February 25, 2022

What are the dailies?


With all the improvements that OCP is making to our missals, people have been asking a lot of questions. This blog series is an attempt to answer as many of them as we can.

Question #1: What are the dailies?

The Daily Mass Propers – or what we often just call “the dailies” – are the texts that people may need in order to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist on days other than Sundays and holy days of obligation. 

The Entrance Antiphon and the Communion Antiphon are there for each day of the year. If there is no singing, and sometimes even if there is, these antiphons allow the assembly to participate in the Introductory and Communion Rites of the liturgy. 

The people’s response to the Responsorial Psalm is the one assigned to the day or feast in the weekday lectionary. 

There are other texts that people use in order to participate in Mass, but these are mostly found in the Order of Mass – which we print in all of our Missals. 

The weekdays of Lent, Easter, Advent and Christmas all have proper texts assigned to them. The weekdays of Ordinary Time, however, have a lot more flexibility, and for these days there are no assigned antiphons. The custom of the Church has been to use the antiphons from the previous Sunday on these days.

But wait! There’s more. Saints’ and other feast days of the liturgical calendar are a central part of the Catholic faith. In order to celebrate these saints, the Church has solemnities, feasts, obligatory and optional memorials.  

Solemnities and feasts are mostly treated like Sundays, with their own proper texts. 

For the memorials and optional memorials, the Church asks us to look at the readings and antiphons differently. 

The reading citations and response to the Responsorial Psalm are those assigned for the weekday as if the memorial were not there. This is the advice that the Church gives us, since these weekday readings are often in Biblical sequence, and so the hope is that the readings for the week will form a unified whole for the daily Mass crowd. If for some reason this cycle is interrupted, it is permitted to share the readings around to the adjacent days. 

For the Entrance and Communion Antiphons, obligatory memorials must normally be celebrated, and so these antiphons are part of the main entry on the day; the reading citations and response to the Responsorial Psalm proper to the memorial are listed as a separate entry at the end of the day. 

For optional memorials, the Entrance and Communion Antiphons, the response to the Responsorial Psalm and all the reading citations are all for the weekday, as if the memorial wasn’t there, but at the end of the day there is an additional entry for each optional memorial with all the readings citations, response to the Responsorial Psalm and the Entrance and Communion Antiphons proper to that memorial.

A couple of quirks to keep an eye on:

• Each year some of the memorials land on Sundays or other holy days, and so they are not celebrated. 

• Some obligatory memorials, especially for saints mentioned in the Bible, have readings that are required – proper – and so they will replace the weekday reading. 

• Some optional memorials have the same issue, but in this case those readings are required only if the optional memorial is celebrated. The optional memorial of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles is an example. 

• Each diocese and in fact each parish has particular days to celebrate – like August 25 in St. Louis, which becomes a major feast, even a solemnity in the Cathedral. We include all the saints required by the Church, but there may be celebrations like the dedication of your local parish church that will take precedence over the celebrations in your Missals. 

For all of these reasons, and just to be sure you have the right texts on the right day, OCP, with the supervision of the USCCB, publishes these dailies every year in Breaking Bread, Missal del Día, Heritage Missal and Unidos in Cristo/United in Christ. We hope you appreciate all the work and the double-checking that goes into this! 


Stay tuned for more helpful blog posts about these issues, including a forthcoming post on Today’s Missal with Daily Readings, which follows a lot of these practices, but with even more prayers to consider.