More in a Monastery Cupboard

Since it is a Friday, it seems fitting to supply some opportunity for penance. Thus, here follows some more discoveries from a cupboard in the monastery’s long cloister.

Last time we left off with a taster of a book that you will not have seen in bookshops before.

devout mass server

This little book was published by no less than Douai Abbey. I had never heard of it.

devout 1

Fr Green is a straight talker, presumably because the book was intended not least for the boys of our former school.

devout 2

Yet clearly it is envisaged that there might be a wider market, since there are two sets of ecclesiastical approbation, from the EBC’s censor and abbot president (both, as it happens, monks of Douai) as well as from the diocese of Liverpool (in which Douai had a number of parishes, and still has two).

devout 3

It is a mix of rubrical notes for Mass, including a ritual for Communion before Mass, and devotions such as the above. Maybe we should republish it. 🤔

Next is a handsome little book, dating from 1915, a pocket-sized volume containing extracts from the Roman Ritual relating to the administration of the sacraments and other rites. Published by Burns and Oates, with a rescript from Cardinal Bourne, and an occasionally extravagant typeface. It is entirely in Latin save for an appendix, which contains a ritual for The Recommendation of a Departing Soul, which is entirely in English.

Of course there was a Roman Ritual in the cupboard, in excellent condition; indeed, apart from an inscription by the monk who used it, it is unused and pristine even down to its ribbons.

It comes with a slipcase and a vinyl slip-cover to protect it in use.

A volume which surprised me to find is a 1934 Liber Usualis, a book not often used in monastic houses since we have other books to use. It has been used, though it is in very good condition, so perhaps it was a reference for the choirmaster to supplement the monastic books.

Equally unexpected, was a pocket-sized volume of the old Code of Canon Law, used in Rome one of our monks who taught at Sant’Anselmo. It has the occasional marginal note by him.

Lastly for today is one of a number of bibles in the cupboard, most of which are the Douay-Rheims version. It is published by the American arm of Herder, with American ecclesiastical approbation from Cardinal Hayes of New York, but through Herder’s London office. The cover has what must be mostly shelf-wear as the pages are tight and pristine.

These thumb indentations for ease of use are curiously facing opposite directions, divided according to no clearly apparent logic other than they reverse roughly halfway through the book.

Next time, for those who come back, some missals and breviaries found on another shelf in another cupboard, again hidden behind boxes of archived journals.



Join the Conversation

  1. The Mass Server book is reminiscent of something we had in Minor Seminary many decades ago: “Christian Politeness and Counsels for Youth” by the Irish Christian Brothers. I believe there were Australian editions also. Excerpts from it were read during meals (silence being observed).

    In addition to informing us how to set a table and the correct knife and fork to use, it taught how to address – in person or by letter – assorted personages lay and clerical. That it was highly unlikely any of the listeners would be writing letters to “Lord George” or “Lady Mary” was not thought ad rem. One should know how, regardless.

    1. This is purely about serving at Mass and appropriate devotions for altar boys. What you are thinking of is similar to what we had at junior school even in my day, Gentleman Junior. Christian etiquette! Time for a comeback maybe?

  2. Well, that was a welcome pick me up – I’m in the middle of correcting end of term essays, so a brief escape to happier things is most welcome! Thank you Fr Hugh.

      1. And who knows what small treasure you might find tucked between a page or two– be it just a prayerful thought from a previous owner/ user whose words may bring new blessings your way 😇

  3. These are wondrous! May you find many more & share your ‘finds’ with us

  4. I don’t know if all the “faults committed during Mass” are intended to be faults in the process of serving, but I could certainly use a prayer like that, as I commit a lot of faults just going to Mass!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.