Rorate Caeli

The Eternal Roman Missal-St. John the Evangelist

This is the first in a new series of posts in which I will periodically present fragments of ancient Missals, Sacramentaries, and Breviaries which remind us of the venerable history of the Traditional Roman Mass and Sacraments, which were not made up by committee vote in the 20th century.

The beautiful fragment at left includes the Introit and most of the Collect for the Mass of St. John the Evangelist (December 27).

The fragment is of a page of the Roman Missal copied and illustrated by the atelier of Niccolò de Giacomo, in Bologna, and destined to the exiled Roman Curia in Avignon. Its first owner was Pope Blessed Urban V, at around 1370 (that's right, exactly 200 years BEFORE the Roman Missal of Pope St. Pius V, once again making clear the silliness of those who call the Traditional Roman Missal the "Missal of St. Pius V", just to pretend that the New Missal was a "mere restoration" of the Traditional Missal, and not a whole new rite).

The Introit is, of course, "In Medio Ecclesiae", after which the Mass is named, and which, since Saint John is the first and foremost of all theologians, is used in the Masses for Doctors of the Church.

In medio Ecclesiae aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus epiritu sapientiae, et intellectus: stolam gloriae induit eum. -- Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime. (In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory. -- It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High.)

The Collect is:

Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, benignus illustra : ut beati Joannis Apostoli tui et Evangelistæ, illuminata doctrinis [the fragment stops here], ad dona perveniat sempiterna. Per Dominum Nostrum... (Of Thy goodness, O Lord, shine upon Thy Church, that, enlightened by the teachings of blessed John, Thy Apostle and Evangelist, she may attain to everlasting gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .)

May God be thanked for the Traditional Missal, preserved for all eternity.