In my experience, spanning many parishes over many years, in several different dioceses, most priests say the Second Eucharistic Prayer at almost every Mass, including daily Mass and Sunday Mass. Yet the missal contains four Eucharistic prayers (and I think maybe some additional ones for special situations), and as far as I know, the priest is free to choose any of the four Eucharistic prayers for a given Mass. So why is it that the other Eucharistic prayers are so seldom used, at least in my experience?
I have never asked a priest this question directly, because I don’t want to come across as complaining. (And I hope I don’t come across this way to any priests reading here.) I have thought about this quite a bit, and the only possible explanations I have come up with are the following:
(1) The Second Eucharistic Prayer is the shortest one, and priests don’t want Mass to be too long, especially if the priest has to celebrate several Masses on the same day. (I totally understand this as a valid reason for using the Second Eucharistic Prayer a majority of the time, but I’m not sure if it explains why this prayer is used something like 95% of the time, which has been my experience.)
(2) Perhaps priests are being instructed to use this prayer almost exclusively, either in seminary, or by their bishops, or both. (I have no idea if this is true or not – it is just speculation on my part. But if it did turn out to be true, I would be interested to know why they are being instructed this way.)
But maybe there are other reasons that I haven’t thought of, for why this prayer is used so often. Any insight would be welcome, especially from priests or seminarians, or from anyone who has talked with a priest about this question.