PREVIEW: a GREAT new publication from Angelus Press!


Every once in a while the nice folks at Angelus Press send me something to review.  For example, we have looked at their daily hand missal (which I see is on sale right now) and a spiffy little inexpensive intro booklet for people who want to know more about the pre-Conciliar form of Mass.

This time I get to preview something for you. 

They sent me a pdf of something they haven’t printed yet.  I hope they get to it soon, because it is very useful and well done.

"But Father! But Father!  Are you ever going to tell us what it is?  C’mon!  Spit it out!


You know, life at the Sabine Farm has its positives and its negatives.

One of the positives is the chapel.  One of the negatives is the chapel.

That is, one of the negatives is that I am pretty much the only one who cleans it and keep everything in order. 

That means doing all the linens.

I really hate ironing.  No… really… I do.

As a matter of fact I detest ironing.

Therefore, I am highly in favor of anything that will help other people learn how properly to iron purificators, corporals, amices… all that stuff.

Here is where I rapidly become a fan of the Angelus Press and their forthcoming (sound the trumpet):


Helpful Handbook to Laundering Liturgical Linens


So what if they are the publishing arm of the SSPX. 

They just might have expanded my pool of potential ironers! 

Seriously, this is going to be a very useful booklet in parishes far and wide, old Mass, new Mass, in union with Rome or not.  Very useful.

All the various common linens are presented with descriptions of what they are for and what they might mean, for example in the case of the symbolic meaning of the amice, a vestment the priest uses during Mass.

There are clear directions and also step by step drawings for how to fold the linens, which is very important, especially in the case of a corporal, which has the function of capturing particles of the Host which might have been missed.

Here is what we find on the contents page:

i Quick Reference Chart
ii The Purificator
iii The Corporal
iv The Pall
v The Lavabo Towel
vi The Amice
vii A Few Guidelines and Tips
viii Altar Linens
ix Glossary
ix Notes page

This little book provides a bit of direction for those ladies who are so generous
helping Holy Mother Church (and her sacristans) with laundering,
ironing, and mending.

What sort of thing might you find in "A Few Guidelines and Tips"?  Let’s see what they say about the hated ironing.

? There is a linen setting on most irons. If you have tough creases to remove, you
might try squirting a little water onto the crease or try the iron’s steam setting.
? The corporals call for heavy starch, but be careful with the spray-on starch.
If you saturate the cloth, the starch will flake when it dries (during Mass, the
celebrant scrapes the corporal with the paten; if the starch is flaky, it will mix in
with the Particles of the Sacred Host). To prevent this flaking, apply the starch
in thin layers and iron it in before the next layer is sprayed on.
? Keep all edges nice and square and crisp. Any strings such as those on the
amice should be pressed out flat. Lace also needs to be ironed out flat.
? If you find that your linens look “rumpled” or “wumpled” or kind of wrinkly no
matter how much you iron, you might try using a thinner ironing pad.

I will also give you a tip.  When washing Father’s amices, do not – I repeat – DO NOT just thrown them into the machine and start the cycle.  You must first tie up the long ties attached to the corners or YOU – WILL – BE – SORRY.  Another solution might be small mesh bags to wash them in.  Whatever your solution might be… be careful with the treacherous amice.

I have sent them a couple suggestions before they go to press.  For example, it might be helpful to talk about the wonderful custom of the priest first washing linens that come into contact with the Sacred Species and then pouring the water down the sacrarium before they go to be laundered.

There is a very good glossary toward the back.  Here are a few examples:


antemensium a “Greek corporal” which is used as a “portable altar stone”

gremial the cloth a bishop uses over his lap during confirmations

predella the top platform of the altar steps

At the end there is a good fervorino:

Be sure that any work you do for the chapel will redound to your
merit. We are meant to love the altar and everything that pertains to
it, and remember that even the smallest work or smallest detail does
not go unnoticed nor unrewarded by our beloved Master.

I think the word "chapel" in this reflects the SSPX origin.  A better way would be "chapel or church".

This should be available in July! 

I can hardly wait! 

I plan on giving out copies.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Sorry, Father, even if Angelus Press publishes completely orthodox (with a small “o”) books, I can’t patronize the publishing arm of an organization in questionable unity with the Holy See.

  2. That would make your book collection very small, John Enright. I’m sure most of the books in the Library of Congress were printed without any consideration to the Holy See.

    With all due respect sir, there are more important battles to fight than that one.

  3. Lois says:

    Father, try ironing those linens while they’re still damp. After they’re washed, roll them in a towel and let sit overnight; the next day they should be damp but not wet, and easily ironed. For the larger linens (altar cloths), iron both sides (start with the wrong side) with a bit of sizing or light spray starch, then let them sit or hang overnight, then press with a steam iron. This is all a bit more work, but the results are worth it!

  4. Shin says:

    Even the Vatican doesn’t follow Mr. Enright’s philosophy when publishing the Pope’s books.

    It’s an admirable but completely impossible sentiment in today’s world.

  5. Lois says:

    Father, try ironing the linens while they’re still damp. When you take them out of the washer, roll them up in a towel and let sit overnight. The next day they should be damp but not wet, and much more easily ironed. For the large linens (altar cloths), iron on both sides (start with the wrong side) with a bit of spray sizing or spray starch, then let them sit or hang overnight. The next day, press with a steam iron. It’s a bit more work to do them this way, but the results will be well worth the effort.

  6. Henrici says:

    John Enright: Hmm … Have you purchased any books from USCCB Publishing? Such as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) Including Adaptations for the Dioceses of the United States of America.

  7. Mary Jane says:

    Good luck to all of you ironing old-style linen out there. The “iron while damp” practice is the only way to go because the fabric will smooth faster, reducing your risk of scorching. I hope there’s a section on removing scorch marks as well. Just iron after the item has finished being spun in the washing machine. (If these have to be washed by hand, I suggest you consult a Carthusian.)

    And I would be thrilled to see the revival of serious altar guilds.

  8. Mary Jane: Don’t merely watch it happen, work for it to happen! If there is no altar guild where you are, talk to the priest and see if you can get one organized. It could be a real help!

  9. John Enright: I understand your position, but I think it is too rigid. I think we can indeed buy good books from Angelus Press.

    In the meantime, I hope for more easily identifiable unity between the SSPX and Rome, or at least from their priests and or bishops individually if the hard core will not budge.

  10. Grateful Girl says:

    Mary Jane: take a look at this link to our parish’s Altar Guild. It’s so good for our Church and all of the boys. I’m sure they would like to see this booklet by Angelus Press.
    For your viewing pleasure:

  11. Pistor says:

    Father, Does this book also detail how to iron and starch a traditional linen roman collar. I have several in a collection I’d love to use but I believe the traditional practice was to use powdered starch to get that absolutly “stiff as a board” feel. This type of starch is impossible to find. Ask if they’d include a section on this…

  12. Agnes B. Bullock says:

    I would use a zippered pillow cover for the dreaded amice- the holes in a mesh bag can cause pulling or catching of the fabric, and these bags always don;t stay closed properly-

  13. Mary Jane says:

    Where I live, it’s polyester, drip-dry, and those awful velcro closures. I do know one priest with very fine vestments, but he’s being transferred. The vestments will go with him.

    I also appear to be about 30 years too young for the ladies who tend the altar (and trust me, I’m no spring chicken). However, I will take Fr. Z’s advice and investigate the matter.

  14. Pistor: There is nothing in the booklet, at this point, about linen collars.

  15. Agnes: I would use a zippered pillow cover for the dreaded amice

    Great suggestion! Thanks!

  16. Jayna says:

    Mary Jane – I’m with you on feeling a little young for the altar guild. I’m pretty sure there’s not a single woman on the one in my parish younger than about 70. That’s not to say I haven’t offered to volunteer, but no such luck. Apparently 23 is way too young.

  17. Woody Jones says:

    I agree with Father on purchasing Angelus publications. And I would note that evidently the bookshop at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has no problem with stocking a few Angelus items as well (saw them there recently).

    I am not one who would like to throw around the “S” word, but in a sense one could say that relations with the SSPX is on the sociological level a bit like ecumenical relations generally, in that a sense of trust has to be built up between the two sides or you will never get anywhere. This is why it is so discouraging to see the reflexive shutting of minds about anything to do with SSPX. Or the Orthodox for that matter. I can absolutely guaranty you there will never be reunion or regularization if we on the Catholic side are more interested in proclaiming our own purity and exclusive title to truth than showing charity to our neighbors.

    And you will argue for “tough love”, and I will reply that in my experience that is a recipe for all tough and no love.

    As the ICK says, from Saint Francis de Sales, we must cook the truth in the milk of charity util it tastes sweet.

  18. Geoffrey says:

    I can agree with John Enright’s position because more than a few Angelus titles attack either the Ordinary Form of Mass, Vatican II, Pope John Paul II, etc. One book, “Christian Warfare”, actually lists attending the “Novus Ordo” as a sin that needs to be confessed in confession!

    However their reprinted publications can be safe. Caveat emptor!

  19. Fr. A. says:

    I can vouch for Fr. Z’s caution about throwing amices into the machine without preparation. I happened to do it with about 10 old dirty ones I found in the sacristy. Oh my! What a mess! But eventually I got it untangled. A kind angel from the altar society bought a device that is mesh and like a pillow case which I believe is used for delicate things. This has been a wonderful time saver.

    Here in Australia a very kind lady produced a little booklet for altar linen care in the 1990s. It has been an invaluable aid to our altar society. God bless them.

  20. QueenoftTahiti says:

    Reee! I know a few sacristans who will have a lovely stocking stuffer this year!

  21. Timothy Clint says:

    Hello Father,

    Sometimes one gets lucky and finds in the recesses of a junk store a mangle which is basically a spring loaded and heated set of cloth covered rolls which work extreamly well to press small Altar Linens. There is a motor attached to drive the rolls and pull the material through. You can even use it to iron the Altar Cloths but it takes real skill.


  22. Dion says:

    This is excellent from both Baronius and Angelus. I own the Baronius, but I would buy the Angelus as well if I could justify it. However, what I am seeking, both for myself and my (4) children, is a Sunday hand missal, preferably incorporating all the relevant feasts and holy days readings from the English speaking countries. I cannot afford another four $100 plus Daily Missals. When are the publishing houses going to offer a 1962 English/Latin Sunday Missal with all the feasts relevants to say USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the smaller countries? It would be much shorter than the Sunday Missals and would reach a greater audience. Not everyone wants, or needs, or has the the capacity (yet) to know every feast of the year. Let us walk before we run.

  23. Michael J says:

    Why must proclaiming truth be opposed to charity? While I disagree with John Enright’s choice of a subject of a boycott, I can certainly agree with and applaud his conviction. Its the same reason (I imagine) that I do not contrubute to the United Way. I know that I can earmark my donation for a specific cause, but I also know that, as an organization, the united way supports agencies such as planned parenthood.

  24. John Enright says:

    Fr. Z said “I understand your position, but I think it is too rigid. I think we can indeed buy good books from Angelus Press.” I take Father’s advise seriously, because I highly value his opinions. As a result, I have reevaluated my opinion about Angelus Press. I thank Father Z and all of the people who expressed an opinion. Hey, I’m only human!

  25. Pingback: Yet even more interesting links over at WDTPRS « ••• Welcome to the Jackass Trilogy •••

  26. Church Mouse says:

    I care for the linens at a large parish in Virginia. I bought this little booklet at Angelus Press to give to the sacristan and to a priest friend who celebrates the Traditional Mass. It is a great aid. Our parish has 23 Masses per week not counting the weddings and funerals. I bought an old, Ironrite rotary ironer (some might recoginze the name “mangle”)on Ebay for $100. It is a back-saver as you are seated while ironing. It totally flattens the seams..absolutely no puckering. Thanks for the suggestion of the booklet.

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