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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

341

1350

The

presentation of the offerings

(the Offertory). Then,

sometimes in procession, the bread and wine are brought to the

altar; they will be offered by the priest in the name of Christ in the

Eucharistic sacrifice in which they will become his body and blood.

It is the very action of Christ at the Last Supper—“taking the bread

and a cup.” “The Church alone offers this pure oblation to the

Creator, when she offers what comes forth from his creation with

thanksgiving.”

177

The presentation of the offerings at the altar

takes up the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the Creator’s

gifts into the hands of Christ who, in his sacrifice, brings to perfec-

tion all human attempts to offer sacrifices.

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From the very beginning Christians have brought, along

with the bread and wine for the Eucharist, gifts to share with those

in need. This custom of the

collection,

ever appropriate, is inspired

by the example of Christ who became poor to make us rich:

178

Those who are well off, and who are also willing, give as

each chooses. What is gathered is given to himwho presides

to assist orphans and widows, those whom illness or any

other cause has deprived of resources, prisoners, immi-

grants and, in a word, all who are in need.

179

1352

The

anaphora:

with the Eucharistic Prayer—the prayer of

thanksgiving and consecration—we come to the heart and summit

of the celebration:

In the

preface,

the Church gives thanks to the Father, through

Christ, in the Holy Spirit, for all his works: creation, redemption, and sancti­

fication. The whole community thus joins in the unending praise that the

Church in heaven, the angels and all the saints, sing to the thrice-holy God.

1353

In the

epiclesis,

the Church asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit

(or the power of his blessing

180

) on the bread and wine, so that by his

power they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and so that

those who take part in the Eucharist may be one body and one spirit (some

liturgical traditions put the epiclesis after the anamnesis).

In the

institution narrative,

the power of the words and the action

of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present

under the species of bread and wine Christ’s body and blood, his sacrifice

offered on the cross once for all.

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In the

anamnesis

that follows, the Church calls to mind the

Passion, resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus; she presents to

the Father the offering of his Son which reconciles us with him.

177 St. Irenaeus,

Adv. haeres.

4, 18, 4: PG 7/1, 1027; cf.

Mal

1:11.

178 Cf.

1 Cor

16:1;

2 Cor

8:9.

179 St. Justin,

Apol.

1, 67: PG 6, 429.

180 Cf.

Roman Missal,

EP I (Roman Canon) 90.

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