REVIEW: Reprint of The Layman’s Missal

I received by mail a book from The Continuum Publishing Group of London who have reprinted The Layman’s Missal and Prayer Book originally printed by Burns & Oates.

This is very compact volume which has the texts for Holy Mass and for other sacraments as well as Vespers for feasts.  There are indices of for the readings and hymns, which makes it useful.

It was updated to include the new form of the Good Friday prayer for Jews imposed on the 1962 Missale Romanum by Pope Benedict XVI.

It is leather bound and has three ribbons.

There are some drawbacks.

First the volume as a very tight binding, so much so that after I opened it, it stayed partly open.  It will probably loosen up at bit.  But the text margin is close to the binding.

Also, this is a printing of the pre-1962 Missale Romanum, which is clear from the lack of St. Joseph in the Roman Canon.  A small detail which most people can easily deal with.

While this book follows the pre-Conciliar calendar, when it comes to the table of movable feasts, the original table was printed. 

Thus you can readily check when the date of Easter fell, for example, up until 1980.   I don’t know what problems they might have had with the reprint, but if they updated the Good Friday prayer for Jews, why on earth didn’t they update the table for movable feasts? 

I am scratching my head over that.  

The main advantage to this book is is great portability.


Buy it also on Amazon for less.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Well, another good advantage to this book would be the cost ;) I don’t know how much missals cost in the UK, but the $60 over here isn’t very cheap.

    However, in my case I got a used old missal in perfect condition off Abebooks :)

  2. Bob K. says:

    Did you send them a letter Father of your review. Maybe they could implement the fixes in future production.

  3. Breier says:

    What a deal! It’s available for $18.95 on Amazon.

  4. Demerzel says:

    Hmm… I wonder what the size of the missal is. And while 1512 pages doesnt strike me as that compact, what is included is pretty good. Does this missal used Msgr Ronald Knox’s translation?

  5. Tony from Oz says:


    Am I the only one who is not particularly taken by Knox’s translations of the propers? The Introits in particular come to mind. For example, Knox translates \”Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi in domum Domini ibimus..\” as \’Welcome sound when I heard them saying/We will go into the Lord\’s house\”

    I mean – I know that Knox wants to capture the spirit of the psalm – but in this instance, and in many others – he translates some words which are simply not there to be translated. A dangerous translation principle later well trodden by the Bugninists and modernists. Why not just \”I rejoiced etc…\”?

    So that is a small but irritating downside to purchasing this missal – at least for those of us who know enough latin to spot such freelancing translations!

  6. catholic says:

    Why did they move the date of Easter?

  7. leo says:

    is there a clear answer to the question of why johnxxiii added st joseph’s name , either its a pious response to a worldwide campaign that had its roots in the devotion to the saint in canada or it was a sign that the roman canon was not immutable and that the liturgy could be changed ?

  8. Demerzel says:

    Tony from Oz:

    Well personally I don’t really like the Knox translation, that why I’m asking ;) On the otherhand, I do have a small collection of hand missals, so I am tempted to still add to it.

  9. Thorfinn says:

    In the early 1960’s I purchased an original of this Missal, published by Helicon Press in 1962. It was printed & bound in Belgium. It has always been my favorite hand missal, mainly because it is indeed very portable but also has many useful features such as traditional language prayers & devotions, & text of sacraments. I think a hand missal is a good place to use the Knox translation, which not everyone likes nor does everyone dislike. Some office hymn translation are Walter Shewring’s, & quite fine. I am glad to see this republished because I have enjoyed mine so much over the years. No one missal will ever satisfy everyone so let’s be glad there are several being published today.

  10. “Comment by Thorfinn — 19 March 2009 @ 5:22 am”

    I have an original Helicon Press from ’62 myself. It includes the rubrical changes from 1960/61. I believe it includes St Joseph’s name in the Canon. It’s a very attractive missal, but the English translation is clumsy. “Et cum spiritu tuo” is rendered as “And with you also.”

    Now who would ever go for something like that, I ask you?

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