Friday, November 18, 2011


So next Sunday we will start with the new translation of the Mass.

After Vatican II the book from which we read all the prayers of the Mass has been known as the Sacramentary. A cool name I think. But every wonder why the newspaper print book that many of you hold during the Mass for the readings or to follow along with prayers of the Mass is called a Missalette and not a Sacramentaryette?

Originally the book used at the mass was called the Roman Missal or “Missale Romanum.” (Hence the poor joke that used to go around that the only date allowed for a seminarian during the summer was with Miss Sally Romanum. Yuck yuck) This book contained just about everything needed for the Mass. With Vatican II the amount of readings were increased as well as the available prayers. To put them all into one book would have been crushed some poor server trying to hold the book. We would only be able to have weightlifters as altar servers.

The book was divided into the book for prayers and the book for readings. The book for prayers was called the Sacramentary, the book for readings was then called the Lectionary. (The Lectionary then being divided into numerous other books . . .)

Now I don’t mind one way or the other. It is simply stating the fact that for some reason yet to be explained to me we will no longer refer to the book containing the prayers for the Mass the Sacramentary. Starting next Sunday it is to be referred to once again as the Missal which in the long run fits our nomenclature much better. “Missalette” and “missal stand” will once again make much more sense.


Anonymous said...

who is that altar boy with the big book on his head?


W.C. Hoag said...

I have yet to find among the publishers of the new missal one of those HUGE ceremonial missals (3' x 1.5' dimensions) that once marked solemn Masses.