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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy
Instruction of the Roman Missal

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49.

QUERY 1: What is the genuine meaning of the offertory rite? The description of the offertory of the Mass, it is pointed out, speaks only of the «preparation» of the gifts and placing them on the altar, of the people's offerings for the Church and for the poor, but nothing about the of «offering» of the sacrifice. REPLY: History teaches that the offertory rite is an action of preparation for the sacrifice in which priest and ministers accept the gifts offered by the people. These are the elements for the celebration (the bread and wine) and other gifts intended for the Church and the poor. This preparatory meaning has always been regarded as the identifying note of the offertory, even though the formularies did not adequately bring it out and were couched in sacrificial language. The new rite puts this specifying note in a clearer light by means both of the active part taken by the faithful in the presentation of the gifts and the formularies the celebrant says in placing the elements for the eucharistic celebration on the altar: Not 6 (1970) 37, no. 25.

QUERY 2: Does it not seem that the suppression of the prayers that accompanied the offering of the bread and wine has impoverished the offertory rite? REPLY: In no way. The former prayers: «Suscipe, Sancte Pater». . . and «Offerimus tibi, Domine». . . were not accurate expressions of the genuine meaning of the "offertory" rites but merely anticipated the meaning of the true and literal sacrificial offering that is present in the eucharistic prayer after the consecration, when Christ becomes present on the altar as victim. The new formularies for the gifts bring out the giving of glory to God, who is the source of all things and of all the gifts given to humanity. They state explicitly the meaning of the rite being carried out; they associate the value of human work, which embraces all human concerns, with the mystery of Christ. The offertory rite, then, has been restored through that explicit teaching and shines forth with new light: Not 6 (1970) 37 - 38, no. 26.

 




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