What is a Eucharistic Prayer ?
The Eucharistic Prayer, known in the Eastern tradition as Anaphora (“offering”), is indeed the “heart” and “culmination” of the celebration of the Mass, as is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In the Roman tradition, the Eucharistic prayer has been known as “Canon of the Mass” (Canon Missae), a term that is found in the early Sacramentaries and goes back at least to Pope Vigilius (537-
The Anaphora or Canon is one long prayer has the form of thanksgiving (eucharistia), thus following the example of Christ himself at the Last Supper, when he took bread and wine and “gave thanks” (Matthew 26:27; Mark 14:23; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23). St. Cyprian of Carthage (died 258), one of the most important witnesses to the Latin tradition, provided a classical formulation of the inseparable bond between the liturgical celebration and the institution event, when he emphasised that the celebrant of the Eucharist must imitate closely the acts and words of the Lord at the Last Supper, upon which the validity of the sacrament depends. (Taken from OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF)
The Indult issued by Paul VI on 29 May 1969 says that “The new manner of giving communion must not be imposed in a way that would exclude the traditional practice. It is a matter of particular seriousness that in places where the new practice is lawfully permitted every one of the faithful have the option of receiving communion on the tongue and even when other persons are receiving communion in the hand. The two ways of receiving communion can without question take place during the same liturgical service. There is a twofold purpose here: that none will find in the new rite anything disturbing to personal devotion toward the Eucharist; that this sacrament, the source and cause of unity by its very nature, will not become an occasion of discord between members of the faithful.