Michno’s “A Priest’s Handbook” continues to be a “go to” source for priests and churches:
Author of liturgical manual found inspiration in unexpected form
Michno’s ‘A Priest’s Handbook’ continues to sell nearly 30 years later
If the Holy Eucharist is a meal that gives participants a foretaste of the heavenly banquet, then it might seem appropriate that the inspiration for the format of the Rev. Dennis Michno’s ubiquitous “A Priest’s Handbook” was the work of a famous cook.
“Do you know what my model was for the way it’s written?” Michno asked rhetorically during a recent interview in his home here. “Julia Child.”
“You knew what you had and you went first to the index and you found all the places that was, and then you carefully follow every instruction and it comes out right,” Michno said of Child’s famous manuals of French cooking.
The New York Times said of Child in its 2004 obituary that she insisted “competent home cooks, if they followed instructions, would find even complicated French dishes within their grasp.”
“A Priest’s Handbook,” in print since 1983, is one of a small group of liturgical manuals, among the others are “The Prayer Book Rubrics Expanded” and the more-recent “Celebrating the Eucharist,” and is arguably one of the more definitive efforts. The book explains the use of vestments, the liturgical colors, altar preparation, as well as gestures and movements during the various services. It also explores prayer and liturgical options for the Holy Eucharist, Holy Week, Baptism and other events in the church year. The Daily Offices and use of the lectionary also are covered.