Children’s Eucharistic Prayers

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Could you please advise if the Children’s Eucharistic Prayers’ II and III should contain the usual memorial acclamation in the same way that Eucharistic Prayer for Children I does?

I write with reference to the 2011 US publication of these prayers, whereby the introduction at number 24 regarding Eucharistic Prayer II states that the memorial acclamation should be retained. Yet it is not printed within the prayer after the Institution Narrative. The priest just carries on with the words, “And so, loving Father”.

The Australian version published in 2013 includes the usual Memorial Acclamation in children’s prayers II and III, as paragraph 5 of the Introduction also indicates.


A: The short answer to your question is that the usual memorial acclamation is not supposed to appear in Eucharistic Prayers II and III for Masses with Children. I was surprised to learn that it was inserted into the Australian edition.

One reference you cite applies specifically to Prayer II, so let me explain what happened there.

GIRM 79 delineates the different parts of a eucharistic prayer. GIRM 79d calls the middle of the prayer the “institution narrative and consecration.” That is the narrative of Jesus instituting the eucharist at the Last Supper, including the priest’s repetition of Jesus’ words that the Roman Catholic Church calls the consecration. GIRM 79e and 79f call the next part the anamnesis and oblation, in which we remember what Jesus did and offer the sacrifice. GIRM 79g says that the prayer then continues with intercessions.

The memorial acclamation with which most Catholics are familiar bridges 79d and 79e/f. It is part of the anamnesis (79d), though a little different because the people are addressing Christ, whereas the priest then continues with the same thought (remembering), while addressing the Father.

You are correct that the Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children states in paragraph 24, “In the second Eucharistic Prayer, while the Sanctus and the memorial acclamation are retained, other optional acclamations may be used.” What makes this hard to figure out is that the English translation of that prayer erases a distinction that the original Latin version put in place. (The revised translation of these prayers for Masses with Children after the third edition of the Roman Missal made only the barest of changes, for example to the preface dialogue, so that it matched the other eucharistic prayers. This particular issue was not addressed.)

In English, in the place where you expect the memorial acclamation by the people, the presider tells the Father that “we remember that Jesus died and rose again to save the world.” He continues a bit, and when he finishes, all say, “We praise you, we bless you, we thank you.”

Then the presider makes a series of three intercessions: one for the gathered assembly, one for other people both living and deceased, and a third that all may be gathered into God’s kingdom. After each of these intercessions, all say the same acclamation that they sang following the presider’s anamnesis.

It’s not that way in Latin. Instead, after the presider’s anamnesis, all sing either “Glory and praise to our God,” or “We praise you, we bless you, we thank you.” The English translation offers only the second alternative.
Then, after each of the three intercessions, the Latin gives a totally different acclamation, referring to the groups mentioned each time: “May they be one body for the sake of your glory.” But the English translation repeats the same one chosen to conclude the anamnesis.

I’m not sure why the original translators did that. Perhaps they thought it simplified the number of acclamations the children would have to learn. But it blurs the distinction between the two parts of a eucharistic prayer that follow the institution narrative: the anamnesis and offering (GIRM 79 e and f), and the intercessions (79 g).

So, when paragraph 24 says that there is a memorial acclamation, it refers to the first of these post-consecration acclamations. The words are different from the acclamations in the four main eucharistic prayers. It would be redundant to include one of those acclamations into the body of this prayer for children, which handles the anamnesis in a different way.

Something similar happens in prayer III for masses with children. “After the consecration the same acclamation occurs three times in the same way so that the character of praise and thanksgiving of the entire prayer may be suggested to the children” (Introduction 25). Here the English is faithful to the Latin. Those acclamations are part of the anamnesis. The intercessions come afterwards – without acclamations.

So again, in Eucharistic Prayer III for Masses with Children, the usual memorial acclamation does not take place because its purpose is absorbed into the words of the presider and the acclamations of the assembly.
Paragraph 5 of the Introduction reads the same way in the US and in Australia: “Not only are all the required elements present but also those elements which are always expressed in accordance with tradition, for example, in the memorial or invocation of the Spirit, but in a simpler style of language adapted to the understanding of children.” But that is describing the way that the memorial acclamation is handled both in the Latin typical edition and in the prayers as they appear in the US.