On Pew Missals for the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form

“I speak for the trees.” – the Lorax

Truth be told, a shortage of trees isn’t actually one of the major problems facing the Dirigo state. However, as I watch Mount Trashmore* outside of Bangor grow, I think the problem of the accumulation of trash, including paper products, is, well, growing. All of which is a politically correct segue into the topic of – you guessed it! Pew altar missals! 

Every year, parishes all over this good land purchase the disposable pew missals by the truckload. They cost heaven only knows how much. They are incomplete: some don’t have weekday readings, antiphons and prayers. Some don’t have useful items like private prayers for before and after Mass, confession, Holy Communion, and so forth. Many have lots of that dreadful music (matter of opinion, I know, but that’s my opinion). They cost heaven knows how much (did I say that already?) and, when the end of the Liturgical Year rolls around, the truck backs up to the door to cart the old ones off to Mount Trashmore, while the other truck is backed up to the other door and the new ones are unloaded. It’s the cycle of life. Can we do better?

Yes, we can!! 

The answer to this environmental and budgetary catastrophe is permanent pew missals. Permanent, meaning, they don’t get replaced every year, but stay in the pew, sort of like hymnals (at least, this used to be the case for hymnals). After all, the Mass doesn’t change from year to year, the readings, prayers, and what have you stay the same year over year (or, 3 year cycle over 3 year cycle in the Ordinary Form), so a beautiful, bound, permanent pew missal seems just the thing that can help parishes have a positive impact on their budgets, as well as being good stewards of our planet and her resources, just as both the current Pope and his immediate predecessor have requested.

I happen to have a few suggestions for your consideration, or your pastor’s were he to be so inclined. There may be other decent permanent Pew Missals out there besides these. We’ll begin with pew missals for the Ordinary Form.


For the Ordinary Form we have two for your perusal. First, from Corpus Christi Watershed (a fascinating and rather eclectic group of individuals with the common desire for beauty and reverence in the liturgy and sacred music) we have the St. Isaac Jogues Pew Lectionary for the Ordinary Form (including Complete Missal and Gradual Texts).

1. Jogues-Missal.png

From the website:

Members of Corpus Christi Watershed were honored to assist the JP2 Institute in creating a book fulfilling “the true liturgical vision of the Vatican II fathers.” The official title is SAINT ISAAC JOGUES ILLUMINATED MISSAL, LECTIONARY, & GRADUAL, but it’s usually referred to as “The Jogues Missal.” This book is intended for the pews wherever Ordinary Form Masses are offered…

This missal is actually a part of a larger project for resources for the OF, including a hymnal due out sometime in 2018.

The second pew missal for the Ordinary Form is the Lumen Christi Missal.

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This is brought to you by Illuminare Publications and, if you click on the link, you’ll see that they actually have an entire  series of pew-friendly products. From the website:

The Lumen Christi Series helps parishes worship beautifully. It contains a variety of resources for the liturgical assembly, cantor, choir, and accompanist, and is aimed at assisting parishes in the work of gradually renewing and deepening their liturgical prayer…

With the Lumen Christi Series your parish can gradually renew its liturgical prayer and be empowered to go forth and transfigure the world with the Light of Christ.

Individually, the missals are currently priced at $28.95, bulk goes down to as low as $18.95.

A few years back, I purchased one of these missals and gave it as a gift to the priest who was my pastor at the time. The point was to give the gift, but also to illustrate what was out there in terms of beautiful and cost effective solutions to the “annual missal buy” problem (not to be confused with the “annual missile buy” problem, which is more of a Pentagon issue). At the time, pricing data indicated that any of these permanent missals would pay for themselves fairly quickly, usually within a year or two, depending, obviously, on volume purchased and the number of disposable missals no longer purchased. Be that as it may, either of these missals puts something in the pews that is reverent, accurate, and contributes to authentic liturgical renewal by bringing truly timeless beauty to the Mass. They are also, in and of themselves, a form of catechesis, and are just pretty to look at.


For the Extraordinary Form, the same folks at Corpus Christi Watershed who brought you the Jogues Missal for the Ordinary Form, we have the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal for the Traditional Latin Mass.


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From the website:

The Campion Missal & Hymnal (992 pages long) is the first of its kind. It is a pew book providing the faithful with everything they require to properly assist at the Traditional Latin Mass.

Some parishes buy many copies and put them in the pews or otherwise make them available for Mass, as is more or less the intent. However, many “Latin mass communities” are rather small, and exist as appendages to the parish. In these instances, what has happened is that the priest (or someone else) makes this information available to those interested, and the individual goes out and buys one for herself. Now, the pew missal is a little different from the usual daily missal folks purchase for themselves. The pew missal is much larger, thinner, and doesn’t have as much “backstory” about the liturgical year, feast days, necessary private prayers, and whatnot as you find in the personal missal. On the other hand, the pew missal is less expensive by roughly half. And, it does have everything you need plus all those great hymns. Prices and purchasing information are, of course, available from the website, but I have linked them for your convenience here. Please feel free to add this Missal to the list of Resources for Items for the Extraordinary Form.

So, there it is. For either the OF or the EF, bring beauty and elegant catechesis to your pews, help the budgetary bottom line, and keep the Lorax happy. What’s not to like?


*Noto bene: There really is a Mount Trashmore. It’s in Virginia Beach, VA, not too far from where we once lived. You can go sledding on it in winter, if it snows (it does down there, sometimes).