Missal Collects


I use the People’s Edition of the Sunday Missal (for use in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland) published by the Catholic Truth Society. Where can I get information on the Collects printed in the Missal, such as origin, history, and use? Do the same collects appear in the Missals used in other countries?

…Scottish Monk


Yes. These are the English translations that have been approved for all English speaking countries. The only difference, for instance, between the CTS Missal (apart from the layout) and one produced for use in the US, is the readings, which are taken from different Bible translations - Jerusalem Bible in the CTS and New American Bible in the US ones.



Thank you for your reply to my questions about the Missal Collects. Is there some source that provides the original author, date, translations, and history of the various collects in the Missal?

…Scottish Monk


English sources are a bit hard, but the following are the usual standard scholarly references:

“The Sources of the Roman Missal” in journal Notitiae (n. 22, 1986). This article was co-authored by Fr. Anthony Ward who also has several other articles in Notitiae tracing the sources of various revised prayers. However, translations are often not offered, and on occasion, the full original text is not provided - only a reference. However, a lot of the time, you can find the material online, especially through Google Books.

“Le Collete del Proprio del Tempo nel Nuovo Messale” by Matias Auge, who was on the reform committee for the Collects. This is in the journal Ephemerides Liturgicae (n. 84, 1970). The same issue also has several helpful articles by Fr. Carlo Braga.

“A Survey of the Theology, History, Terminology, and Syntax in the Prayers of the Roman Missal” by Lorenzo Bianchi. This is part of a larger compendium “Theological and Historical Aspects of the Roman Missal”

The MOST through source are the copies of the schemas produced by the revision comittee, which researchers can obtain from places like the ICEL Secretariat. There is a series from the Vincentian Liturgical Center (CLV) in Rome, which has been publishing quite detailed liturgical studies and they may have either a book with a copy or a substantial study based on this – but I’d have to look that up.

Another possible technique is to look up phrases of the prayer yourself using an good guide-index like the “Corpus Orationem” which gives prayers all the way back to the Dark Ages in the major liturgical manuscripts. However, that is very painstaking.


Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has a blog “What Does the Prayer Really Say?” where he regularly posts the Latin text of the week’s Collect, along with the official English translation and his own literal English translation. He usually mentions the prayer’s pedigree.

Some of these prayers are straight from the early sacramentaries of the Church, the Leonine (or Veronese) Sacramentary or the Gregorian Sacramentary. Others have been pieced together from fragments of old prayers; others (especially on saints’ feast days) incorporate words from the theological writings of saints.

The Collects in the post-Vatican II Missal are not all the same as the Collects in the pre-Vatican II Missal. Some were carried over from the old Missal, others were newly composed (using the same methods mentioned in the previous paragraph), and others were completely new compositions (usually scriptural in nature).


to build on what japhy said…

Only 17% of the Collects survived the Consilium’s “trimming” intact. Others were heavily modified or eliminated altogether. Replacements were either created from thin air or pulled from non-Roman sources.

If you want an interesting exercise, compare the Lenten Collects from the New Mass and the Traditional Mass. It’s eye-opening.


[quote="japhy, post:5, topic:296693"]
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf has a blog "What Does the Prayer Really Say?"


I had the URL wrong. It's not ".org", it's ".com".


aw… beat me to it.

5 stars for Fr. Z’s site. His breakdown of the collects are always very informative and always fascinating.


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