From the Pastor: More About Missals and Prayer Books
Last week I wrote about three Missals which are still being published today and used for the Traditional Latin Mass (the 1962 Missals from Angelus Press and Baronius Press and the Fr. Lasance 1945 Missal) plus one very simple-to-use English-only Missal (the 1963 or earlier St. Joseph Continuous Sunday Missal) that is not currently in print but can be found used online. There are other Missals available, though. I have on my shelf several small, pocket-sized Sunday Missals (that means that they don’t include any prayers or Scripture readings for the weekday Masses) that some of you might find handy. The first is titled, “My Sunday Missal explained by Father Stedman.” I actually have two different copies/versions of this small Missal. One is new and says on the cover “Larger type edition with new complete pulpit text of Epistles and Gospels.” Inside it claims to be “Two complete books in one. Complete Sunday Missal, all the Masses; Complete Novena Manual of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, all the novenas.” This is a reprint of the original 1938 Missal put out by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood but it doesn’t indicate who reprinted it and I don’t remember where I purchased it. I have a second, used, copy of the same Missal, which, though it doesn’t claim to be large print, has slightly larger print than the first one I just mentioned which makes that claim! This one claims to include “A simplified method of following the Mass” and also “A dialogue Mass.” Both books are basically the same. The “simplified” part means that they put numbers next to parts of the text where you have to flip to a different part of the book for the proper prayers and readings of the day. The “dialogue Mass” has an explanation that some people, like school children, want to do “Christian Action” so they are encouraged to say the parts of the Mass which are normally reserved for the altar boys. They put those responses in italics, assuming that the people who want to say words they don’t know wouldn’t know what words to say if not shown explicitly! Beyond that, it explains that “Sometimes another priest, or a public reader leads these responses in English, without any distraction to the Priest at the altar”! But it says that after stating that “The Dialogue Mass will keep you about three minutes longer than the regular Mass” which means that the “public leader” must be reading the responses more slowly than the priest and servers, so how that will not be a “distraction” is anyone’s guess. Without marketing it, the first book has the same italics and explanations as this one. They both have nearly identical prayers and novenas in the back pages of the book, too. I mention this because, if you are looking for one online, you probably cannot see it before buying it. Now that you know that they are basically interchangeable, if you want a tiny Missal you can just get the one in the best condition at the best price.
Although in describing Missals I mentioned my preference for Missals which include a good selection of prayers along with the actual Mass prayers, you may wish, instead, to get a prayer book with a Missal included. Nearly every old (pre-1964) prayer book includes a section for following the Mass. They only have the prayers and readings for Sundays and Holy Days, but if you cannot ever make it to daily Mass, one of these might be a good option for you. One big one which is still in print is titled, “Blessed be God.” I have a nice reprint of the 1925 version which, unfortunately again, does not include information on who reprinted it. But I do see that Preserving Christian Publications has a brand new version of this book which has a leather cover, which I find preferable to a hardcover for a Missal or prayerbook. Another great prayerbook is “A Manual of Prayers for the use of the Catholic Laity” which I have in the form of a great reprint from Roman Catholic Books (not currently available) under the title of “The Baltimore Book of Prayers.” This is an excellent prayer book and contains the Mass from 1889! You will find very few differences in the Missals of 1889, 1925, 1945, and 1962, so feel free to use any of the old Missals or prayer books you can find!
Cardinal Spellmans Prayerbook (1951, revised in 1955) is also a great prayerbook with a Sunday Missal. My copy is still very usable even though it was probably used regularly many decades ago. My version of the Catholic Extensionist Manual of Devotions (1931) is a pocket-sized and very worn book but is still quite a great prayer book for such a little thing. Lastly, I have a well-worn copy of the 1928 “Hail Holy Queen: A book of prayer and counsel for Catholic Girls and Women; the Roman Missal for Sundays” which, again, is an incredible prayer book plus Missal. Of course, the “counsel” this book gives to girls and women is far from politically correct today. Just one example: “A masculine woman is no less disgusting and repelling than a feminine man. Nobody wants to marry his own sex[!]”
These old prayer books (and there are countless others) put all the new ones to shame. Being used, most are fairly inexpensive when compared to a new Missal. So take your pick: A stand-alone Missal, a Missal/Prayerbook, or a Prayerbook/Missal. Whichever one works best for you!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Basics For Newcomers
We are growing at Epiphany! There are many new tongues sticking out at Communion time (that’s about all I see since I face Our Lord during most of the Mass instead of facing you!). “Newbies” often hesitate at the rail as they don’t know exactly what to do (kneel if physically possible, slightly tilt your head back and keep it still after opening your mouth and sticking out your tongue, keeping your hands out of the way of the paten which the altar boy will use to catch any stray Host or tiny Particles which may fall) or what to say (nothing at all, not even “amen”). I have written a bit more about the reception of Holy Communion in the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) twice over the summer (July 5 and August 16 if you want to go online and read them) as I faced more and more people coming from Novus Ordo Masses who tried sticking their hands out, or saying “amen” as I was already putting the Host on their tongue (or immediately afterwards, with Him already in their mouth!) or bowing their head just as my hand got close, touching the Host with their nose or forehead and nearly knocking It out of my hand). And, while this reminder is, perhaps, once again timely, I have also heard the need to explain a bit more than just how to receive Holy Communion. Today, let’s look at Missals.
For instance, several of you have emailed me asking where to get a Missal and how to use it (“how” will have to be tackled another time). Locally you can find a new one at St. Anthony Bookstore, owned by a parishioner (find the address on the back of the bulletin). Of course, you may also look in used book stores or online for an old Missal once used by someone long ago. If you need many copies for your family, this option will, though more time consuming, save you a lot of money! Just make sure to get one for the 1962 (or earlier) Mass or it will do you no good! Before you buy anything, though, read what I recently wrote to someone wondering what to do for his first trip to a TLM. “First, congratulations on strengthening your Catholic Faith! Many people are finding that the "old ways" which have stood the test of time are worthy of dusting off and exploring once again. The Traditional Latin Mass converted the whole world without anyone knowing Latin or, for most of its history, having a written Missal to read, with Latin on one side and their own language on the other. They just experienced the Perfect Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross being made present once again, though in an unbloody manner, at Mass. They worshipped and adored Him Who died for their sins. I suggest that you do that very thing. If you wish, you may read the readings and prayers of the Mass at divinumofficium.com (scroll down on the first page of our parish website to find it) before coming but then, once here, simply watch and become enthralled with the solemnity and reverence of the Mass. You can bring your own Missal if you wish (ours are not out for use due to covid), but when you are new to the Mass, you will probably be lost and spend all of your time with your eyes on the book and you will miss most of the Mass. Later, after you get used to the Mass, you can ask anyone around you to help you find your way through the Missal. Don't worry about being the only one who is lost. Every one of the people around you was lost when they first discovered the TLM, too, including yours truly! Just be sure to not sit in the front pew, since you won't know when to sit, stand and kneel without being able to watch the people in front of you!”
I also wrote the following to a new parishioner asking about “which Missal is best.” “I like the Angelus Press 1962 Missal. It is also a great prayer book. The downside is that if a reading is printed for one feast day and used again on another, they don't print it again but rather tell you to turn to where it is printed elsewhere, making it a pain when there are multiple page turns. The Baronius Press 1962 Missal is about the same but is not as complete a prayer book. The Fr. Lasance 1945 Missal prints out all the readings where they are needed, so there are fewer ribbons needed to switch pages from one part to the other and it is thicker due to more pages being needed. But it is not nearly as good a prayer book, just a good Missal. Most of the Masses will be the same even though it is decades older, except for Holy Week and any newer saints. All three of those Missals have all of the Masses for weekdays as well as Sundays. But if you want a "Sunday Mass Missal for Dummies" type of Missal, find a used St. Joseph Continuous Sunday Missal. It does not have any weekday Masses in it but on Sundays everything is printed page by page exactly as you need it. Everything. Just turn the pages like a regular book all the way through the Mass. Just be sure to get one that is 1963 (the last printing of the old Missal) or earlier or it will not match up with the Mass.”
There are some of the basics. Perhaps I will write more in the following weeks.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Demonic Political Party Stances
Quite a few years back I wrote an article that I reprint during election cycles. It deals with political parties (note: without mentioning any in particular) and their members/voters. In the article I did not tell anyone who to vote for or against, yet in the past some were offended that I warned them of eternal consequences awaiting those who purposefully choose to support any party which champions intrinsic evil. So be it. Better to offend while teaching the Truth and perhaps saving souls than to make people feel good about voting/supporting their way to eternal damnation. The mainstream media is fully on board with many intrinsic evils and therefore skews news in a terribly partisan manner while still laughably claiming journalistic integrity, independence, and neutrality. Many prominent Catholic clergy have time and again proven themselves to be either faithless or too wimpy to address the “tough” issues. Social media moguls outright censor information they disagree with. You may, therefore, be “gaslighted” into thinking you are crazy if you actually (gasp) believe and act on real Catholic moral teaching. I want to assure you that the real crazies are those who think that they can turn their back on God’s commands and still please Him (or outfox him or at least be ignored by him) and get to Heaven by bypassing Him. Anyway, here is the article, which is as valid now as ever.
There are some businesses and “social organizations” that hold values so contrary to the Catholic Faith that no Catholic may belong to them. Such organizations could, perhaps, hold to other morally acceptable tenets and might even do some very good work but the evils they hold simply cannot be overlooked on account of the good. Along with that reality comes the logical correlation that if any member of such an organization were running for any public office, from dog catcher to mayor or even further up the scale, no Catholic may, with right conscience, vote for him/her, given other options.
A business example is Planned Parenthood. Many worldly people gush at the supposed “good” PP does while distributing cheap contraceptives and aborting babies but no Catholic could ever volunteer at or be employed by PP without cooperating in those mortal sins. Nor could any Catholic vote for, in any election or for any office, a PP employee or staunch supporter for the same reason, if there is an opponent who does not embrace intrinsic evil.
An example of a “social organization” of this ilk is the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK promotes hatred of Catholics, Jews, and Blacks. No Catholic could possibly claim membership in such a club nor could any Catholic vote for a member of the KKK if one were running for any political office, even if the member was a well-known philanthropist. Should a Catholic join the Klan with the explanation, “Well, I don’t agree with their stand on certain matters but they are a bunch of good guys most of the time with whom I simply enjoy getting together and sharing a few laughs. I leave the meetings when they go on a lynching so they know where I stand on that,” nobody would buy it. A Catholic would have to basically renounce his faith to either become a Klan member or support a Klan member in an election. It would not matter what his “conscience” told him or how much he “prayed” on it.
Whether brand new or generations old, if the organization’s charter puts it directly at odds with morality, especially if it officially endorses intrinsic evil, no Catholic should ever voluntarily become or remain a member once they understand what evil the organization holds out to be a “good.” Furthermore, no Catholic could, in good conscience, support a member of such a club or business in an election if a rival candidate, even if not preferable in areas open to prudential judgment, could be found who did not endorse intrinsic evil. Because this seems to me to be so very clear, it baffles me that seemingly nobody in authority in the Catholic Church will tell Catholics that same truth when it comes to organizations that are much more powerful than mere social clubs or even influential businesses: political parties.
If the Knights of Columbus, a well established Catholic organization, wrote a new platform promoting embryonic stem cell research, homosexual “marriage” and abortion, no matter what else was in their charter, and regardless of their stellar past history, no priest or bishop would hesitate to tell all Catholic men to renounce their membership immediately and forbid any Catholic from joining the group, for their very souls would be in grave danger. Yet political parties have vastly more importance in the lives of us all than the K of C. How any Catholic can even belong to a political party whose platform currently holds out as “good” those just-mentioned grave evils is beyond my understanding. How any Catholic can justify supporting any candidate who belongs to such a political party is as bewildering as a Catholic supporting a KKK member or a PP director. Those who participate in or cooperate with mortal sin and die unrepentant do not go to Heaven but rather face “the eternal death of hell” (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, especially paragraphs 1852-1869). All other political positions and means for achieving peace, prosperity, and the common good are for nought if salvation is lost. For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? Pray for the conversion of politicians and voters and for holy boldness among the clergy.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Our Lady of Good Health
This coming Tuesday, September 8, a day on which both the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass liturgical calendars are in sync (although the prayers and scripture readings differ), is the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Logically enough, the celebration of her birth falls nine months after the celebration of her Immaculate Conception on December 8. This same date is also a special feast on a local Catholic liturgical calendar in India. It is the feast of Our Lady of Good Health.
I had never heard of the apparition of Our Lady under this title until sometime around 2012 when a holy Religious Sister from India introduced me to it. I have worn a medal of Our Lady of Good Health ever since and I call on her for protection against colds, flu, and now the covid virus. She has blessed me with such graces of health that I have never since been too sick to celebrate Mass, a good thing since I have not had an associate pastor during all this time! The internet can reveal more information than I can give here but I will give you a short version of the apparition to whet your appetite. I will shamelessly copy and paste directly from the website of the church of the apparition, velankannichurch.com.
Sometime during the sixteenth century, Our Lady with her infant son appeared to a Hindu boy carrying milk to a customer’s home. While he rested under a Banyan tree near a tank (pond), Our Lady appeared to him and asked for milk for her Son and the boy gave her some. On reaching the customer’s home, the boy apologized for his lateness and the reduced amount of milk by relating the incident that occurred on his way. On inspection, the man found the milk pot to be full and realized that something miraculous had happened. That man, also a Hindu, wanting to see the place where the apparition occurred, accompanied the boy. When they reached the tank, Our Lady appeared once again. On learning that it was Our Lady who appeared to the boy, the residents of the local Catholic community became ecstatic. The tank where the apparition took place is called "Matha Kulam" or Our Lady’s tank.
Some years later Our Lady appeared again. This time to a crippled boy who was selling buttermilk near a public square on the outskirts of the same village of Vailankanni. She asked him for buttermilk for her infant Son and the boy complied. Our Lady asked the boy to inform a certain wealthy Catholic man in the nearby town of Nagapattinam of her appearance. Not realizing that his crippled leg was miraculously cured by Our Lady, the boy rose up and began his journey. The man also had a vision the previous night in which Our Lady asked him to build a chapel for her. Together, the man and the boy returned to the site of the miracle.
This time Our Lady appeared to both. The man erected a thatched chapel for Our Lady at the site of Her second appearance. This chapel became a holy place of veneration to Our Blessed mother and She was called henceforth, Mother of Good Health ("Arokia Matha").
A few years later, Our Merciful Mother rescued a few Portuguese merchant sailors from a violent storm, which wrecked their ship. When the merchants reached the shore of Vailankanni they were taken by local fisherman to the thatched chapel. To give thanks and pay tribute to Our Lady, they built a small permanent chapel on their return trip. On subsequent visits they improved on it. The merchants dedicated the chapel to Our Lady on September 8th to celebrate the feast of her nativity and to mark the date of their safe landing to Vailankanni.
If you go to the above-mentioned website you will find much more information about the feast (the celebration actually starts August 29 and continues through the actual feast day). You can also see the chronology of the church building as it progressed from a tiny little chapel to a majestic shrine basilica. A novena to Our Lady of Velankanni (as She is also known), photos, prayer requests and personal testimonies are also just a click away. Strangely (or not?), not a word of covid is mentioned on the site.
The following day, September 9, another beautiful feast, though not on any liturgical calendar whatsoever, is celebrated in both Novus Ordo and Traditional Latin Mass parishes, namely, “Buy a Priest a Beer Day.” Notice that it is not called, “Buy your own Priest a Beer Day”, so feel free to buy one for just about any priest you wish. I would bet that even the Eastern Rite priests you know would appreciate you dropping off a beer or quaffing (a word I seldom get to use) one with them. If you buy one for a Traditional priest, I suggest a full-bodied, flavorful dark beer such as a stout or porter, whereas for a Novus Ordo priest a more fitting choice might be something light and fruity. (Chuckle or wince or groan, whichever you prefer!)
Along similar lines, remember, men, that the Holy League is resuming our “2nd and 4th Thursdays” meeting schedule the day after that, on Thursday, September 10, at 6:00 pm. Come for some manly prayers, catechesis, and camaraderie. If any of you don’t know what this is, just come and find out, even if you will be running late after work.
Holy Mary, Our Lady of Good Health, Our Lady of Velankanni, pray for us.
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka