Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs

If asked how many Eucharistic Prayers are in the Missal, many people would say four. In fact there are ten.

Apart from Eucharistic Prayers I to IV there are three for children, two for reconciliation and one called “Eucharistic Prayer for Use in Masses for Various Needs”. The latter is sometimes referred to as the “Swiss” Eucharistic Prayer because it came from the Swiss Catholic Conference of Bishops, originally appearing in German, French and Italian, the languages of Switzerland. A Latin typical edition of the prayer issued in the early 1990s was translated into English by ICEL and given official approval in 1994. This translation has since been revised along with the rest of the Missal.

The Eucharistic Prayer for Masses for Various Needs is in fact four prayers in one, because it offers a choice of four Prefaces, each with a corresponding set of intercessions in the second half of the prayer. The titles of the four strands are: I. The Church on the Path of Unity, II. God Guides His Church along the Way of Salvation, III. Jesus, the Way to the Father, IV. Jesus, Who Went About Doing Good.
In the new Missal they are located in the “Appendix to the Order of Mass” after the form of Mass with the participation of a single minister, beginning on page 804.

What a shame greater use is not made of this Eucharistic Prayer with its poetic expressiveness and beautiful imagery. Here are some examples:

For you have given us Jesus Christ, your Son,
as our Lord and Redeemer.
He always showed compassion
for children and for the poor,
for the sick and for sinners,
and he became a neighbour
to the oppressed and the afflicted.
By word and deed he announced to the world
that you are our Father
and that you care for all your sons and daughters. (Preface IV)

Blessed indeed is your Son present in our midst
when we are gathered by his love,
and when, as once for the disciples, so now for us,
he opens the Scriptures and breaks the bread. (Praise to the Father I)

Keep us attentive to the needs of all
that, sharing their grief and pain, their joy and hope,
we may faithfully bring them the good news of salvation
and go forward with them along the way of your Kingdom. (Intercessions III)

Open our eyes to the needs of our brothers and sisters;
inspire in us words and actions
to comfort those who labour and are burdened.
Make us serve them truly,
after the example of Christ and at his command.
And may your Church stand as a living witness
to truth and freedom, to peace and justice,
that all people may be raised up to a new hope. (Intercessions IV)

Elizabeth Harrington