POLLS: What Eucharistic Prayer do you usually hear?

In view of this post over at Liturgical Notes, here are a  couple Fr Z POLLS.

At Ordinary Form Mass on Sundays and holy days...

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At Ordinary Form Mass on Sundays and holy days

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. OrthodoxChick says:

    Eucharistic Prayer II most often and I see I’m not alone…

  2. How many Eucharistic prayers do we need? There are so many Eucharistic prayers, it’s hard to know if you’re hearing a legitimate one or the priest is just making it up as he goes.

  3. Bea says:

    The priest that usually has the OF Masses that we attend always reads #1 (the longest) The other priests (2 of them) read the shortest #2.

    also: The first priest never omits the bracketed (politically correct) parts of the gospel, either.

  4. cheyan says:

    Our pastor used to use one of the EP for special needs – which I thought he was ad-libbing because it made the pre-improved-translation EP II sound profound and eloquent until I searched a couple memorable phrases and found it exactly as he’d said it. He only just became our pastor this summer; by the end of the summer he was using EP II, which I never thought I would be glad to hear. (I couldn’t think of any non-awkward way to thank him for changing which EP he chose, or I would have.)

    Shortly thereafter, we stopped having only the candles at the pulpit lit at the beginning of Mass and then having them extinguished and the altar candles lit during the collection, and instead all four candles are at the altar (two on each side) and are lit from the beginning of Mass. Bells are rung at appropriate times in the Mass – and I’m not even sure the parish had bells before this pastor arrived. Instead of just using the Kyrie (or just the Confiteor, without the Kyrie afterwards), we say both the Confiteor and Kyrie.

    So maybe in another few months he’ll start using EP III or even EP I?

  5. Makemeaspark says:

    I am not sure, Its the one with the Holy Spirit coming down “like the dewfall”. That part always makes me smile

  6. In a slightly more recent post, Fr. Hunwicke mentions Paul VI’s legislative statement giving a “strong preference” to the Roman Canon (EP I) for about 100 days on the Church calendar, including all Sundays. From the poll results so far, it appears that many priests do not observe this preference.


    “With regard to EP I, the Roman Canon, he made a legislative statement which he did not make with regard to the other three Prayers. It was that it semper adhiberi potest. . . . .

    “The Instructio Generalis also remarks that the Canon Romanus is used opportunius on the Sundays and Solemnities of the year; on the festivals of Saints whose names occur in that Prayer; and on days when Proper formulae are provided for the Communicantes or the Hanc igitur.

    “There are 52 Sundays in the year; and, by my rough estimate, 53 days covered by the other occasions thus listed. So, on between a quarter and a third of the days of the year … and certainly on Sundays and Days of Obligation … a strong preference for the use of the Canon Romanus is eminently in accordance with the expressed mind of the Legislator.”

  7. mddelala says:

    Cardinal Medina (former CDS prefect) used almost exclusively the second Prayer. That puzzled many people because Card Medina is known for being a conservative (he publicly denounced a show by Madonna in Chile, he forced the USCCB to start from scratch their missal translation because it didn’t respect the original, etc).

    Once he was asked why did he always use the second prayer. His brief answer: because it’s the oldest.

    You all know that that prayer comes from Hyppolitus (whatever it’s spelled in english) and dates back to at least the second century.

    So next time you hear it try to pray thinking on its extremely large tradition on the Church.

    A different question is wether the Roman rite should have more than one prayer and if so, which ones. But if it’s ok to have more than one then the Second prayer MUST GO. If there should be two prayers, then it’s the roman canon and the second which must remain.

  8. Servus Tuus says:

    I make it a special point to always graciously thank a priest for using the Roman Canon after Mass when I hear it. I hope that this tiny bit of encouragement will plant seeds.

  9. Uxixu says:

    At my regular NO parish, it’s almost (if not) always EP II, the shortest. :(

    At the EF parish that I was attending daily NO Mass at when my work shift was allowing it, it was always the Roman Canon (with probably the single most reverent celebration of the NO I’ve ever wintessed) by a Norbertine priest who always wears Roman vestments (though unfortunately never a maniple for the NO). They always skip the shared sign of peace and Communion is on Tongue, as well.

    My work shift shifted again so I sadly won’t be able to attend very often anymore. I hope to let Father know how much I appreciated his Masses as well as his Confessions.

  10. Geoffrey says:

    I usually always hear EP II or EP III. A priest who celebrates the EF Mass once told me that he thought EP III was a very good Eucharistic Prayer. I also recall that whenever Benedict XVI celebrated a papal Mass, it was either EP I or EP III that was used. Lately, I’ve been hearing one of the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses of Reconcilation, though I am not sure why. Usually I hear that during Lent…

  11. Natalie Anne says:

    I was trying to comment on the first post about not being able to comment and I was not able to :-) My wordpress site had an issue yesterday as well. They might be updating something.

  12. Priam1184 says:

    Of the Novus Ordo Eucharistic Prayers IV is my personal favorite, though I confess I have no idea why there have to be four of them. There is something fitting about the narrative of the unfolding of the history of our salvation and its culmination in the Consecration. It is not used enough, possibly because it is a bit (though not much) longer and because it requires its own Preface to be used. We have a priest who uses it quite a bit. There really don’t need to be four of these things but the plague of the Novus Ordo, aside from the versus populum orientation that is almost universally employed, is the ridiculous number of unnecessary options in the Missal.

  13. JonPatrick says:

    At our home parish, for the admittedly few OF Sunday or Saturday eve masses I have attended it has always been the Roman Canon (EP I). However, away from this parish I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have heard EP I used. It is usually EP II, occasionally EP III and I don’t think I have ever heard EP IV used.

    I think a big improvement in the “reform of the reform” would be to require EP I for all Sundays and Holy Days.

  14. Our dear and good PP (versus Dei, communion rail, and he’s only 54) usually defaults to the Roman Canon, and uses the short ones on the rare occasions he’s got something pressing to do after Mass, or he’s unwell with a cold or something.

  15. “You all know that that prayer comes from Hyppolitus (whatever it’s spelled in english) and dates back to at least the second century. ”

    This was the claim when EP II was introduced. However, I understand that scholars now generally agree that this claim was bogus and based on inadequate scholarship. That, in fact, whatever its merits, EP II in its current form was never used as an anaphora in ancient times.

  16. disco says:

    The parish that I normally attend (EF) also has ordinary form masses and at those, father uses the Roman Canon. Rarely do I attend the OF at my parish though. It’s a lot like ordering chicken at Morton’s.

    Apart from my home parish, I have heard the Roman Canon used only once and that was for midnight mass. Other than that it’s II all the way. Blink and you missed it.

  17. Fr AJ says:

    Who uses EP II on Sundays or a Holy Days all the time? EP II was more intended for weekday Masses. I like to spread the wealth and use all of the EP’s, I through IV and the EP’s for various occasions during OT depending on the readings. I use the EP’s for reconciliation throughout Lent. The Church has given us a diverse offering of EP’s and we should use them all, not just EP II all the time – men stop being so liturgically lazy or being primarily concerned about how fast you can get through Mass!

  18. Fr AJ says:

    Priam1184 there are actually more than four. EP I is the Roman Canon, EP II was thought to be an ancient anaphora and primarily intended for weekdays, EP III is a rewrite of EP I, EP IV is a rewrite of the anaphora of St. Basil used in the Eastern Rites. There are two EP’s of Reconciliation that are for Masses of Reconciliation and work great during Lent. Then there are four different versions of the Swiss EP, each has a different theme such as Jesus helps the poor or Jesus way to the Father. I like the diversity of EP’s we have and I don’t understand the use of EP II all the time that people report.

  19. anilwang says:

    Makemeaspark says: “I am not sure, Its the one with the Holy Spirit coming down “like the dewfall”. That part always makes me smile”

    It’s actually a reference to the Manna given by God to the people of Moses, one of the prefiguring of the Eucharist in the Old Testament.

    I think one of the problems with some of the newer prays isn’t so much that they are shorter, it’s that they assume that the people participating in the Mass have a deep knowledge of scripture and will be able to pick up on the references and find inspiration. Unfortunately, most people don’t know. The implementation of Vatican II assumed that if you told the average Catholic to read the scriptures and be holy, without any help from the priest, they would and they would rise to the challenge to such an extent that much of the verbiage of the liturgy was redundant and could be reduced to mere allusions.

    Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. People need shepherds. They need things spelled out. They need redundancy. It’s how we learn. It’s how we protect ourselves from the world that repeatedly and redundantly spell out a vision of life that relegates God to an after-thought. It might cause people to worship as a mindless habit, but given the choice between mindless worship or virtues and mindless irreverence or vice, the former is far preferable.

  20. Priam1184 says:

    Thank you Fr AJ for the info. I think that people would be able to deal with the diversity of EPs a bit better if they sensed a conscious reason for choosing one EP over another on a given day, rather than it just being the random choice of the priest. That sounds like the way that you do it and I hope that your parishioners are grateful to have this kind of priest in their parish. Maybe there actually are more priests who do it this way way and maybe we just have to listen harder and pay a bit more attention.

  21. An old story: The priest who, advised to use all the EP’s occasionally and not exclusively any single one, resolved to use each of them at least once annually. But, thinking EP I more appropriate for major feasts and EP III for daily use, last year he procrastinated and “forgot” to use EP II at all, so now he’s bracing himself for use of EP II twice this year (but still procrastinating).

  22. eulogos says:

    I wanted to clarify my vote. I *usually* attend the EF or the Eastern Rite (and sometimes the Anglican Use) but there are occasional times when I do find myself at an OF. So in the first group of questions I answered (only EF or ER) but in the second I answered EPII, because that is what I usually hear if I do attend an OF.

    I get embarrassed when I go to an OF because I still am not familiar with the people’s parts in the new translation. I have said so many different translations of the creed now, between the Episcopalians and the different Catholic rites that I seem to be immune to learning a new one. (The first I used was the 29 Book of Common Prayer…”Who Spake by the Prophets” . ) When we get to the Domine Non Sum Dignus, as soon as I realize it isn’t “worthy to receive you” but that we are doing the “under my roof” thing, I immediately switch into Anglican mode and say “I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof, but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed.” I have to be looking at the book to get it right, which now makes me feel like a stranger. The old outdated ICEL mass translation was inferior, but I attended it daily for over 20 years, and could always go back to it and feel as if I were at home and could count on automatic responses while I remained in a state of devotion. I just have not gotten there with the new translation. Perhaps for Lent I should try to find a daily mass I can get up early and attend before work. That should get me familiar with the new translation.
    Susan Peterson

  23. Wiktor says:

    I have asked for the Roman Canon for my marriage. I was afraid of the priest’s reaction, but he simply said “okay”, and didn’t ask any questions.
    Now that I think of it, if that was so easy, maybe I should’ve asked for EF ;-)

  24. Imrahil says:

    My home parish usually uses the E.P. II (though not altogether exclusively). However, I’m not so often at home since some times, and I mostly hear E.P. III now, including the weekdays, so that’s what I voted.

    The Roman canon is usually not heard in a normal parish around here. E.P. IV is heard rarely, and if in a time or for a feast with special prefations, it almost always takes one of them and not its own.

    Also when there is a Mass of a Saint (which is quite often on a weekday), usually the prefation for saints will be used, though I have read that this used to be, or is, restricted to solemnities and feasts. I kind-of like it though. (No, I am not saying priests should disobey law. I am saying that I kind-of like the prefation of the saints for saints, in itself, and it’s not my job to supervise the priests.)

    For what it’s worth (not much), if there has to be a diversity in Eucharistic Prayers at all, I kind-of like the EP-special on Reconciliation… sometimes.

    PS: rev’d dear Fr Z, thanks for fixing that plugin!

  25. Imrahil says:

    By the way, as the dear eulogos has brought the topic up,

    there is one thing, and one only, which I don’t understand about the EF as it is popularly celebrated. Why, in the distribution of Communion rite, do women say “Domine non sum dignus”? Shouldn’t it… really… be “digna”?

  26. Gail F says:

    The first time I ever heard prayer I, I was at a different parish and a very young priest said it… AND there was no music (the music director was off). I think he said it because there was no distracting, long music and he thought he had time for it. I have only heard it once since then and, indeed, with the very long and intrusive songs making the Mass longer, it seemed interminable. But without those songs, and thus with the whole thing more focused on the words and the priest’s actions, it was a great focal prayer.

    Before the new translation I never could figure out what my pastor was doing, I htink he put parts from different Eucharistic prayers together because I could nto follow along in a missal. He doesn’t do that now, although he still ads to some of the prayers in the Mass… Not as many, though. And yes, I did make it a point to tell him how beautiful I thought the new translation was and to compliment him on making it sound so good right away. It was true and I figured he could use some encouragement because he’d be hearing from the complainers!

  27. iPadre says:

    I have used the Roman Canon exclusively since the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal. Continuity with our sacred tradition is vital to our times and recovery of the sacred.

  28. Gratias says:

    I attend Novus Ordo Mass twice a month but have no idea which version is used. I suspect it is the shortest and most pedestrian. The aim of the thing is to get us all to form hand chains before the kiss of peace. I avoid touching. Call me a difficult person.

  29. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I’ve made it a point to thank priests who use EP I at my home parish. It hasn’t happened very often in my roughly 14 years since entering the Church and it’s usually if we have a visiting priest who is young. The current pastor almost always uses III.

    Once I recall a priest pulling out the missal during his homily to quote texts from the EPs. He only cited II, III, IV and the reconciliation EPs. That was sad.

  30. IngridAiram says:

    Here in the Netherlands, there are currently about twelve (maybe more) officially approved Eucharistic Prayers, with some rather awfull ones between them (they do have a valid consacration). I’ve heard that with the new missal translation to be made, it will be put down to four again, which would be a huge improvement imho.

  31. William Tighe says:

    mddelala wrote:

    “You all know that that prayer comes from Hyppolitus (whatever it’s spelled in english) and dates back to at least the second century.”

    EP II comes from Hippolytus in the sense that much of it, chopped and changed and rearranged, comes from that early EP that has been attributed to the Second/Third Century Roman presbyter and possible antipope, Hippolytus (d. ca. 235). But ever since the 1960s the genuineness of this EP, which survives in one unique Fifth-Century manuscript palimpsest, has been increasingly called into question, as has the identity and background of “Hippolytus” himself. The learned Fr. Hunwick has taken to referring to this EP and its author alike as “Pseudo-Hippolytus;” and, indeed, the notion that in that EP we have access to a Roman EP of the Second/Third Century now seems itself to be yet one more instance of the cocksure rashness with which “liturgical experts” of the 1960s, scholarly and semi-scholarly alike, advanced their pet ideas — and found, alas, all too many people credulous enough to believe them. Perhaps this is yet another example of the wisdom of Dean Inge’s remark that “He who marries the Spirit of the Age will soon find himself a widower.”

    Perhaps, also, you might wish to read a little more widely in these matters before grounding an opinion on claims no longer accepted as factual.

  32. Heather F says:

    At my parish, it’s usually either II or III, with III a bit more often than II. We usually get I on special particularly-solemn occasions (Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi, Easter, likely Christmas although I’m out of town for that so I couldn’t say for sure) and every once in a while other than that. I’m rather partial to E.P. IV myself, but I don’t usually hear it more than a few times per year.

  33. Mike says:

    One thing I notice about half the time is the use of Eucharistic Prayer I in the Novus Ordo on saints’ feast days. It is edifying to be reminded of the Communion of Saints; would that it happened more frequently.

  34. ocleirbj says:

    You need another option on your poll. I don’t actually know one Eucharistic prayer from the other, so I can’t tell you which ones the priests use. I do recognize them when I hear them, but I don’t know which particular one each one is. I don’t follow the words in the missal, I just listen and pray. They all sound good to me and it doesn’t bother me at all which one is used. Sorry to be such a Philistine…

  35. Heather F says:


    Here are the beginnings of the most common options:

    EP I: “To you, therefore, most merciful father, we make humble prayer and petition through Jesus Christ, your son, our Lord: that you accept and bless these gifts…”
    EP II: “You are indeed holy, O Lord, the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall…”
    EP III: “You are indeed holy, O Lord, and all you have created rightly gives you praise, for through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ , by the power and working of the Holy Spirit…”
    EP IV: “We give you praise, Father most holy, for you are great and you have fashioned all your works in wisdom and in love. You formed man in your own image…”

  36. ocleirbj says:

    @Heather F, thank you! Now I see that II and III are what I usually hear, occasionally I, and IV not very often. I love the “dewfall” image in #2.

  37. I know I’m late to the party but I thought I would mention that not only is II the most often heard, it is the ONLY one I’ve heard the ENTIRE ten years I’ve been living in Japan. Even if they do mass in English from time to time, they will still only ever do II.

    Reasons I’ve heard for this:

    It is the most accurately translated (then just use Latin, DUH)

    It is the only one they have permission to use (HOW?)

    It is the only one they have the training to use (WHY? You have a seminary, I know, I’ve been to it)

    They don’t have enough time to use any of the others (oh but you sure have time to say 25 minutes of announcements between communion and dismissal.)

    It is the prettiest (opinion much)

    “Instead of asking for that, why don’t you ask for mass in English?” (Because I don’t want mass in English, I want the priest to do his job)

    It’s the one Pope Francis uses (really. How would you know that?)

    So anyway, it looks like Summorum Pontificum is dead in Japan. What a shame.

  38. Militans says:

    I would say that most often I think I hear II or III, but when I follow along in my missal I can never tell because they paraphrase and skip bits out.

    “In the celebration of the Eucharist above all, no one, not even a priest, may on his own authority add, omit, or change anything in the liturgy. Only the supreme authority of the Church, and according to the provisions of the law, the bishop and Episcopal Conferences, may do this. Priests should, therefore, ensure that they so preside over the celebration of the Eucharist that the faithful know that they are attending not a rite established on private initiative, but the Church’s public worship, the regulation of which was entrusted by Christ to the apostles and their successors”

  39. Lutgardis says:

    I’ve only ever heard EP III at our parish. We also consistently skip the Confiteor, and one of the priests always says that Jesus gave the bread and chalice to His “friends,” not His disciples.

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