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The Liturgy of the Mass

by Aug 6, 2022Weekly-Email

…that are easy to miss, to tune out, or just not realize how important they are. Like the Readings, these three prayers are different for each Mass. The three prayers are the Collect, the Prayer over the Offerings, and the Prayer after Communion. They’re short prayers that the priest says before or after the more prominent parts of the Mass. They’re brief and often follow the same pattern, so the words can still feel familiar and maybe easier to inadvertently tune out. But they are always different! Which means that each prayer has something important for us to receive in through it. In today’s column we’ll highlight the prayers, provide examples from today’s Mass, and maybe open up a pathway for us all to realize and appreciate the beauty of them as a way to enhance our worship.

The Collect forms the final part of the “Introductory Rites” of the Mass, which also include the Penitential Act, the Kyrie and the Gloria. The word comes from Latin collēcta, which in its broadest sense speaks to the gathering of the people together who at this moment of the Mass offer their own personal intentions for the day and the week – and join those intentions to the Sacrifice of the Mass.

The audible key is when the priest says: “Let us pray…” The USCCB describes the praying of the Collect as follows: “The Priest calls upon the people to pray and everybody, together with the Priest, observes a brief silence so that they may become aware of being in God’s presence and may call to mind their intentions. Then the Priest pronounces the prayer usually called the “Collect” and through which the character of the celebration finds expression. By an ancient tradition of the Church, the Collect prayer is usually addressed to God the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit.”

For August 16, 2000 – the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time – here is the Collect prayer:

O God, who have prepared for those who love you good things which no eye can see, fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love, so that, loving you in all things and above all things, we may attain your promises, which surpass every human desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever

In the first reading and the psalm prayer the idea of “promise” is write large when we hears about the promises to Abraham and Sarah.

The Prayers over the Offering

This prayer precedes the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It is prayed right after the Offertory Song and just before we kneel for the Consecration. The USCCB explains:

“Once the offerings have been placed on the altar and the accompanying rites completed, by means of the invitation to pray with the Priest and by means of the Prayer over the Offerings, the Preparation of the Gifts is concluded and preparation made for the Eucharistic Prayer.”

For August 16, 2000 – the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Receive our oblation, O Lord, by which is brought about a glorious exchange, that by offering what you have given we may merit to receive your very self. Through Christ our Lord.

The gifts we bring to the Offertory are represent the gifts we already received from God. We are simply returning, in worship, what is already God’s. Just as God sent his only Son as a sacrifice on our behalf that enables us to receive Jesus in the Eucharist!

Prayer after Communion

After the parishioners have received Communion, “the Priest and faithful pray quietly for some time. If desired, a Psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may also be sung by the whole congregation. To bring to completion the prayer of the People of God, and also to conclude the whole Communion Rite, the Priest pronounces the Prayer after Communion, in which he prays for the fruits of the mystery just celebrated.” (

The beautifully worded “Prayer after Communion” allows the priest to pray on our behalf that the Mass will not let us go unchanged, and that the gift of the Eucharist will take effect in our lives.

For August 16, 2000 – the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time:

Made partakers of Christ through these Sacraments, we humbly implore your mercy, Lord, that, conformed to his image on earth, we may merit also to be his coheirs in heaven. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

This prayer simply asks that the grace of the Eucharist help us be the “image of Christ” in our daily lives, that we live a life worthy of what God has already done for us!

We hope this provides some insight to the beauty of these prayers and you are helped to worship more deeply.