PRAYERCAzT 17: The Last Gospel – 1962 Missale Romanum

Welcome to another installment of What Does the Prayer Really Sound Like? 

In this project we will study the Last Gospel, the beginning of the Gospel of John, used at the end of Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum.  With a few exceptions, this is the last Gospel for almost all the days of the liturgucal year.  I will first read the Gospel at a deliberate pace.  Then we will hear a few of the harder words and phrases with time for you to repeat them.  Finally the whole gospel will be read at a more normal speed, as one would say it during Mass.

If priests who are learning to say the older form of Holy Mass can get these prayers in their ears, they will be able to pray them with more confidence. So, priests are my very first concern. 

However, these audio projects can be of great help to lay people who attend Holy Mass in the Traditional, or extraordinary form: by listening to them ahead of time, and becoming familiar with the sound of the before attending Mass, they will be more receptive to the content of the prayers and be aided in their full, conscious and active participation.

My pronunciation of Latin is going to betray something of my nationality, of course. Men who have as their mother tongue something other than English will sound a little different.  However, we are told that the standard for the pronunciation of Latin in church is the way it is spoken in Rome.  Since I have spent a lot of time in Rome, you can be pretty sure my accent will not be too far off the mark.

I deliver these readings at a slower pace than I would ordinarily during Mass.  But hopefully the pace will help you hear the words a little more clearly.

If this was useful to you, let your priest friends know this resource is available.  And kindly make a little donation using the donation button on the left side bar of the blog or or by clicking here.  This is a labor of love, but those donations really help.  And don’t forget to check out the PODCAzTs!

Pray for me, listen carefully, and practice practice practice.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. eweu says:

    Thank you, Father. Very useful.

    Why do priests insist on rambling through the Last Gospel, and many other parts of the Mass? Even though the Last Gospel is said in a low tone, the priest should say it as if he would stake his life on it. Read it, don’t just say it. The “speed reader” pace I usually hear it makes it sound like it’s just a rote part of Mass, and the priest would rather just get it over with.

    Fr. Z, I found your “deliberate” pace to be the pace that it should always be read.

  2. mike says:

    In the Mass I attended for the longest time everybody seemed to kneel at The Word Became Flesh. At my new parish the choir sings or organ plays during the Last Gospel and it seems we’re not expected to kneel with the priest. What ought to be the people’s proper posture here?


  3. Doug says:

    ALWAYS one should genuflect at “The Word became flesh”. Properly it should be on the right knee, which is reserved for God. The left knee is for one’s bishop when kneeling for a blessing in procession and when kissing episcopal the ring.

  4. Name (required) says:

    Fr. Z…or anyone,
    Could you give me a short catechesis on why this Last Gospel is read at the Mass? It seems a bit odd, after the “Ite, missa est” and final blessing, to then have more of the liturgy to follow.

  5. LeonG says:

    “…the priest should say it as if he would stake his life on it”

    As he is saying Holy Mass on behalf of his parishioners all Masses should be celebrated in this way. The Holy Mass is intolerant of sloppiness and rush. Slight accents do not matter provided delivery is clear, reverent & as close to Roman as possible. As a server, it is easy to tell when the priest is clock-watching and when he is immersed in the Holy Sacrifice. The congregation should behave in the same preferable manner. Mass in 13 minutes just will not do.

    Fr Zuhlsdorf, Padre Pio, St Pio of Pietrelcina, said The Holy Mass as it should be said. Even if you do not have the same visions he experienced during it which prolonged its duration, he explained that the earth could live without the sun more easily than without The Holy Mass. This should provide a good model. Life on earth depends on it. Also, the Last Gospel is a good antidote to evolutionism. It should be recited with purpose.

  6. Everyone: I appreciate the comments people are offering.

    I would offer a couple of my own – seeing that this is my blog o{]:¬) 

    First, the texts of Mass are actual language with meaning.  They are not a Tibetan mantra.  Latin is a real language.  When you know a language well, you speak it with a pace normal the the language.  Latin has a very strong and swift rhythm to it. It must.  Latin is inflected.  People who really know Latin work with Latin as a certain speed, so that it means something when spoken and heard.

    Second, many people are beautifully devout during Holy Mass and have wonderful legitimate aspirations.  At the same time, they may in their enthusiasm and with every good intention decide that they can tell a priest how to say Mass.  Priests and bishops should be very reluctant to tell a another priest how to say Mass.  This is one of the reasons why sometimes Catholics of a more traditional frame of mind can harm their opportunities for Mass celebrated with a more traditional style, or with the older Missal.

  7. Simonne says:

    What do you mean by the Last Gospel?

  8. Thomas says:

    I was raised an Episcopalian, and we always recited (all together) the Last Gospel and prayed the O Salutaris Hostia (in English) after Holy Communion. It’s a shame the Last gospel was eliminated from the new mass. I had it memorized in English when I was a youngster. It’s one of the things I now love in the Traditional Mass.

    Men who have as their mother tongue something other than English will sound a little different.

    Or maybe very different:

    It will be a long time before I forget a visiting priest who was from the South (US). His Latin was unforgettable, especially Dominus Vobiscum, in a deep Southern drawl.

  9. Thomas says:

    Last Gospel:

    See section V. Lots of information there as to its origin.

  10. matthew says:

    I am glad you recorded this, Father Z.

    How many people would like to hear other Prayercazt of the other parts of the mass (other than propers)?

  11. Asperity Ipswich says:

    As I slowly begin to learn to offer the Extraordinary Form, this a tremendous help.

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