Rorate Caeli

Saint Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal - Review


Simply put, the Saint Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal from Corpus Christi Watershed is a brilliant new Sunday/Feast day hand-missal for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is skillfully edited, and without exaggeration, it is one of the most beautiful modern books I have seen or used. It is a full missal and hymnal, containing not only the Sunday propers and readings in both Latin and English, but also the complete Kyriale, six versions of the Credo, nearly 20 pages of congregational chants for use throughout the year, over 150 pages of orthodox, traditional congregational hymns, various prayers for private prayer before, during and after Mass, and for other sacraments and rites in the Extraordinary Form (such as marriage, confirmation, benediction and funerals). 

First Impressions

As I took it out of its shipping box, I was struck by the simple, subtly decorated, yet very dignified cover, with the slight star design in the background. With a striking image of the Agnus Dei, surrounded by ornamental borders, this cover is sure to draw your attention to the beauty of the liturgy before the Mass even begins or you open the missal. The binding and hard-cover is that of a hymnal, allowing this book to be used by both individuals and by parishes wishing to place it in the pew rack alongside or in place of their other hymnal.


The artwork scattered throughout the pages of the missal is just as beautiful. It is typeset in such a way that it does not feel at all cramped, but at the same time, much of the free space is used for art, in a very tasteful manner. All of the line art has been newly digitized, making it look crisp and clear rather than scanned or faded.

Size and Weight

At 6x9 inches, it is larger than many hand-missals, but that increase in size is accompanied by an increase in font size compared to many other missals, making it very readable, and also easy to fit in standard hymnal racks. It is a little bit above an average weight among hymnals, but it's still easy to handle, and not too heavy, considering all that's in it.


One interesting feature of this book is the dual ordinary sections, one for use at a Missa Solemnis or Missa Cantata (Solemn High Mass and High Mass, respectively), and one for a Missa Lecta (Low Mass). This eliminates the problems of those unfamiliar with the Extraordinary Form being confused about cues or rubrics referring to actions that only occur at a “low Mass” or actions that only occur at a “high Mass.” The two sections are styled differently, including different drop-caps and background color, so that they are not easily confused with each other, should you lose your place in the book and try to return. While most of the book is printed in black and white, the ordinary sections are printed in color, and are very well typeset. The artwork and typesetting in the ordinary section rivals that of some ornate altar cards, filled with beautiful artwork and pictures from a traditional Mass, a testament to Mr. Ostrowski’s fantastic work.

Another interesting feature of this missal is over 100 pictures of an actual Mass (two, in fact, one for each of the ordinary sections). There is at least one real picture on each page spread in the ordinary, which allows those new to the congregation to orient themselves, should they become lost in the ordinary section. It also allows the congregation to see some of the small gestures that happen in the sanctuary, such as the fraction rite over the chalice, the deacon kissing the chalice at the offertory, or the priest striking his breast during the Confiteor. I would be remiss not to mention the beautiful vestments and churches seen in these sample pictures. All of the vestments used are beautifully embroidered, and are very much in the style of the roman rite, exemplifying beauty. The same can be said about the churches in which these Masses were celebrated. Also included in the ordinary sections are many short yet illuminating descriptions or commentaries on the applicable part of the Mass, making clear what is happening both externally and internally.

The Missa Solemnis section also includes the music for the Vidi Aquam, Asperges, Preface Dialogue, and the final verse of the Pater Noster, all in their appropriate spot, facilitating easy congregational participation on these parts. They are engraved in neumes.

While I had hoped it would come with ribbons, it is designed in such a way that it is possible to easily use it with a single bookmark, switching the bookmark between the proper section and the ordinary section. However, for those individuals or parishes who would prefer ribbons, myself included, the book is bound in such a way that it would be quite easy to insert a set of missal ribbons purchased from another vendor. In either case, it seems to be a win-win: those who prefer not to use ribbons have a book that is specifically designed to be used without them, and those who do can easily add them on their own, with no negative effect.

The drop-caps in the proper section of the missal are also very dignified, but in the ordinary section, which is printed in color, they are exceedingly beautiful, as is the rest of the ordinary section.


I was pleased to see all of the eighteen Gregorian Masses included, as well as the six Credos, allowing the schola full freedom of choice among the Gregorian Masses that they might not otherwise have, should the congregation be using another resource, such as the first edition of the Parish Book of Chant (although this problem is remedied in the second edition of the PBC). These chants, along with the other chants in the book, were re-engraved in Gregorio, using a large, easily readable typeface, and are not small or smudged and faded scans.

Holy Week

The Holy Week section of this book is particularly well done. Not only does it include the full bi-lingual texts of the Palm Sunday and the Triduum according to the 1962 Missal, but it also includes many rubrics, allowing the people to easily participate, such as genuflecting to the paschal candle before the easter vigil. On top of that, it includes many of the chants and responses that may be sung by the congregation, such as the Pange Lingua and Tantum Ergo for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Ecce lignum and Venite for the Liturgy of the Passion and Death of our Lord, and the Solemn alleluia sung during the Mass of the Paschal Vigil. This book is truly a must have for the pews during the intricate liturgies of the Triduum.


There is a sizable number of hymns for all seasons, including Savior of the Nations Come, Creator of the Stars of Night, Adeste Fideles (both Latin and English), As with Gladness Men of Old, Come Holy Ghost, Holy God We Praise Thy Name, All Glory, Laud, and Honor, Immaculate Mary, Jesus Christ is Risen Today, as well as many other lesser known hymns, such as Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem, O Christ Who Mountest Up the Sky, When the Patriarch Was Returning, O Glorious Maid Exalted Far, and many others, including at eleven original hymn tunes by Kevin Allen, one of them paired to the poem by Blessed Cardinal Newman, Lead Kindly Light. All in all, there are over 150 solid, usable hymns that will serve any Extraordinary Form community well at either Low Masses with music or a High Mass with a limited hymns.

The numbering follows the same scheme as the Vatican II hymnal, namely, using page numbers in the hymn section, to ease the announcement of page numbers and the finding of hymns. While this is different than some publishers, it seems to me that it is the best way.


Following the hymn section, there is also a section of chants for the congregation, including Rorate Caeli, all of the Marian antiphons, Puer Natus, Jesu Dulcis Memoria, Adoremus in Aeternum, Attende Domine, Veni Creator, Adoro Te Devote, among others. There is also a section found at the back with several prayers for use before Holy Communion, before Mass, after Mass, etc.


This book contains many of the other small bits, such as the proper forms of the Communicantes for various feasts, and of course, the prefaces for various feasts. The inclusion of these items, in addition to the thoroughness of the ordinary section, opens up interesting possibilities. When I was discussing this missal with a seminarian I know, he asked me if it contained all of the private and proper prayers for the priest, for the purpose of even using it as an altar missal for a traveling priest. It appears that it does include the needed prayers, as well as many inline rubrics (such as mentions of kissing the altar, picking up the host, signs of the cross, or bowing the head), so that in the case of traveling, necessity, or even private Masses, it appears that this book could possibly be used in place of a copy of the Roman Missal (although it would be very wise to add ribbons in this case, as mentioned above). To that end, it lays flat fairly well, and I’m sure with some use, it will lay flat even more easily.

Wrap Up

All in all, this is a fantastic resource for both individuals attached to the Extraordinary Form, as well as for parishes that use the Extraordinary Form, but particularly those who only celebrate the Extraordinary Form. This is a extraordinary book that I’d highly recommend to anyone attending the Extraordinary Form looking for a beautiful, easy to use missal.


What’s Unique About This Hymnal and Missal?

It’s both a full Sunday Missal for the Extraordinary Form, as well as a full hymnal, containing all the music a congregation could need, including all eighteen Gregorian Masses, and many congregational chants. But more importantly, the book is very beautiful. The artwork and the typesetting give this book a very beautiful look and feel. Interestingly, it contains two sections for the ordinary (High Mass and Low Mass), easing congregational use.

[Ben Yanke, 17, is the oldest of 9 and is a homeschooled highschool senior from Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit his blog, From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary, at We thank Mr. Yanke for his thorough review.]


Gregorian Mass said...

I bought this a few weeks ago. It is fantastic. The separation of Low and High Mass is great. The quality is excellent. A great Missal for those who find the small fonts hard to see. Also a great Missal for those just starting out at a EF Mass. The pricing is excellent as well.

Michelle Egan said...

Does anyone know any dioceses where these are currently being used on a large scale?

I would be interested in any thoughts on how we can get these into the mainstream.

They seem like a magnificent resource for the Church today.

Bill M said...

I recently was gieven one as a present. It is truely beautiful BUT I do not care for it because its too big to easily handle in church. I am going to try ribbons. Perhaps that will make it easier to use. The copious art work can be a distraction rather than an aid.
I know, I'd probably complain if they "hung me with a new ropes"

Gladius said...

I used one this morning. They were provided by a very generous benefactor. Beautiful, thank you!!!

Don M said...

We were blessed to have someone purchase, and donate 100 of these to our parish.
They are beautiful
Deo Gratias

stefan said...

I just bought this and it showed up on the day of Pope Francis' election! It is a great book and great resource. I am newer to the Traditional Latin Mass and have attended many but this is my first purchase of a missal. The St. Edmund Campion Missal opened my eyes even more, and gave me a fuller appreciation for the mass. This book also has scans of ancient manuscripts of the Canon of the mass and the "Spiritus Domini" chant, which date back to the year 750AD. I gained a deeper respect for the antiquity of the mass and now reading through it/listening gives me a clear link to the worship of Catholics in St. Gregory's time.

This is a beautiful resource and was only about $30 to order my own copy. A worthy purchase and I'm glad I did it. The only DOWNSIDE... (if you can call it that). I now have a much more jaded view of the "novus ordo" form of the mass due to a greater exposure to the beauty of Catholic worship that dates at least to the 1500's and hadn't changed significantly in substance from the 800's. I now have a MUCH greater problem celebrating a mass that is about 43 years old... that was not created organically through the centuries but was scratched out in some meetings in order to solve a perceived "problem" with the mass of our Catholic ancestors.

Anyway a worthy purchase! I'd be glad to send anyone info on a particular page or section if they are thinking of a big parish-sized purchase.

Hank Igitur said...

As stated in the review it is important to note this is a Sunday Missal and not a daily Missal.

Judge Douglass Bartley said...

I have just posted excepts from Cardinal Neuman's Plain and Parochial Sermons. I believe readers will find the excepts to be worthy of close attention.


HPM said...

I am at the same parish as Don M. I use my personal missals at daily mass, but because we have these beautiful missals available, I want people to learn to use them. People who are new to using a missal. We put ribbons in them. Today Palm Sunday,we followed our priest and although he said low mass,at the blessing of the psalms I quickly found my way around. I see more and more people using them week after week. As I said, I am very excited to have these Missals in our parish. The only thing I don't see(or miss having) in them are the beautiful prayers of thanksgiving said after mass. I am thinking of having prayer cards/bookmarks made with these prayers on them. Then I think I will be completely satisfied using them. Oh, the size is perfect because it seems to be the exact same size as the NO. missals that people at our parish are used to using. This makes them the perfect size in my opinion. I must explain that Our Parish has both forms and we try to encourage this most beautiful form of the Mass. Having the missal available for anyone who happens into our Mass, makes it easier to explain the beauty that has been lost in the other form. Atleast that is my opinion. Change can be difficult something many want no part of, and often has caused a large seperation in our parish. I want to stand in that seperation and welcome anyone willing to step across. With God's help, prayers and sacrifice this Extrodinary form will stay in our parish. This I pray for.

BJ said...

HPM, there are some prayers for before and after Holy Mass in the back of the Missal, just before the Benediction prayers.

Credo In Unum Deum said...

Page 965 for prayers after communion...

Joanne said...

Which version is this missal? The 1962 or the new 2013 that was supposed to come out last year?

Leonard H. said...

"Which version is this missal? The 1962 or the new 2013 that was supposed to come out last year?"

Joanne, the Missal uses the 1962, including the 1962 Holy Week services. Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has confirmed that the alleged "new edition" of the 1962 Missal is a "totally unfounded rumor."

I received my copy of the St. Edmund Campion Hymnal, and it is absolutely the most gorgeous book I've ever seen printed.

Pétrus said...

I may be obtuse - but where can one purchase this Missal?

Henry said...

"I am thinking of having prayer cards/bookmarks made with these prayers on them."

No need to do so. Not only are the usual prayers for before and after Mass and communion (Ambrose, Aquinas, Augustine, Bonaventure) included on pp. 963 ff, the English translations are more eloquent than those in many traditional Latin-English hand missals.

Our small Latin Mass community initially thought we might sell 25 to individuals. But everyone who sees one wants one, so now after additional orders first of 50 additional copies and then of 100 more, we are virtually sold out again.

Henry said...

In answer to preceding question, for phone, fax, e-mail orders (credit cards accepted):

Incidentally, having been associating with publishing for many years, I don't understand how it can be sold at such a low price ($23 plus shipping for single copies). A hardbound book of this size and quality usually sells for several times as much.

Rob said...

Our Latin Mass community in San Antonio purchased 150 of these (through the donations of benefactors). We have been using them for the last month, and I have heard mostly positive things from the faithful who are using them. The only complaint I have heard is regarding the weight. For some of the elderly, it is a bit cumbersome to hold continuously as a hand missal, so some of them have opted to revert to the red booklets. Still, it would be impossible to please everyone all of the time, so I have no complaints about this missal/hymnal whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

With 150 metrical hymns, it's yet another Protestant hymnal for the NO. How many more decades of musical ecumenicalism must we endure?

Communio and PBC 2nd is Catholic.

Lanna said...

I used mine for the first time yesterday, and it was a real pleasure to use. However, the weight was a problem.

QuoPrimumPiusV said...

"How many more decades of musical ecumenicalism must we endure?"
Uh ...
Question: what is ecumenicalism? You mean ecumenism?

"Communio and PBC 2nd is Catholic."

They're also intended for the choir. Did you actually read Mr. Yanke's post?

Judge Douglass Bartley said...

For Msgr. Knox's tribute to St. Edmund, please see my post

St. Edmund Campion, “In these dark times, may he avail us”, by Msgr. Knox

Judge Douglass Bartley said...

Website is not as indicated above. Correct site:

Joanne said...

Thanks Leonard H. I will take a look.

Ora et Labora said...

Great review!!!

And for those who want to see the video on the beautiful Saint Edmund Campion Missal and Hymnal here is the Youtube link:

Alex R. said...

I disagree that the usual prayers for before and after Mass and communion are included. It does not include the indulgenced Prayer Before a Crucifix, nor the Anima Christi, nor even the Memorare. These three post-Communion prayers should have been included.

Joseph Shaw said...

I reviewed this missal here. It has many good features, not least the low price. But I don't think it is practical as a pew missal. If you are going to hump about a book that size you'd expect it to be daily missal.

Also a word to everyone producing new editions of missals for the laity: the translations of the Mass, particularly the propers, you find in the old missals from the mid 20th century can be quite bad. Don't assume they'll be fine because they got an imprimatur. Someone should redo them. A big job, admittedly.

Badger Catholic said...

My biggest gripe is ordering; no online ordering yet.

Leonard H. said...

I reviewed this missal here. But I don't think it is practical as a pew missal.

Having read the LMS Chairman review online, the author seems confused, and should read ASAP the Campion preface as well as the note from Fr. John Berg, FSSP. Many of his misunderstandings and confusions would be cleared up by doing this. For instance, it is a Sunday Missal, not a daily Missal.

Old missals from the mid 20th century can be quite bad. Don't assume they'll be fine because they got an imprimatur. Someone should redo them.

Whether they have the Imprimatur should not be the criterion. They ought to be judged for their accuracy and elegance, and those in the Campion seem to me the best in those regards, especially for the propers and collects. I have a Fortescue Missal, and I much prefer the Campion/Lasance. I agree many Catholics who are accustomed to the ICEL monstrosity will have to acclimate themselves in this regard, but it is well worth it.

QuoPrimumPiusV said...

Badger Catholic, I believe you can order them online. Google search for the FSSP Bookstore in Pennsylvania. They are selling the Campion Hymnal, and I think they allow for online orders.