PREFACE (Med. Lat. prejatia, for classical praefatio, praefari, to speak beforehand), an introduction to a book, also any preliminary or introductory statement. In liturgical use the term is applied to that portion of the Eucharistic service which immediately precedes the canon or central portion; the preface, which begins at the words Vere dignum, " It is very meet, right, etc.," is ushered in, in all liturgies, with the Sursum Corda, " Lift up your hearts," and ends with the Satxtus, " Holy, Holy, Holy, etc." In the Western liturgies proper prefaces are appointed for particular occasions (see LITURGY).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)