What is Oratio Imperata ?

Catholics are prayerful.  We have different prayers for different occasions, situations and reasons. Our family, being Catholics all of us, practices this tradition of prayer. We have personal and group prayers, memorized and impromptu, praise and worship, asking for forgiveness of sins, begging for reconciliation with God  and our most favorite prayer of all, prayer of supplication.

My wife and I pray upon waking up and before going to sleep. We taught this too to our children. We also pray the rosary of Mama Mary to show her our love and to ask for her intercession.

As a family we go to church every Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist and pray.  In the mass, there is a special prayer we recite in times of great distress, usually it is prayed after the communion and before the priest’s blessing. This prayer is called Oratio Imperata and this is our topic in this article.  What is Oratio Imperata?  When it was first prayed? How do we pray it? And what are the different kinds of Oratio Imperata?  These are the questions that, hopefully, can be answered by this article.

What is Oratio Imperata ?

Using google translate Oratio is prayer while imperata is  order when converted directly to English language. As per Wikipedia, Oratio Imperata is called Obligatory Prayers in English- speaking churches.

Obligatory because once mandated by the bishop it must be recited in all the Eucharistic celebrations within the diocese or archdiocese.

Oratio Imperata is issued when an event or situation poses immense danger or severe impact to the public especially to the members of the Catholic Church.   It is prayed when an immediate intervention from the Lord is greatly needed. Bishops or Archbishops approve the praying of an Oratio Imperata in a diocese or archdiocese.

Things I know About Oratio Imperata That I Would Like To Share With You.  

  1. It has a single intention.
  2. It begs of God’s immediate intervention.
  3. It is prayed in all churches of a diocese or archdiocese in need.
  4. It cannot be prayed during special feasts like Solemnity of Mary and Jesus.
  5. It can be prayed only after the communion and before the blessing.
  6. It cannot be prayed in weddings, baptismal and requiem masses.
  7. It can be prayed in all daily masses depending on the gravity of the concern being prayed for and upon the order of the bishop.

How Is Oratio Imperata Prayed ?

This is prayed while kneeling down usually after the communion and before the final blessing in the mass. There are types of Oratio Imperata where the parishioners responds to each invocation while there are types in which everyone prays all together.

When Was The Praying Of Oratio Imperata Started?

According to Catholic tradition the origin of this kind of prayer dates back in the formative years of Christianity. This is called the Apostolic age or the period which began when Jesus started His public ministry up to the death of the longest living apostle who is John the Evangelist also called as the beloved disciple.

What are the different kinds of Oratio Imperata ?

All situations, events and conditions having severe effects to the community can be prayed for as an intention in an Oratio Imperata. Some of the known intentions are the following.

For Priestly Vocation

This is an Oratio Imperata to inspire more youth males to enter priestly vocation. Scarcity of priests is a serious concern to the Catholic Church not just because it would lack mass celebrants but it would lack shepherds to lead and guide the flock of God. 

Deliverance From Calamity

Calamities such as typhoons and volcanic eruptions can be foreseen thus an oratio imperata can be prayed to stop the occurrence or minimize the effects of the imminent perilous events.   

Asking for Rain

When drought is expected or being expected, Oratio Imperata to ask for rain is offered for the communities that will be hardly hit.

End of  Violence and Killings

In 2019, CBCP issued the Oratio Imperata to end killings in Negros Island, Philippines. It was prompted after reported cases reached at least 21 in just one week.

For Protection Against Pandemic

Recently, the Catholic World was one in praying against the spread and cure of  Covid 19 pandemic.

Is Oratio Imperata Effective ?

I believe that Oratio Imperata works not just because I am a Catholic but because there are many prayers that are answered through this invocative community prayer. One of which is the Oratio Imperata against Covid 19.  I believe that God has already answered our prayers begging for the cure of the said virus.

What about you? What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments.

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Thank you for reading. !

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