FAQs About the Missal

Blood of ChristWhat is a Missal?
When we talk about a Missal we are generally talking about one of two books:

  • the Roman Missal the official liturgical book which contains the texts prayed by priest and people at every celebration of Mass.
  • a Sunday or Weekday Missal which is a compilation of texts from the Missal (the prayers) and the Lectionary (the readings) brought together to assist people’s participation in the Mass.

Slightly confusingly there is a third definition for the Missal in the Roman Liturgy which is the overall volume or section of the liturgical rites. The Roman Missal covers the liturgical books used at Mass: the Missal and the Lectionary. In some countries in the past they have used the term Sacramentary to distinguish between the two uses but the Holy See have asked that the title Roman Missal be kept.

What is different in the 3rd edition?
The 3rd edition of Latin Missale Romanum was published in 2002. The number of changes since the 1st or 2nd editions is not large. Indeed, it is worth remembering that the structure of the Mass we celebrate every day remains the same. The 2nd Latin edition was published in 1975 so the new Missal incorporates additions which have been made since then: Saints who have been added to the Universal Calendar, texts from liturgical rites which have been published since then. One example might be Eucharistic Prayers. The 2002 Missale Romanum was the first Latin edition to include the Eucharistic Prayers for Reconciliation and those for Masses for Various Needs and Occasions — and so, they will be included in the new English edition.

What about the readings?
The readings we hear proclaimed at every Mass are not part of the new translation of Missal and so our current Lectionary remains the same both the selection of readings and the scripture version.

A new publication of the Lectionary is in preparation. The selection of readings will remain the same but the text will be drawn from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible and the Grail Psalter. Both of these translations however have to be considered in the light of Liturgiam Authenticam. There is no date yet for the new publication of the Lectionary.