AskDefine | Define missal

Dictionary Definition

missal n : (Roman Catholic Church) a book containing all the prayers and responses needed to celebrate Mass throughout the year

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A prayer book
  2. A book containing the prayers and responses needed when celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass throughout the year

Extensive Definition

A missal, in the Catholic Church, is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Masses throughout the year. The Roman Missal (Missale Romanum) published by Pope St. Pius V in 1570, eventually replaced the widespread use of different missal traditions by different parts of the church, such as those of Troyes, Sarum (Salisbury), and others. Many episcopal sees had in addition some local prayers and feast days.
Missals are published first in Latin and from this definitive text translations are now made into vernacular languages. The first complete translation of the Missal into English took place in 1973, after the Order of Mass was reformed by Pope Paul VI (1963-78) in 1969-70. The word 'Missal', like Mass, is taken from the Latin missa, meaning 'sent'. In the United States, the word Sacramentary is sometimes used to translate the term "Missale." This has been criticised by the Holy See as an incorrect translation because a sacramentary is a book containing the order of all the Sacraments, not just Mass. The liturgical book will be known as the Roman Missal in the United States when the third post-Vatican II Latin edition, published in 2002, is eventually translated into English.
The current Missal is frequently broken down into smaller editions which are published periodically; commonly called "Missalettes," these smaller editions are frequently made available for the benefit of the general populace at masses.
In Europe the Roman Catholic Missal uses The Jerusalem Bible for the readings.
Lyndon B. Johnson was the only President of the United States to be sworn in with a missal instead of the bible.


missal in German: Messbuch
missal in French: Missel
missal in Italian: Messale
missal in Hungarian: Missale
missal in Dutch: Missaal
missal in Polish: Mszał
missal in Portuguese: Missal (livro eclesiástico)
missal in Finnish: Messukirja
missal in Russian: Миссал

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Sefer Torah, Torah, Torah scroll, Virginal, breviary, canon, church book, euchologion, euchology, farse, formulary, lectionary, litany, machzor, manual, ordinal, pontifical, prayer book, ritual, rituale, rubric, service book, siddur
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