QUAERITUR: so-called Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs and Occasions (Swiss Synod prayer)

From a reader come a question I must toss to the readership, since I simply don’t know what the situation is in the UK and Ireland:

Is the so called Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs and Occasions (otherwise known as the Swiss Synod prayer) approved by the Apostolic See for use in the UK and Ireland. I have checked with our liturgy office but they don’t seem to know!! I came across it used at an Installation Mass for a parish priest and found it strange as the per ipsum was sung at great length by all of the congregation, the singing of this part lasted about three minutes. Is this proper?

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  1. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I cannot speak to whether this set of four variations on the same prayer is approved in the British Isles, but it is approved for use in the U.S. I’ve used it, although I stopped some time ago. I didn’t stop because of any flaw in the prayers or because I didn’t like them, I do like them; but because I think the use of fewer prayers with greater frequency will be more helpful to the faithful.

    As to the Per Ipsum. I can’t know for sure, but I very much doubt the rule is any different elsewhere, to wit: it is sung by the celebrant and concelebrants, if any. I cannot think of a valid reason it should take so long. But that isn’t directly related to the Swiss prayers’ text, which presuppose the same Per Ipsum called for with the other prayers.

  2. Singing the Per Ipsum by the congregation is strange enough to judge it to be inappropriate. Only the celebrant and concelebrant sings the Per Ipsum and not the congregation attending.

  3. Davidtrad says:

    St. Philip Neri would be scandalized that such a question would even be a valid one in the Catholic Church.

    Isn’t it time we all wake up and realize just how surreal this situation really is?

  4. baymedlevel says:

    I seem to recall an “indult” allowing the cogregation to say/sing the per ipsum along with the priest. This was happening in the mid 80’s. Don’t remeber what became of this. Glad it went away.

  5. David2 says:

    I don’t know what the England / Wales Bishops Conf says about the Swiss Synod prayers, but it would appear implicit from paragraphs 52-54 of Redemptionis Sacramentum that the singing of the Per ipsum by the congregation is an abuse (because it is not set out in the Missal as a congregational acclamation). Inaestimabile Donum said that the “per ipsum” itself is reserved to the priest.

    Yet another reason to attend the older form of the Roman Rite. The Novus Ordo Eucharistic Prayers seem to reproduce with the fecundity of rabbits (the Swiss Synod prayers are really four different Eucharistic Prayers!), as do abuses of the Rite by trendy liturgists.

  6. viennaguy says:

    To my dismay, every Mass I have ever been to in Ireland (mainly the west thereof) has included the congregation singing/speaking along at the Per Ipsum. And standing at inappropriate times. Come on now.

  7. An indult has never been issued for the congregation saying the “Per Ipsum”. This was a very popular abuse here in the States in the 70s and 80s. Sadly, it seems to have migrated to Ireland.

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    When enough priests — like Fr. Brenton Shelton (fathershelton.blogspot.com) in my parish — use only the Roman Canon, perhaps these unfortunate questions will fade into a painfully remembered past. Hmm … I suspect no one has heard a community singalong at the Per ipsum in a Latin Mass. (Another reason for a sacred language)

  9. robtbrown says:

    The congregation singing the per ipsum is simply another example of trickle down from Protestant Eucharist as Meal approach. This can be seem in other parts of the mass, e.g., a local priest here says for the Orate Fratres: Pray that our gifts might be acceptable . . .

  10. chatto says:

    I’m from the north of England, and I must admit I have never been to a Novus Ordo Mass where the Per Ipsum was said or sung by the congregration. At my parish we take great delight in hearing our priest sing it, and responding with the Great Amen. You’re all making me feel like I’m missing out on something to complain about. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to ‘reform the reform’ rather than “yet another reason to attend the older form”?

  11. I can give a partial answer to the original post. In these questions we can’t really speak about the ‘UK and Ireland’ as there are three separate episcopal conferences concerned – England & Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

    According to the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland (1999) p.11, the Eucharistic Prayer for Masses for Various Needs and Occasions was approved by the Irish Episcopal Conference in March 1995, and this was confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The relevant protocol number for this approval is: Prot. N. 837/95/L, 9 May 1995.

    I don’t know what the situation is in Scotland or England & Wales.

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    chatto: At my parish we take great delight in hearing our priest sing it, and responding with the Great Amen.

    At a recent OF Mass, Fr. Brent Shelton (referred to previously above) chanted the Per Ipsum in Latin Gregorian chant (not just “Novus Ordo psalm tones”). The congregation responded with chant also in a sacral language (Hebrew). This solemnity seemed like the liturgical high point of the Mass. His use of Latin in a predominately vernacular Mass is described in the post


  13. chatto says:

    Henry – I think we’re still quite a way from that in our parish, but it sounds awesome! Though we do sing the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei in Latin (didn’t do that before our current priest).

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