Today I received an email from a brother Franciscan asking some advice about what he might need to get started in an exploration of the EF. After I wrote the email I thought, why not share it? Here it is:
So, you're ready to jump into the world of the EF? Be careful!
Here's what I recommend...
the new FSSP training video is very, very helpful. Get it. I'm not sure you have to read Fortescue or O'Connell in order to get started, but unless your Latin is very good you will want an English translation of the rubrics and the de defectibus.
You can order one of the FSSP kits, but you don't really need all that stuff. However this CD is very helpful for pronunciation and tones. Be warned! It has no internal track information so if you put it in your iTunes (as I did) you will have to go through and type in 137 titles and make sure they match. But it's worth it because you can listen and absorb good habits while walking, on the bus, etc.
At the very least you need a missal and altar cards. Two sets of the latter if you intend to do a requiem Mass. If you don't have nice ones, these travel ones are fine. But altar cards are everywhere. A missal is harder. The one you get with these kits isn't the nicest one out there. Perhaps there are missals to salvage around your church, or maybe you have one already. If you have a lot of money get one of the Benziger reprints. There has to be a way to get a better price than from PCP, but I haven't found it. Personally, I would go for the green, just to be different.
Ultimately what you really want is a Missale-Romano Seraphicum from 61/62. If you don't find one, I can give you the position of St. Francis in the confiteor. Speaking of other Franciscan differences and adjustments, follow this link and scroll down to the Franciscan section.
Finally, vestments. Presumably you have a proper sacristy where you can find an amice, alb, cincture, stole, and chasuble. Yes, you will need an amice because for us it replaces the biretta at the times when you must cover your head. Perhaps you even have burses and chalice veils lying around. Good. So all you need, at least to start, is to top off sets with a reasonably matching maniple. Try Ebay. Ebay is full of maniples. Then there's a set in black, which might be more of a challenge. You'll need it for requiem Masses, or if you pull this all together in time for All Souls' Day.