Skip to content

Why No 'Amen' at End of the Our Father

And More on the "Pray, Brethren ..."

ROME, NOV. 8, 2006 (Zenit) - Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: Why has the "Amen" been dropped from the "Our Father" at the Holy Mass? (it is not in the missalette.) My understanding is that "Amen" means "I believe." I have come to believe that the additional prayers that were added to the Our Father in the Mass where the Amen is omitted, have now trained our faithful to omit it when we pray the rosary and the Chaplet of Mercy with our prayer group -- or anytime we pray the Our Father in a group. I have also noticed this at Communion services where only the Our Father is prayed -- the Amen is omitted -- and on the Catholic radio station in my area. I firmly believe that we are doing something seriously wrong. -- M.W., Forest Grove, Oregon

A: Our reader has made a very interesting point and illustrates an example of an unintended consequence of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.

Before the reform the Our Father recited at Mass included the "Amen," a term which may be roughly translated "so be it." At solemn Masses the priest would sing the Pater Noster alone; at simple Masses he would recite it with the server but only the priest would say "Amen" in a low voice.

In 1958 the instruction "De Musica Sacra" laid down rules for the direct participation of the faithful, including permission for the assembly to recite or sing the Pater Noster in Latin with all saying "Amen" at the end.

The liturgical reform extensively reordered the Communion rites and this led, not so much to dropping the "Amen" after the Our Father but to its postponement.

One significant change was that a shortened version of the embolism: "Deliver us Lord from every evil ...," formally a prayer said silently by the priest while breaking the host, was now to be said aloud, taking its cue from the last words of the Our Father.

At the end of this prayer, instead of "Amen" the people respond with the acclamation: "For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever."

This acclamation was a new addition to the Communion rites and was probably added for ecumenical reasons. This phrase, although not found in the Gospel text, has traditionally functioned as a final verse of the Our Father in both the Eastern and Protestant traditions. In some rites all recited this verse while in others, such as the Byzantine, the priest alone adds it after the choir finishes the Our Father.

After this acclamation we find the prayer for peace. This prayer was formally a private priestly prayer recited after the Agnus Dei and before the sign of peace, which was exchanged only at solemn Masses and among the clergy alone. It is now recited aloud by the priest and has consequently been changed from the singular to plural (no longer look not on "my" but on "our" sins).

Finally, after all this, we have the "Amen" said by all, which in a way concludes the Our Father and the prayers that follow.

From a strictly liturgical point of view, this postponement of the "Amen" obeys a certain logic. It is unlikely that the formulators of the rite fully grasped this change's capacity in forming the prayer habits of the faithful over time.

As our correspondent points out, many practicing Catholics habitually omit the final "Amen" from the Our Father, and this fact is probably attributable to the new liturgical practice.

That this "Amen" does form part of the Lord's Prayer in non-liturgical contexts is shown, for example, by its inclusion in the common prayers found in the new Compendium of the Catechism.

Since it is highly unlikely that the liturgical text is going to change, the only solution is to pay attention when we pray the Our Father during the rosary and similar situations and form a habit of saying the "Amen."

Catholic media, especially radio, can have a positive effect in this effort and should be politely encouraged to correct any oversights which have slipped in by force of habit.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Prayer, Mass, McNamara, Amen, Father

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.