Eucharistic prayer for Masses with children

In this excellent article, “Formation for Eucharist: Eucharistic Prayer for Masses with Children, ” Fr. Paul Turner clears up many misunderstandings about the Eucharistic prayers for Masses with children which are found (or not) in the missal.

Did you know that these eucharistic prayers have the acclamation “Christ has died” …  in a Latin dynamic equivalence translation of the English??

Originally in Celebrate! 49/6 (November-December 2010):43-44.


  1. I love these EP for children and wish we can use occasionally for masses with older adolescence in high school or even college age people.

  2. I have already heard a couple priests say that the children’s eucharistic prayers will no longer be allowed because they aren’t in the new missal. I hope that it is made clear to priests that they will still be able to be used, even though you have to carry out your old sacramentary.

    I wonder if there’s a way to pull out those pages and have them re-bound in a more convenient book.

  3. We use them all the time at school masses. The additional acclamations keep the kids engaged and there is a real momentum to the entire prayer. Plus, it’s language that 2-3-4 graders can understand, yet, the not too childish for the older kids.

  4. Do others have the same feeling or intuition I have in reading Turner’s explanation – most if not all of his liturgical points could be applied to any EP or eucharistic celebration for good liturgical principles.

    So, why the flexibility here (just because of children or their age?)…..he obviously makes a point that these EPs for children help children understand the eucharistic ritual?

    Just some idle thoughts?

  5. The very poor literary quality of the 2010 translation will inevitably result in people’s taking matters into their own hands when it comes to what is permitted and what is not. So whether or not the use of these EPs will be sanctioned ,after the introduction of the new translation will not matter as much as it may have done previously. The fact that there are more than a single usage at present will promote such an approach

    1. Are you suggesting that priests presume to use kiddie prayers in place of the new, corrected translation? How patronising! Treating adults like kids. Well, that’s one way to empty a church I suppose. I got the feeling of being treated like a kid last Sunday. I vowed to go to Mass elsewhere when I can on Sundays.

  6. I find the EPs for Use in Masses with Children to be insipid and a severe watering down of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Unless the CDWDS indicates otherwise, it would be ilicit to use them once the revised translation of the Roman Missal takes effect.

    As far as what Mr. Flynn wrote, I do not believe that it is wise for people to take matters into their own hands. Such a viewpoint shows disrespect and it perpetuates the hermeneutic of discontinuity that Pope Benedict XVI has caustioned us against.

    1. No, Michelle, you’re misinformed. The current translation of the Children’s Eucharistic Prayers will remain licit. As Fr. Turner writes in the article of this post:

      “Once the revised missal comes out, those wishing to use the eucharistic prayers for masses with children will have to resort to the Sacramentary. That is the translation that will still be in force.”

      It’s interesting that your judgment is so negative – “insipid and watering down” – about prayers approved by the Holy See in both Latin and vernacular !!


      1. She’s not misinformed, since she wrote, “Unless the CDWDS indicates otherwise”. So if Fr. Turner is right, then the CDWDS has indicated otherwise. I don’t doubt that they have, but it would be nice to have a citation.

      2. No, the presumption is that an approved translation remains licit until indicated otherwise. We don’t need the CDW to “indicate otherwise” to override her faulty assumption that they’re illicit.

      3. Church law will have been brought into disrepute by the new translation because, whether licit or not, the merits of the 1973 translation over the demerits of the new one will make it the first choice of many for sound pastoral reasons.

        If the Tridentine usage is still an option what is to prevent the 1973 translation from remaining so.

      4. No, the presumption is that an approved translation remains licit until indicated otherwise. We don’t need the CDW to “indicate otherwise” to override her faulty assumption that they’re illicit.

        But it has been indicated otherwise. Cardinal George’s decree of promulgation says that after the first Sunday of Advent, no other English translation of the Roman Missal may be used. Since these prayers are part of the Roman Missal, how can they be used if they’re not in the only edition that can be used.

      5. Now that the precedent of multiple usages has been set, there will not be any good reason why multiple usages cannot be extended to within the same linguistic tradition. A fortiori when the new translation is found to be so pastorally problematic. The current missal will be unlikely to gather any dust.

        Salus animarum suprema lex.

      6. Samuel – read what the Cardinal said! No other translation except that in the new missal may be used. But there is no translation of the Eucharistic Prayers for Children in the new missal. Ergo, nothing in the new missal supplants the previous translation of the EPs for children.

      7. Well by that criteria, the Alternate Opening Prayers could still be used too right? They’re not in the forthcoming missal and you can’t keep using those. (The analogy admittedly isn’t perfect, because they’re not translations, but original compositions).

        I think the answer is probably the 2008 Letter from the CDW to Bishop Serratelli saying that the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children are being removed from the Missal and will be issued seperately.

      8. There is a lot to be said in favour of original compositions. All the texts that we use and shall use were original compositions at some stage. And J. Ratzinger has given us an original composition in one of the options for the rite of dismissal in the new translations.

      9. Fr. Ruff is correct. I placed the question directly to the BCDW at the USCCB and this is what I was told:

        (a) The Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children are in the process of being retranslated and will be published separately from the Missal. If someone wants to use those prayers after November 27, 2011, the following would need to be replaced with the versions from the new Missal: the acclamations, the institution narrative, and the doxology.

        (b) If using the Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Order of Mass would come from the new Missal but the Prefaces and Orations would come from this collection (making the appropriate changes – such as to the dialogue and the Sanctus).

    2. It is Lent: let me try to be positive.

      For someone who really like the EPs for children, I wonder why you would be so negative toward these prayers.

      Perhaps this indicates a problem in liturgy: how we feel about things (language, art, etc.) can be very subjective. But then, so much of what we understand as the essence of liturgy, that is, the sense of holiness, is subjective, isn’t it?

      1. “Sense of holiness” not the essence of the liturgy.
        Communal prayer is the essence.
        Sometimes it focuses on expressing awareness of the holy.
        Other times it focuses on thanksgiving for what has been received.
        Liturgy can focus on repentance.
        It can focus on petition.
        Always, essentially, liturgy is communal prayer.

  7. An interesting article, with a few factual errors in the early history. One is:

    When they appeared in 1974, conferences of bishops were invited to select one of the three for local usage.

    This is not accurate. All three Prayers were immediately permitted for use ad experimentum for a period of three years.

    An English translation was not immediately available, however, and to the embarrassment of ICEL (and the England and Wales National Liturgical Commission) I myself quickly produced and published an unofficial English translation in the journal Music and Liturgy in 1974, working from the two French originals and a French translation of the German original. This prompted ICEL to accelerate its translation work.

    Conferences and publishers certainly availed themselves of the ad experimentum permission at that point, and booklets were published in the UK by several publishers containing the three Prayers for Masses with Children together with the two Prayers for Masses of Reconciliation. In the US, these Prayers found their way into the back of the Sacramentary in the fullness of time, though this never happened in the UK.

    When 1977 arrived, the 3-year permission was neither extended nor rescinded, and so in the absence of any prohibition the Prayers continued in use to the present day.

    Paul Turner is also incorrect in implying that a complete Latin version was not available until 1983. In fact a Latin translation was carried out immediately, and the Latin texts were then used as the basis for translation into other languages, including English. This led to the somewhat bizarre situation where the French and German versions translated back from the Latin were rather different from the original texts in those languages, much to the annoyance of those who had authored them!


    1. (ctd) Although these Prayers will not be contained in the new Roman Missal, ICEL some time ago confirmed that they were working on a new translation of them in accordance with the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam, and that the Prayers would be issued as a separate fascicle, but there has been no news on this topic since then. One suspects that ICEL have had other things on their plate just recently…

  8. Michelle Marie Romani :

    Unless the CDWDS indicates otherwise, it would be ilicit to use them once the revised translation of the Roman Missal takes effect.

    I’m afraid there will be a lot of celebrants — and others — with this understanding. It would be good to have a statement somewhere authoritative to be able to respond.

  9. Paul – thanks for setting the historical record straight. Remember having to prepare, memorize, and explain one children’s EP in liturgical style class at CTU in 1978.

    Can you provide more detail on your comment:

    “This led to the somewhat bizarre situation where the French and German versions translated back from the Latin were rather different from the original texts in those languages, much to the annoyance of those who had authored them!”

    This seems to happen often in terms of CWD, etc. in their translation efforts?

  10. The Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation will also provide some respite from the train-wreck I, II, III and IV of VC2010.

    Interestingly there are presiders who use Children’s EP’s frequently (i.e., on Sunday when children are in the minority). Since they are in once sense “legal,” I suppose that is an option for some.

    Then there are the “Eucharistic Prayers for Special Occaisions.” I suspect they will be getting quite a workout beginning in Advent.

    Meanwhile . . . thanks to Paul for his interesting contribution and for his much-loved music at our little midwest church.

    Fr. Jim

  11. Dear Father Blue,

    “The Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation” and “The Eucharistic Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions” have also been totally revised. (In my opinion, ruined.) They will, I believe, be relegated to an appendix, unlike the 1998 proposal to place them in the Order of Mass itself. But they have made it into the book.

  12. The Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation and The Eucharistic Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions are on the USCCB web site, in the appendix of the Order of Mass

  13. The EP for Various Needs and Occasions (really just one prayer with four options) is another example of a text originally written in a vernacular language (it originated in what was at one time known as the “Swiss Synod” Prayer), translated into Latin, and then translated back into the language it had originally come from. And now, as JRF has pointed out, retranslated according to the principles of LA…

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