The Mass III: Necessary Items

Resources for Items for the Extraordinary Form

So: your parish is going to offer a Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Congratulations!! And, a hearty thank you directly to your priest!! Your priest has learned/is learning/plans to learn the EF, and he, and you, are excited, no, absolutely pumped about re-introducing to the parish a form of the Mass which would be recognizable to all those millions of Catholics from all around the world who came before us. It will, in addition to giving glory to God, help us relearn our Catholic heritage, help catechize us, and help tie us to those who came before us. All that, and it’s a beautiful weekly retreat away from the increasingly raucous and dreary world into the quiet, contemplative presence of God.

Well, maybe that happy little imagined scene isn’t happening every day (or week or year or..) here in the Diocese of good ole’ Portland, Maine, but it has happened, and it will happen again. I’m sure of it. So, be of good cheer. One day it might really be your parish, your priest getting ready to unleash the power of the Extraordinary Form. And you’ll be there, ready to help him with a particular problem which will come up right away: It’s been almost fifty years since the usus antiquor - old use – Rite has been said in your church building. All the sanctuary items: altar Missal, altar cards, all kinds of things, were long ago loaded into the U-Haul truck along with the altar rails and parts of (or, all of) the high altar, and taken to that guv’mint warehouse you saw at the very end of the first Indiana Jones movie. What to do?

Lucky for us, there are some great resources out there. Although this little post is by no means a complete list, it is offered as a place to begin. So, let’s begin:

Treasure and Tradition: the Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass. Recommended for priests, laity, anyone who wants an introduction to the Mass. Offered through St. Augustine Academy Press with a hat tip to Fr. Zuhlsdorf. Of interest, the question which prompted the post was from a parishioner whose priest didn’t want to learn the OF (not yet, anyway), but wanted to learn about   it. Kudos to that priest who is willing to learn, and it is also a comment on our time that there are priests (I personally know several) for who the EF is completely alien, so weird and different that they can’t even imagine it. What a change 48 years has wrought. Anyway...

Biretta Books is the store for Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago. If you go to the BB homepage, you’ll see links to tons of stuff. For example,

The Traditional Latin Mass link has a bunch of tabs. "For the Priest" takes you to three full pages of pretty much everything you can think of: Altar Cards; Mass "Cheat Sheet" card (yes, that’s what they call it – “An invaluable assistance to priests learning the 1962 Missale Romanum.” What’s not to like?); "Mastering the Rubrics of the 1962 Missal" (their “most popular booklet ever – intended for seminarians and priests”); Rite of Confession (Handy Business Card Size), and laminated, to boot; and a bunch of other things too numerous to mention.

If laity are involved in the effort to get the EF off the ground, a nice, thoughtful gift for Father (who is, after all, the one who is willing to say the Mass) – as well as a great way to say “Thank you!” might be the Missal Romanum 1962 - Classic Size (there’s a handy "Travel Size" version as well) and maybe, maybe even a biretta (if he doesn’t already own one).

Noto bene: Some of this stuff, particularly the altar cards, “cheat sheets, and birettas, make great gifts for any seminarians you may know!

For Altar Servers (we’re still with Biretta Books) there are Server's Mass Response Cards . You should have several of these, at least as many as you have servers. How to Serve Low Mass you should have several of, as well. Back when we were in a parish that regularly trained altar boys, the parish was willing to loan them out. Then there’s How to Serve at the Altar, which is another booklet, more expensive but that’s because it comes with an audio CD and server altar cards. It is quite common for older boys and men to be servers; for these there are the Missa in Cantu & Missa Lecta Audio CDs and Workbook Set. Again, this is more expensive, but the parish could own one or two and lend out as necessary.

There’re several other tabs at BB: "For the Sacristan", "For the Choir", "For the Faithful". In particular, the Latin-English Booklet Missal is the little red book generally found in the pews in parishes offering the EF.

There’s lots of other stuff at BB, click through the various tabs. Before we leave the good people at St. John Cantius, though, let me mention one more item of interest: Workshops for Priests, Deacons and Lay faithful.  If you can’t get to the workshop, there’s Sancta Missa (also St. John Cantius) with an On Line Tutorial for Priests including a video. ‘Nuff said.

Leaving the Canons Regular, next up we have Coalition Ecclesia Dei. Like the Canons regular, they have all the necessary items to get you going in terms of Altar Cards, instructional DVDs, the Latin-English pew Missals (the little red books) and so forth. They also have Directories of Latin Masses, and demographic data. There’s some overlap with the Canons Regular, but CR has vestments and sanctuary items which C.E.D. doesn’t have.

The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) has some items as well. Fraternity Publications has a Training Material tab on the left hand side. As at the other sites, there’s lot of material, with some overlap with the other sites I’ve mentioned. But they do offer a Complete Kit (with a FREE GIFT!) and The Essentials Kit, both of which seem to be pretty good values (lots of stuff for not a lot of dollars). The FSSP trains seminarians and has parishes, of course, and that’s how most of us think of them. But they also have a mission, like the Canons Regular, of helping already ordained priests and seminarians in “Novus ordo” (for lack of a better term) seminaries learn the Extraordinary Form. Thus, the FSSP, like the Canons, offer a Training Workshop

Since Latin can be the biggest hurdle for both the priest and the altar server, there’re lots of pronunciation guides, many associated with the training items I’ve already listed. But there’s another item offered through Fraternity Publications: Let's Read Latin. I have no experience with this, but it looks good. And, if you really want to learn Latin, awhile back I put up a post with several resources for learning Latin. There are many more resources to learn Latin out there besides those I’ve listed. (By the way, for those of us of an age where the brain is beginning to disintegrate, I find that learning Latin, besides just being sort of fun in an occasionally self-flagellating sort of way, seems to help slow down the mental crumbling…)

Other resources: New Liturgical Movement. They don’t sell anything, but they have a lot of information and commentary on the EF. Published last summer on The Liturgy Guy is One Priest's View on the Vocations Crisis. I believe there’s a lot to this. In addition to these, there’s other interesting links on the Una voce Links page.

Last, and locally, there’s Una voce Maine. Awhile back, I did a little post on Service at the Altar, based mostly on my own experiences over the years, in different settings, which is relevant to any parish that wants serious, well trained altar servers, whether EF or OF.

So, let’s get this beautiful Rite out of the warehouse!!

Curate, ut valeatis. (Take care, that you may be well.)

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