Q: Thank you for answering all the questions you do. It’s very helpful to have some reliable to address these questions.
My question is in regard to the two prayers in the Missal at the end of Sunday Mass during lent. One is the Prayer after Communion, the other is Prayer over the People. Are both of these prayers said or does the celebrant choose one? It seems to be confusing since most of the time the prayers end with the same words.
I looked in your book “Let Us Pray” and it really didn’t address this question specifically. It does mention having the Deacon have the people bow down for the Prayer over the People.
A: Thanks for your comments on my blog. Sample prayers over the people can be found in the Solemn Blessings section of the missal after the Order of Mass. There you find the instruction for the deacon to give the command “Bow down for the blessing” before such a prayer is given. There is a long history of these especially during Lent. The Lent prayers were in the pre-Vatican II missal and dropped immediately after the council, but they were reinstated for the third edition of the missal that we received in English in 2011. The prayers are obligatory on Sundays of Lent. They are optional – and swappable – on weekdays of Lent.
After the prayer after communion, announcements ts may be made. Then the dialogues go like this:
- Priest: The Lord be with you.
- All: And with your spirit.
- Deacon / Priest: Bow Down for the Blessing
- Priest: [Prayer over the people]
- All: Amen.
- Priest: May almighty God bless you…
- All: Amen.
- Deacon / Priest: [Dismissal]
- All: Thanks be to God.