It’s that time of year again.
Parishes all across the country are faced with the annual decision of whether to cancel their disposable missal subscriptions, or to renew it again “for just one more year”.
Almost everyone knows that these subscription missals are not only of extremely poor quality – often getting beaten up, dogeared, and virtually torn apart by regular use in a matter of months – but that they are also at least 75% more costly to their parishes than permanent, dignified, long-lasting books for the pews.
Why do 3 out of 4 parishes continue to participate in this cycle of waste, degradation of the liturgy, and disrespect for the Word of God and the liturgical texts? The latest mailer from the leading disposable missal publisher makes the case very compellingly for why the majority of parishes today choose disposable liturgy.
Firstly, one of the most striking and utterly ironic features of this mailer – recently sent out to every parish in the country – is that it is very attractive: It is glossy, in full color, and printed on heavyweight paper. It is eight pages long and has very little text on each page, featuring instead a substantial amount of beautifully printed photography. The irony in this brochure is that the quality of this advertisement, which is instantly bound for parish trash cans after a single glance, is ten times the quality of the annual newsprint publications which it is promoting. Perhaps it is not ironic at all, but instead is a clever bit of marketing. Holding this beautiful, heavyweight promotional booklet certainly creates the illusion of quality products.
Next, we find the most important selling point, seemingly seeking to instill fear into the minds and souls of pastors: What if your needs change? How will you respond?
The pitch continues with the repetition of several key words and points that highlight the benefits of disposable missal programs: diversity, confidence, changing needs, fresh, flexibility, versatile, evolving, etc., etc.
Let us ask ourselves for a moment – are these the words that should be used to describe the liturgy of Catholic Church?
For each of them we can find a counterpart that better describes the true nature of the Church’s liturgical worship: universality, stability, catechesis and formation, timelessness, tradition, common to all, constant, etc.
Which words better describe the authentic nature of the liturgy to you?
Continuing on, the main selling point in this pamphlet couldn’t be more clear than the narrative found on the first page:
“Having a missal program that adapts to your changing needs, celebrates faith with an unmatched repertoire, and keeps you confident – knowing you always have the latest approved texts and music in hand – is invaluable.” (Emphasis as in original).
“Invaluable” is perhaps one way to put it. “Exorbitantly expensive” is another.
What might be helpful to pastors and music directors in assessing the true value of these products is a simple cost analysis between the leading disposable missal program and the leading permanent missal for the pew. This is simply an objective, dollars-and-cents comparison, apart from any means of instilling emotional or psychological distress.
After just three years, this parish will have spent $13,725.00, and will nothing to show for it other than the necessity of having to renew a costly subscription for yet another year. After 10 years of this, the total cost will be at an astonishing $45,750.00!
The liturgy is not disposable – it is eternal. You can help shift the expectations of your parish from the fear of constant change and vulnerability that is fostered by the leading disposable missal publishers, and instead focus it on a sense of stability, permanence, and timelessness with one single change.
The choice to make the switch has never been easier.
Learn more at www.illuminarepublications.com.