Sunday, April 3, 2011

Missalettes

I've mentioned this before I think, but I was struck by the absurdity of it again this week. At Mass today, a Novus Ordo in English, I looked around and like half the congregation were following along with the Scripture readings and Prayers out of the missalette. Like I said, this was an English Mass. There were microphones, and everything was clearly enunciated; there was no problem with mumbling. No, people just...were obsessively following along in books. Which always makes me wonder, wasn't the whole point of putting in the vernacular so that this wouldn't be the case? So that people could listen and "understand" and "actively participate" without needing hand missals? If they're all going to follow along in books anyway, why couldn't we have more of it in Latin then?

I do think missalettes are more user friendly than hand-missals, however. Yes, hand-missals contain everything and thus can be used practically forever...but it requires knowing your way around a hand missal, which learning curve is just enough of a barrier to entry for most people. Yearly or quarterly missalettes that put all the parts for Sundays and major feasts together in one place according as all the different cycles interlock from year to year, might be quite an investment to buy the subscription, but they'd make things much easier for people, I think. If there were Old Rite missalettes (and maybe they could have parts of the Office too!) in the pews I think newcomers would find it easier to follow along at the traditional Mass.

2 comments:

Mark of the Vineyard said...

At our chapel we have missalettes with the Ordinary of the Gregorian Mass for the new comers (which, sadly, are rare).

Who Am I said...

The vernacularization of The Liturgy at least in the context of The US in my opinion was meant to bridge another gap. Namely the chasm of National Parishes that had taken root. So whereas before you had TRMs in Latin with whatever the language of the immigrant community might be, the near total vernacularization was meant in part to bring these people together as Americans. The problem is, that hasn't necessarily been successful everywhere. The immigrant language Masses have ALWAYS existed in The US, worshiping together as AMERICANS however is relatively recent. I'm not saying that began in The 60's, but rather that the transition from being say Polish-American to American of Polish descent hasn't exactly stuck. How then are people meant to worship together as a collective group of American Catholics when community can't even be created in the context of vernacular Masses. Are we all doomed to just live and worship in our Eclessial ghettoes in the way of The Orthodox ?