Learning 1962 Missal


Hello, my Christmas break has just started and I was thinking of attempting to memorize the 1962 Roman Missal. My concern is whether or not there were any restrictions regarding lay people learning these things. I am not actually going to try and actually do it as that would be sacrilegious. I was just wanting to learn the Latin Mass out of curiosity and a possession of way too much free time. :slight_smile: Another motivation is that I am currently considering entering the priesthood someday. Thank you and Merry Christmas.


I don’t think there’s any issues but why not try to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in or the Roman or Monastic Breviaries in Latin instead? Then as a layman you’ll be killing two birds with one stone: learning the Latin, and praying the universal liturgical prayer of the Church at the same time. You can have an English translation by your side to help you better understand the Latin as well.

As an exercise, consider that in the LOTH it is possible to use the same psalms at Compline every day (4, 90 and 133). It’s always a choice between only two hymns too (Te Lucis or Christe qui splendor), at least outside of Easter season. The reason I say this is that because there’s a beautiful monastic tradition where the monks memorize Compline and recite it in the dark from memory every night.

I’ve experienced it in a monastery in France and it is quite moving to hear the chanting in a pitch black oratory.


Now that would be quite an undertaking. The Benziger editon, for example has 1223 pages. :smiley:

Perhaps you mean memorizing the Ordo Missae (Ordinary of the Mass), those parts that generally do not change. I think even that would be quite a task. However, there would be absolutely nothing wrong in memorizing any of it as long as one wasn’t actually attempting to simulate saying Mass.


You just have at it. If you are that convinced that you can memorize 1200 plus pages over Christmas break, well I’m impressed.

Even my Marine son, who has a near photographic memory, can’t do it. :smiley:


Thank you, yes I did mean the Ordo Missae. I have a pdf of it and it seems to be only 18 pages. I was just confused because I had seen others refer to it as the Roman Missal. Memorizing the words won’t be too hard as I have been taking latin for the past 4 years and knowing what it means on sight will help with help with memorization. Yes, memorizing 12 hundred pages would be impressive, one that I am unfortunately not so blessed as being capable of accomplishing. Thanks again.


Try this as well:



Have you considered that altar servers memorize quite a corpus of responses and you could learn those and it would actually be useful?


I am an altar server, so that would help. Are you talking about Tridentine or Novus Ordo responses? As I have the Novus Ordo down and my parish does not serve the Tridentine. A priest at my school performs the Tridentine once a month at a church in the next city over but I probably would not be serving at those Masses.


If you don’t assist at Mass in the Extraordinary Form much or at all, why all the interest in memorizing it?

I can think of a lot of good things to memorize. I have memorized Psalm 95, the Benedictus, the Magnificat, and the Nunc dimittis, as they appear in the current Liturgy of the Hours. Why don’t you memorize prayers that you use every day, or intend to use every day? And then expand from there, in memorizing prayers that you use weekly, monthly, etc.

You could also memorize passages of Scripture, or the Catechism. I used John 3:16 to good effect, and there is so much Scripture of which I am ignorant, it would do me well to be reading the Bible every day, and not just the Psalms. I would love to know all the Proverbs and the Book of Daniel and John 6. Why don’t you look into memorizing some of your favorite Bible verses, chapters, books?


I have already memorized parts of Scripture and the Catechism. My interest in the Tridentine Mass is that I hope to become a priest one day and one the things that I would like to be able do is be offer the traditional Mass. So I feel that with my current excess of free time it could be well spent learning how to do it now. So that I can spend my time performing more prevalent priestly duties if God will that I enter the priesthood.


Well, in my experience, good priests always, always, always read Mass from a Missal. It would be nice, if you were a priest, God willing, and you were tested for martyrdom by being imprisoned in a persecution, that, denied the use of a Missal you could offer the Mass from memory, perhaps after squeezing a few raisins into a tin cup for your wine. But that is one of the few situations where I can imagine you needing to read Mass without benefit of the text before you. I asked my pastor one time if he didn’t have a few parts of the Mass memorized yet, and he replied that he always reads from the Missal. I appreciate and admire this trait. It ensures zero errors and reduces hesitation and second-guessing on his part.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.