This may surprise many who know me, and many more who know of my reputation: I am after all, the iPriest, the early adopter of technology and someone always willing to try anything techhy to solve a problem.
And yet, I have always liked to stick with my bits of paper for the Mass.
For low mass, I have my legillium set out just as I like:
The Legillium Book is a toolkit of common components of the liturgy: words of introduction and connections, example prayers and other useful items which I have built up over time. The Lectionary is the usual three-volume edition and the St Luke’s Missal is a nice and compact book of the second edition which is easy to work with. Add the weekly sheet which has the names of the sick and the departed and the prayer intentions on it, and this is my workspace.
For Sunday Mass, I have up until now used what Fr Wealands Bell refers to as a Missa Plastica – a single file which can be either on my legillium or held by an MC. I keep pages for confession, gloria and creed constant and add in three new pages each week for my words of introduction, collect, post-communion and notices. It works and over 7 years at STE I now had more than a complete three year cycle which here at RTM I am slowly converting to Common Worship, taking the weekly material from Visual Liturgy. It’ll take three years but it will be worth it.
There was security in paper, but it was wasteful.
So, for Trinity 10, I took the plunge and abandoned the Missa Plastica and went electronic.
Only now? Yes. Only now.
It worked. You will know that I am not an Apple Fanboy, and I have long rejected the iTunes hegemony and avoided an iPad. I have had an Android Tablet (an Arnova 10 G2, rooted – of course) for about six months now and love it, but for me it has been primarily a tool for working on the road: diary, note-taking etc. I have been aware that some priests have been using Tablets at the altar for some time, but only now have I felt the time was right to go my own way.
So, this week, I created a new word template: Sunday Mass Template for Tablet (Word document template, dotx format)
This enables me to cut and paste the Collect and Post Communions from Visual Liturgy, and write my own words. Although there are a few options listed inside it, there are far fewer than in my legillium book. This is because as I write the week’s liturgy I can add or remove items and choices or leave options in, as even during the Mass I change my words to respond to the ‘feel’ of the congregation.
By saving the completed document into my Dropbox, which my Tablet has access to, I can immediately access the document on the tablet and it shows up beautifully: readable, clear and very usable. It was great to use either in my hand (as I also cut in place my homily in the middle of the document as well) or from the legillium and the altar.
In the afternoon, I conducted two baptisms both with the tablet and it worked like a dream. This was especially after I had turned off “auto-rotate” so that it didn’t keep flipping as I moved my hand.
I judged it to be quite a success, and commend it to you. It is flexible, adaptable and saves paper. Feel free to use the template (which can be read by an iPad as well). I will post the contents of my legillium book for you to adapt in the next post.