St. Joseph Sunday Missals, from what I see, are the most commonly bought and used hand Missals used by Canadian Catholics weekly, likely because there are only two missal options, the St. Joseph one or the Living with Christ. Some prefer a Missalette monthly subscription by Living with Christ or the Word Among Us. I am jealous of American Catholics since they have a wider variety of Missals to choose from. (The Catholic Church in Canada uses different Lectionary translation from the United States.)
For me, St. Joseph Sunday Missal is still by far my most favourite Canadian missal. This year, Catholic Book Publishing Corp. sent me several complimentary copies of their 2018 Sunday Missal, some I distributed to youth leaders at my parish. Prior, I have bought one of their Sunday Missals once (in June at a discounted price… but I was to follow the Lectionary for half a year!) But I have encountered St. Joseph Sunday Missals at several parishes and even old copies at thrift stores.
Hand missals have been a great tool for the congregation attending Mass, especially before the reforms of Liturgy since not many people understood Latin. It seems like Catholic Book Publishing Corp. has been around for a long time. Just go on EBay and do a search for St. Joseph Daily Missal and you will see a variety of Pre-Vatican II hand Missals (in which I have tried to get a hold of one). Yet, the role of missals for the congregation has been greater since Vatican II as a tool for people to actively participate in the Mass. For decades, Catholic Book Publishing Corp. has been committed to providing quality missals with quality content. The layout seems to not have changed much over the years.
I like the fact that the inside cover of the missal contains a simple Liturgical Calendar outlining the celebrations of each Sunday. A notable feature is the edge marking system for easy access to various parts of the missal.
The missal has four parts: (1) the Order of Mass, (2) the propers, including the prayers from the Roman Missal and Canadian lectionary readings (3) a small treasury of prayers and (4) common hymns. These four parts have appeared in all of their Sunday Missals. These parts form to make a great companion for prayer year round.
I like the layout of the missal. I also like the fact that the rubrics are in red in the Order of Mass. Many little illustrations are scattered throughout the missal, something I did expect in Catholic Book Publishing publications. The art used is appropriate in my opinion, but I have seen many comments online regarding the horrible art in post-Vatican II missals.
The missal like many typical Sunday Missals contain the texts for major solemnities such as Christmas and the Paschal Triduum.
I like how at the beginning of each Sunday, the missal user is greeted with a header image that reflects the text of that day’s gospel.
The text size in the missal is readable and clear, about 12pt font with rubrics in 10pt.
One thing that I find of great assistance is the fact that many rubrics of the Roman Missals have been printed in this Missals, not in summary. This is good in the case if he priest forgets his Roman Missals when celebrating Mass outside of a Church. However, such hand missals should only be used in extreme cases for priests celebrating Mass. It is certainly not a substitute for the actual copy of the Roman Missals on a daily basis.
The Hymns section of he Sunday Missal is quite interesting. I see some traditional hymns such as Faith of Our Fathers and For All the Saints. I also see some contemporary hymns such as Marty Haugen’s Gather Us In. But where are the commonly used Latin Chants in its Latin lyrics such as Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris Hostia or Salve Regina?
The treasury of prayers is a very helpful tool. The prayers include the common prayers and devotions, including the mysteries of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross…with beautiful illustrations. There is also a morning and evening prayer section. I notice that the form is very similar to that of the Liturgy of the Hours. Also, worth noting are the blessings one can use within the family before and after meals.
Now, I want to remark a bit about the cover. The cover has a photograph of a church, as was the case since 2014. However, going back to my “missal archives”, the cover contained an illustration depicting an altar with the Missal and the Eucharist. Each year was a different colour (e.g. 2010=green, 2011=red, 2012=blue). I assume the sequence was year A=Red, B=Blue, C=Green. I personally prefer a simple cover over a photograph of a church.
The cover is laminated on the outside to withstand weekly use. The paper for the interior is not high quality, but rather newsprint paper. This is the case with most monthly or annual missals, as missal users rarely retain them once the year is over.
On The Catholic Man’s Scale
I really admire the St. Joseph Sunday Missal. I like that it is merely not just a tool for Mass but a prayer tool for the domestic church as well. For a travellers on the go either for recreation or business purposes and Mass is not celebrated in English, having a missal of compact size like this one good to allow one to participate in Mass in a foreign language. Even for regular church-goers, having a missal to follow along with the Mass is very helpful, therefore allowing one to actively participate in the Liturgy per the definition of Liturgy by the Second-Vatican Council.
Annual Missal or fixed Sunday Missal? I don’t know. It would take time. I would certainly love to review a copy of St. Joseph Sunday Missal Complete Canadian Edition one day.
Check out Catholic Book Publishing Corporation’s newly designed website HERE!