Is the Preface part of the Eucharistic Prayer?


In the Ordinary Form of the Mass, there are four Eucharistic Prayers.

My question is this: Is the Preface considered part of the Eucharistic Prayer?
My Missal has the Prefaces under a separate heading to the Eucharistic Prayers.

God Bless.

No, the preface precedes the Eucharistic Prayer,

Thank you, God bless.

Yes, the Preface is considered to be the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer. You will notice that there are actually more than four Eucharistic Prayers in the modern Roman Rite, there are, in fact, ten currently provided in the Missal, with the regular four being used most of the time, and then six others which can be used for Masses of Reconciliation and Masses for Various Needs and Occasions.

You will also notice that two of the regular ones (II and IV) have prefaces included with them; the one attached to II may be used, or any other preface may be used with it, as the occasion calls for, while the IV Eucharistic Prayer is only to be used with its own preface, as per the rubrics.

While the Preface is separate from the principal part of the Eucharistic Prayer, and is variable, with seasons and feast days, it is still considered part of the EP. We might distinguish it by saying Preface+Anaphora=Eucharistic Prayer.

Per the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The first part of the Eucharistic prayers (Anaphora or Canon) in all rites, now separated from the rest by the singing of the “Sanctus”. HISTORY. — According to the idea of thanksgiving which, after the example of the Last Supper (Matt., xxvi, 27; Mark, xiv, 23; Luke xxii, 17, 19; I Cor., xi, 24). forms a fundamental element of the Eucharistic service, all liturgies begin the Anaphora, the consecration-prayer, by thanking God for His benefits. Almost every account we have of the early liturgy mentions this (Didache ix, 2-3; x, 2-4; xiv, 1; Justin “I Apol.” LXV, iii, 5; LXVII, v). Clement of Rome quotes a long example of such a thanksgiving-prayer (I Cor., lx-lxi). So prominent was this idea that it has supplied the usual name for the whole service (Eucharist, eucharistia ). The thanksgiving-prayer enumerated the benefits for which we thank God, beginning generally with the creation, continuing through the orders of nature and grace, mentioning much of Old Testament history, and so coming to the culminating benefit of Christ’s Incarnation, His Life and Passion, in which the story of the Last Supper brings us naturally to the words of institution. In most of the earliest liturgies this enumeration is of considerable length (e.g. Apost. Const., VIII; XII, iv-xxxix; Alexandria, see Brightman, infra , 125-33; Antioch, ibid., 50-2). It is invariably preceded by an invitation to the people: “Lift up your hearts”, and then: “Let us give thanks to the Lord”, or some such formula. The people having answered: “It is right and just”, the celebrant continues, taking up their word: “It is truly right and just first of all to praise [or to thank] thee”; and so the thanksgiving begins.



Thank you Father.

I got confused, thinking that anaphora and eucharistic prayer were synonyms - the word anaphora used in the east and eucharistic prayer used in the west.

Thank you again, Father.

Sorry I gave the wrong answer! -Fr ACEGC covered the matter beautifully. I learned something new.


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