Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Use for an Old Missal

I took an old altar missal – the gift of my former parish priest – to Hobart with me, since the altar missal that Fr Quinn has hitherto used is rather too large for the missal stand, and, worse, it has an alarming tendency to turn its pages of its own accord during the Canon, much to the consternation of his M.C.

I find inscribed in the front that it cost £13/6/- when purchased (in London, I believe) in the last years of the fifties or perhaps the first of the sixties; it was printed at Tournai in Belgium by Desclée, and given the all-clear by the bishop of Tournai, dated 9th December 1958.

Readers will no doubt be relieved to learn that, despite being an immediately pre-1962 edition of the Missal, the 1962 rubrics were adhered to (as is the express decree of His Holiness, given motu proprio), and in the text of the Canon the words added by Bl John XXIII, (et beati Joseph, ejusdem Virginis sponsi) were long ago written in.

The Canon with the necessary omission required at present indicated by brackets. 
(The stains visible are, I think, marks left by some temporary ribbons previously kept in this missal, which were evidently not colour-fast.)

I was pleased that this obviously well-used (not to say worn) altar missal has now returned to regular use, that being its raison d'être after all. At present, we are all sede vacantists, until the new Pope be elected: so I pencilled in brackets around the phrase to be most sadly omitted: una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N. Again, I can assure students of liturgy that these words were correctly left out by the celebrant.

I had wondered if the slightly smaller size of this altar missal would occasion eye-strain for our celebrant, but he assured me afterward that it was fine, and in fact an easier edition to use than the larger, newer and more-inclined-to-turn-its-own-pages version he had used previously – certainly I (as M.C.) noticed there were definitely fewer page turnings to be made during the Canon and so forth, which was a real improvement.

From now on, this liturgical experiment having been a success, I will bring this older missal with me for the greater convenience of our priest: as usual, "the old is better".

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