The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
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
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.
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
ever appropriate, is inspired
by the example of Christ who became poor to make us rich:
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.
with the Eucharistic Prayer—the prayer of
thanksgiving and consecration—we come to the heart and summit
of the celebration:
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.
the Church asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit
(or the power of his blessing
) 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).
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.
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,
4, 18, 4: PG 7/1, 1027; cf.
179 St. Justin,
1, 67: PG 6, 429.
EP I (Roman Canon) 90.