Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Layman's Missal and Prayer Book

I was pleased a few weeks ago to receive a review copy of the revised and reprinted edition of The Layman's Missal and Prayer Book for Sundays, Principal Feasts, the Sacraments and Other Rites from Continuum.

It is a handy sized pew missal for the usus antiquior published with a bonded leather cover, with an attractive red-edging to the pages. It also includes three sewn in ribbons.

For those who have noted in the past that they would prefer a smaller sized pew missal, this will likely fit the bill.

The following comparison shows the size differential between this missal and two other popular (and I would note, also high quality) missals for the laity:

The missal to the left in each picture is the missal in question.

Now it must be noted, as the title of the book clearly suggests, a significant part of the reason the size is able to be reduced so is simply for the reason that this missal only includes the Masses of the Sunday as well as the major days of the liturgical year. In other words, it is not a daily missal as are the other two. While some people prefer a daily Missal, many only have need for Masses upon the Sundays and Feast days of the liturgical year, and so this will serve your needs quite well.

A further factor in this regard is that the scriptural readings of the Mass (i.e. the Epistle and Gospel) are only given in the vernacular, and not in parallel Latin-English like the other prayers. For some too, this will really be of little consequence, since they may only follow the readings in the vernacular, or they may only be done in the vernacular.

What is also notable about this missal is that it is, to my knowledge, the only usus antiquior pew missal which is completely up to date, including the revised Good Friday prayer.

Some of you may be interested in these excerpts from Dr. Alcuin's Reid's review of this same title, which speaks to some of the other aspects of this publication:
Originally published in 1962 as an English edition of the French 'Missel quotidien,' The Layman's Missal and Prayer Book is a Sunday missal, including also the daily Masses for Lent, the Holy Week services (with Pope Benedict's 2008 revised prayer for the Jews) and the Masses for the principal feasts and other liturgical days and the (old) proper calendars for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

But this is more than a missal. It is, in fact, a layman's introduction to the older form of the liturgy, providing comprehensible explanations of liturgical theology and terminology, as well as biblical themes. The liturgical seasons and major feasts each enjoy their own helpful introduction. Indexes of biblical readings, psalms, feasts and chant render the contents readily accessible. Indeed, for these alone¯from which any Catholic, however they worship, may draw from the rich treasures of our liturgical tradition¯this publication may be welcomed.

There is more still. The rites of sacraments of baptism, confirmation, confession (with a helpful examination of conscience), matrimony, as well as the communion and anointing of the sick are included, as are the rites of funerals and benediction. Its traditional Catholic prayers include all the regulars and some of ancient English origin, as well as litanies, the way of the cross and parts of the Divine Office. A small kyriale provides the most frequently used Gregorian settings with modern notation...

A final note is in order. What also makes this particular edition appealing is not only the compact size, but also the affordable pricing. The missal is priced under $20.00 USD on, being regularly priced at a mere $24.99. For the quality one is receiving, this is nothing short of spectacular and would be a particularly beneficial option for families wishing to buy each of their children their own missal.

To order:

In the USA, ($18.99)

In the UK, (£16.99)

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