17. The Communion Rite
The Communion Rite
begins with the Lord’s Prayer
“In the Lord’s Prayer a petition is made for daily food, which for
Christians means preeminently the Eucharistic bread, and also for
purification from sin, so that what is holy may, in fact, be given to
those who are holy” (GIRM
The sign of peace follows. This is not a secular greeting, not a “Hi,
how are you?” not a chance to talk to those whom we missed greeting as
we entered the church. It is not a duplication of the gathering rite. We
extend to one another a sign of Christ’s peace, not our own, for
sometimes, we have no peace of our own to give. In their letter The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response
the bishops of the United States wrote, “We encourage every Catholic to
make the sign of peace at Mass an authentic sign of our reconciliation
with God and with one another. This sign of peace is also a visible sign
of our commitment to work for peace as a Christian community. We
approach the table of the Lord only after having dedicated ourselves as a
Christian community to peace and reconciliation.”
Following the sign of peace, the Eucharistic bread is broken and the
sacred wine is poured while the assembly sings the “Lamb of God” litany.
This action of the breaking of the bread speaks our prayer that even
though we are many, we all seek to become one body in the Lord.
After the presider’s invitation to eat and drink and our response as an
assembly, the Communion procession begins, and with it all join in
singing the Communion song. This is not a time for private prayer or
silence. It is a time to express our unity in the Lord through joining
our voices in sung prayer as we come forward to share and become his
Body and Blood and as we return to our places while others continue to
After all have shared the holy meal, communal silence may follow. The
Communion Rite ends with the Prayer after Communion prayed by the
presider in the name of us all.
The community’s act of Holy Communion is the most perfect participation in the Eucharistic celebration.