Oh what a relief!
I ordered six new missals--the book of prayers used at the altar by the priest for Mass--several months ago. At that time, the expectation was delivery in October. When October was almost out of days, I emailed Magnificat, and got a cryptic, worrying reply, to the effect of, we're looking for our delivery from the printers soon, then we'll ship them out as we can...
So as soon as I got word that the box had arrived, I scurried downstairs like a boy on Christmas day.
I invited the staff to "come see the new missals"; I ripped open the box, to find...
Those styrofoam peanuts--what do you do with those?
We cleared those out...another box. And inside there: our six, new, "chapel edition" missals.
In case you're wondering, the chapel editions are smaller and less expensive; I decided I would hold off investing in larger, more elegant missals, until I could see them for myself, and to wait and see how things shake out. For example, would there be printer's errors, in the rush to get things ready? Would there be second thoughts about how things were done, once we all started using the missals?
While I'm not complaining about the missals that arrived, I can already say I'm glad I did that. Having seen this missal, I can see features that I'm not sure I will prefer; now that all the publishers' missals are available for inspection, I will be able to make a better judgment.
OK, so what do I think about the new missal?
> It's a lot thicker; my assistant isn't sure it will fit in the Mass kit.
> The pages are thin; I wonder how that will work out for turning.
> This chapel edition gives me tabs to affix; they aren't very substantial so I don't expect them to last. I've affixed the tabs to one edition; I'm thinking about looking for tabs I can buy that might work better.
> There aren't enough tabs. As much as it pains me to say a good word about Catholic Book Publishing's outgoing "sacramentary," it did have a series of tabs for the Eucharistic prayers. This is helpful because it makes turning the pages much easier.
Also, this edition will involve more page-turning during the Eucharistic prayer, which is not ideal. I predict that the 2nd Eucharistic Prayer will get more use, because it involves the fewest page turns.
I will be interested to see, with the larger editions, if there are fewer page-turns.
> The artwork in this Magnificat edition is very good. It's simpler than in the higher-price "altar" edition, but there's nothing wrong with this artwork. It's one-color, but very pleasing to the eyes. Some of the other editions had jarring artwork that, when it combined black and red, seemed cartoonish.
> There is more music and that is good. I think some were hoping all the collects for Sundays would be notated for music, but in this edition they are not (are they in any missal?).
> The prayers are organized in some different ways, but so far I think it will work fine.
> I am not happy that Latin was omitted. It would cost about $400-500 to buy a Latin missal, and then it would be necessary to flip from one to the other, in order to offer Mass with the ordinary parts in Latin, but the proper parts in English--which is not only something envisioned by Vatican II, but a very sensible way to use both the vernacular and the Church's own language. I am planning to salvage the Latin pages from the old missals, and create a booklet for this purpose; but unless I have it bound, it will look flimsy and cheap on the altar.
> There are some prayers that have odd wording, and I wonder if anything can be done about it. I think the overall work is very good, a major improvement. Nevertheless, some things make me wonder: did native-English speakers carefully read--aloud--each of these prayers?
Here's an example, and perhaps someone can tell me, yes, this is proper English:
(for St. Bede, May 25...)
"O God, who bring light to your Church through the learning of the priest Saint Bede..."
Why shouldn't that be, "who brings..."
Is that the long-lost subjunctive mood? I'll have to look that up...
Here's one "For the Election or Enrollment of Names"--i.e., when those preparing for baptism at Easter are accepted, by the bishop, as Elect:
"O God, who though you ever the cause of the salvation of the human race now gladden your people with grace in still greater measure, look mercifully, we pray, upon your chosen ones..."
"Who though you"?
I am not working from the Latin, but I suspect it is trying to say something like:
"O God, you are already the only and ever cause of the salvation of the human race; and now you gladden your people with grace..." etc.
Or is it:
O God, who--although you are the cause..."?
I was trying to figure out how to chant it; then I had a happy realization: only the bishop offers this particular Mass! Let him figure it out!
> I was hoping that all the special "inserts" for the Eucharistic prayers--those that are usable when there is a baptism, or a marriage, for example--would all be placed with the Eucharistic prayer; but in this edition they aren't all, only some. This is actually no change from before; and it's understandable--as noted above, there are already a lot of page-turns, and this would make more. In short, there's no way to square the circle.
> The proper of saints seems to have more proper prayers and texts for the saints, which is good.
> A good change: the Gospel proclaimed at the beginning of Palm Sunday is included in the missal; this will make things easier for priests at that Mass. Good job!
> Some of the rubrics, I'm noticing, are clearer than I recall them being in the outgoing missal. For example, the rubric for the priest's gesture during the nuptial blessing was ambiguous: is he merely extending his hands upward, in the usual "orans" posture; or is he extending his hands over the couple? The latter, in the new missal.
Well, I could go on, but I'll stop there. I'm enjoying flipping through this! I'm glad they are here!