Posted by: rbbadger | June 24, 2009

Korean Missals

Back before the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), for much of the Catholic Church, with the exception of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches and Croatia, Mass was celebrated almost universally in Latin.  This was also true when Catholicism first came to these shores in the 18th century.  While the Mass does continue to be celebrated in Latin in many places, most parishes have adopted the vernacular. 

Many Catholics at the time possessed small hand missals, books containing the text of the Mass in Latin and their native languages, or sometimes just in the native language themselves.  The altar missal is generally a book of great size, so it is hardly practical to carry one of those things around with you.  Missals were published in Korean for the faithful to follow along.  A blog which I’ve become very much interested in recently has put up a couple of images of Korean missals.  The second image shows the beginning of the Mass.  For a long time, Korean used to be printed vertically, in much the same way as Chinese and Japanese were done.  You begin at the right hand side of the page, read down and then go the next column. 

Anyhow, I invited you take a peek at these old treasures.  You can see them here.



  1. Pope Paul V did grant the ability to recite the Mass in Classical Chinese to the early Jesuit missionaries of China, though I doubt it’s in use now.

  2. I was not aware of this. I did know that the Tridentine Mass had been kept by the Patriotic Church for a while. Unfortunately, the whole question of Chinese Rites never was fully settled until Pius XII and by then it was almost too late.

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