In the words of the Second Vatican Council: ‘the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows’ (SC, 10). The eucharist lies at the very heart of the liturgy, in which, as the Council teaches, Christ associates the church with himself in the celebration of the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection; we see this effected in and through the eucharistic prayer together with eucharistic communion. A central dimension of the eucharistic prayer is that it is a powerful Trinitarian statement of the church’s faith in the purpose, movement, and direction of all things: from the Father, through the Son/the Word made flesh, in the Spirit, to the Father – a unifying vision of creation that sees the church, all of humanity, and indeed the entire universe being drawn towards its final fulfilment in the self-bestowing love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
This study day will consider, briefly, the origins of the eucharistic prayer and its development in different geographical areas in the early centuries of the church. The principal focus of the day, however, will be the content and meaning of the eucharistic prayer, its theological and spiritual significance. Within this focus, and as a way of illustrating the specific nature and structure of the eucharistic prayer, the study day will also consider the specific questions of why, firstly, it was decided (in the “Latin Church”) to introduce three new eucharistic prayers in 1968 for use alongside the existing Roman Canon, and secondly, it will illustrate how each of these prayers came into being, thus taking the shape they have today.
Vatican’s Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and thus followed closely the development of the three new eucharistic prayers. In 1973 he was appointed as a member of the commission charged with drawing up three new eucharistic prayers for use with children and two new eucharistic prayers on the theme of reconciliation.
The day will be led by Dr Peter Coughlan, who was appointed in August 1965 to the Vatican’s Consilium for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy and who followed closely the development of the three new eucharistic prayers published in 1968. He was also a member of the commission charged in 1973 with drawing up three new eucharistic prayers for use with children and two new eucharistic prayers on the theme of reconciliation.
The event will be available in person.