Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Notice: Stehle's Manual of Episcopal Ceremonies

I was very pleased to receive in the mail today a copy of the reprint of the 5th edition of the Right Reverend Aurelius Stehle's Manual of Episcopal Ceremonies which has recently been published by Preserving Christian Publications and is now ready for shipment.

The set, which is based upon the Caeremoniale Episcoporum and the decrees of the then Sacred Congregation of Rites, is bound in a very attractive red cloth sewn hardcover. Also included in each volume is a sewn in ribbon.

The set is divided into two handy sized volumes, with the first volume covering the "Ordinary Episcopal Ceremonies" and the second volume covering "Occasional Episcopal Ceremonies". Together they form a thorough reference to liturgical ceremonies in the usus antiquior for a bishop, ranging from Mass, the Divine Office, to Benediction and Confirmation. Whether it be the more "common" sort of pontifical ceremonies (if we might call them that) to those more seldom seen, you will find many of them here.

The book is entirely intended to serve as a rubrical guide to the pontifical ceremonies, explaining the preparations and actions that are to occur both as regards a bishop himself, and as regards those others who are involved in the pontifical ceremonies. In this regard it will be handy for a bishop himself, for clergy who function within pontifical liturgies, for Masters of Ceremonies and for sacristans put in charge of the material preparations for these ceremonies.

It should also be noted that the set includes a handy glossary in the back of each volume which defines a number of liturgical terms, particularly as relate to the pontifical rites. For example, terms like "gremial" and "bugia" are defined. For this reason as well, the set would be useful to those wishing to simply learn more about the liturgical richness of the Roman rite as expressed in her pontifical ceremonies.

Finally, it should be noted that a handy index is also included in the back of each volume.

The two volumes together comprise almost 500 pages, and for a well bound reference set, they are quite reasonably priced at $52.00 USD.

Having had the opportunity to now peruse this set, I would personally note that it would not be one that I would want to be without. It will no doubt serve as a great compliment beside The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described (Fortescue, O'Connell and Reid) as well the O'Connell's The Celebration of Mass.

As Pontifical liturgies no doubt begin to be more frequently seen in the post-Summorum Pontificum Church, the availability of volumes such as these will prove invaluable in reclaiming our liturgical memory on a wider scale.

For more information, to order, or to see some sample images from the books, please visit: Manual of Episcopal Ceremonies

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