What are in the 3 frames on the TLM altar?

I have always wondered what are in the three frames on the altar in a Traditional Latin Mass. Can anyone elaborate? I always assumed that it was part of the Mass so that the priest would have the words right there to use.


You supposed correctly :thumbsup: They are to aid the priests memory.

The center altar card contains many of the prayers said at the middle of the altar. These are
-the Gloria in Excelsis
-The Credo

  • the prayers before the gospel (Munda Cor meum and Jube Domine)
  • Offertory (Suscipe Sancte Pater, Offerimus tibi, In spritu humilitatis and Veni Sanctificator, Suscipe sancta Trinitas)
  • the Insitituion ( Qui Pridie to in mei memoriam facietis)
  • the prayer at the end of the Mass (Placeat tibi)

The altar card on the Gospel side contains the Last Gospel from the prologue to St. John’s Gospel.

The ‘epistle’ altar card contains

  • the prayers used at the mixing of the chalice (Deus qui humanae) - the psalm for the washing of the hands (Lavabo inter innocentes)

I should add that the central card may also contain other prayers. The central Cards differ slightly on whether or not they have the following (in order of most common ,[for me, that is :stuck_out_tongue: ])

  • Pre communion prayers (Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixit & Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei Vivi, & Perceptio Corporis tui) and commixtion prayer (Haec commixtio)
  • Prayers whent he priest has ascended to the altar (Aufer a nobis and Oramus te, Domine)
  • Communion prayers (Panem coelestem, Corpus Domini, Quid retribuam, Calicem salutaris, Sanguis Domini.)

I’ve even seen a picture of one with the incense prayers on the central card though I don’t know whether that would really be helpful.

I agree :dancing:

Laudater Jesus Christo
Instaurare omnia in Christo

The “Altar Cards”, as they are called, are used to assist the priest in celebrating the Mass.

The entire Mass, as per what he is to say, is contained in the Roman Missal.

When he is at the Epistle side of the altar he cannot read from the Missal the parts of the Lavabo or mixing water in the chalice because the Missal is on the other side of the altar. The card on that side contains those prayers.

The center card contains prayers he will say when he is in the center, such as the Credo- he cannot read the Credo from the altar missal since it is on the Epistle side of the altar. The same with the Canon…even though the Altar Missal is allowed to at that time be placed closer to the center, there are times when the priest cannot even look at the altar missal when praying the Canon- such as at the consecration- he can have his eyes towards the Sacred Host and see the words of consecration on the altar card in front of him.

The card for the Last Gospel - well at that time the Missal is closed and you cannot read anything from it- so the priest reads the last Gospel from the card. (On a side note the “Last Gospel” used to be part of the ceremony done in the Sacristy after Mass) [There is in the TLM a small ceremony before and after Mass in the Sacristy- the Last Gospel is not part of the end ceremony in the Sacristy anymore]


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