On a Friday in August 2015, I was took a stroll through Runnymede Neighbourhood, Toronto and went into a Goodwill thrift store (now closed) on a “50% off everything in-store”. I went to the book department and looked through the shelves of the religious books section. Looking through, the shelves, I found a black book with a slipcase. I picked it up and took out the book and the title read, “Manual of Prayers“. I opened it and it seemed like the book has not been opened at all. The pages still looked new! The original price sold at the store was $5.05. However, as mentioned before, it was a 50% discount day and therefore, I only had to pay $2.50 for the prayer book (we no longer have pennies in Canada so it was rounded down to 50 cents).
The book itself seems to be of high quality. It has gilded edges and the pages are thick (not bible paper). Two ribbons are embedded into the spine of the book. I have taken a look at several books such as A Shorter Roman Ritual and Handbook of Prayers published by Midwest Theological Forum (MTF) while at Pauline Books and Media, Toronto and they all seem to be of high quality. I love how the Manual of Prayer has a genuine leather cover. It adds texture and quality to the book. In the information page of the book with the publisher and Imprimatur, the book is of the Third Edition, 1998. I assume they have a newer edition now as my cover only depicts the coat-of-arms of the Pontifical North American College, Rome (You may question why the College’s coat-of-arms is depicted on the cover. I’ll explain that soon!). The current edition (as depicted on the website) depicts both the coat-of-arms and the title Manual of Prayers.
The MTF states that the prayer book is “used by the students and faculty of the North American College in Rome”. That answers why there is the coat-of-arms on the cover of the prayer book.
The prayer book, “must-have for priests and seminarians” includes valuable prayers in English, Italian, Spanish and even Latin, the official language of the universal Church. However, it is great for use for the lay faithful too. There are prayers for the Liturgical Year, prayers for before, during and after Mass, a useful examination of conscience, meditations, morning and evening prayer, prayers to the saints, litanies and even some chant lyrics. There are three appendixes. The first appendix is called “Various Patron Saints”. This is one of my favourite features of the prayer book. It contains 7-pages of la list of patron saints of many occupations and organizations. The second appendix is of the Lenten Station Churches of Rome. The website of the Pontifical North American College has a page with a history of the practice of The Roman Station Liturgy during Lent. (Click here for more details). The final appendix is the yearly calendar of the College.
Title: Manual of Prayers
Publisher: Midwest Theological Forum & Pontifical North American College, Rome
Format: Print, genuine leather softcover book with gilded edges
Dimensions (approximate): 17 cm x 11 cm x 3 cm
- High quality book binding
- Genuine leather cover
- Two ribbons
- Convenient size
- Black and red type (red ink for titles, rubrics and illustrations and black ink for the text that should be said, similar to the Roman Missal)
- Very convenient size to slip into a briefcase or backpack
- Wide selection of prayers for all occasions
- Contains a list of patron saints in Appendix I
- Very simple Catholic line art that does not cause distraction
- Prayers in English, Spanish, Italian and even Latin
- Contains selected chants with English translation
- Clear readable font
- Book is difficult to lay flat (in the pictures, I hold the book flat)
- I would prefer more ribbons
- Retail price on MTF site is $40.00 USD, a bit expensive for Catholics who do not want to spend a lot on a prayer book
- The Order of Mass would be great to have in Manual of Prayers
On “The Catholic Man’s” Scale
The Manual of Prayers is one of the best English prayer books that I currently own. Even though I do not use it everyday like my Shorter Christian Prayer, it is such a great prayer book to turn to when I need a prayer for any occasion such as study or death of family member. The slipcase is great especially when I bring the prayer book for travel or Catholic Conferences. I only wish it contained the Order of Mass which would be quite convenient to follow along. I would recommend this prayer book to all Catholics who desires to build a stronger relationship with our Lord through the recitation of prayers and meditation (and also willing to invest $40 on this prayer book)!
If you would like to purchase Manual of Prayers, visit the MTF page to purchase it online. Or, you may check your local Catholic bookstore for a copy. The prayer book is available in black and burgundy leather covers.
*I really like books from the MTF due to their valuable content and great quality. I hope to review more of their books, especially their Daily Roman Missal. I hope to get a hold of one these to review on this site!