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An Instructed Eucharist

As performed at St. Patricks Anglican Church Highland, CA

An Instructed Eucharist:
As performed at St. Patrick's Anglican Church
conducted by Fr. Paul A. F. Castellano
Designed to be read aloud at the designated points, either by the celebrant or by some other designated person.

We do a lot of processions in our liturgical life together. On a regular Sunday, we participate in: the Procession In; the Gospel Procession; the Procession of the gifts to the altar during the Offertory; the Procession of the Congregation to the Altar; and the Procession Out. Add to those standards additional layers for other services censing the altar, the Procession of the Candidates during Baptism, the Processions of the Bride and Groom, the Procession of the Cortege at a funeral, the Triumphant Procession on Palm Sunday, the Processions of Light at Candlemas and at the Great Vigil. And then theres all the processing that happens when the Bishop visits! The Procession In is the last step in the call to prayer, as the congregation gathers. Cross and candles, choir and Gospel book, thurible and incense boat, Priests, Deacons, and acolytes all make their way down the aisle, representing the beginning of our worship together. Some sacramental theologians remind us that this procession is not made up of single elements, but represents the congregation gathered. [First instruction, after any opening remarks of the celebrant and just before the service begins:] Typically, when Anglicans gather for public worship on a Sunday, we have a service of Communion, also known as the celebration of the Holy Eucharist; as opposed to those who meet primarily for preaching. We do this because this is the way Christians have worshiped since the earliest days of the Church. When Jesus instituted the first Eucharist at the Last Supper, he commanded all of his followers to continue the practice. It is the clearest, strongest way we know to tell the story of Jesus death and resurrection, and to maintain our bond with him and with one another. We meet, every Sunday for Word AND Sacrament, as the Reformers instructed AND Jesus commanded. Anglican worship is structured, and it uses The Book of Common Prayer as its source. The texts and patterns of worship in the prayer book are derived from and are an extension of, Jewish Temple and Synagogue worship, as well as the earliest surviving texts of ancient Christian worship. The common words of the prayer book are direct quotations from or allusions to Scripture, express our most deeply held beliefs, keep us connected to the timeless elements of Christian tradition, and allow us to participate as more than just listeners.

3 A Eucharistic or Communion Service has two main parts. "The Liturgy of the Word" and "The Liturgy of the Sacrament." The first part is known as the Service of the Word or the Liturgy of the Word. The word liturgy means the work of the people. In the Liturgy of the Word we gather in the Lords name, proclaim and respond to the Word of God, and pray for the world and the church. We do this, not as a group of spectators watching a group of performers, but as the people of God acting together, each with their appointed part to play. Gathering for the public reading of Scripture is rooted in the practice of the Synagogue and was quickly adapted for use in the early Church. Word and Sacrament together are the essential components of Christian liturgy, for we believe that Christ is present both as the Living Word of God proclaimed in the assembly and as the Bread of Life received in the Sacrament. Christ is therefore present in us whofeed on the Word of God and the Holy Sacrament. We begin with the gathering rite. Now that we are assembled in one place, those people who have designated roles in the service enter in procession while we all sing praise to God. The procession allows everyone to take their appointed places, while at the same time helping the service begin on a note of dignity and reverence. When all are ready, the minister in charge of the celebration, known as the celebrant, begins a dialogue of praise with the congregation. This is known as the Opening Acclamation. The gathering rite concludes with a prayer, or collect, that reflects the themes of this particular Sunday. _____________________________________________________________ [Second instruction, between the Collect (Prayer) of the Day and the reading of the first lesson:] In this part of the Liturgy of the Word we sit in order to listen to readings from the Bible. It is our custom to stand, sit, or kneel at different parts of the service. Though these postures are not "mandatory", they are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED and we find them useful in helping to worship with our bodies and not just our minds. Typically, we follow the biblical Jewish and Christian traditions of standing to praise God and sometimes to pray, sitting in order to listen, and kneeling in order to express penitence or devotion. If you have a physical condition which makes any of these difficult, you are always welcome to adopt a more comfortable position. You may also notice that some people engage in various acts of personal devotion, such as bowing or making the sign of the cross. These also are not mandatory, but highly encouraged and are used by some in order to enhance their individual experience of worship, sense of devotion, identification with Christ, and humility. Bowing may be a low reverence from the waist to recognize Gods presence (in a unique manner) when passing an altar or at the mention of the Incarnation in the Nicene Creed. Bowing may at other times be a simple inclination of one s head, as is customarily done when the Cross passes by one during a procession, when the Holy Trinity is praised at the end of a psalm or hymn, when the Gospel is announced and concluded, at the opening words of the Sanctus, and in general whenever the Holy Name of Jesus is said or heard.

4 The Sign of the Cross is made with the right hand, from forehead to chest, then from left shoulder to right. This sign symbolizes Gods blessings on us through Christs self-giving on the cross, and it expresses our trust in God and the hope of that we hope we receive from our baptism, wherein we were regenerated in Christ and made one with him in his resurrection. The sign of the cross is both a reminder and renewal of our baptism. It is often made at the Opening Acclamation, at the mention of baptism in the Creed, at the Absolution, at the time of receiving Communion, and at the Blessing. It is a sign of identification with Jesus. Genuflection is kneeling briefly on the right knee and returning upright. It is appropriate to genuflect in respect and honor of our Lord when approaching or passing an altar because the altar represents the very Throne of God; often Christians genuflect as they leave their pew to go to communion and as they return as a sign of their recognition they are about to approach God's Throne. We use a fixed pattern of scripture readings for Morning and Evening Prayer, called a lectionary, found in the Table at the front of the BCP, which models the 3 1/2 year Lectionary used in the Synagogue, that allows us to hear most of the Bible within a three-year period. We also use selected Scripture readings used in connection with the Church Calendar. This makes sure that nothing important is left out, and that preachers dont overlook some passages in favor of others. Deacons or Lay Readers usually read the first lessons in Morning and Evening Prayer, and the Epistle during the Worship Service. The final direct Scripture reading at a Eucharistic service is always from one of the four gospels. Christians have long given special importance to the gospels because that is where we hear directly the words and actions of Jesus, as well as the communication of the God News of Redemption. We express this importance by having an ordained minister do this reading, and by standing when we listen to it. It is always the Priest's prerogative to do the gospel reading (usually it will be the Priest actually celebrating the Eucharist not necessarily the one preaching). The procession during the Gospel is a particularly holy and powerful time when the Good News is proclaimed to Gods people from their midst. It brings us back to the days of Christ, when we would have gathered in a close circle around the bearer of the Good News to hear the Words of Jesus told again. The lights are the traditional elements that accompany the Gospel procession the obvious reference to the Light of Christ being the pertinent symbol. When we stand for the Gospel reading and reverently surround the Gospel Book with light, incense, and music, we give tangible witness to our trust that Christ is present in the Word. After the Gospel, we conclude our response to Gods Word by standing and saying together the Nicene Creed or, as is done here at St. Patrick's, the Athanasian Creed as authorized by the 1662 BCP. This summary statement of Christian belief, the Nicene Creed, was adopted by the undivided church in the fourth century and is one of the oldest texts of Christian worship. It ensures us that we believe and are committed to the faith universally accepted by the undivided, ancient Church. To say the creed at all is a decision to trust those who have gone before us, embracing the faith they have commended to us. Then there is usually a sermon which is always based on at least one of the scripture readings.

5 The sermon is of a piece with the readings and is a continuation of the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The purpose of the sermon is to interpret the readings and apply them to the life of the congregation. It is not a pep talk, lecture, or piece of performance art; rather, it is a breaking open of the Word of God we have heard so that we can feed on it. Sometimes that feeding may refresh us; sometimes it may give us indigestion! Whatever the case may be, it should provoke a response in us a response that will take shape in the remainder of the liturgy and overflow into our daily lives where we bear witness to the Good News we have heard for the sake of the world, and not simply our own edification. ____________________________________________________________ [Third instruction, after the Nicene Creed:] In the last portion of the Liturgy of the Word, we pray for the church and for the world, and make our final preparation for the Communion part of the service. Our prayers always include the entire universal Church, the nation, the welfare of the world, the concerns of the local community, those who suffer or are in trouble, and those who have died. This is a constant reminder of the Book of Hebrews pronouncement that the Church is a living community - both here and in heaven - and that the Church on Earth is surrounded by the Great Heavenly Witnesses of Christians who have gone before us. We sometimes have used a pattern of prayer that allows everyone in the congregation to make responses. When the prayers are concluded, we say together a general confession of our sins and listen as the celebrant pronounces Gods forgiveness. It marks the end of the Liturgy of the Word. ____________________________________________________________ [Fourth instruction, after any announcements, but before the actual giving of the Offertory:] We begin the Liturgy of the Table, or Holy Communion, or Sacrament, by accepting the peoples offerings of bread, wine, money, and other gifts. The Offertory begins the second half of the Eucharist. The term offertory does not refer to taking a collection but to the offering of ourselves together with our monetary gifts and the elements of bread and wine which will be consecrated. Since there are no words being spoken at this time, it is also a good time for an offering of music, such as an anthem from the choir. This is both, the preparation of the bread and wine on the altar, which is one of the traditional roles of the deacon, if there is one present, and a time for individual reflection and preparation prior to Communion. The Offertory serves as a reminder that God has formed us and given us all that we need and now we have a chance to give back with our entire lives. The deacon or a sub-deacon prepares the holy table by preparing the elements. Enough bread for all is placed on the altar. The Type of bread is optional, however, unleavened bread is easier to manage because it doesn't leave crumbs. We use actual wine just as Jesus did and as he commanded us to do. A little water is generally added to reduce the strength of the wine and to symbolize the water that poured out of Jesus side after his crucifixion and as a token of the union of human and divine natures in Christ. We typically use vessels made from precious metals as a way of honoring the importance of communion. We use linen cloths on the altar or holy table in ways which are very similar to the way in which you might use linen or other special napkins and tablecloths at a fancy dinner party. In fact, both scripture and Christian tradition often compare communion to a great heavenly banquet or feast of all the saints.

6 The procession at the Offertory represents the moment when the People of God come forward to give and to receive their gifts. It re-emphasizes the fact that processions are events which involve, or attempt to involve the entire congregation. At the end of the Offertory, the server washes the hands of the celebrant, who recalls verses from Psalm 26: I will wash my hands in innocence, before I go unto the altar of the Lord. The Offertory Anthem sung by the Choir is a major music presentation chosen to enhance our worship, highlight themes of the day and season, and inspire us as we approach communion. _____________________________________________________________ [Fifth instruction, after the altar is completely ready and just before the celebrant begins:] The word Eucharist means to give thanks. In every communion service Christians tell the story of Gods creation and Gods saving act of redemption by the sending of Jesus. We focus on the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus which is the heart of the Christian faith. We listen to his oldest recorded words at the Last Supper with his disciples, in which he commanded us to continue the tradition he was beginning. You will find the clearest expression of the meaning of communion by listening carefully to the words of the service. The celebrant over the Eucharist is always an ordained person known as a presbyter or priest. In the earliest centuries of the church, the bishop, or chief pastor, would always preside, but soon the church grew too large for one person to do this. So the bishop ordains and delegates priests to celebrate the Eucharist in each local congregation. The three-fold order of the ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons goes back to the beginnings of the church; that is why Anglicans and others retain these orders to this day. As the words and action at the altar unfold, they do so according to a pattern first used by Jesus when he miraculously fed the multitudes with bread and fish, and also used again at the Last Supper. This would have closely followed a typical Passover pattern. First he took the bread. Then he gave thanks over the bread. He broke the bread, and finally he gave it to the people. As we involve ourselves in the drama and reality of communion, together we remember what happened in such a vivid way that the memory this mystery is brought right back into the present moment. _____________________________________________________________ [Sixth instruction, after the celebrant has broken the bread and the fraction anthem has been sung, but before the words of invitation:] Through all of our prayers, we believe that a mystery has occurred; at the very heart of this celebration, we acclaim the heart of the Christian faith, the means by which God accomplishes our salvation. By our baptisms we are made one with Christ in his death and in his resurrection. Note that past, present and future are included in the acclamation: God, dwelling in eternity, is beyond our limitations of time; and the mystery is this, that God has now mysteriously, via the Holy Spirit, sacramentally changed the bread and wine so that Christ is truly, really, sacramentally - in His Person - present in them. There is no "metaphysical" change that occurs to the Bread and Wine - they remain bread and wine, in both substance and physical reality.

7 However, a mystery has taken place which is not capable of being understood by our finite human minds. We even recite this great mystery during the consecration of the elements: "Christ has died," "Christ has Risen," "Christ is coming again;" and, "Christ our Savior," "Christ our Redeemer," "Christ our King." Together they are an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace the traditional definition of a sacrament. Every baptized Christian is encouraged and invited to receive communion by coming forward near the altar. The ushers will guide you. You may either stand or kneel (depending upon physical limitations). The Priest will first bring a wafer of bread to you, placing it on your outstretched hands for you to eat. Then an assisting Priest or the deacon or a licensed lay minister will bring round the chalice of wine. It has always been Christian practice to drink communion wine from this common cup, and you may do so by grasping the chalice at the bottom and tipping it slowly. Though there are no recorded cases of any illness ever being spread through the common cup, we recognize that some may prefer not to drink from it for various reasons. You are welcome to receive the bread only via in tincture or to have the minister dip your bread in the chalice and then place it on your tongue. After you have received communion, you may return to your seat. ___________________________________________________________ [Final instruction, after any communion anthem or music is finished, while the last of the altar is being cleared:] The deacon (or priest) clears the altar in much the same way as you might clear your own table after dinner, removing the dishes and cloths and eating or storing any leftovers. In church, we generally consume any leftover bread and wine immediately. Occasionally some is reverently put aside to carry to those who have not been able to attend the service. The Priest then leads everyone in saying a post-communion prayer, followed by a hymn and a closing procession. The final act of our common worship is the dismissal, which formally closes the worship with a call for us to go as Christs servants out, bringing the Good News, the Gospel, to a fallen, sinful, and rebellious world. It reminds us that the purpose of worship is not simply to encourage and build ourselves up, but for all of us to be empowered and sent forth as ministers of Christ.