by Fr CLIFFORD HOWELL, SJ
The Weekday Missal (Collins £6.50; dc luxe £9)
After a couple of hours spent paging through this missal, "Following" (by finding all the needed places) several different kinds of Mass which might be celebrated on a weekday, I am well impressed with it.
The editor was confronted with a formidable task of arranging what texts should be included, and how and where they should be printed. This meant bringing together almost every item in the Roman Missal and a large proportion of the Lectionary, and then. integrating them into one single book so arranged that its use would not be impossibly complicated.
Because both Missal and Lectionary contain so many options it is quite impossible to produce anything as compact and as easy to use as the preConciliar hand-missals used to be. In this book the far richer abundance of the Revised Liturgy has in fact been brought into one volume not much thicker or heavier than the missals of days gone by — an astonishing achievement.
In my opinion the arrangement is just about as good as it could be, given the complications which have to be faced. The book is well printed on good paper, and is handsome in appearance. The most used section (Order of Mass) is sensibly placed near the middle of the volume — the position which enables it to lie open most easily.
Personally I do not like the illustrations — a collection of deliberately misaligned letters of different sizes and styles, some thick, some thin, compressed between silhouettes of people and various objects; but no doubt there are those who will like that sort of thing. Buyers must judge for themselves.
The book includes a very full collection of Votive and Ritual Masses, and also whatever is "Proper" for saints venelated in England, Wales, Scodand and Ireland, in addition to those of the Universal Church.
Intending buyers Must, however, recognise that the use of this missal is not going to be without difficulties. No missal that can be used year after year can henceforth be easy to use. Any "simple missal" cannot be other than one published serially in parts covering a few months of the current year; each part goes out of date cannot be used again next year, and has to be replaced by the next part. If you insist on real ease in use, you have to pay for it by purchasing a new missal every few months, year after year — a considerable expense. This missal is a "once-for-all" purchase; having bought it and learned to use it, you are equipped for life.
But note also: you are equipped only for weekdays. It does not contain the Sunday readings of the three-year cycle. You could indeed use it on Sundays provided you are content merely to listen to the readings without "following" them in print. For it does contain the rest of the Sunday Propers they are often needed for Feria! Masses. To be fully equipped for all occasions you need both this Weekday Missal and also the Sunday