Eucharistic Thanksgiving
Sep 6, 2023

Eucharistic Thanksgiving

The word “Eucharist” itself literally means “thanksgiving.” So why does thanksgiving seem ever more removed from our celebration of the Eucharist?

I’ve often criticized the way in which many priests celebrate Mass after Communion. The rubrics explicitly call for a period of thanksgiving after distribution of Communion and the cleansing of Communion vessels. In fact, that thanksgiving period is double: it has personal and communal dimensions. The personal dimension presupposes a period of silence and meditative reflection while the celebrant is in the chair. The communal dimension is the Postcommunion Prayer, which concludes the Communion Rite through an act of common thanksgiving.

How often are those distinct aspects of thanksgiving given short shrift?

How long do many priests sit in the chair after Communion, silently giving thanks? Most act as if they just sat down on St. Lawrence’s gridiron.

How long is that period silent? How often is its silence interrupted by (a) the fifteenth verse of the Communion hymn; (b) the organist’s personal solo; or (c) the equivalent of ecclesiastical elevator music, some instrumental notes for what? Ambience? To fill in the airwaves until the priest starts talking again? All of this conspires against recollective silence!

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Image Source: AB/Lawrence OP on Flickr

John Grondelski

John Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) was former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ.