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A Primer in Catholic Missals – Part I

When you have customers come into your store who hold up two different missals, can you give them an intelligent explanation of what distinguishes each? If not, this guide is for you. If you are in the market for a Missal, take this information with you when you go shopping.

The first question that needs to be asked is whether the customer is looking for a Tridentine or post-Vatican II missal.

Tridentine Missals

Tridentine missals are used for the Mass as celebrated before Vatican II and still licitly celebrated throughout the world. There are several options for Tridentine missals. All of the Tridentine Missals contain Latin and English on opposite pages for just about everything except the readings. The St. Joseph missal is the exception in that it is entirely English except for the ordinary of the Mass.

The St. Andrew Daily MissalSt. Andrew Daily Missal

The St. Andrew Daily is one of the most popular Tridentine missals. This missal was the only one in print for a very long time so your customers are likely familiar with it. Unfortunately, this missal was last updated in 1945 so several Mass changes, especially the major changes for Holy Week are not in this version. This missal is available in a red-edged version and a gold-edged version.

The St. Joseph Daily Missal

The St. Joseph Daily Missal is almost entirely English and was last updated in 1953. It does contain English/Latin for the ordinary of the Mass but all other prayers are just English. It sufferes from the same deficiency as the St. Andrew Missal in that it lacks the changes to Holy Week from 1955. The one thing that sets this missal apart is the reproduction of famous works of art (in black and white) in addition to the standard woodcuts and line drawings found in other missals.

The shortcomings of these missals can be addressed with the Sacred Triduum Missal which contains all of the Mass text for Holy Week.

1962 Daily Missal1962 Daily Missals

Due to the increased interest in the Tridentine Mass, two publishers have released daily missals updated with the last Mass changes before Vatican II.

These missals have very similar content but the 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal has an imitation leather cover while the Daily missals from Boronius Press have genuine leather covers and come in white and black.

For customers who just want an inexpensive way to follow the Mass, there is a booklet available. This booklet is also available in wedding and funeral editions.

Stay tuned for part two on Post Vatican II Missals.

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