A Catholic Missal Uses
The Douay-Rheims Bible Translation

Your favorite Catholic Missal will use the Douay-Rheims Bible whether it is a Sunday Missal or daily Missal. What sense does it make to use an old Mass with new Bible quotes? 

Being the first Biblical "thought for the day" book, the Missal has scripture readings for every day through the year.

  1. Traditional Missals.
  2. Out of print Missals.
  3. How to tell.
  4. Matters of trust.

On many days there are several choices for the daily readings (Proper of the Season or the Saints) depending whether the day is in a season like

  • Advent, 
  • Lent, or 
  • Paschal Tide; 
  • Or the date falls on Sunday; 
  • Or whether two saints share the same feast day. 
  • Each day has its Proper making the Missal the original "daily meditation book".

Latin Mass Missals help you follow the Mass and they sometimes explain the Liturgy. It usually has the main Catholic prayers. You can also learn about the holy days and the feast days. 

What's wonderful is that you can use these year after year as the traditional Liturgical Calendar does not change much. Certainly no figuring whether you're on Year A, B, or C.

A Missal is also an excellent Confirmation gift for those children who are old enough to have the responsibility of using such an important book, and for those who are entering the Church as adults.

If you're comparing Missals, you can find the widest selection at Amazon including the 1945 Fr. Lasance New Roman Catholic Missal, the 1962 Baronius and Angelus Missals. Each of them is a daily Missal and has the info you would want from a Sunday Missal (which is a subset of the daily).

Uses the 1945 calendar with some additions.

May use the 1970 calendar (ex: M. Cabrini)

Seems to use the 1962 calendar.



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You'll want to find a Catholic Missal that has a good translation of the Ordinary which is the daily part often found in the center of a Catholic Missal.

A clue to this is the translation used for the Judica me, the first prayer: "Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from a nation that is not holy". If the text reads otherwise, try to source whence it came. Hint: It's likely to be a CCD translation.

The Catholic Mass encompasses all the basic Catholic beliefs. "Lex orandi, Lex credendi." We believe what we pray, so it is important to buy a Missal that teaches what we believe.

There are so many old Missals that it is super hard to compare them all. Even in different editions of the same version there are many un-documented changes. At least you can cover the basics by determining which Bible was used and if the Ordinary prayers are good.

Now to add to this difficulty, try helping different children with different Missals! 'Kind of tricky....

1. Current Catholic Missals In Publication

A. Child's Missal - My Mass Book

A child's Missal often has a child's version of the Ordinary. 

What I like about My Mass Book as published by Neumann Press is that the one published in the 1990s had the exact same prayers as the adult's Missal.

  • It also has excellent pictures that show where the priest is on the altar. 
  • It explains some prayers in the Mass, 
  • Gives the usual prayers for Eucharistic devotion, 
  • And even the prayers for other Sacraments like 
  • The Baptism ceremony. 

You'll love this book as it skips the fluff through the book. I hope that the current editions remain the same.

My Mass Book is an excellent book for boys hoping to become altar servers because they can see what the priest and altar boys are doing in the pictures. During Mass the children often cannot see over the adults to see what is happening. These pictures help them see and follow the Mass.

You'll like giving the children a smaller book till the time when they can handle a larger "real" Missal and they are ready to read the text better.

One drawback is that My Mass Book can be a bit long lengthwise when shorter children are kneeling as it hits the pew in front of them; yet the better text is worth it for our family. Also, the pictures are fairly well spaced for matching the speed at which a priest goes through a Low Mass.

TAN Books now sells My Mass Book by Neumann Press at Amazon

The following Fr. Lasance Missal is an excellent Catholic book for children due to the wonderful pictures of the Mass.





B. Fr. Lasance New Roman Catholic Missal

The New Roman Missal by Fr. Lasance is a reprint of a 1945 Catholic Missal by Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance and has wonderful prayers in the back. Some of my favorite features are that it uses:

  • The Douay-Rheims version of both the Epistles and Gospels, etc.
  • Stories of the saints in the back. 
  • The complete Angel of God prayer.
  • Lovely versions of the prayers.
  • Clear pictures of the priest's movements at Mass.
  • Beautiful woodcut pictures for the main holy days and feast days.

You can buy the Lasance Missal at Amazon.

C. Angelus 1962 Catholic Daily Missal

Angelus Press' Catholic Missal also uses what used to be in the 1940s and 50s The New Marian Missal by Sylvester Juergens, S. M. The Angelus added the Kyriale in the back and is very similar to the Baronius (below).

  • Douay Epistles, Gospels, etc. 
  • Instructional notes before the readings. 
  • Kyriale included.
  • Beautiful wood cut style pictures for the main feast days.
  • Notes from the Imitation of Christ at the end of most Propers.
  • Some of the dates are from the 1970 calendar.

In comparison, I think that the current publication has a nice binding that makes it easier to handle at Mass.

Also, I would prefer that they put the English translation on the outside because it harder to read down in the spline of the book. Perhaps it is designed for priests and religious who may appreciate the Latin being easier to read.

More importantly, there are some rubrical notes in the first pages of the Mass and other changes compared to the 1947 Juergens version (see below):

  • The Angelus version removed the term "sacrifice" and replace it with the term "celebrate" or "celebration". 
  • In the concluding doxology "by Him" is changed to "through Him".
  • "Accept" is changed to "Receive" at the offering.

Anyway, these are just some things to consider when you're buying the Angelus 1962 Catholic Missal at Amazon.

D. Baronius Catholic Missal

The Baronius Press Catholic Missal uses a similar text as above. It is what used to be the New Marian Missal by Sylvester Juergens, S. M. Baronius also added the Kyriale in the back as the congregation had not join in singing the Liturgical hymns until the days of the Dialog Mass in the 1940s.

  • Douay Epistles, Gospels, etc. 
  • Kyriale in the back.
  • Instructional notes before the readings. 
  • Wood cut pictures for the main feast days.
  • Notes from the Imitation of Christ at the end of most Propers.
  • Some of the dates are from the 1970 calendar.
  • Added the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary and the Divine Mercy devotion.

One thing you'll really like is the soft thin ribbons as they are not so likely to cut your pages as quickly as the thicker ribbons.

You can buy the Baronius Missal at Amazon.

E. Missal Covers

You'll want to protect your investment in your Catholic Missal.

The Sisters who taught our children have always recommended that we put Missal covers on the children's Missals.

We are so glad that they did because our Missals are lasting through years of sometimes daily use. We all use a Missal cover. Here are my favorites:

  • Zippered Bible and Missal covers - Custom designed for your Bible, Liber, Missal, child's Missal, or any other book you treasure.
  • Genuine leather Missal covers - Shipped from England. You'll receive the VAT tax discount and can buy lovely rosary cases and ribbon markers. I love their best selling leather pocket oratories!


2. Old Catholic Missals - Oldies, But Goodies

If you find these old Catholic Missals online, or at bookstores, thrift shops, and yard sales; you'll be glad to know that they have the Douay Bible references, too. They're full of wonderful pictures, timely quotes, and descriptions of the Mass ceremonies.

These are getting harder to find every day, but you might be able to find them at a more discounted price than before the publishers began publishing Missals.

A. The Saint Andrew Daily Missal, 1945

The Saint Andrew Daily Missal from 1945 by Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, was a staple amongst traditional Catholics for many years until publishers began re-typesetting Missals in the 1990s. 

You'll love their guarantee for the sake of certitude:

"Please note, when we reprint a book, the content of the book is unchanged, it is printed exactly as it was when originally printed. The only change we make is the first page, which contains our publishing information."

Do beware that there are two versions of the St. Andrew's Missal:

  1. The St. Bonaventure uses the Douay-Rheims Bible in the readings while 
  2. The other uses the paraphrased Confraternity for Christian Doctrine version of the Bible (CCD).

The Missal in the pictures used the Douay translation, which is why it was so well trusted, and has:

  • Douay Epistles, Gospels, etc. 
  • Vespers and Kyriale in the back. (First hand Missal to include the Kyriale.)
  • Stories of the saints and feasts. 
  • Beautiful pictures for the larger feasts.
  • Some of the dates are from the 1970 calendar.
  • It has five colored bookmark ribbons and guilt edges.

You might prefer the newer Missals as there is a lot of page turning between Propers as not all of the Epistles and Gospels are spelled out for each day. This is very confusing for younger children and can be noisy in church. Not to mention that some of the feasts are different.

This is actually still in publication St. Bonaventure Publications at Libers.com.

B. The New Marian Missal, 1947 (1953 Imprimatur)

Here's an oldie but goodie: The New Marian Missal For Daily Mass was first published in 1947 and bears a 1953 Imprimatur by Frances Cardinal Spellman.

You might want to peruse the interior pages before you buy a Missal, so I have included pictures below. The first one is an old one and the others are currently in publication. You can click on the small Missal images to go to a gallery of large photos.

3. Discerning A Good Catholic Missal

A Catholic Missal uses the Douay Rheims Bible quotes.Douay Rheims Bible

Finding the best Catholic Missal can be a real trick since most publishers don't sell a variety of missals. They find a version they like, usually the best that they could find, and they print a reproduction of it.

Then they want to recoup their money. Are you choosy?

As long as they printed the prayers and readings intact there are two very easy litmus test questions to consider (there's no way to catch all the revisions, omissions, and insertions - someone would have to fess up or two would have to compare the texts. Thousands of pages.):

  1. A. Does the Missal use the Douay-Rheims Bible for the scripture readings? Meaning how does it "translate" Bible quotes like the Psalm 'Judica me' at the beginning of the Mass?
  2. B. Also, how does it word prayers such as "Adoro te devote" by St. Thomas Aquinas on the feast of Corpus Christi?
  3. C. Another big "red flag waving" is the artwork.

A. Douay-Rheims Bible Readings VS. Confraternity Missals

The Vulgate by St. Jerome is still the only "official" Catholic Bible. The Douay-Rheims version is the closest version in English and it's been in use for centuries now and was the only "version" till the 1930s and 40s.

There are many places where paraphrased Bible versions like the Confraternity version (Confraternity for Christian Doctrine, CCD) contradict or diminish the words' meanings in the readings from the Douay. Comparing Bible verses is a helpful test in finding a good Missal (or Lectionary for that matter).

  • During Advent St. John the Baptist insists that we do penance. Protestant and other versions use "Repent".

The Douay-Rheims Bible uses the word "man" in the classic manner meaning the universal "mankind" (which includes all those with an intellect or will: young or old, male or female, propertied or not, etc.).

  • Many paraphrased versions use unisex words. The CCD was a leader in this in the 1940s.

The Catechism of the Bible says that the Latin variation of a word should be retained in the Bible rather than an Anglicization, for example: 

  • multitude should have been retained instead of changed to crowd (a diminution in meaning as well), 
  • testament instead of covenant (one need not die for a covenant), 
  • adore instead of worship where one can hear the Latin sounds like adore when Father reads it from the altar, etc. 
  • This applies to many more words that are changed in other versions.

B. Catholic Missal Prayers

Judica Me

The easiest Bible verse to find is the first prayer of the Mass. Check it to compare.

  • Does the Judica Me ask "Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause..." 
  • Or does it command "Do me justice..." (or worse)?

If one can prove there is no change in meaning in the second, one cannot prove that the demeanor of it is more humble. The better translation retains the Catholic disposition in a petition and offers a better reading experience through the year.

Keep these thoughts in mind as you search the Missal prayers and weigh which has the better version. 

The Prayer before a Crucifix

Another Missal prayer to check is the The Prayer before a Crucifix. The Fr. Lasance Catholic Missal uses the better word contrition instead of repentance as found in some Missals.

Adoro Te Devote

The Adoro Te Devote by St. Thomas Aquinas as found on the Feast of Corpus Christi is another good place to look. Some versions use more sensual words in the prayers.

If the words of the prayers betray the sense of the Faith, beware the book.

This is one reason it is so important to learn the best Catholic answers to the catechism. We need to have a way to tell the good books from the bad and the catechism is the best place to start.

The catechism teaches the Apostle's Creed, the Sacraments, the Catholic Ten Commandments and the virtues. If the sense of a text concurs with these then you can have more certitude that the Missal teaches the Faith and prayers well.

C. Missal Artwork

Catholic Missal ArtworkA Catholic Missal uses beautiful art.

Many times a book that is published by a well financed institutional publisher uses poor artwork. Be on your guard. This is a red flag waving.

Haggard or ugly faces, magic-marker art, or indecent and unusual presentations that distort the Catholic message in the picture, usually indicate a lack of discernment on the publisher's part, or a deliberate misstatement about the Faith on someone's part.

I don't mean those publishers who are struggling to revive the Faith who in good faith did not know that there is a wealth of Catholic art now in the public domain.

It is well known that there are publishers who have purposely published bad books, and often times bad artwork is a red flag waving. A new trick since the turn of this century is to restore some Catholic elements while removing others.

4. What Makes A Catholic Missal Trustworthy?

A Catholic Missal uses

  • The Douay-Rheims Bible translation in the Propers and the Ordinary of the Mass
  • The prayers retain a sense of humble sacrifice to the Blessed Trinity. 
  • Beautiful prayers that are well worded.
  • And beautiful artwork. This is easy to scan for a general impression. 

These are the most important things to consider. Truth first.

Translations of prayers in a good Catholic Missal do have some room for legitimate variety, especially if the translator comes from a different country, for example: England, France, Germany or Spain.

You'll probably agree that there is no room for purposefully different "versions".

See my list of red-flag catechism sightings to see how "minor" revisions and omissions are not required by law to be marked or to have the copyright and publication information changed. In this day of easy electronic manipulation one needs to be able to compare against the standard of Catholic principles: truth, beauty, modesty (in words as well as in images).

Keep true Catholic principles in mind when you're searching for a Catholic Missal.

Then say a prayer to Saint Anthony. :-)

You'll find that the basic Catholic beliefs are easiest to find in the Baltimore Catechism and the easiest way to learn them are in such books as the old Baltimore Catechism No. 2, the Catechism Explained (which is an adult Baltimore Catechism), or the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

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Thank you for visiting Saint Anne's Helper!

~Mary

Uses the 1945 calendar with some additions.

May use the 1970 calendar (ex: M. Cabrini)

Seems to use the 1962 calendar.