Say a "Thanksgiving"?

Question: 

Recently I asked my parish priest about saying some extra prayers after Mass, and what would be appropriate, like the rosary or something else. He said to say a thanksgiving to God before I leave church. What is this?

--Miffed in Minnesota

Answer: 

This is a prayer one says, and traditionally an obligation of a priest (after Mass) to give thanks for the opportunity to be at eucharist. With the renewed emphasis on mission, "to love and serve the Lord," this idea of staying in church and saying a private prayer of thanksgiving has waned. One cannot be told to "go" and then "stay" for their own personal private benefit. However, it was the operative theology of the mass for centuries and some of the older generation of clergy still remember and do this practice. The Roman rite provides for prayer-filled reflection after communion, before the "Prayer after communion" with either silence, a song of reflection or a hymn of praise. See the General Instruction on the Roman Missal 2002 164-165 for details.

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