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“Worse, composers are now setting the introits of the missal [instead of the Graduale] to music, even to chant, though these texts were explicitly for spoken recitation only.”
— Dr. William Mahrt (Fall, 2015)

Review by Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP
published 11 February 2014 by Guest Author

5687_ 007 NE OF THE CHALLENGES facing many priests when they attempt to introduce the Extraordinary Form into their parishes is how to provide the faithful with an easy-to-follow hand missal so they can follow the prayers of the Mass. Hitherto, the options have been rather multifarious. There is the ever-ubiquitous red book published by the good folks over at Coalition Ecclesia Dei (website) which has been a staple of EF parishes for over two decades now, but since it only provides Propers for the Mass of Trinity Sunday, what about weddings and funerals? So there are other booklets, the white book for weddings, the grey book for Requiems, and even others which attempt to combine all three. But all of these books have their limitations. And then there is the question of congregational hymns for the faithful. Glory and Praise generally doesn’t blend well with the Extraordinary Form, so one has also procure a separate hymnal just for traditional Masses. The overall result is that now, either the pew is cluttered with an overwhelming plethora of booklets, hymnals, old and new Mass paraphernalia; or one must set out separate booklets and hymnals before each Mass, put them back, store them, risk their getting lost and/or people walking off with them, and it’s just a general headache. Even in solely traditional parishes the pews can quickly fill up with an eclectic collection of disparate booklets for all the various ceremonies. It’s a mess.

5687_ 004 Enter the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal for the Traditional Latin Mass (website). The folks over at Corpus Christi Watershed have produced this rather remarkable handbook for the faithful aimed at solving just such conundra faced by pastors seeking to provide materials for their Extraordinary Form faithful. The St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal is intended to be a kind of “one-stop shop” for everything the faithful need to assist at the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is a complete Sunday and Holyday Missal with all the major feasts of the year including the Easter Triduum and the Nuptial and Requiem Masses, but, in addition to that, it also contains a very robust hymnal of over 150 traditional congregational hymns.

5687_ 013 Here at St. Philippine Duchesne Latin Mass Community in Kansas City (website), we bought 200 copies of this book initially because we were just looking for a good traditional hymnal. We were very pleased to discover that we got so much more. What follows is my own personal review of the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal, now in its second edition. Although the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter collaborated with Corpus Christ Watershed in putting the book together and the forward is written by our own Superior General Fr. John Berg, FSSP, I am writing this review solely on the basis of my own personal opinion and observations. I had no part in its creation, I’m not writing this under obedience as some kind of promo for an FSSP sponsored project, and I’m not receiving any tangible recompense aside from a complimentary copy of the second edition provided by Corpus Christ Watershed for the purposes of providing the review. So, with that disclaimer in place, what follows is essentially as unbiased a sales pitch as it gets. I wish they were paying me commission, but, oh well. Onward and upward …

5687_ 002 FIRST OFF, I WAS VERY IMPRESSED with the physical quality of the book. The binding is solid and built to last. We’ve had the books close to a year now and not a single cracked binding. The pages are sewn in and each page from front to back lies flat when open and resting in the hand. The pages resist the urge to irritatingly turn on their own. The book itself is a little on the heavy side for holding with one hand but not too bad considering its scope and the quality of the pages which are not thin and not see-through. Even holding a single page up to the light the text on the other side of the page barely bleeds through. The typeface is large and attractive and comfortable to read. Both the English and Latin texts are equal in size and proportion on the page giving equal preference for those who like to follow along in either language.

5687_ 006 The texts of the propers of the Mass are complete for each Mass. There is no page turning necessary to get to this or that Epistle or Gospel. This is especially convenient for those new to the Mass and significantly reduces the need for page turns when following along. All the propers for all the Masses of all the Sundays of the year are included along with all major Feast Days that are possible to fall on a Sunday as well as all the Holydays of Obligation (according to the universal calendar). Propers are also included for the Easter Triduum (Maudy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday). There is also a section for the Nuptial Mass and for the Requiem Mass and funeral rites, as well as the Sacrament of Confirmation. This is about as complete as it gets for everything that takes place in a parish church aside from baptisms and daily Mass.

The actual translation of the Mass texts is taken from the Douay-Rheims bible for the Epistle and Gospel readings and from the excellent translation of the 1946 edition Fr. Lasance hand missal for the rest of the propers. Some perhaps might object to the somewhat archaic language of these texts, but I have found that in most traditional circles the Douay-Rheims is the translation that the faithful expect and are most familiar and comfortable with.

5687_ 001 THE PHOTOS AND ARTWORK are probably the most visually striking aspect of the book. Every page is color coded to its specific section. Propers are one color page, the Ordinary of the Mass another color, Hymns another. Beautiful traditional line art adorns almost every page and the Ordinary of the Mass has stunningly beautiful color photographs. I have had many parishioners tell me that their children especially love following the Mass in this missal because the pictures are so delightful to look at it holds the child’s attention — truly remarkable. Sadly, the second edition lacks the exquisite original artwork done in the style of old illustrated manuscripts which was present in the first edition.

The numbering system is also convenient for posting numbers on a hymn board as there is a single numbering system for the entire book:

Pages 1-565 are the Propers for all the Masses.

Pages 566-695 comprise the two Ordinaries, one for following Sung/Solemn Mass and one for following Low Mass.

Pages 696-794 are a complete Kyriale with all the Gregorian Chants for all eighteen Mass settings as well as Credo I through VI.

Pages 795-945 comprise the hymnal which offers a varied selection of over 150 traditional congregational hymns.

And finally pages 946-970 are chants for Exposition and Benediction including some common devotional prayers for the faithful to recite before and after Holy Communion.

5687_ 005 What all this means is that, in preparing for a Sunday, the pastor can simply post the numbers corresponding to the Mass proper of the day, the hymns, and the Kyriale, using only one unique number for each reference. On the surface this may appear unexceptional unless you’re a parish priest or choir director who has had to deal with the nightmare of putting numbers on a hymn board referencing multiple books and even multiple sections within a book. Having all the references to a single book in one single unambiguous list is exceedingly convenient from both a pastoral and logistical perspective.

SO, THOSE ARE ALL the good things about the missal. Now for the some of its drawbacks. As I’ve already said, the book is heavy. Not exceedingly so, but it’s substantially more heavyweight than your typical hand missal. However, considering the added value in beauty, quality, and utility, I don’t think most will mind. No one in our parish has complained.

5687_ 009 It’s a bit imposing to the beginner. This, I suppose, is unavoidable given the scope of it. But it will be something that requires a little bit of instruction to the newcomer in terms of how to use. It is not quite as immediately intuitive as the “red book.” But, hopefully, with a little encouragement people will get the hang of it and, for those already familiar with the Extraordinary Form, they will find it most useful indeed.

There are not enough ribbons. The first edition had no ribbons. The second edition has one ribbon. Managing to keep one’s place while switching between the Ordinary, the Proper of the day, the Kyriale, and the two or perhaps even four congregational hymns that might be sung during Mass, is most inconvenient without the benefit of several ribbons to maintain one’s place. The folks at Corpus Christi Watershed have put together these handy videos explaining how to use the Missal, but I would argue that if you have to go to all the trouble of making an instructional video to show people how to use the book with only one ribbon, that in itself is essentially an implicit admission that you should have had more ribbons! Fortunately, the binding is such that you can easily employ a ribbon insert and just add one to each book. Given that ribbons have a tendency to wear out quickly with repeated use, periodically replacing a ribbon insert is probably a better solution anyway than having sewn-in ribbons which over time will fray and get messy.

5687_ 008 The only other criticism I can think of is that there is only one setting for the O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo benediction hymns which might not be the ones you use in your parish or the ones your faithful are familiar with. This, however, is a very minor criticism and if you have frequent Exposition and Benediction in your parish your congregation should be able to learn and memorize many versions of those hymns without the need for a constant visual aid.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS One thing to note is what the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal is NOT. It is not a replacement for your choir’s hymnals. This book contains congregational hymns. It is not a substitute for the Liber Usualis your schola will use to sing the Mass propers, nor does it contain any polyphony. The St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal is meant for use by the faithful in the pews.

5687_ 011 Unlike the Coalition Ecclesia Dei “red book” the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal does not contain rubrical directions for the faithful on when to sit/stand/kneel during Sung/Solemn Mass. This is a deliberate omission on the part of the editors as technically there do not exist such rubrics for the laity during Sung/Solemn celebrations and many various legitimate local customs are employed in different parishes. One drawback of the “red book” was, in fact, that its instructions on when to sit/stand/etc were oftentimes at variance with the local custom. So in regards to the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal, if you already have an established community it will be no problem, they already know what to do, but with a community of faithful new to the Extraordinary Form, they will probably require some instruction for Sung/Solemn Mass as there will be no directions in the book. There are instructions, however, on when to sit/stand/kneel for Low Mass following the most commonly encountered customs (ie, sit for the Epistle, stand for the Gospel, kneel for most everything else).

So, that’s about it. To sum up, the St. Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal is a very attractive, high quality, highly useful and convenient combination Sunday and Holyday Missal and Hymnal for your Extraordinary Form community. At $30 or less a copy it’s almost a steal for the value that you’re getting. We bought a bunch for our community here in Kansas City. We love it. You’ll love it too. You should buy one, or even a whole bunch!

God bless you,

Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP

Assistant Chaplain
St. Philippine Duchesne Latin Mass Community
Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas


I too have purchased 200 copies of the missal/hymnal for my congregation. I know I made a very good investment, not only because the book itself is a great resource, but also because of the material quality of the product. We’ve been using it for at least six months and I’ve noticed no significant “wear.” I imagine the books will last for many years. I’m also very happy that all first class feasts, Holy Week and many second class feasts are included in the book. Depending on days/dates, one can even use it during the week occasionally. One recent unexpected bonus – Candlemas was on a Sunday this year! I also agree with Father Nolan on one drawback: indeed, there are not enough ribbons. I’d go for a minimum of four: proper; ordinary; kyriale; credo. Six would be better – one each for the processional and recessional. Though I’m very pleased with the two accompaniment volumes, I’m still waiting on the SATB choir edition. The only other small negative (and, I know, where does one draw the line?) is that I’d like more hymns and more hymns with “familiar” tunes. As a musician, I’m all for different or “unknown” tunes but If the congregation is expecting the tune Ellacombe, for example, for “O Queen of the Holy Rosary” and if they don’t “know” the tune used, congregational singing is going to suffer. For all the hymns I’d want another 50 pages, at least, would be needed. Like I say, where does one draw the line? Anyway, I’m very pleased with the book and so is my congregation, well, at least those who go to the Sung Mass.

God bless.
Rev. Michael W. Magiera, FSSP