QUAERITUR: Priest changes the words of the offertory

From a reader:

At the Preparation of the Gifts, the local priest combines the formula to say:

“Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine and bread to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become for us the bread of life and our spiritual drink.”

Aside from just not saying the black or doing the red, is this something that will later affect the validity of the sacrament at the consecration? Or is it just an annoyance of mine that I should get over?

No, this does not affect validity of the consecration down the line and NO, you should NOT get over it.

The priest is changing the words.  I suggest that you write to your local bishop about this.  If that doesn’t produce some results, you can always ask the Congregation for Divine Worship for an opinion.

There is a two-fold presentation of the gifts of bread and wine, just as later there is a two-fold consecration.

Frankly, this sort of thing comes from the – in my opinion – ill-considered change to the offertory prayers for the Novus Ordo.  This would be impossible to do in the older, traditional form of Mass, since the two offertory prayers are quite different and actually Catholic in their origin.  The two new offertory prayers – which are Jewish berakha in origin – are so similar as to nearly invite this sort of editing when the less than careful priest has one of these flashes of brilliant insight as to how he can make improvements.

You have the right to the liturgy of the Church as it is actually formulated and required by the Church.  The priest has the obligation to stick to the book.  The bishop has the duty of making sure that there are no abuses of the liturgy and that priests and people are on the same, correct page together.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Philangelus says:

    We had one who did that on a regular basis, but at the time I thought it was ridiculous (woohoo, we saved FIFTEEN SECONDS!) but let it go.

    Last week I was at a Mass where I’m pretty sure the priest omitted a chunk of the Eucharistic prayer by accident. I wasn’t sure if that meant the consecration wouldn’t be valid, but I was pretty sure my attendance at Mass would be considered valid. :-)

    I like what you said about having the right to a liturgy as approved by the Catholic Church. That gives me warm fuzzies. :-) Thanks.

  2. Vox clamantis in deserto says:

    A bit off-topic, but when the CDW was mentioned…

    Can be decisions of the CDW be found somewhere online ?
    And I saw once – maybe even on this blog, I am not sure now – a suggestion how a letter to the CDW should look like, the address etc. Anybody can provide a link?

  3. SuzieQ says:

    Occasionally we have a visiting priest (a Jesuit) who we call the “Bless us Oh Lord” priest. Why? Because before the offertory he leads the congregation in the prayer said before meals… “Bless us Oh Lord and these thy gifts, etc.” I try not to roll my eyes during Mass but it’s hard not to when faced with his tired attempt at a “family-dinner-table-together-y” feeling… I hate it when that guy is there.

  4. Rich says:

    “…brilliant insight as to how he can make improvements…”

    Thanks for saying it how it is, Father.

    These sort of brilliant insights are so commonplace, it becomes hard to call them brilliant.

  5. Sounds like a GOOD candidate for a Coffee Mug! A practical hint, no?

  6. Dr. Eric says:

    Our local priest, at the offertory, says “Spiritual Food of Life” and “Spiritual Drink of Life.” He is also one of the 60% percent of all the priests in our diocese who wrote to Cardinal George asking to replace our bishop right after he was installed.

  7. Bryan Boyle says:

    @SuzieQ…he’s a Jesuit…probably doesn’t know any better….;)

  8. WGS says:

    In such cases, it’s a matter of ignorance or arrogance. One might ask, “Revd. Father, which better describes your creative approach to the liturgy of the Church?”

    For me, it’s most opportune if the celebrant’s wilful lapse occurs before the offertory. Then, I can wilfully choose to eliminate both cash and check from my participation in the offertory.

  9. I absolutely love the prayers at the Offertory of the EF.
    May they, in some, shape or form, be “re-instated” into the OF.

  10. JayneK says:

    I was at a Mass once where the priest replaced the Offertory prayers with the Jewish berakha, in Hebrew yet. I was shocked.

  11. FrCharles says:

    I was once taught this practice as laudable. The priest who taught us called it “telescoping.”

  12. greasemonkey says:

    Not for nothing but in some of the religious orders who had liturgical rites of their own offered the bread and chalice togeather. I’m thinking in particular of the ancient Carmelite Rite where the offeratory consisted of the “Sucipe sancte trinitas…” while the celebrant held the paten and chalice up together.
    I am not suggesting that one should do what they like, I’m just adding a little trivia to the discussion.

  13. FrFenton says:

    I actually left Mass once when I was a seminarian because the Priest did this…among other things. I think it poses a problem big-time for liceity. Did he actually offer a victim? Certainly the dual consecration has that purpose as well, but things in the Liturgy of the Eucharist especially should not be fooled around with!

    Would that the Roman Offertory, which “reeks of oblation” (Luther) were restored!

  14. Supertradmum says:

    This has happened with some priests here for years and years. I have trained myself to listen very carefully to the words of Consecration to make sure the Eucharist is valid. Some priests read the Mass from looseleaf binders, with odd translations and odd Masses. Three bishops in a row have allowed this.

    Same thing happened in Canada, in the north-east part of Alberta. We finally gave up trying to second guess the priest, who made up all sorts of things in the Mass, and got the bishop’s permission to attend the local Catholic Byzantine Church. We were not the only Latin rite people there, as others had fled the parish of the unorthodox priest.

  15. KevinSymonds says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z., for posting this.

  16. C. says:

    R. Blessed blessed be be God God forever forever.

  17. ray from mn says:

    I’m still a “liturgy cop” at heart, but I never do anything about it. It does amaze me how many priests will be almost perfect as they celebrate the Mass, until they get to the introductory phrase to the Our Father and the words of the Agnus Dei/Lamb of God. Then every bit of creativity in their bones come rushing out as if a dam had broken. They’re pretty creative with the Kyrie, too.

  18. Konichiwa says:

    If the Mass were in Latin, most priests probably wouldn’t know how to ad lib. OK, I’ll shut up now. :)

  19. Sixupman says:

    More often than not, in the NOM one is faced with something which is not to the approved formula, they make it up as they go along. One priest in particular, a self-styled liturgist, only ever used a loose-leaf folder – believe it!

    Interestingly, I mis-heard the time for a TLM whilst away from home and ended up art an 18:00 N.O. Mass. [Mis-heard that time also, but always arrive very early.] Apart from a first class sermon, a rarity indeed, the Celebrant said the Words of Consecration in Latin. I had heard rumours that some priests Consecrate in both the vernacular and, silently in Latin.

  20. pelerin says:

    Earlier this year I experienced a ‘variation’ during the Mass I had never seen before, even in France! When it came to the Consecration the Priest said ‘CECI EST MON CORPS’ whilst actually holding up the Host high and presenting all round to the congregation. Perhaps it was specific to that diocese – I don’t know but it did surprise me at the time.

  21. kat says:

    sigh. I just don’t get it at all; and I just don’t get how anyone can take it. Sorry, I just don’t. If you have to walk out of Mass wondering what just happened and why (and not because of the Mystery involved), there’s a serious problem.

  22. Random Friar says:

    I think some may be confusing the Preparation with the Consecration. As Fr. Z. said, this in no way affects liceity. Not that it should be condoned, for we see how much distress and confusion it can cause, most unnecessarily (and, dare I say, most unpastorally?)

  23. robtbrown says:

    JayneK says:
    I was at a Mass once where the priest replaced the Offertory prayers with the Jewish berakha, in Hebrew yet. I was shocked.


    Novus Ordo Offertory:

    Blessed art You, Lord of all creation (Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi)

    Blessing of wine used at Passover:

    Blessed art thou, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe,

  24. Mark of the Vine says:

    Is this vaild for every country which uses the Roman Missal? I ask because I mentioned this to a friend of mine and she told me that a priest had said that it was perfectly valid to do this…

  25. JayneK says:

    Yes, the Jewish berakhot for bread and wine are similar to the new Offertory prayers. They are not however the same thing and it seems highly improper to use them interchangeably. By saying them in Hebrew this priest was emphasizing that these were Jewish prayers that he was inserting into the Catholic Mass. I’m not sure what message he was trying to give with such an action but it easily could have been something incompatible with Catholic teaching. Even if not meant that way, they could have been easily interpreted so.

    Also saying prayers of the Mass in Hebrew defeats the purpose of having Mass in the vernacular. It is possible that I was the only person present who understood them. Actually, I hope that I was and that the rest of the congregation assumed he was speaking Latin.

  26. robtbrown says:


    I was not offering a defense either of the present Offertory or of the celebrant using Hebrew. Rather, I was showing that the NO (at least, this part of it) is intended to show the link to Passover. Personally, I have grave doubts about such a project. As Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out (I think, in the Spirit of the Liturgy), the Eucharist is not merely a Christianized version of Passover.

  27. JayneK says:

    I share your concern. While there is a link between the Mass and the Passover, I do not want to see this emphasized at the expense of other, more important, themes. In general, the themes of the Mass are in a complex balance and this very complexity makes ad libbing or changes by the priest inadvisable.

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