Day 262 – TLM: New Year, New Ordo

Thursday, December 3, 2020 –

The alternative titles for the today and tomorrow is: How to Set Up Your Missal so You Won’t Get Lost at Mass. Today we will be covering the Traditional Latin Mass (or TLM). Pardon the crappy photos, but I did not have the time to set up the fancy camera.

The good news for TLM people is that there is not nutty scheme of A-B-C / I-II. It really is just a matter of flipping your book to the beginning and starting over. For the purposes of this blog, we will be using my missal to show you where to put your ribbons. This is going to be a super brief overview (for now). Hopefully, I can find the time to do a more thorough overview of missal how-tos…someday.

Anyhoo, for today you will need a TLM missal (I use 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal by Angelus Press) and an ordo. Personally, I prefer a hard-copy ordo, but mine is currently lost somewhere in the Postal Service La-La Land, so here is a link to an online ordo:

This one also happens to have propers for most of the days that you can print out, but they typically only have the primary propers (AKA “Mass of the Day”) and not the commemoration propers, if there is one (or two). However, when there **is** a commemoration, this ordo dutifully lists it in the far-right column.

Let’s start with our missal. There are two key places you need to mark. My missal comes with five handy ribbons, and the two middle ones take up these spots.

The first place is your “Main Mass” ribbon, which will go in the “Proper of the Season” section of your missal. This includes Sundays, Holy Days, Important Days, Lent Days, and Ember Days. Basically, think of this as your main “tab.”

Here, I have placed my ribbon on the “First Sunday of Advent” because this is the week we are in, and all of this week’s ferias come from THIS Mass.

Your second ribbon will go in the “Proper of the Saints” section. This section is exactly what it sounds like; it is where you find the Saints’ feast days in the order they occur on the liturgical calendar. Fun Fact: the Proper of the Saints for a TLM missal ALWAYS starts with Saint Saturninus (November 29th) because that is the earliest date that Advent can begin. So, sometimes Saint Saturninus is in Advent, and sometimes he (and a couple of the other “beginning” Saints) are in the previous liturgical year. It’s confusing, I know, but fun!

Since we are already a couple of days into the new liturgical year, I have already moved my ribbon to the corresponding day (TODAY!).

Great job setting up your missal! Now, let’s crack open the ordo for today:

Today is a little funky in that your Priest has the option of doing the Mass for today’s Saint (Francis Xavier), OR he can choose to do the votive Mass for First Thursday, which is the Mass for Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, assuming he and/or your Church meets the rubrical requirements (trust me, there is a book on this stuff).

Let’s assume your Priest really likes Saint Francis Xavier and is going with the standard Mass. Here is where you go, according to our ordo:

Your “Mass of the Day” is Saint Francis Xavier. Since he is a Saint, you will use your second ribbon (AKA the one in your Propers of the Saints) section to mark his day. Next, go to the far-right column and see if there is a commemoration. Spoiler Alert: there IS because it is Advent, and the ferias of Advent are “privileged,” which means you **HAVE** to use those propers (Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion) too. So, flip to your Proper of the Season section and put your ribbon on the First Sunday of Advent (because feria means use the last Sunday’s stuff…basically).

Of note, this ordo is also telling you that Saint Francis Xavier is a III class feast (more on that another day), and your Priest will be wearing white vestments.

By comparison, here are a couple of other ordos for today:

These get into a little more detail, as in whether or not the Gloria and Creed are said, which preface is used leading up to the Canon of the Mass, and what all is supposed to change in their Liturgy of the Hours. It is a lot of info, but it means a lot to Priests (and nerds who speak ordo).

Now, when this Sunday rolls around, you will need to move your Proper of the Season ribbon to the Second Sunday of Advent. Keep moving it along as we go through the year. You will do the same for your Propers of the Saints section, which is easier because those are dated.

Last piece of useful missal information: keep a tab on the Table of Moveable Feasts. THIS tells you when Easter and whatnot is every year. Trust me, you NEED to know that!

Sancte Marce, ora pro nobis!

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