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The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition Hardcover – February 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Image; First Printing edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307718808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307718808
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anticipating changes to the English-language liturgy in 2011, newly minted Cardinal Wuerl (The Teaching of Christ) of Washington, D.C., and Catholic writer Aquilina (The Fire of God's Love) have produced a pithy primer on the Western Mass. The book is practical and poetic, intended to feed both intellect and soul. Wuerl, who neither sought nor opposed the controversial Mass revisions, explains them without polemics. The authors do acknowledge that some changes to familiar English may be jarring, and admit that some new wording is "unfamiliar and technical." The central theme is that the Mass is rooted in scripture and that its basic elements were in place by the second century. The subtext is that the sacrament and the faith are unchanging, but ritual changes over time. This book is ideal for Catholic adults who need a refresher and for potential converts to Catholicism. A minor weakness is that it lacks chapters on weddings and funerals, the two types of Mass that non-Catholics are most likely to attend. (Feb.)
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“Here we find the Mass accurately and lovingly explained down the last prayer – indeed, the last gesture. Using excellent historical and biblical references as well as quotations from the Fathers of the Church, the authors lead the reader step by step into the great mystery of God’s love for us that is the Mass.”
– Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR

“There is genius in Catholicism and nothing demonstrates that more tangibly than the Mass. At the same time it is impossible to ignore the fact that millions of Catholics don't have such an appreciation for the Mass. Is it a big problem? Yes. Is there a simple solution to that big problem? Yes. If every Catholic in America would read this book I think it would be a great first step in our quest to engage disengaged Catholics and turn the tide for Catholicism in America.”
– Matthew Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Rediscover Catholicism and founder of
“This is an ingenious, deeply satisfying exploration of the Mass – its history, its elements and its meaning.  The authors blend the best of priestly and lay wisdom about the central act of Catholic worship into a volume that is simultaneously rich in detail, wonderfully readable in style, and a marvelous resource for nourishing one's faith.”
– Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia 

 “Excellent, inspiring, and practical. I recommend this book to everyone (particularly at this time of confusing press coverage.)”
– Fr. Michael Scanlan, Chancellor of Franciscan University
“It’s the ‘source and summit’ of our Christian life, so to understand, love, and appreciate the Mass is imperative for anybody serious about discipleship. This excellent book is a great place to start.”
– Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York
The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition is an ideal introduction to all the aspects of the Mass.”
– Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., Editor-in-chief of Magnificat

“This is a book for all believers who want to enrich their knowledge, understanding and love for the Mass.”
– Most Reverened David A. Zubik, Bishop of Pittsburg

“What an inviting—and refreshing—guide to the Mass! Whether you are a Catholic or non-Catholic, a church-goer thirsty for a deeper understanding of the celebration you have attended so many times, or are simply curious about the Catholic Mass, this book is your passport to a new, deeper, richer experience with the Mass, and with Christ in the Eucharist.”
– Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus and the New York Times bestselling author of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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Customer Reviews

I read so much of this amazing book last night.
Terry Fenwick
This first half of the book is particularly rich in clearly explaining Mass-related terminology.
Richard J. Grebenc
I Highly recommend this book to anyone that is curious about the Catholic faith & The Mass.
Victoria L

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Terry Fenwick on February 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition, is on the way to our home but my Kindle is playing in my iPad - as that download is immediate!

I read so much of this amazing book last night. It is so well done! This beautiful book, so well organized, has a great purpose for anyone going into the Catholic Church, as well as those who are already in the Church. In my humble opinion, if anti-Catholics read this, they would have such deep respect for the Mass. There is not a question that is not answered! I can see The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition being used in every RCIA class in the country and even for adult studies. If there is one thing missing from Catholicism, it is that we often don't know why we do, what we do. Sadly, often when we are asked the "whys" we stare like a deer into the lights of an oncoming car.

Although the pictures are on the Kindle, I am anxious to see the ones in the book. The pictures will be helpful to those who are new to the Mass. I plan to come back and edit this review but I want to say - as in all good things - it was "worth waiting for!" Getting books from Amazon on a 'wait list' seems to have a touch of Christmas morning - anticipation is great but the arrival is even greater!

Do order the book. You can't be disappointed. Buy it for anyone who is new to the Church and for those who are just planning on coming in. I will have my book on the coffee table at all times to attract those friends and guests who come to visit.

Those of you who know Mike Aquilina, my favorite writer of Early Church Fathers, Love in the Little Things, A Year with the Church Fathers and Angels of GOD - know he just can't write anything but great things and then to have him teamed up with the much loved Archbishop Donald w. Wuerl who is now Cardinal Wuerl - who could ask for anything more. Our faith is so rich.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. Grebenc on February 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In "The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition," Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina collaborate on a daunting task: to give the reader "a 'panoramic' view of the central act of Christian worship" (as stated in "A Note from the Authors"). So much could be said (and has been said) about the Mass regarding its form, history, spirituality, and importance. The authors do an excellent job of condensing, synthesizing, highlighting and weaving together these aspects in a way that is accessible and interesting to any reader regardless of his level of familiarity with Catholic liturgy.

The Foreword of the book is provided by Archbishop Augustine Di Noia who helpfully highlights the authors' use of the present pope's method for mystagogical teaching. If the Mass seems commonplace it can be treated as unimportant. By explaining and unveiling the mysteries of the Mass, the authors help to ensure that the Mass's significance will not be questioned.

Cardinal Francis George, in the Preface, sees as the goal of the book the active participation of the faithful at Mass. It follows then that, in the Introduction, the authors state that their reason for the book is to "understand the Mass as we pray it"; to do this they will provide a "slow walk through the Mass."

Part One, entitled, "What Makes the Mass: People, Places, Words, and Things," begins by exploring the Mass's roots in Scripture and its history, leading the reader to appreciate the Mass today in continuity with its celebration throughout the Christian era. This is followed by chapters that focus on the elements of the Mass: bread and wine, the participants, the furnishings, etc. In addition, the importance of proper preparation for Mass and a Catholic's obligation to attend are emphasized.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rich Leonardi on March 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cardinal Wuerl and Mike Aquilina, two popular and prolific catechists, have written a comprehensive short introduction to the Mass. Therein lies its strength and weakness. They cover a lot of ground in 200 or so pages, but never really "dig in." For example, the fascinating history of the Mass is covered in a scant five pages! It could prove useful for RCIA candidates and those unfamiliar with the Mass, but probably not for Catholics who already know the basics. Moreover, I'm not a big fan of the authors' catchphrase "The Mass is what we do," which might lead people in our individualistic culture to think the liturgy is more about them doing things than worshiping God. In the Mass, we join our prayers to the Son and send them to the Father; it's more about what His grace does to us than "what we do" per se.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anthony on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Mass by Cardinal Wehrle and M. Aquilina is an insightful explanation of the various parts of the Catholic Mass. It combines the evolutionary history of the various prayers and selection of Old and New Testament passages with the essence of the Mass which is the real presence of Christ on the altar in the form of bread and wine.
As a catholic, the entire book reminded me of the uniqueness of the Catholic Mass; that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus Christ; that the Holy Spirit is present and changes the substance of bread and wine (transubstanciation); that the priest has received the sacrament of Holy Orders and serves as a vessel of this change.
Throughout the various parts of the Mass detailed in this book, the reader's attention is called to numerous biblical passages (Old and New Testament) which reinforce the coming of the New Covenant as well as an etymological interpretation of many words used in the Mass (Eucharistica, Amen,Aleluia, Sanctus).
From an explanation of the Sign of the Cross, to the Credo, and most importantly, the Eucharist, This book has called the attention of this cradle catholic to the true and insightful meaning of the words used in each prayer and the uniqueness of the Catholic Mass.
I thank the authors for writing a book that is clear, concise and easy to understand. I now participate in Mass with a renewed attention and reverence.
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