How to read the missal?


Hi, all

I just purchased the Roman Missal, Ritual Edition. I really don’t know why … I’m not a priest. Anyway, I think I did it to get a little more out of mass. I would really like to be able to use it to look back at the mass. So, my questions are - 1) Are there any differences in context between a Daily Missal and the Ritual Edition? 2) I can’t find any of the daily readings in the Missal? Even the calendar is difficult to understand.

Here’s a link to the missal I purchased …

Thanks in advance and God bless,

Justin W.

  1. They’re 2 different things altogether. The Ritual Edition of the Missal is intended for the priest to use. The Daily Missals are intended for the congregation.

Any edition of the Missal for priests will have exactly the same thing. The only difference will be a matter of formatting and page-numbering. So, the chapel editions will have exactly the same words (in every way) as the ritual editions.
The priest editions do not contain the readings, only the prayers. The readings are in the Lectionary instead. Also, every priest edition will have all the prayers of every Mass throughout the entire year, and indeed all the Masses (with a very few exceptions like those reserved to the bishop).

On the other hand, daily missals, intended for the congregation are meant to be an aid for the congregation, so they will have texts not found in the priest’s versions. Most of them have the readings (as you’ve already discovered). Another difference is that they only contain the daily Masses (by definition) so they won’t have “all” the Masses, as the priest versions do.

  1. None of the (priest version) Missals have the readings. The readings are found in the Lectionary instead.

Even though they are called by the same word, Missal, the ones intended for the priest to use at the altar, and the ones intended to be used by the congregation are really very, very, different books.


Ah, but the is/was available Missale Romanum**cum lectionibus, in four easy volumes, for the convenience of the priest saying Mass alone without ministers.

Father Z reshared this story on his blog as well.

It is said that Annibale Bugnini did not like the fact that the MR was available in a single volume because it was too easy for a priest to say alone. Separate out the liturgical books into a Gradual and a Lectionary and a Sacramentary and suddenly you needed a bunch of people helping.


Very nice and very helpful. I hope this doesn’t infringe on copyrights, which we discussed under another thread.

It would take a weightlifter priest to do the Mass alone on this one. :smiley:


Awesome … Thanks for all the input guys. So basically, I just bought a book I will never be able to use? What should I do with it?

Thanks again,


It’s a great reference book.

And since you have the Ritual Edition, it looks impressive on the bookshelf :smiley:


Lol, that it does … It’s very impressive looking! :thumbsup:


Oh yes, and there’s a nice reference in the calendar section that tells you when the calends, nones and ides are for each month.


Ask around to see if some priest or church near you wouldn’t mind a new altar missal.


Can you return it?


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