Non solum: EPs for Reconciliation and Various Needs and Occasions

This past Sunday, our pastor connected Jesus’ response to the storm with the storms in our lives, communities, and nation – particularly the mass shooting in the church in Charleston. For the Eucharistic Prayer, he chose the EP2 for Reconciliation. It connected powerfully. This raises a question. When does your community use the EPs for Reconciliation? What about the Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions?



  1. I’d say Prayer for Various Needs and Occasions IV is the second most used EP on Sundays (after EP III). It’s a staple during Ordinary Time in our parish, especially every time there’s a gospel periscope about healing, a healing miracle, mercy, or forgiveness.
    “[Jesus] always showed compassion for children and the poor, for the sick and the for sinners, and he became a neighbor to the oppressed..”
    “Open our eyes to the needs of our brothers and sisters; inspire in words and actions…”
    (Other EP’s are slotted, as appropriate, based on the gospels. The two for Reconciliation appear often in November and Advent.)

  2. We have used one of the prayers for Reconciliation on the Sundays of Lent in years past, though I’m not sure we’ve done it since the new translation was introduced. There is a priest who fills in for our pastor when he’s away who likes to use the EPs for various needs. Other than that we’re a pretty steady diet of EPIII on Sundays (with EPII when there’s something that makes run a little long).

    I think one thing that inhibits somewhat the use of the EPs for Various Needs is that the rubrics seem to say that they must be used with one of the Mass formularies “for various needs,” and therefore cannot be used on Sundays (you can find this view articulated here by the Zenit rubrics guru (who is pretty useful on occasion). There is no similar restriction on the EPs for reconciliation; indeed, they are commended for use at Masses during Lent.

    I see no liturgical principle that would make these prayers unsuitable for use on Sundays, particularly in Ordinary Time. Indeed, I think on many Sundays their use would be highly desirableSo on my list of liturgical desiderata for RM4 is explicit permission to use these on Sundays in Ordinary Time (in the category of “things that just make sense and that many people are already doing anyway,” along with explicit permission to insert the name of a saint into all the EPs and to use the double alleluia throughout the 50 days of Easter).

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt:

      I think McNamara’s logic in his Zenit response is at fault — not for the first time. He should have said that the VNO EPs may be used on any day which does not have its own proper Preface (as distinct from a seasonal preface, for example).

      I am aware of a number of priests who are taking pastoral decisions to use them fairly frequently, now that they have discovered them in the appendixes to RM3. Their major reason is that the revised translation of these prayers in RM3 is noticeably more user-friendly than the revised translation of the main four EPs.

  3. R2 during Advent and Christmas
    R1 during Lent

    Didn’t JP2 use one of the various needs EP for a Sunday Mass in Cuba once? I’ve heard that from reliable sources, but have never found actual confirmation of it.

  4. I’ve only encountered the EPVN&O once on a Sunday since the new translation of the Ordo (and only a handful of times before it). Because of the restrictions on its use, it’s normally on weekdays.

    Of the four, I find the #3 the strongest, with thematic emphasis on theosis.

  5. Since it takes a loo–ng time to get any Japanese liturgical translations approved by Rome, it was only recently that a “provisional” translation of the EP’s for Various Needs was approved. I have since used them at Liturgy Workshops I run here in the Nagoya Diocese (Japan), with very positive responses all round. Can’t confirm whether any of the priests present then used them in their parishes. Our other EP trans, from the late 70’s urgently need replacing, but the replacements are being blocked by the CDWDS. Every word and phrase choice has to be justified in accord with its congruence to the Latin. As to the EP’s for Reconciliation, sadly too many priests are reluctant to use them, sticking with the EP II weekdays/EPIII Sundays pattern

  6. This past Lent, I used R2 most weekdays and R1 most Sundays. I use the V Eucharistic prayers very sparingly on OT Sundays. Some of the Mass propers for various needs can be used on non-priveleged Sundays (18, for Evangelization, is explicit about this), so I think the EPs can. I most often use them, though, on ‘special’ Masses that aren’t Sundays / solemnities: major public holidays, start and close of the school year, baccalaureate, daily Masses while the synod was in session, etc.

  7. R1 and R2 in Lent (usually Fridays, Sundays and some other days).

    I’m a bit ambivalent about the whole concept of a thematic Eucharistic Prayer. Does it really have any substantial precedents in the majority tradition of both East and West? Does the Eucharistic Prayer need to be adapted for such “themes”? Sometimes it seems like a more elaborate extension of ideas like “theme” Sundays.

  8. In the Polish Missal (albeit published before the Latin 3rd edition), the “Swiss” EPs (i.e., the EPs for Various Needs) are merely indicated as EP V, without any indication of how they may be used. The rubric in the Latin 3rd edition says “convenienter adhibetur” (may appropriately/fittingly be used), which seems to me to encourage its use during the various categories of “Mass for Various Needs.” I don’t see any sort of explicit prohibition about their use at other times, however. It seems that Canon 18 comes into play, regarding “strictly” interpreting any sort of “restrictions,” and I don’t see any restriction in this rubric. Instead, I see an encouragement of its use when using certain formularies in the Roman Missal, but silence about its possible use otherwise! Thus, I have, in fact, occasionally use one of its forms on Sundays.

  9. After John Paul II used one of the VNO prayers on a Sunday, I felt much “freer” in continuing the practice. Before the new Roman Missal, and especially since it, I find the language of those prayers to be among the most beautiful and poetic that we have. That being so, it seems a shame that their use should be limited to those who might attend Mass during the week, and who might hear them used on occasion. I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of weekly Mass goers has never even heard them.
    Rather than thinking of them as thematic, I find them rich in imagery that often parallels the scripture of many a given day.

  10. Part of my role in our parish is suggesting prefaces (when there are options) and EPs to our presiding priests, who almost always accept my recommendations. This is helpful because I can spend time looking at the manifold options and suggest those that are most compatible with the readings, the season, what’s happening in the world, etc. None of us can imagine just opening to any old preface or always using EP2.

    I frequently recommend the VNO prayers on OT Sundays. I subscribe to the understanding that they are possible when there is not a “proper” preface. “Sundays of OT” is not proper, but seasonal.

    They are, as others have mentioned, better text than the 4 principal EPs.

    We tend to use the Rec prayers during Lent…I love the one that ends with the language about being saints among the saints in the halls of heaven and singing the thanksgiving of Christ who lives for all eternity!

  11. I’ve found Prayer for Various Needs and Occasions, especially IV, effective in Masses with children. The language/vocabulary of those Eucharistic Prayers is much clearer and easier to comprehend by a listener than the regular EPs.

  12. Interestingly, our Ordo recommends R1 for Advent and R2 for Lent. Which I’d been doing for a long time before I noticed the recommendation.

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