World Library Publications is the liturgy and music arm of the J. S. Paluch company. Among other things, they print bulletins for parishes.
I was able to take a look at a mock up of this missal at a deaconate conference several months ago and my first thought was that this book was so large that it looked like it should be chained to a monks desk. Weighing in at ten pounds, this is the heaviest altar missal we have seen and will require some weight training for younger servers to handle. It's also three inches thick.
The first thing to notice after the size is the color. Unlike the other missals we have seen which are all red, WLP chose a burgundy color for the cover and it works quite well. The front, spine and back are tastefully embossed with grapes and a gold chalice and host are imprinted in the front cover. The chalice looks more like clip art and considering the detail of the embossing, is a little out of place.
The missal has a generous six ribbons (gold, red, blue, green and purple) and is the only one we have seen so far that starts the ribbons narrow at the top to prevent damage to the pages. Nice touch.
The inside-front cover has a reinforced burgundy page that feels like vinyl.
The title page has a full-color illustration from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. All of the illustrations in the missal are from the same collection but in varying styles and quality. The last supper image is definitely not of the same quality as the crucifixion at the beginning of the Roman Canon.
I just realized that this missal is printed in China. I'm going to finish reviewing it but because our policy is not to sell anything from China, we are discontinuing this missal immediately.
While flipping through the missal to look at the illustrations I am wondering if the USCCB had a specific requirement list for illustrations. While the number of illustrations varies by publisher and edition, every missal I have opened so far has at least the following:
- A title page illustration of Christ the King
- 1st Sunday of Advent
- Roman Canon (crucifixion)
- All Saints
The paper in this missal seems a little thinner than in others and I could see the text on the reverse more than in other missals but I like the light cream color of the pages.
One thing that missal appears to have more of than other missals is chant-style music settings for large portions of the Mass. Coming from a publisher of liturgical music, this makes perfect sense.
The tabs marking the ordinary of the Mass feel like vinyl and are too small for a book this size. As I was trying to turn sections I lost my grip on them a couple of times.
While the actual text is crisp and at this size, perfectly legible, there isn't any artistic flourish to it. There is a clip art grape bunch that gets used repeatedly throughout the missal but no other indication that the editors considered beauty and text as things that could be combined.
Overall, if this missal weren't made in China, I'd rate it very highly for the beautiful cover and artwork but one crushed altar server for its weight.