Book Review: Excellent New Paperback Hand Missal for the EF

The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago along with our good friends at Biretta Books have published an exciting new Latin-English booklet missal for the lay faithful.  It is called The Latin Mass Companion and includes the Order of Mass in Latin and English with Propers for Sundays and Holy Days in English.  In addition, it also includes handy sections in the back that thankfully include the Prefaces in English as well as the Rite of Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.  I have to say how impressed I am with this attractive and well-thought-out companion for the EF, carefully planned and made available for lay Catholics in the pews.  In fact, this is one of the best booklet missals I have yet seen.  I sincerely hope it will garner all the attention it deserves and I hope pastors will be open to purchasing these in bulk for their parishioners.  To order see HERE (generous bulk prices are available).   

Photos by OC-Travel

The booklet, actually a small book, has been designed and printed beautifully.  It fits perfectly into a purse.  The binding is sturdy and well-glued; it holds open easily in the hands and is bound like a standard paperback.  The font and typeface are comfortable and easy to read.  The cover is colorful and artistic.  The inside pen and ink images are attractive, many of them familiar from antique Neo-Gothic missals printed in Belgium.  In addition, I find it most interesting the new and beautiful computer images seen throughout of the priest and server at the altar, with the server clearly wearing the recognizable shoulder cape of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.  The missal is currently available at their church, St. John Cantius in Chicago.  St. John Cantius has long been the TLM nerve-center in the venerable See of Chicago and it is the one place I always recommend for Catholics to visit when they find themselves in the Windy City.  A sample of the never-before-seen computer images can be seen below.


I also think this edition is a fine companion for altar servers of all ages learning the Mass -- the rubrics are printed in red.  Latin is printed on the left side with English on the right.  Servers who are learning can discreetly hold the booklet in the sanctuary, an allowance for those youngsters still learning the prayers.  The booklet has fore-edges in red to denote the section of the Order of Mass, a convenience for those finding the proper page.  Delightful images of a bell, seen below, denote when the server is to sound the bell to alert the lay faithful of the more solemn moments at the altar.  It includes the prayers for incensing.  The Prayers After Low Mass follow in English after the Ordo Missae.  The Propers in the Mass text are from the Feast of the Sacred Heart, with the others for Sundays and Holy Days included in the back.   Servers will know their position and posture clearly by the computer images that so beautifully grace the pages.  The images resonate and will inspire boys and young men to serve at the altar and to consider a possible vocation to the priesthood or religious life.  Also, priests can read the Epistle and Gospel in English from the pulpit with this handy missal.         

The intro is written by Fr. Joshua Caswell, SJC, the Superior General of the Canons Regular.  His letter follows below and summarizes perfectly the mandate of the new booklet missal:
Dear Friends,

Throughout the ages Holy Mother Church has always taught Lex orandi, Lex credenti, Lex vivendi.  That is to say, "as we pray, so we believe and so we live."  In other words, when the Sacred Liturgy is offered and prayed well it forms our beliefs and guides the way we live.

The charism of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius is the "Restoration of the Sacred."  Since our founding in 1998, the Canons have regularly offered the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and have instructed clergy, seminarians and the lay faithful in the rites and ceremonies of this ancient form.

We are honored to introduce, for the first time, an expanded guide to the Extraordinary Form, a Latin Mass Companion.  We hope that our effort assists you to actively participate in the greatest treasure on this side of heaven, the Holy Sacrifice of Our Divine Savior at Calvary.

Our prayer is that this booklet will guide you to see how the ceremonies of the Mass should always lead us to discover its rich treasure: a personal encounter with Our Lord.  Through this encounter, by experiencing this law of prayer, may it have an influence on what we believe and how we live.

Sincerely in Christ,

Very Rev. Joshua Caswell, SJC
Superior General 

A sample from the Table of Contents follows below...with all the bases covered. 
Prayers Before Mass,
Asperges Me / Vidi Aquam
Mass of the Catechumens
Mass of the Faithful
Prayers After Low Mass
Prayers of Thanksgiving After Mass
Sunday and Holy Day Propers
Proper Prefaces
Benediction and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament    
Of the Mass in general we can say that from God's end the channels of grace are the great means of union between Him and us, made manifest in a special way in the Mass.  From man's end there is a great opportunity for union in prayer by following each step of the Mass with the highest intensity.  In one sense prayer is the direction of life to God.  Laymen and women in the pew always have an opportunity to position themselves better to better follow the Mass, being disposed to understand as much as possible while being immersed in the mystery and solemnity of the EF.  This new hand missal is a giant step in the right direction.  It aids in prayer, the converse of the soul with God, the intellect concentrated upon heaven and heavenly things, uttering itself through the official prayer of the Church, receptive to God's utterance with the human will given wholly to God in attentive love.  We know from the experience of mystics how far this converse can go.  With the aid of a special missal like this, the prayer of contemplation of the laity while following attentively the Mass can bring the soul into an awareness of God that is immediately present.  Not seen face to face by the intellect as the souls in heaven see Him, but in a liturgical experience that is felt with the soul and savored.  A spiritual experience that is sometimes beyond utterance and explanation, a direct contact of love in which the saints have shared.   Many thanks to our good friends at Biretta Books for sending us this stellar missal.  We are more than happy to endorse this wonderful new work and hope and pray it will be widely received and enjoy great success, reaching many souls.  

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