The Introductory Rites conclude with the OPENING PRAYER which, with the whole of the "introduction", create a specific attitude and spirit in the assembly. This prayer is one of many presider's prayers in the Mass and is an "oration" (Latin - orare - to pray, teach, proclaim). There is a set structure: invitation to prayer; a moment of silence to become aware that we are in God's presence; prayer "that forms into a petition the particular theme [season/feast] that characterizes the liturgy of that day" (Thomas Howard); Trinitarian conclusion - to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit; the "Amen" - the congregational "so be it". Though brief, this prayer is rich with meaning. We praise and petition God as we make the words our own with "Amen" in union one with another, with all Christians who are at Mass anywhere in the world today, and with all the Angels and Saints. Do we really listen to this beautiful prayer?
PRAYER GESTURES: The presider prays with arms extended palms up - an ancient gesture of peace, trust and petition. The pressing together of open palms is a gesture of fidelity and dedication .The clasping of hands is also an ancient prayer gesture. Here we come to the close of the Introductory Rites, which have prepared us in mind and spirit for listening to the Word of God and for receiving Communion. (adapted and taken with permission from Anne Perez, Dir. Religious Ed., Holy Family Parish, St. Petersburg, Fla.)
(adapted and taken with permission from Anne Perez, Dir. Religious Ed., Holy Family Parish, St. Petersburg, Fla.)