Background to the Feast (from the 1998 ICEL Missal)
Epiphany is the earliest Christmas feast, originating in the East in the third century and passing to the West in the fourth century. A celebration of the divine “manifestation” or “coming,” in the East it commemorates the baptism of the Lord and in the West the visit of the Magi.
On this feast of the Epiphany we celebrate the revelation of who Christ is. The visit of the three wise men reminds us that Jesus came as the Saviour of all nations, including ours. We worship God who wants all people to be saved.
On our way to the Kingdom, sometimes we fail in love. We recall monents of sinfulness, and God’s eternally merciful love (pause):
Lord Jesus, you have shown us the way to the Father: Lord, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you have given us the consolation of the truth: Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd, leading us into everlasting life: Lord, have mercy.
Alternative Opening Prayer (from 1998 ICEL Missal)
Lord God of the nations,
we have seen the star of your glory
rising in splendour.
The radiance of your incarnate Word
pierces the darkness that covers the earth
and signals the dawn of peace and justice.
Make radiant the lives of your people
with that same brightness,
and beckon all the nations
to walk as one in your light.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light, God for ever and ever.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings
Isaiah 60:1-6 — Isaiah refers to foreign people coming to worship the God of Israel, just as the three wise men did. Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6 — Paul talks about the meaning of the feast: in Jesus, salvation is made available to Jews and pagans alike. Matthew 2:1-12 — The events celebrated on the Epiphany are described in the Gospel.
Introduction (by the Presider) Let us bring our prayers to God, who saves the poor when they cry out for help.
- For the people of all the nations, that they may hear and believe the Good News of salvation (pause for quiet prayer, 10 seconds). Lord, hear us.
- For Christians in the Middle East, suffering persecution, that the light of Christ will lead them to safety (pause for quiet prayer, 10 seconds). Lord, hear us.
- For members of the Orthodox Church, who celebrate Christmas on January 7th, that they may draw closer to God and to all other Christians (pause for quiet prayer, 10 seconds). Lord, hear us.
- For the Jewish people, our brothers and sisters, that through their faithfulness to God’s word, they too may reach the Kingdom (pause for quiet prayer, 10 seconds). Lord, hear us.
- For people of all faiths and of none, that in this New Year they may grow in peace and love (pause for quiet prayer, 10 seconds). Lord, hear us.
- For women in Ireland who celebrate Women’s Christmas today, that it may be a true day of rest and relaxation (pause for quiet prayer). Lord, hear us.
The Presider prays for the dead: For our friends and relatives who have died (especially N and N), that eternal salvation may be theirs (pause for quiet prayer, 10 seconds). Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) O God, you rule the earth with justice: help us according to our needs, we pray, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OVER THE GIFTS
accept the gifts of your Church,
which offers you today not gold, frankincense, and myrrh,
but the one who in these gifts is proclaimed, offered,
Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
holy Father, almighty and eternal God.
You have revealed this day
the mystery of our salvation in Christ,
the light to enlighten all nations.
Now that he has appeared in our mortal flesh,
you have refashioned us in the image of his immortal glory.
And so, with angels and archangels,
with all the heavenly host,
we proclaim your glory
and join their unending chorus of praise: Holy, Holy, Holy
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER I (The Roman Canon, with interpolation for Epiphany)
we come before you with praise and thanksgiving
through Jesus Christ your Son.
Through him we ask you to accept and bless + these gifts
we offer you in sacrifice.
We offer them for your holy catholic Church:
watch over it, Lord, and guide it,
grant it peace and unity throughout the world.
We offer them for Francis our Pope,
for N. our Bishop,
and for all who hold and teach the catholic faith
that comes to us from the apostles.
Remember, Lord, your faithful people,
especially those for whom we now pray [N. and N.].
Remember all of us gathered here before you.
You know that we believe in you
and dedicate ourselves to you.
We offer you this sacrifice of praise
for ourselves and those who are dear to us;
we pray to you, our living and true God,
for our well-being and redemption.
As we celebrate that most holy day
when your only Son,
who is one with you in eternal glory,
revealed himself to the world in human flesh,
we pray in communion with the whole Church,
with those whose memory we now honour:
especially with Mary,
the glorious and ever-virgin mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God,
with Joseph, her husband,
the apostles and martyrs,
Peter and Paul, Andrew,
Thomas, James, Philip,
Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude;
with Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus,
Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus,
John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian,]
and with all the saints.
By their merits and prayers
grant us your constant help and protection.
Lord, accept this offering from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.
Bless and approve our offering,
make it acceptable to you,
an offering in spirit and in truth:
let it become for us
the body and blood of your beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
The day before he suffered
he took bread in his sacred hands,
and looking up to heaven
to you, his almighty Father,
he gave you thanks and praise;
he broke the bread,
gave it to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT IT:
THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.
When supper was ended, he took the cup;
again he gave you thanks and praise,
gave the cup to his disciples, and said:
TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT:
THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD,
THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT.
IT WILL BE SHED FOR YOU AND FOR ALL,
SO THAT SINS MAY BE FORGIVEN.
DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.
The mystery of faith
And so, Lord God,
we celebrate the memory of Christ, your Son:
we, your holy people and your ministers,
call to mind his passion,
his resurrection from the dead,
and his ascension into glory;
and from the many gifts you have given us
we offer to you, God of glory and majesty,
this holy and perfect sacrifice,
the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.
Look with favour on these offerings
and accept them as once you accepted
the gifts of your just servant Abel,
the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith,
and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchizedek.
command that your angel carry this sacrifice
to your altar in heaven.
Then, as we receive from this altar
the sacred body and blood of your Son [ + ]
let us be filled with every grace and blessing.
Remember, Lord, your servants who have died
and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith,
especially those for whom we now pray [N. and N.].
Grant them and all who sleep in Christ
a haven of light and peace.
For ourselves, too,
sinners who trust in your mercy and love,
we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs,
with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas,
[Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter,
Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy,
Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia,]
and all your saints.
Welcome us into their company,
not considering what we deserve,
but freely granting us your pardon
Through Christ our Lord you give us all these gifts,
you fill them with life and goodness,
you bless them and make them holy.
Through him, with him, in him…..
PRAYER AFTER COMMMUNION
Guide us always and everywhere, Lord,
by your light from on high,
that we may discern with clear minds
and treasure with deep affection
the mystery you have given us to share.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
SOLEMN BLESSING (Epiphany of the Lord)
Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
May the God who called you from darkness
into his marvellous light
shower you with his blessings
and strengthen you in faith, hope, and love.
May the God whose only-begotten Son
enlightened the world on this day
make you also a light
to your brothers and sisters.
May the God who guided the Magi with a star
lead you to find Christ the light
when your earthly journey is done.