The most solemn part of the Mass is the great Eucharistic Prayer. This great prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification is called in Church documents “the center and summit of the entire celebration.”
One interesting point is made in the Roman Missal itself, which says that during the Eucharistic Prayer “the whole congregation of the faithful joins with Christ in confessing the great deeds of God and in the offering of Sacrifice” (GIRM 78). In other words, it is not “just” the prayer of the priest, even though the celebrant is the only voice heard aloud. Everyone at Mass is supposed to be united in the praying of this great prayer.
How can this happen? Now don’t jump quickly to the wrong conclusions: the answer is not “keep quiet!” or simply “read along” in a personal missal!
No, unity of prayer should be each believer’s principal concern at this time. The priest’s role as “special representative of the community” means that there is a special spiritual connection between him and each member of the faithful while at prayer, and especially during this most important one. This means noticing the words, sure, but also being mentally involved. The priest is praying on your behalf: don’t let him pray alone!