Day 263 – Novus Ordo: New Year, New Ordo

Friday, December 4, 2020 –

Okie dokie, readers! Yesterday we did the super straight-forward missal setup for TLM. Today’s alternative title is: How to Set Up Your Missal and STILL Get Lost at Mass. That’s right, today we will cover the Novus Ordo missal setup. Hold on to your keester. It is going to be a wild ride!

For today’s post we will be using my Novus Ordo missal: the Daily Roman Missal by Midwest Theological Forum. I prefer it because it has everything in one volume, and Novus Ordo Mass has too many “options” for Priests. I mean, there *IS* a rule or two for which readings they use, but ‘ya know…(throws hands up in frustration).

You will also need a Novus Ordo ordo. I do not attend Novus Ordo all that often any more, so I just use the USCCB pdf: It’s the USCCB, so admittedly it is a little froo-froo with the pictures and a little lacking in the important details, but it gets the job somewhat done without me having to spend money on a second ordo that gets used *maybe* once a week for a random daily Novus Ordo Mass when I cannot make it to TLM.

Anyhoo, back to the matter at hand…

First and foremost, you will need to know what cycle we are on for Sunday as well as what cycle we are on for daily Masses. Sunday is on an A-B-C three-year rotation. Weekdays are on a I-II rotation. Weekdays are the easier to track because odd years are on I, and even years are on II. Get it? Odd year gets odd cycle number for daily readings, and even year gets even cycle for daily readings. Yes, we are starting the liturgical year in 2020, but the bulk of this liturgical year is in 2021, so you will be using year I for daily Mass.

Sunday Mass is a little more complicated, and unless you are good at mental math and dividing by three and then corresponding that to a letter…well…just look at the table in your missal. Trust me, it is easier!

Here is this year’s cycle chart from the USCCB ordo:

We are in Year B for Sunday and Cycle I for weekday. If you notice, however, the daily cycle starts in January and then has a gap in the dates for springtime. This is because both odd and even years have the same daily readings for Advent through the Baptism of the Lord AND from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost. Those daily readings are the same regardless of the year, but they do move about a bit based on when Easter is (AKA know your table of moveable feasts!).

Right, so let’s set up our Novus Ordo missal. This time you will need THREE ribbons or tabs of some sort. The first two ribbons are going to go in your main cycle. Now, my missal lumps everything together (except for Ordinary Time…see end), meaning each week you will see ALL of the A-B-C Sunday readings as well as I-II for each weekday. Hence, it is important to know your cycles! Here is the beginning of the “Propers of Time” section:

The easiest way I have found to keep up with the movement in this section is to start on the Sunday at Cycle B (because that is the year we are on) for each week and leave a ribbon THERE.

Next, put a second ribbon on the day/cycle you are on and move that ribbon EACH DAY to the proper day / cycle I reading. So, for today, your ribbon should be here:

Next, we need to mark our Propers of the Saints section.

This section is towards the back of my missal. Since today, December 4th, we celebrate Saint John Damascene, that is where my ribbon currently is:

Let’s look at today’s entry in the ordo to verify where we are:

You might have noticed there is a number in parenthesis at the end of the ordo entry. This is a Lectionary number that you do not need to care about. It is for the Priest to know and use when he is reading from the Lectionary (book used at Mass with the readings / NOT the big book on the Altar).

For us, here is what the ordo entry is saying: today is Friday, December 4th. The Mass of the Day is an Advent Weekday (AKA Friday Cycle I—except for it is Advent, so same for both years—after the First Sunday of Advent in Cycle B…because THAT’s not confusing! #sarcasmflag), and the Priest should be wearing violet. The readings listed are for this Mass (AKA Friday, Advent Weekday), and the Priest should use Lectionary entry #179. So, we turn to that page in our Propers of Time section…unless…

But WAIT! There’s more! It is also saying that there is an optional memorial for Saint John Damascene, in which case the Priest should be wearing white. Okay, so we turn to THAT page in the Propers of Saints section…well, maybe…

But WAIT (again)! There is even MORE! Let’s say you were following along on the USCCB online daily reading calendar: It has the main readings of the day, but if you scroll to the bottom there is a note that says, “Optional Memorial of Saint John of Damascus, priest, religious, doctor of the Church.” We click on it and open the time warped can of worms regarding optional stuffs for Priests. Here is what we find:

Not just a second set of reading that the Priest **could** use for this optional Mass, but also suggestions for even further options. Basically, be glad that the Novus Ordo is in the vernacular (AKA common language) because you might never know what will be said in the Mass otherwise. (Again…throwing hands in air in frustration!)

One final note about why I do not enjoy using a missal at Novus Ordo Mass. Actually, two final notes. The first is that most Novus Ordo missals do not waste paper on anything handy like a table of moveable feasts. You know, that super helpful thing that tells you when Easter and the “big feast” are so you can know when all the other feasts happen. Nope, not there. Instead, you have to rely on the ordo and the Liturgical Calendar Table that never seems to go far enough into the future and is always printed sideways.

The second thing that irks me is that “Ordinary Time” is usually separated out into its own section of the missal, so you always have to remember to look back at the ordo or Liturgical Calendar Table to know if you’ve moved out of the Proper of Time into the Ordinary Time section, which, by the way, happens a lot!

Omnes sancti Apostoli et Evangelistae, orate pro nobis!

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