The bishops’ conference of England and Wales has given the go-ahead for three publishers to produce Sunday missals in time for Advent, it emerged this week.
The missals, containing the new translation of the Mass, will be produced by HarperCollins, Redemptorist Publications and the Catholic Truth Society. They will cost between £16.99 and about £25.
St Paul’s Publishing will be producing its annual paperback missal for just £6. It will provide the readings from Advent this year until the end of 2012.
It is understood that Martin Foster, acting secretary of the Liturgy Office, rejected at least one other publisher who applied for the contract.
Mr Foster said submissions were judged according to the “quality of design and presentation, understanding of liturgical text and if they were offering anything unique”.
He said: “The publishers who were chosen fulfilled these criteria better than those who did not.”
Catholic Blind Services (CBS), meanwhile, has announced it is producing missals in large print formats and in Braille.
Seán O’Donnell, the CBS director, said volunteers were under “a great deal of pressure” to finish everything in time. He said: “There are no paid staff, so everything is done voluntarily and without any funding. If we had been given the texts earlier we would not be under so much pressure.”
HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, has built on its previous Sunday missal by updating its design, strengthening its binding and adding prayers, readings and illustrations. Its low-cost edition will be £16.99.
Dr Robin Gibbons, the missal’s editor and a professor at Oxford, said extra content would be added, mainly from Church documents, to “help people understand what the Mass is about and how it fits into the vision of the Church’s year”. The illustrations, he said, would be in a Romanesque style – that is, from about 1000 to 1200 AD.
The Redemptorist Sunday missal, which costs £19.95, will contain prayers and an illustrated Stations of the Cross by Redemptorist founder St Alphonsus Liguori.
The CTS Sunday missal, meanwhile, will offer the Latin text of the Mass in a separate column alongside the new English translation.
It will include full-colour illustrations taken from a 12th-century manuscript, the Ingeborg Psalter, which also feature in the altar missals.
CTS will also be publishing a daily missal, including both Sunday and weekday readings, for about £45. HarperCollins will be publishing three editions of its weekday missal, costing between £30 and £40.