Have you checked “Michno”?

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

From Episcopal News Service

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.

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4 Comments
  1. Yes, like our forebears'”Ritual Notes,” Dennis’ book has become a standard to consult at least before adapting the ceremonial to a local situation. Very valuable resource.

  2. Mark Wilkinson

    I had a copy of his book on my desk at my first parish, Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans MA. I was quite surprised when one of my members came in, saw the book and said, “Did you know he was an assistant rector here with the Rev. David White. He lived in the rectory and gave harpsichord concerts in the living room.” So not only a gifted priest and cook, he was also a great musician.

  3. But I think that he has a different starting place than the BCP 1979: superimposing (old) Roman rubrics and ritual onto ours in a way that isn’t necessary. I much prefer Malloy, who plays with and encourages the use of all the permissive rubrics and what the rubrics _don’t_ say.

  4. Bill Carroll

    I’m still very fond of Michno, though I don’t follow him slavishly. The book is comprehensive and filled with insight. The overall sensibility is non fussy but dignified.

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