Church in India publishes New ESV Lectionary

India’s Roman Rite Catholic Bishop’s Conference has published a new Lectionary for use in English-language Masses in India using the English Standard Version.  The following details are available on their Facebook page:

The New English Lectionary will be released on Sunday 16 February 2020 and it will come into effect from Palm Sunday, 5 April 2020 onwards. The old Lectionaries should be replaced with the new Lectionary.

The English Standard Version Catholic Edition (ESVCE) has been used throughout in the new Lectionary. The ESVCE is considered one of the most accurate translations of the Holy Bible in English to the original manuscripts. The Lectionary has been prepared in accordance with the Ordo Lectionum Missae, Editio Typica Altera and according to the Indian Liturgical Calendar, incorporating special readings for Solemnities, Feasts and Memorials of the Indian Saints and votive Masses for our country.

The three volume English Lectionary will be published by the CCBI while the printing and circulation is outsourced to ATC. The Lectionary cost is Rs. 7500/- the prepublication offer is Rs.5000. Postage will be Rs 500/- extra. The prepublication offer of the Lectionary will be available till 31 December, 2019. 

The Book of Gospels will be published along with the Lectionary. The Book of Gospels is also essential for all parishes and provincial house chapels for solemn liturgical celebrations and needs to be carried reverently in the entrance processions so that it may be seen by the faithful participating in the liturgical celebration.

The cost of the Book of Gospels is Rs. 2000/- and the prepublication offer is Rs.1700/- The prepublication offer will be available till 31 December, 2019. Postage will be Rs.100/- extra.

These Liturgical Books are mandatory wherever the Liturgy in English is celebrated.For copies of Lectionary and Book of Gospels contact: Email:; Mobile: +91-9886730224

Rev. Dr. Stephen Alathara

Deputy Secretary General

Conference of Catholic Bishops of India

Like their Catholic edition of the ESV, the Lectionary is published by the Asian Trading Corporation in Bangalore. The 3 volume set costs Rs. 7500/- (approximately $105). They are also publishing a matching edition of the Book of Gospels, which will cost Rs. 2000/ (approximately $28). Judging by the picture of its cover, the Book of Gospels seems to be based on the Gospel Book for Kenya prepared by Ignatius Press.  Some more details on the new editions can be found in the latest ATC Catalogue. Here it tells us that “Psalms from Abbey Psalms and Canticles,” which I am presuming means that they will be the Revised Grail translation as it will shortly be published by the USCCB. The Lectionary measures 190mm x 275mm (approximately 7.5” x 11”), which seems a little small to me for a full sized liturgical edition. The Book of Gospels is slightly bigger (230mm x 350mm), although I think the publisher’s claim that this constitutes an “impressive size” is a little exaggerated.

I personally am not a fan of the ESV, but not being fully aware of the liturgical situation in India, I doubt that my opinion counts for much.  I believe that this Lectionary will replace the current RSV edition that they had been using for their English-language liturgies. This was the third edition of that Lectionary published by the Catholic Press in Ranchi, which is copyrighted for 1970, 1997, 2009. I think that they may also have been using a Jerusalem Bible Lectionary. I suppose, on one level, it might make sense to go with the ESV as it is basically a revision of the RSV. Although it is also slightly ironic to note that the same ATS catalogue that advertises the new ESV Lectionary is still promoting an edition of the RSV that they describe as being the “only major modern translation of the Catholic Bible available in standard English.”


  1. Up until the present, there was an RSV lectionary being used, but the England & Wales JB Lectionary was also widely found – and far more common in certain areas. As I posted back in July on your JB post, the situation with liturgical publishing is very inadequate in India – and this true both for national texts and for those of religious families. A classic example was seen years ago in the publication of the Marian Sacramentary, where the English was absolutely ungrammatical for the national appendix. Unfortunately, this regrettable trend has continued – a pity, given that the facilitiess are available to do an excellent job.

    The ESV Lectionary in India is disappointing on many levels, lacking many elements that make up a Catholic lectionary. Despite it’s claim to follow the OLM2, no incipits are provided (a carry-over from the previous lectionaries). Worse, the cut-and-paste reproduction of the ESV text means that certain passages do not even use a proper noun *once* – leaving a casual reader who hears only pronouns, and has no prior knowledge of the text rather mystified as to the identity of the characters in the pericope.

    This is only at the level of text, and not at the level of liturgical printing, where run-on lines, awkward placements and extremely heavy books are all de rigeur. Unfortunately, the opportunity to sense-line the texts has not been taken, nor the ability for a better and more logical arrangement.

    1. There have been rumours that the Bishops of England and Wales would simply import the Indian Lectionary for use in those territories. Quite apart from differences in the calendar, some of the problems Joshua mentions, which would not have occurred under an editor who knew what s/he was doing, would make it highly undesirable for that to happen. .

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