Removal of missalettes from Church

My parish doesn’t use missalettes because we’re supposed to listen to the readings. The decision was made before I became a parishioner so I don’t know if we had them at one time or not. I haven’t heard any complaints but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

We order missals for the folks in RCIA so that they can learn about the Mass. It’s inexpensive and they bring them every week. This is the one we buy:

I agree. I personally find it better to read along.
On the other hand, I have had a few people tell me that when I read, they close their books and simply listen. They tell me this as a form of compliment although I know it is God reading through me that they really hear. Can I touch the hearts of men? I don’t think so.

I likewise agree that it is an administrative decision whether or not to provide missalettes. This decision can be made due to costs, environmental reasons, or to encourage listening.
As a child, I remember the priest saying it was required to have the words of the Mass in front of him, even if he knew those words by heart. While most parishioners may know the words to the Confiteor, Gloria, and Nicene Creed, it is still nice to have the words available to follow along. It’s easier to respond correctly if I see the Psalm and response in black and white rather than to struggle with memory while responding.
On the other hand, I do listen rather than follow the missalette during the Eucharistic Prayer. My focus is what is happening on the altar.

Missalettes are also helpful for visitors trying to follow along. I remember well when I was a protestant attending mass the first few times… I know that I caught on much faster with a missalette to guide me.

The missalettes in our church also have the hymns that you sing. If we took away the missalettes nobody could sing along. I find the missalettes indispensable and very necessary in order to follow along with the mass not to mention signing. For a new priest to come into a parish and just remove the missalettes with out first determining their usefulness by the parishioners is wrong be it financial or not it’s wrong and lacks a certain amount of compassion, and if you don’t approach him on it or the bishop you invite other changes that could prove just as silly.

As far as buying your own missal, what the “heck” is the collection for if not to provide some funds for missalettes, bulletins and other materials in addition to paying the water, electric and gas. If the priest doesn’t want missalettes he probably will object to you having your own missal. I mean think about it, whats the difference if you have your own missal or the church provides them, you’re still reading from a book to follow along with the mass. :smiley:

But if the priest firmly believes that no one should be following along, he obviously doesn’t see why the parish should pay for someone to do what he considers the Church doesn’t want them to do.

We solve that by bringing in Missals that the faithful can buy if they want. We simply don’t supply everyone in the pew with Missals. In the pews we have hymn books that also contain the Ordinary of the Mass without readings/Eucharistic Prayers. Anyone can use the hymnal and follow along with the Mass and be able to give the appropriate responses.

I don’t use a Missal at Mass. I figure at 55 if I haven’t learned the order of Mass by now there is no hope. I also sit in the first 4 or 5 pews so have no problem hearing the readers. Why the oldest members of the congregation, those most likely to have difficulty hearing, usually sit in the last couple of rows of pews is something that still puzzles me. Their choice of pews seems to mandate the use of missals that might not be needed if they moved forward 10 rows.

So I am gathering from this thread that its incorrect to follow along with the readings using a book? I have a missal I use for that purpose, just during the readings as I now know the rest of the mass by heart. I follow along with the book because it helps me to concentrate on what’s being read. Otherwise my mind wanders and I can miss half of the reading. I often will read them before mass also, but still need to follow in order to pay attention better.

I use my Bible. I look up the readings in advance so I can find them. I’ve been to Masses where there are Bibles in the pews, and the Lector not only says, “A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romans,” but adds, "Romans 8: 1-7 (just an example). I wish that all parishes did this.

To me, it’s foolish to just listen to the lector. Lectors makes mistakes in the readings, and sometimes these mistakes alter the theology. Even a small pronoun error, or a slight change in the verb (past tense opposed to present tense) can be confusing. This misunderstanding can produce false beliefs that continue for years. The Bible says we should study the Scriptures (I believe the Bereans are used as the example of good studious Christians) and test what we hear to make sure it lines up with what we have been taught. I think that reading the Bible (or missal) along with the lector is a darn good way to stop this kind of error from propagating.

Especially in this day and age, often the lectors have a strong accent and it’s hard to understand them. Also, teenagers and college students often lector, and they are very difficult to understand unless they have been trained in theater or declamation. Most haven’t, and they mumble and drop the end of the sentences. So do a LOT OF ADULTS, and many elderly people simply don’t have the power in their voices.

Also, for some reason unfathomable to me, Catholic churches almost always have abominable sound systems. I often think that a simple megaphone would produce better sound than most Catholic Churches. Some people insist that the older buildings have better sound; I say pooh pooh to that, you’re dreaming. I have good hearing, and I almost always have trouble understanding the priest, the lectors, the cantor, and the choir. I find this ridiculous and unacceptable. Why don’t Catholic Churches in the U.S. using the OF Mass put out the bucks and purchase a top-level sound system?! I know why–because they have limited funds, and feel that it is more important to help the poor and assist the various missions than spend it on what they consider an indulgence. Well, if people can’t hear, they won’t learn. THAT’S from the Bible!

This is a really good point. Its happened to me on a few occasions, that the lector has made a mistake which confused me, or even left out an entire sentence on some occasions. I never would have noticed the mistake if I was not following along with my book.

Although my background is Jewish, I was raised secular and going to mass is my first exposure to the sacred scriptures. I’m very new to the Bible and find the wording a bit hard to grasp, even though its in plain English. I really find following along helps me to understand what’s being said.

I’d have to look at the Lectionary again to be sure but we are specifically instructed to only read the parts in black and IIRC, the specific chapter and verse are in red. Not to mention that since the General Instruction of the Lectionary again states that we should LISTEN to the readings it is not going to tell us to give people chapter and verse so that they can follow along.

The General Introduction to the Lectionary specifies that the introduction is to be “A reading from the Letter of St Paul to the Romans.” period. It is not in accordance with the custom of the Church to include chapter and verse numberings.

Wouldn’t those mix and match pericopes be extremely difficult to announce? Like 2 Maccabees 2:1a - 2b; 7c -3:1a kind (just an example)?

It depends on the person. Like you, I also hear better when I have the readings in front of me.
It is for this reason that many who attend Mass daily will purchase The Magnificat, Abide With Me, or their own daily missal. Word Among Us, which is cheaper than The Magnificat has a version that includes daily Mass readings and ordinary.
Before Vatican II, each of us was expected to bring our own missal. Missalettes were not provided.
Even though I may know the Confiteor, Gloria, and Nicene Creed by heart, I still prefer to follow the missal. No matter how well we may know these prayers, it is possible to get off line when praying in unison with others. Likewise, if I see the Response to the Psalm in front of me, I am not struggling and questioning whether or not I am using the right response or coming in at the right time. Readers do not always signal the congregation as to when to come in.
It is not incorrect to use a book. There are those who think it is better if we do not.

The use of missalettes began with the introduction of the mass of Paul VI. It was an easy way to get people used to the new prayers of the mass. It caught on and became a regular staple in parishes, but they are simply an aid. As was stated in a previous post, we never had missalettes when growing up and we had to buy our own missal. As someone who works in a parish, missalettes are very expensive. We pay over $1000 each time we change our missalettes, which is a few times a year. They are also terribly wasteful for those of us mindful of the ecology, although we recycle in our parish.

However they are going to be necessary when the new translations are promulgated in another few years.

No, it’s not incorrect to follow by using a book. There is nothing at all wrong with this. If it helps you (as opposed to distracting you) then by all means you should do it. Since you say “it helpd me to concentrate on what’s being read” you should be using a missal (or missallette, etc).

Wow, didn’t expect such a lively discussion from my original post.

A few things to clarify my original post - we have a two-year old and we often sit in the “cry room” at the back of the church. Needless to say, a missalette is indispensable at times, not just because of our own child, but because of the other children in the room as well as the volume of the speaker.

Also, our church is very big and often times, even with great hearing, at the back of the church, and with elderly readers, its almost impossible to hear clearly. There are a number of factors during a “realistic” church setting that inhibit hearing the readers clearly.

The Deacon of our church called me back and explained the church’s reasoning - that parishoner’s reliance on reading was detracting from the intended experience, that other church’s don’t even use them and that he assured me that the hearing devices are great.

I told him that I understood the intended experience but I believe it should be balanced with the consideration of a realistic church setting. Its a great ideal, but not the reality of mass today - try experiencing the spoken word with a toddler throwing a fit or the person in front of you hawking up a lung.

One of my main points to him was, “Do the parishoners get a say?”, he said that they do and that he would take my concerns back to the panel that made the decision.

I recommended that a good compromise would be to keep a number of missalettes at the back of the church so that people that needed, or wanted them, could still have access.

I’m 34 and have used missalettes all of my life, so people that state, “that’s the way it was in the '70’s” isn’t really cutting it for me. Our missalettes, this is in most congregations of Abq, NM, have the daily readings, alternate versions of readings, all the mass prayers and the church also has a separate hymn book.

My belief is that the church should inform the parishoners of how the mass should be experienced and encourage that but have available the missalettes, not simply make a decision without input and take them out.

The pastor’s rationale is that people should be following along by hearing… not so easy for a person hard of hearing. They offer hearing devices to be checked out at the beginning of mass, which is ridiculous.

**Can you please explain just how making provision for people with hearing difficulties is ridiculous? Be specific.


What about children who are learning the prayers?

Pity they don’t have prayerbooks for children, right?

This seems like an assault on the Word of God and I’m considering leaving the parish or getting signatures from those who want them returned to the pews.

**Just how is not having pulp disposable prayerbooks with excerpts from Scripture that eventually end up in a trash heap an assault on the Word of God? **

Not all parishes have listening devices for parishioners. It is an act of charity to provide these devices. If we are called to love one another, how is providing these listening devices ridiculous?

A parent can purchase prayer books for children at any good Catholic bookstore. A parent can help his/her child follow along. These books provide pictures. Can the same be said of a missalette?

bpbasilphx–I’m with you.I would rather see parishes use the money used to purchase missalettes for parish outreach programs to those who need to see the Gospel preached through our actions.

Missals and magazines mentioned by myself and others also provide all the prayers and readings necessary to follow the Mass. The magazines also provide reflections and meditations on the readings.

I always remember hymnals being provided in the pews. Again, these need not be disposable, but can be soft or hardbound copies that will last longer than mere missalettes. I have seen a few hymnals that even provide the ordinary of the Mass.
I know 2 parishes that print the prayers that most of us use a book to follow (Gloria, Nicene Creed, Responsorial Psalm) in their Sunday bulletin along with the songs that will be used. One still provides missalettes while the other newer parish does not.
Another parish, not associated with the diocese, offers parishioners an opportunity at the beginning of the liturgical year the opportunity to purchase a book such as Abide With Me in order to have a copy of the readings. The ordinary is contained in the hymnals they use. These hymnals reflect the predominantly African American tradition of the parishioners. Many members of this particular parish are immigrants. Most, whether recent immigrants or members of the nearby Black community, work near minimum wage jobs. I have heard no complaints about the parish not providing missalettes.

It seems to me that missalettes that are regularly tossed in the trash or recycling bin is a greater “assault on the word of God” than a missal reverently carried to Mass by a devout parishioner.

I have visited non-Catholic churches. Members of these churches often bring their own Bibles and look up the verses as the pastor preaches. Their pews generally hold a Bibles, Hymnals, and a Book of Common Prayer.

I wanted to come back to the idea of providing a few missalettes for newcomers and visitors.
My parish has magazines in the vestibule that are free of charge. This includes a few copies of the Ligourian, Catholic Answers, and Word Among Us
A nearby larger parish provides more free fliers, If a person wants Word Among Us, they ask a $2 donation to defray cost for the current month. Word Among Us provides daily meditations on the daily readings for each day. It is at a different parish, that I found the Word Among Us with the actual readings and ordinary of the Mass provided.
I would suggest that, in lieu of missalettes, the parish could provide Word Among Us with Mass readings. Depending on the parishes financial situation, it could ask for a donation to defray costs.

Wow … And here I thought this thread might be a question as to whether it’s okay to borrow a missalette temporarily and take it home as long as you bring it back to Mass next Sunday? :eek:

Personally I don’t often use a missalette, not even when I attend the Latin Mass. However, if a certain Bible passage or hymn strikes me, I’ll pick the missalette up and read what I’ve just heard.

That said, I believe missalettes should be provided for those who consider them helpful … unless of course the parish is so hard up for money that there’s no way to pay for them. In which case, why not hold a fundraiser to purchase missalettes?

~~ the phoenix

That I have not seen – but in Canada almost every parish I have been to has a copy of one of the editions of the Catholic Book of Worship: it is a hymnal with the Order of the Mass in the fore section. It includes the Psalms and acclamations for each Sunday, but not the readings. The missalettes are usually Living with Christ, and are usually brought back and fro by parisioners who subscribe, or buy them at the parish bookstore.

The Latin Mass parishes I have been to all have a copy of Adoremus in the pews, and they also distribute a “cheat sheet” with the daily psalms, collects, etc. I can’t actually remember if the sheets include the readings and Gospel, because they are all in English and easy enough to listen to (I usually sit at the front, and the Oratorians have good voices).

I tell you, being an NO baby at a Latin Mass is quite the experiment in multitasking: “do the red and say the black” is easier said than done, when the black you say is in Latin on the left page, but so is the red, so you have to switch to the right page to understand the directions in English, all the while trying to keep an eye on Father who is praying silently, so you don’t know where he is, and hope you don’t miss what’s going on… :rolleyes:

I still go to Latin Mass whenever I can – I learned the NO through repetition, so that’s the only way I’m ever going to learn the Latin.

I just wish the Mass actually came with subtitles… :smiley:

We haven’t used Missalettes for years in our parish, except for a few that are kept in the back of the church for those who really need or want them. Very few even use those. It’s not even an issue in our parish. Our hymn books have all the prayers and responses, but to tell the truth, people only use those for the hymns and the responsorial psalm. The scripture readings for the following week are posted in the bulletin for those who prepare for Mass by reading them.

In all honesty, for a parish of our large size, they would be a tremendous waste of money. I would rather see that money used to supply our food pantry or to help people out with their utility bills, etc., esp. in our economically hard-hit area of the country.

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