Saint Paul was the great Apostles to the gentiles.

Following the twelve Apostles, there is another list of twelve martyrs of the early Church.  The first five of them were Popes, then a bishop (Saint Cyprian), a deacon (Saint Lawrence) and five laymen (including two sets of brothers).  All of these martyrs lived virtuous lives and died heroic deaths bearing witness to their faith in Christ.  Their lives so greatly inspired the early Christians that their names were included in this ancient Eucharistic Prayer.

God bless,

Father White