9 December 2010

A poll. Which Eucharistic Prayer is used most on Sundays?

Which Eucharistic Prayer is used most in the modern rite? Where I go to Mass it is a mixture of numbers 2 and 3. We never use the great Roman Canon. In most places that seems to have been abolished in practice. Dastardly!

What is your experience? On the sidebar you will find a poll, asking what Eucharistic Prayer was used at the Mass you attended last Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation.

Over time the results of this poll could be very interesting, but please keep the responses to Sundays and Holy Days.

If you attend the older rite, with only the Roman Canon, count your blessings, and sorry, this poll is not for you.

If you are interested in the history of the new Eucharistic Prayers:

In 1968 Pope Paul VI introduced three extra Eucharistic prayers into the Mass (now known as Eucharistic Prayers 2, 3 & 4). In 1974 Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation and for also Children were introduced as an experiment, which was confirmed in 1977. There are also some authorised texts of other Eucharistic Prayers.

In 1968, Rome issued “Norms on the Eucharistic Prayers”. Some highlights:
Eucharistic Prayer 1, that is, the Roman Canon, may always be used; its use is particularly suited to days assigned a proper In union with the whole Church or a proper Bless and approve; to feasts of the apostles and saints mentioned in this Prayer; also to Sundays...Because of its distinctive features Eucharistic Prayer 2 is better suited to weekdays or to special occasions...Eucharistic Prayer 3 may be used with any of the prefaces; like the Roman Canon, it is to have precedence on Sundays and holydays...Eucharistic Prayer 4 has an unchangeable preface and presents a more complete summary of the history of salvation. It may be used whenever a Mass does not have a proper preface; its use is particularly suited to a congregation of people with a more developed knowledge of Scripture...

The full text of these Norms is here.

In 1977 Rome spoke about the Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation and for Children:

Use of any Eucharistic Prayer for Masses with children is restricted to those Masses celebrated with them alone or at which they make up the majority of those participating...Eucharistic Prayers for Masses of Reconciliation may be used when there are special celebrations on the themes of reconciliation and penance, especially during Lent, and on the occasion of a pilgrimage or a religious meeting.

There are others. In the English-speaking world the most common is called the “Swiss Eucharistic Prayer”. More about that here.

There is a good article that appeared in the Adoremus Bulletin some time ago discussing the history in more detail here.


  1. I use the Roman Canon everyday. I have never understood how the 2nd Eucharistic prayer came into the missal. There is disagreement among scholars at to whether it is Hyppolitus. If it is Hyppolitus when did he compose it as a priest of Rome or when he was Anti-Pope? Was it ever used as a liturgical text. The 3rd and 4th Euch.Prayers were written by a committee. The 4th is supposed to be based on the Liturgy of St Basil. But thats like saying the Mini Cooper is based on the Rolls Royce

  2. Midnight Mass with Eucharistic prayer 2 this year.

  3. in the Philippines Eucharistic Prayer 2 is widely used... But I can only find a few priests who uses Eucharistic Prayer 1,3 & 4...

  4. In my parish the pastor uses EP IV most frequently and expands the "history of salvation" by borrowing text from the Liturgy of St. James and the Coptic version of St. Basil's anaphora.
    It is very impressive, even if it is a trifle longer.

  5. I love the Roman Cannon but you hardly ever hear it. I have a brother who is a priest. I insisted he use this eucharist prayer for the funeral masses of my our paremts