For upcoming Masses, refer to The Liturgical Calendar for this month.

Go to:  Propers for Sundays

Go to:  Propers for Certain Feasts and Commemorations

Go to:  Propers for Votive Masses

Go to:  Propers for Certain Occasions

Go to:  Liturgical Calendar (ordo) for 2016

Sursum corda!  Lift up your hearts!

This site contains a library of printable missal inserts that will be useful for parishes, oratories and schools where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form is offered according to the 1962 typical edition of the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint John XXIII.  Each insert contains the proper prayers of the Mass (including Scripture readings) for a given Sunday, Feast or Commemoration.

The proper prayers of the Mass are those prayers and readings within the Order of Mass which change each day, i.e., that are “proper” to the day.  Generally they include the Introit antiphon, the opening Collect, the Lesson or Epistle (drawn from the Old Testament, or from Acts or the Apostolic letters in the New Testament), the Gradual, the Alleluia (or, during the seasons of Septuagesima and Lent, the Tract), the Gospel, the Offertory antiphon, the Secret, the Preface to the Roman Canon, the Communion antiphon, and the Postcommunion collect.  Within the Roman Canon, special forms of the brief “Communicantes” and “Hanc igitur” prayers are used during certain liturgical seasons.  Those are not included in these inserts, but can be found in a printed hand missal such as the one published by Baronius Press.

The inserts, referred to here as “Propers,” are all in Adobe Acrobat’s portable document format (.pdf).  Generally, the Propers for each Mass are designed to be printed double-sided on a regular 8½” by 11″ sheet of paper, and folded in half to create a four-page booklet.  Propers for a few Masses (for example, the Masses for Christmas (The Nativity of Our Lord) on December 25) are designed for printing on the larger 8½” by 14″ paper, sometimes called “legal size” paper, and this will be noted at the bottom of the website page.  However, even these can be printed on regular 8½” by 11″ paper if necessary.  Propers for some Masses contain more than four pages, requiring more than one sheet of paper and perhaps some cutting or stapling.  Each .pdf file can be customized to include the name of your parish or other institution at the top of the first page.  (To do this, you would click within the existing parish name, replace the existing text with yours, and save the modified file.)

The library includes Propers for all of the Sundays of the liturgical year according to the 1962 Missale Romanum, and for each Feast from that Missal which is still observed as a Holy Day of Obligation in either the United States of America, Canada, England, Wales, or Australia, and for many other Feasts and commemorations as well.

Questions or comments about these Propers may be directed to:  SaintStephenPropers@gmail.com.  Corrections are especially appreciated.

These Propers are especially helpful when used in conjunction with “The Parish Book of Chant” published by The Church Music Association of America, or with the “Latin-English Booklet Missal” published by the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei (Glenview, Illinois, USA), the latter being commonly known as the “red Missal” because of its red paperback binding.  Both publications include the unchanging parts of the Order of Mass according to the 1962 Missale Romanum, and can be found in a growing number of English-speaking parishes.  With these Propers and one of those publications in hand, you have everything you need to follow the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Grateful recognition is due to the Orange County, California, chapter of the international Una Voce organization, who several years ago created a library of Propers based on pre-1960 editions of the Missale Romanum and posted them free of charge on their web site.  Some graphic design elements and many items of devotional artwork were borrowed from the UVOC Propers during the creation of this library.

The term usus antiquior is Latin for “the ancient usage.”  Technically, it refers to the whole of the Church’s public prayer, including the Mass, the Divine Office (a/k/a the Liturgy of the Hours), and the administration of all seven of the Sacraments which Jesus instituted.  This site focuses on the Mass, which is the core and summit of her public prayer.  In that regard, usus antiquiorTridentine Mass (a term which refers to the Council of Trent, 1545-63), and traditional Latin Mass are all names which refer to the same thing, i.e. the form of the Mass in the Roman rite as it was offered in most places (especially Rome) since the 6th century or earlier, and in all places (because of Pope St. Pius V) since the year 1570, with minor revisions along the way, until Sunday morning, November 29, 1964, the day the Mass changed.  Since Friday, September 14, 2007, this form of the Mass has been properly known as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, because of the decree of Pope Benedict XVI in his motu proprio (a form of Papal legislation) entitled “Summorum Pontificum” and his accompanying heartfelt letter to his brother bishops throughout the world, both of which he issued from Rome on July 7, 2007.

Even when heard in one’s native tongue, each Mass is an impenetrable mystery.  But because of its form, the traditional Latin Mass can be uniquely bewildering for newcomers.  This library was born of a desire to encourage parishes and their pastors to make the traditional Latin Mass more widely available and, at the same time, more intelligible for newcomers, so that they may overcome self-consciousness, that great obstacle to worship; so that they might not be discouraged from returning by the uncomfortable feeling they will naturally have of being the only persons in the room who do not know what is going on; so that the first one they attend might not be the last.  In general, newcomers do not yet have their own hand Missals, may not be aware that they might benefit from having one, and in any event are accustomed to the Mass in the Ordinary Form (a/k/a the Novus Ordo) where pew Missals or “missalettes” are usually provided for them to use.

Sites like this are multiplying, and this is all to the good. It was through the usus antiquior that God imparted the grace which produced practically all of the canonized Saints in the West.  Knowing this, Pope Benedict XVI, and before him Pope St. John Paul II, generously re-opened the Church’s liturgical treasury, thus inviting all the living to pray it with the Saints anew, and in no uncertain terms they exhorted their brother bishops to do the same. When a generous volunteer has emerged in every parish who will make Propers available free of charge at the door each week (and please God, dear reader, may that be you), then it will no longer be plausible to claim—if it ever really was—that there is no way to understand the words being said and sung, and the thing which, for the sincere of heart, stands as the last barrier against actuosa participatio will have been removed. Every truly open-minded person has the means to participate; everyone who genuinely desires to know what is being prayed, knows.  And then?  Then stand back and watch attendance grow.

Why the effort?  Besides what has already been said, it is because the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (which includes the Latin-rite liturgy in the West and the Divine Liturgy of the Eastern-rite Catholic churches) is no mere social occasion, nor primarily even a meal.  Yes, it is a banquet—a prefigurement, in fact, of the wedding feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9).  But before that, and above all else, it is the mysterious re-presentation in an unbloody manner of the voluntary sacrifice on Calvary of and by the eternal high priest, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, who is true God and true man, in reparation to God the Father for the sins of all mankind in every time and place, in obedience to his command given to the Apostles at the Last Supper to “do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19).  Hosts of angels are attending, bowing down before the throne of God and calling out to one another, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” (Is. 6:3), while we, the unwashed, do well to remember our unworthiness (cf. Is. 6:5; Mt. 8:8).  Central to the Mass is the Holy Eucharist, the most exalted of the seven Sacraments instituted by Christ.  It is the fulfillment of his promise (Mt. 28:20) to remain with us until his return in glory at the end of time (Mk. 14:62), and because of it, he remains truly present among us in his actual flesh and blood (Jn. 6:56-59), veiled under the appearances of bread and wine.  Wherever it is being offered, whether East or West, whether in the Ordinary Form or in the Extraordinary Form, whether in some great basilica, or in a humble parish church, or (as sometimes happens) on the hood of a jeep in the midst of a war zone, the Mass is the highest form of prayer and the most important thing taking place in the entire world at that moment.  It is where time meets eternity for a brief privileged hour. And for those who realize what, spiritually speaking, is going on around them in that hour, the Mass in the Extraordinary Form remains the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven.

Rorate caeli desuper, St. Stephen Church, Cleveland

St. Stephen Church, Cleveland.

This site is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God and of Priests, and to St. Cajetan (+1547), founder of the Theatines.

Gratis accepistis; gratis date. (Mt. 10:8)