There are certain books essential to the performance of the Sacred Rites. These are as follows:
The "Missale Romanum" (The Altar Missal). This is the most important of
all the books used in the offering of the Divine Mysteries. It is the
official prayer book of the Church. It is in Latin and contains the
text of the "order of the Mass" (The Ordinary of the Mass), which never
changes, and of the "proper parts of the Mass, " which change
throughout the year, as also the Rubrics, i.e., the rules prescribed by
the Church for the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the Rites
for certain Blessings. The Missale Romanum is made in different sizes
and styles of bindings. When not in use, this book should be kept in a
case and preferably lie flat in a cool place, as heat is apt to warp
2. The "Missale Defunctorum" (The Altar
Missal for the Dead). This is a special Missal containing the Masses
and Funeral Rites for the Dead. It is used only in Requiem Masses and
3. The "Rituale Romanum" (The Roman
Ritual). This is a book used in the administration of the sacraments
and the conferring of various blessings.
4. The "Liber
Epistolarum et Evangeliarum" (The Book of Epistles and Gospels). This
is a book as large as the "Missale Romanum." It contains the epistles
and gospels for the entire year. It is used by the deacon and subdeacon
for the reading of these parts during Solemn Mass. Sometimes the
complete "Missale Romanum" is used instead.
"Caeremoniale Episcoporum" (Ceremonial for Bishops). This is a book
containing detailed prescriptions for the performance of the liturgical
6. The "Pontificale Romanum" (The
Roman Pontifical). This is a book containing only the ceremonies that
are performed by Bishops.
7. The "Graduale Romanum" (The
Roman Gradual). It contains the text and chant of the Mass for every
day in the year and is used by the choir.
"Vesperale Romanum" (The Roman Vesperal). This book contains the chant
and text for the service of Vespers as sung by the choir.
9. Divers books and cards used at the Altar
a) ALTAR PRAYERS. A book or a
card containing prayers which are recited by the priest and the people in
English or in a language other than Latin, as e.g., "The Prayers after Low
Mass"," The Divine
Praises" recited after Benediction; divers Litanies, etc. It also
includes certain liturgical prayers recited by the priest outside of Mass, e.g., "The Asperges,"
"Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament,” etc.
b) ALTAR CARDS. These are three in number, one large-sized
and two small-sized cards. They are usually in an ornamental frame. For RequiemMasses, they are either unframed with a
black border or in a black frame. The large card is placed in the center of the
altar, leaning against the tabernacle. It contains the "Gloria,"
"Credo" and some other prayers that the priest says from memory at
the center, of the altar during Mass. One of the other smaller cards
contains the Gospel of St. John and is placed at the gospel side end of the
altar, while the other has the prayers that the priest says while washing his
hands and finds its place on the epistle side of the altar.
10. The Church Record Books. These are books similar to
business ledgers. They are prescribed by the Church for the permanent
recording of baptisms, marriages, deaths, confirmations, etc. If
circumstances permit safe-keeping, they may be kept in the sacristy.
The principal record-books are as follows:
a) The "Liber Baptizatorum" (Baptismal register)
b) The "Liber Confirmatorum" (Confirmation register)
c) The "Liber Matrimoniorum (Marriage register)
the sacristan ever remember "A place for everything, and everything in
its place," be it a book, a vessel or a vestment, etc.