Expert Answer Forum

Breaking of the bread QUESTION from Peter O'Shaughnessy March 14, 2000
Dear John, As far as I can tell our local priest doesn't break the bread when I think that he after saying ...He gave you thanks and praise.He broke the bread... He doesn't seem to break it a all except when getting it ready to serve out.I s this right? Peter O'S. ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on April 5, 2000
Dear Peter, Thanks for your question. The rubrics call for the priest to break the Host after the sign of peace. Since the eucharistic celebration is the paschal meal, it is right that the faithful who are properly disposed receive the Lord's body and blood as spiritual food as He commanded. [43] This is the purpose of the breaking of the bread and the other preparatory rites that lead directly to the communion of the people: a) Lord's Prayer: this is a petition both for daily food, which for Christians means also the eucharist bread, and for the forgiveness of sin, so that what is holy may be given to those who are holy. The priest offers the invitation to pray, but all the faithful say the prayer with him: he alone adds the embolism, Deliver us, which the people conclude with a doxology. The embolism, developing the last petition of the Lord's Prayer, begs on behalf of the entire community of the faithful deliverance from the power of evil. The invitation, the prayer itself, the embolism, and the people's doxology are sung or are recited aloud. b) Rite of Peace: before they share in the same bread, the faithful implore peace and unity for the Church and for the whole human family and offer some sign of their love for one another. c) Breaking of the bread: in apostolic times this gesture of Christ at the last supper gave the entire eucharistic action its name. This rite is not simply functional, but is a sign that in sharing in the one bread of life which is Christ we who are many are made one body (see 1 Cor 10:17). d) Commingling: the celebrant drops a part of the host into the chalice. e) Agnus Dei: during the breaking of the bread and the commingling, the Agnus Dei is as a rule sung by the choir or cantor with the congregation responding; otherwise it is recited aloud. This invocation may be repeated as often as is necessary to accompany the breaking of the bread. The final reprise concludes with the words, grant us peace. [GIRM #56] John Miskell Back to Index Page

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