The Eucharistic Prayer Sung

No. 78 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says this:

Now the center and summit of the entire celebration begins: namely, the Eucharistic Prayer, that is, the prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest invites the people to lift up their hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving; he unites the congregation with himself in the prayer that he addresses in the name of the entire community to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the meaning of the Prayer is that the entire congregation of the faithful should join itself with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of Sacrifice.

There is an art to singing the Eucharistic Prayer. Tempo is key – it should be roughly at the pace of spoken recitation, but with the chanting adding an element of spirit and reverence without being a distraction. This is how it’s done, I think. The priest is Fr. William Skudlarek, OSB.

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8 comments

  1. I particularly like it because there is nothing showing about his singing. I have experience some sung eucharistic prayers as virtuoso performances (especially with accompanied settings that have the sonic qualities of a Disney ballad) and have not enjoyed the experience.

  2. Where is the rest of the Eucharistic Prayer? Or does the singing stop immediately after the words of institution?

    1. Oh it went on! He sang the entire eucharistic prayer (including the preface which is, btw, part of the Eucharistic Prayer). I thought this excerpt was enough to make the point.
      awr

      1. When I read the caption, “The Eucharistic Prayer Sung,” my hopes were raised. I’m relieved to hear that Fr. Skudlarek sang it, but still disappointed that we weren’t allowed to hear him sing it. Too often I’ve heard the “front end” of the Eucharistic Prayer sung and then the rest recited without music. For me, the Eucharistic Prayer doesn’t end until the people’s “Amen!”

  3. The tone is simple and unadorned — easier, in fact than the Preface tone. With a little effort (and perhaps a few sessions with a voice teacher), any priest who is capable of holding a tune (and not all are!) can do this.

  4. I have always found the chant settings of the Eucharistic Prayer arranged by Fr. Columba Kelly, O.S.B., used at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana prayerful and beautiful. They add to the solemnity and dignity of the prayer, engaging the assembly in “active listening” that enables all to “lift up their hearts.” I myself use the chant setting on major feasts. But, as another comment states, the entire prayer is not sung. Instead the preface and then the epiclisis over the bread and wine, institution narrative and epiclisis over the assembly are chanted, which seems to highlight the action of the Holy Spirit. It also makes concelebration more unified in “one voice” instead of concelebrants reciting at slightly different paces especially when so often in other settings priests seem to forget they should be speaking “sotto voce.”

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