Was there a specific Sunday in the 1960's when the OF Mass replaced the EF Mass uniformly across the US?

Was there a specific Sunday in the 1960’s when the OF Mass replaced the EF Mass uniformly across the US?

We are going to celebrate a special EF Mass at my parish and I’m wondering exactly how long it has been?

Pope Paul VI promulgated the ordinary form on April 3, 1969. As for the actual day of implementation, I am thinking 1st Sunday of Advent in 1969, but I am not sure.

I think it was uniform across the world.

No, each region had to wait for its own translation. Some took longer than others.

For the Latin edition of the new Missal, yes it was a universal date for when the new Mass could be used; however, for the vernacular there were delays.

The English language version (U.S.) wasn’t approved until February 1974. I’m sure of that date because I just checked it in a 1974 printing. Then it had to be printed and distributed. I don’t have a firmer date than that, but Fall of 1974 seems right (just from memory). Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the book that says “this form of the vernacular must be used beginning on such-and-such a date.”

Having said that, there was no actual replacement date to match your question.

There was a form called the “transition Mass” that was permitted from 1969 (or '70?) to 1974. That was available in English and English & Latin.

In the time period from 1970 to '74 it was still permitted to use (what we now call) the E.F.* and it was permitted to use the transitional form, and the 3rd option of using the 1969 Missal in Latin, all at the same time.

Unfortunately, smooth uniformity was not the result.

Years prior to the promulgation of the Roman Missal revised by Pope Paul VI, during the Liturgical Movement, Romano Guardini correctly warned of the problems of rubricism, activism, dilettantism and conservatism (cited in Unto The Altar - by Alfons Kirchgaessner). He was right on the mark. The changes to the liturgy became a rallying cry for too many. These problems were not isolated to only liberal or conservative mindset but - as they say, there’s a ditch on both sides of the road. Thankfully, over the decades the most acute problems have begun to subside and a healthy Liturgical life is found in more and more parishes.

Mass according to the 1962 Missal has been available at different parishes in the US over the years. Hopefully your parish will be find the Liturgy in both forms “mutually enriching” as Pope Benedict XVI had hoped.

I remember practicing the responses for the transitional Mass in 6th grade religion class --which would have been the 1969/1970 school year. I don’t remember when we started using them at Mass but it would have been during that school year.

I used to have a copy of the “transitional Mass” Missal, but alas since I don’t have it anymore, I can’t check it for dates.

It wasn’t just a preliminary translation of the Missal as we (mostly) know it now. There were other holdovers from the 1964 Missal (the EF) that never made it into the final version of Bl Paul VI’s Missal.

I seem to recall that the Penitential Rite was different, and it used the older Antiphons rather than the Responsorial Psalm as we now know it. Maybe some other holdovers from the Communion Rite as well. I’m certain that it only had the Roman Canon because the other 3 Eucharistic Prayers were included in a separate supplement rather than being being printed in the Missal itself. In fact, EP I was in the supplement and I think the Missal still had the older Canon but in English (as well as Latin).

Anyway, that’s just rambling.

To the OP: there simply was no single transition date when everyone went directly from the Missal of 1964 to that of 1969 in English. It just didn’t happen that way.

Except for a few who outright refused (such as SSPX), and probably a few who simply procrastinated, the Missal as we know it today began to be required in the Fall of 1974.

I thought there was a transitional Missal in the mid-60s already, or was that not used in the US?

Are you thinking of some of the early versions of the Mass in the vernacular?

There was indeed a “transitional missal” – actually two iterations of it. The first was 1965 while the second, which was the precursor of the Novus Ordo, was 1967. The Novus Ordo itself (in the vernacular, of course) was in use in many if not most diocese in the US (including Detroit, New York, Scranton, Fall River, Boston, Washington, to name a few) by 1970. In most, if not all, of those places, the Usus Antiquior was essentially forbidden.

That answers the transitional question then: 2 versions.

However, I cannot reconcile the dates for the Novus Ordo.

The Decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship promulgating the first typical edition of the Novus Ordo wasn’t issued until March 26, 1970. No, I don’t have that committed to memory, I’m cheating. I’m reading the decree. So it could not have already been in use before then, as it didn’t yet exist. Bl Paul VI approved it in April 1969, but it wasn’t ready until sometime after March of '70, and that’s in reference to the typical Latin edition.

Here’s a PDF of the Decree ncpd.org/sites/default/files/Roman%20Missal%202%20Decrees------------------%20Size%2024.pdf

The English translation was not yet approved until Feb. '74 (again, I’m reading that right out of an actual '74 printing, not from a secondary sourse), so likewise it couldn’t have been used before then–at least not in it’s final and nationwide form.

Malphono cleared that up. There were 2. The book I had was apparently the later version then.

If I may add on to this thread with a very naive question…is there a place in which one could read all of the versions of the Mass?

I was catechized very poorly in the 70s and only know the NO. I have only recently started going to the Latin Mass here at my church. I would love to read anything I can about changes in the Mass throughout the years. Is there such a resource? Thank you.

Pope Benedict XVI specifically asked us to use the names “Ordinary Form of the Mass” and “Extraordinary Form of the Mass” to respectively denote the Pauline and Tridentine Masses.

“Novus Ordo” and “NO” are not only inaccurate and not what he asked us to use, but they’ve become offensive slurs. Please consider adhering to Benedict’s request.

In the U.S., there was actually a series of eight steps between Advent Sunday, 1964 and Advent Sunday, 1969. I wrote a series of articles about this 17 years ago, largely pulled from the archives of the archdiocese where I lived at the time. When the first changes started on Advent Sunday, 1964–the first transitional Missal that many here are thinking about–no one really expected there to be as many changes as there would eventually be.

Three separate altar missals were published in the US during the transition period, and I have each of them in my library:
*]The first in 1964, reflected Inter Oecumenici, which was the Instruction on the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
*]The second in 1966, reflected instructions from the Holy See regarding additional reforms in 1965, and the US bishops’ vote to increase the use of the vernacular to all audible prayers in the Mass.
*]The third in 1968, reflected Tres Abhinc Annos, which was the Second Instruction on the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy in 1967, and the addition of three new Eucharistic Prayers in 1968.

At the time, since the reform of the Roman Missal was underway, and as yet still not complete, the Order of Mass was being referred to by the Holy See as the Novus Ordo Missae, i.e., the new Order of Mass. This term was still widely used, including by Blessed Paul VI himself in his weekly addresses, for the first several years of the reformed Missal, since various countries were implementing their translations at varying speeds. This was the origin of the term Novus Ordo that is still used today, and not anything sinister. While I realize that there are folks today who use the term pejoratively, the term itself was/is not pejorative, and certainly represents a relative expression, when compared to a missal that had been used for some centuries. Until Pope Benedict started using OF and EF, there were no other terms to use, other than saying “the New Mass.” Novus Ordo was quick and easy to say.


Opinions on the matter vary widely. Certainly some use it that way, but many others use it without rancor. Since its use is a matter of opinion, and is based on actual use at the time by the Holy See, we are free to make our own determinations on the matter, rather than trying to police the speech of others with whom we may disagree. Charity in all things.

It is considered a perfectly acceptable way of referencing the Missal promulgated in 1970 among theologians and liturgists and in seminaries. I’ve been using the term my entire adult life, mostly in the seminary because afterwards I’ve had little reason to need to make the distinction, at least until the use of the 1962 Missal was restored.

The point is that it’s mostly people who are the non-experts in the subject matter who take such umbrage at the term. Those who actually need (and I don’t mean just posting on internet forums, but a genuine need) to use a distinctive vocabulary see nothing wrong with it—most of them, i.e. those who are reasonable people.

In a thread like this, where the very topic is the timeline, it makes sense to refer to the Missals by their respective dates. Therefore, I’ve mostly used 1962 (or the typo of 1964) or 1969/70. In a different context, I’d have no problem with using the term “novus ordo.”

And yes, I will continue to use it. :wink:

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