The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass



  AT THE MASS                                      ON THE CROSS

                 v. We adore Thee O, Christ, and we praise Thee.

                      R. Because by Thy holy cross Thou has redeemed the world.





The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass


   We have seen that the Eucharist is perfected as a sacrament not, as in the case with all the other sacraments, through its use by men or in its application to men, but in the very consecration of the sacramental species: by the divine power of the sacred formulas, the substance of bread is totally changed into the substance of Christ's body and the substance of wine into the substance of his blood. In this manner the celebration of the Eucharist is an image representing Christ's sacrifice on the cross, which was accomplished in a bloody manner by the physical separation of his sacred body and blood. Thus also this ceremony (together with the preparatory and accompanying rites traditionally called the Mass) is itself a sacrifice: "By the consecration traditionally of this sacrament sacrifice is offered to God."

(l) Sacrifice, as we have seen, is the principal external act of the virtue of religion, that special virtue whereby man gives to God, insofar as in him lies, the honor owed to his singular excellence. (1) St. Thomas, III, Summa,q. 82,a. 10.
   In recognition of God's supreme authority and dominion and man's dependence, a gift is offered which represents ourselves, and the victim so offered is changed or destroyed in some manner to express the totality of the giving of ourselves and of the reparation man desires to make for his sin. Thus sacrifice, the external and sensible representation of man's interior immolation to his God, springs from the very nature of things, from the necessary and essential relationship existing between the Creator and his free and intelligent creature. Even had there been no revelation from God, man would have been impelled to make sacrifice, as we read of Cain and Abel doing in the Old Testament, as the anthropologist discovers in the history of religions.

Yet it is a fact and a most powerful apologetic argument for the existence of the one true Church-that today true sacrifice is offered only in the Church of Christ. Jewry, Islam, the various Protestant sects have no sacrifice at all, nor is it offered by the great oriental re religions. Degraded forms of sacrifice may be found in certain primitive pagan religions, but these rites are offered to strange gods, not to the one true God. Only in the Church of Christ whose earthly head is the Pope does there exist a realization of man's need, rooted in his very nature, to acknowledge God's sovereignty and expiate man's offenses against him. The Mass, the sacrifice of Christ, is the sacrifice of Christ's Church, the sacrifice of us Christians. To obtain a clearer understanding of this sacrificial aspect of the sacrament of the Eucharist we shall concentrate on four points: its existence (Section 2); its essence (Section 3); its minister (Section 4); its fruits or effects (Section 5). So much could be said about this tremendous mystery of God's love which is the Mass that we can obviously but touch the surface of the matter, speaking only of the most essential points; but it is hoped that, through the liberal use of the Church's official teaching, the main features can be sufficiently outlined and the student thereby inspired to search for himself these deep things of God, a study whose fruits of grace will merit his attention throughout his life.

But besides these essential elements there are other things to consider. Christ himself gave the Church this precious jewel, his living memorial, which makes present in our midst his sacrifice on the cross and provides a sacred banquet imparting eternal life. But while the essential elements of the Mass are contained in the Last Supper and bequeathed to the Church, the Church herself has seen fit to provide, over the course of the centuries, a setting for them worthy of so priceless a heritage. The prayers and ceremonies of the Mass which constitute this setting are not, however, precisely the same at all times and in all places. Better to understand the Mass, therefore, we shall briefly see something of its historical development (Section 6) and examine the theological aspects of the liturgy with which the Church surrounds Christ's sacrifice and ours(Section 7).



   The earliest ecclesiastical documents we can discover, the writings of the earliest Church Fathers, bear unfailing witness to the constant and perpetual tradition of the Church: the Mass is a hue sacrifice, the sacrifice of Calvary represented on the altar of this place, at this moment of time. With the doctrinal innovations of the Protestants, a definitive statement of  his dogma of Christ became necessary, and the Council of Trent restates the faith of Christ in these memorable words: As the apostle Paul testifies, there was no perfection under the former testament because of the insufficiency of the Levitical priesthood. It was, therefore, necessary (according to the merciful ordination of God the Father) for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchisedech (d. Gen. 14:18; Ps.109:4; Heb. 7:11), our Lord Jesus Christ who could perfect all who were to be sanctified (d. Heb. 10: 14) and bring them to fulfillment. He, then, our Lord and our God, was once and for all to offer himself by his death on the altar of the cross to God the Father, to accomplish for them an everlasting redemption.

   But death was not to end his priesthood (d. Heb. 7:24,27). And so at the Last Supper on the night on which he was betrayed, in order to leave for his beloved spouse, the Church, a sacrifice that was visible(as the nature of man demands), declaring himself constituted a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech, he offered his body and blood under the species of bread and wine to God the Father and he gave his body and blood under the same species to the apostles to receive, making them priests of the New Testament at that time.

   This sacrifice was to represent the bloody sacrifice which he accomplished on the cross once and for all. It was to perpetuate his memory until the end of the world (ef.Cor 11 :23 ff.). Its salutary strength was to be applied for the remission of the sins that we daily commit. He ordered the apostles and their successors in the priesthood to offer this sacrifice when he said, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Lk. 22:19; I Cor. 11:24), as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught. For after he celebrated the old Pasch, which the assembly of the children of Israel offered in memory of the passage from Egypt (d. Exod. 12: 1 ff.), Christ instituted a new Pasch. He himself was this new Pasch, to be offered by the Church through her priests under visible signs, in memory of his departure from this world to the Father when by the shedding of his blood he redeemed us from the power of darkness and transferred us into his kingdom (ef. Col. 1:13).

   This is that clean oblation which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness or evil on the part of those who offer it, and which the Lord foretold through Malachy would be offered in all places as a clean oblation to his name, for his name would be great among the Gentiles (ef. Mal. 1: 11). It is evident that the apostle Paul also refers to this oblation in writing to the Corinthians when he says that those who have been defiled by partaking of the table of devils cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord. By table he understands altar in both cases (d. I Cor. 10:21). Finally, this is the oblation which was represented by various figures in sacrifices during the time of nature and of the Law (cf. Gen. 4:4, 8:20, 12:8; 22; Exod., passim). For it includes all the good that was signified by those former sacrifices; it is their fulfillment and perfection. (2)


The Church, the infallible custodian and teacher of God's truth, thus declares three truths
about the Mass:
1) it is a true sacrifice;
2) it is identical with the sacrifice of Calvary; and
3) these truths have been revealed by God himself. These important facts will be
considered in greater detail.
4) Sess. XXII, Chap. 1 (Denz. 938); d. Can. 1, 2, 3 (Denz. 948, 949, 950) and the
Tridentine Profession of Faith (Denz. 997).


   Since sacrifice is the essential rite of any religion (d. supra, pp. 186 ff.), the true religion instituted by Jesus Christ must possess just such a liturgical homage as its basic act of religion-and there is none such in God's Church, nor ever has been, except the Mass. For the sacrifice of the Cross, permanent as to its effects, was nevertheless accomplished at a particular moment of time, and Christ dies no more. To the eyes off faith, moreover, it is evident that the Mass fulfills all of the qualities of a true sacrifice Mass

1) It is the offering of a sense-perceptible thing: under the sensible appearance of bread
and wine Christ's true body and true blood are offered to God the Father.

2) It was legitimately instituted and is effected by a legitimate minister. Christ himself
instituted this sacrifice at the Last Supper and founded a new priesthood whose essence would be found precisely in its relationship to the Eucharist. The successors of the apostles by valid ordination receive a participation of Christ's own priestly power in virtue of which they act for him in offering this sacrifice to God.
3) It is accomplished by the immolation of the victim: through the power of the words of
consecration, Christ is made present on the altar in the state of sacrificial victim, the words themselves effecting the separate presence of his body under the species of bread, his blood under the species of wine.


   The Mass is essentially the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of Calvary. It is a memorial of Christ's passion, its commemoration and representation, not an innovation. "In the divine sacrifice that is offered in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is present and is offered in an unbloody manner .... For it is one and the same victim: he who now makes the offering through the ministry of priests and he who then offered himself on the cross; the only difference is in the manner of offering. The benefits of this oblation (i.e., the bloody one) are received in abundance through this unbloody oblation. By no means, then, does the sacrifice of the Mass detract from the sacrifice of the cross." (3)


   The Mass was prefigured by the sacrifices of the Old Law and prophesied by the psalmist (109:4) and by (Malachy (1:10-11). Figure became reality, prophecy became fact when the Son of God became man. At the Last Supper Christ instituted a true sacrifice in the proper sense of the word. And he commanded his apostles and their successors to perpet uate this memorial of his passion through the celebration of the Eucharist. These things are evident from the very words of institution of this sacrament (d. Matt. 26:26-28; Mk. 14:22-24; Lk. 22:19-20).

St. Paul shows that all the elements of the true sacrifice are to be found in the Eucharist: the altar (I Cor. 10:21), the immolation of the victim and its memorial (I Cor. 10:26), the pact between God and man which is the end of sacrifice (ibid., 25), and the union of those offering sacrifice with the victim (ibid., 10:18-21). Thus he bears witness to the perpetuation of Christ's sacrifice in the early Church through the celebration of the Eucharist.
   From the time of the apostles through all the intervening centuries the Tradition of the
Church has constantly, perpetually and universally taught these truths.


   On the cross {Christ} completely offered himself and all his sufferings to God, and the immolation of the victim was brought about by the bloody death which he underwent of his free will. But on the altar, by reason of the glorified state of his human nature, "death shall have no more dominion over him" , and so the shedding of his blood is impossible. Still, according to the plan of divine wisdom, the sacrifice of our Redeemer is shown forth in an admirable manner by external signs which are symbols of his death.(Rom.6: 9) For by the "transubstantiation" of bread into the body of Christ and of wine into his blood, his body and blood are both really present: now the eucharistic species under which he is present symbolize the actual

(3) Council of Trent, Sess. XXII, Chap. 2; Denz. 940.
separation of his body and blood. Thus the commemorative representation of his death, which actually took place on Calvary, is repeated in every sacrifice of the altar, seeing that Jesus Christ is symbolically shown by separate symbols to be in a state of victim hood. (3a)
   In harmony with this teaching of the Church and with the doctrine of St. Thomas, we may offer this explanation of what the Mass is, of the essential elements which constitute it both a true sacrifice and the same sacrifice as that of the Cross:
1. In the sacrifice of the New Law which is the Mass, Christ is made present formally as victim, together with the eternal power of his passion. By the power of the words of consecration, Christ is not made present according to his glorified state (although he is sc, present in virtue of real concomitance), but precisely as having suffered. He is immolated sacramentally inasmuch as under the species of bread and under the species of wine there are separately placed the body and the blood of the perpetual victim immolated in a bloody manner on the cross. (4) Moreover, Christ as victim is present together with his passion: by reason of his sacramental presence, his divine power and the power of his passion, through the communication of its fruits, here and now work man's redemption.
2. In the sacrifice of the Mass Christ is made present as the perpetual victim of the one oblation of the eternal High Priest sacramentally perpetuated by the ministry of his priests. The very same act of offering by which the High Priest offered himself on the cross in a bloody immolation is perpetuated sacramentally. Through the ministry of his priests who offer in his name and by his power, the offering made at the altar is the very same (except for the unbloody manner of this offering) as that made once for all on Calvary. "As Ambrose says, 'There is but one victim'-namely, that which Christ offered and that which we offered and not many Victims, because Christ was offered but once: and this latter sacrifice is the pattern of the former. For just as what is offered everywhere is one body, and not many bodies, so also is it but one sacrifice. (5)
(3a) Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei.4Cf. St. Thomas, Summa, III, q. 73, a. 3, ad 3; a. 5, ad 2; a. 6; q. 75,
a. q. 79, a. 7.5St. Thomas, Summa, III, q. 83, a. 1, ad 1.r.

There is one oblation and one immolation of Christ, that which he completed once for all on the cross. But by the will of the Incarnate Word expressed in instituting this sacrament his sacrifice is sacramentally perpetuated in his Church. It is not a new sacrifice there is no new priest, no new victim, nor are the oblation and immolation essentially and substantially new; rather it is Christ's very sacrifice as communicated to the Church, as participated in by the Church in a sacramental manner. The principal one who offers is the same: the eternal High Priest who perpetually offers sacrifice as head of the Church through the Church's ministers, who are his instruments acting in his power. The victim is always the same: the body and blood of Christ which, through the power of the sacrament, are sacramentally placed apart and separated under the species of bread and wine.
   By the fact that Christ's oblation now takes place through the ministry of his priests, it becomes likewise the oblation of the Church; otherwise it is the same offering.


   The unbloody immolation at the words of consecration, when Christ is made present upon the altar in the state of a victim, is performed by the priest and by him alone, as the representative of Christ and not as the representative of the faithful. But it is because the priest places the divine victim upon the altar that he offers it to God the Father as an oblation for the glory of the Blessed Trinity and for the good of the whole Church. Now the faithful participate in the oblation,understood in this limited sense, after their own fashion and in a twofold manner, namely, because they not only offer the sacrifice by the hands of the priest, but also, to a certain extent, in union with him. It is by reason of this participation, that the offering made by the people is also included in liturgical worship.

Now it is clear that the faithful offer the sacrifice by the hands of the priest from the fact that the minister at the altar in offering a sacrifice in the name of all his members represents Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body. Hence the whole Church can rightly be said to offer up the victim through Christ. But the conclusion that the people offer the sacrifice with the priest himself is not based on the fact that, being members of the Church no less than the priest himself, they perform a visible liturgical rite; for this is the privilege only of the minister who has been divinely appointed to this office. Rather it is based on the fact that the people unite their hearts in praise impetration, expiation and thanksgiving with the prayers or intension of the priest, even of the High Priest himself, so that in the one and same offering of the victim and according to a visible sacerdotal rite they may be presented to God the Father. It is obviously necessary that the external sacrificial rite should, of its very nature, signify the internal worship of the heart. Now the sacrifice of the New Law signifies that supreme worship by which the principal offerer himself, who is Christ, and in union with him and through him all the members of the Mystical Body, pay God the honor and reverence that are due to him (5a)


   By his sacrifice on Calvary, Christ "by one offering has perfected forever those who are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14). The perfect immolation of the God-man, both priest and victim, head of the human race was accomplished in perfect obedience and love, and thus earns in measureless profusion the graces that are meant for all men of every time and place. But men must individually come into vital contact with the sacrifice of the Cross,in order that the merits which flow from :. may be communicated to them. Hence the tremendous important of the Mass in the life of the Church and of each individual Christian. It is, as Pope Pius pointed out, "the supreme instrument whereby the, merits won by the divine Redeemer upon the cross are distributed to the faithful."!

For the ends of the sacrifice of Calvary and the sacrifice of the Mass are the same. Both give glory to Almighty God, in recognition of his universal dominion and our subjection as creatures; both render thanks to God for the great goods he has bestowed upon most perfectly fulfilling the debt of gratitude we owe to so bountiful a Father; both expiate for our sins, propitiating him whom we have so grievously offended and reconciling us again with God; and both the sacrifice of the altar and that of the Cross effectively beseech God in our behalf for the blessings and graces we need each day of our lives
(5) a Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei. 6 Ibid.

 By the Mass, then, honor and thanksgiving are properly given to God, and this directly and infallibly, for it is Christ's own worship of his heavenly Father, the perfect immolation of Calvary. But its other effects are not infallibly produced, for they are secured for men, and man has the ability to make himself unfit to receive them. Hence the Christian must participate as fully as he can in this august sacrifice, if he is to receive from this font of graces an ever increasing share of the fruits won by Christ on his cross.
Nothing can be conceived more just or fitting than that all of us, in union with our Head who suffered for our sake, should also sacrifice ourselves to the eternal Father. For in the sacrament of the altar ... the Church is made to see that in what she offers she herself is offered. (7)

Let the faithful, therefore, consider to what high dignity they are raised by the sacrament of baptism. They should not think it enough to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice with that general intention which is fitting for member of Christ and children of the Church. But let them further, in keeping with the spirit of the sacred liturgy, be most closely united with the High Priest and his earthly minister at the time the consecration of the divine victim is effected, and especially at that time when those solemn words are pronounced; "By him and with him and in him is to thee, God the Father Almighty, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory for ever and ever"; to these words, in fact, the people answer "Amen." Nor should Christians forget to offer themselves,their cares, their sorrows, their distress and their necessities in union with their divine Savior on the cross. (7a)


   Only in the most cursory and superficial manner can we here discuss the complicated but highly interesting and significant story of the Church's solicitude through the centuries for the treasure which

(7) St. Augustine, The City of God, Bk. X, Chap. 6.7aPope Pius XII, op. Cit .
is the Mass. (8) Attempting only to highlight the main developments in the liturgy of the Mass as an aid in grasping its theological significance, we shall break up our study into six periods. This division is necessarily arbitrary, shallow and non-exclusive. But only in ignoring the nuances and complications of history can a simplified presentation achieve its chief purpose of stressing the major changes which have occurred, in order to indicate clearly the bearing of history upon our understanding of the sacramental sacrifice of Christ.

With this end in mind, the following periods will be considered successively: the primitive ritual of the Mass (first century); the period of transition (second and third centuries); the classical formulation of the Roman Mass (fourth century to the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great,c. 600); Carolingian changes (seventh to eleventh centuries);developments in the Middle Ages (twelfth century to the reform of St. Pius V, 1570); the Mass in modern times (1570 to the present day).


(1) The Last Supper

   The history of the Mass begins in the Cenacle, when our Lord instituted the Eucharist in the course of the ritual paschal meal. Both this solemn ritual and the simpler Sabbath service had important features in common. The head of the household took bread, spoke a blessing over it,and broke it into pieces to distribute among the participants; in this way those who were present were symbolically embodied in one company. After the banquet, the head of the household took a cup (known as the"cup of blessing"), elevated it slightly above the table, and pronounced another prayer of blessing, in the (8)


    The classical work on this difficult subject is The Mass of the Roman Rite, by J. A. } ungmann, S.J., (New York: Benziger, 1951); he summarizes his highly scholarly find-ings in a popular work, Public Worship: A Survey (Collegeville. Minn.: The Liturgical Press,1957), which includes a good deal of additional information on the liturgy. The third edition of The Liturgy of the Mass by one of the liturgical movement's foremost representatives, Pius Parsch, (St. Louis:B. Herder, 1957) incorporates Jungmann's erudition into a less technical approach to the history and meanmeaning of the Mass; this, too, is readily available in summary form in a long pamphlet, Study the Mass (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1953), which is unreservedly recommended to the student for its presentation of a difficult subject and its insights into the deeper significance of the Mass. The course of which thanks were given to God for all that he had done for his people. So closely linked are Christ's actions and words in instituting the Eucharist with these rituals that it seems likely that he deliberately connected the new Pasch with the ancient rites. He took bread, broke it, pronounced the words of consecration over it, and gave it to his apostles; then, "after supper was over" (Lk. 22:20; I Cor. 9:25) he took the (third) cup, said the words of consecration over it, and handed it to his disciples.

Externally, there-fore, the primitive Mass ritual was that of a banquet or meal. The essential elements of the celebration were the Consecration and the Communion, and the fixed framework for the sacred action was the prayer of thanksgiving with which our Lord himself had united the words of consecration,(9) accompanied by the breaking of bread and the distribution of the bread and cup. (10) Other less essential features of the first celebration will also be preserved in variant liturgical ceremonies: purification (the washing of the feet-(Jn. 13:1-5); sermon (the great sacerdotal prayer of Christ (Jn. 14-17); the hymn of praise sung after the Last Supper (recorded by Matt. 26:30 and Mk. 14:26; this consisted of the so-called Hallel psalms (112- 117) and Psalm 135, which formed part of the paschal rite).

(2) The Mass of the Apostles

   Undoubtedly the first Christians celebrated Mass after the example set them by our Lord. It was a simple ceremony, consisting of a love-banquet or charity-repast (agape), where the whole community gathered together to feast in unison, during the course of which the "breaking of bread" would be repeated in commemoration of him who died on the cross. But it was not a simple memorial: the agape was a sacred meal in common, whose whole significance was derived from the fact of the unity of the sacrifice of the assembly (ecclesia) and the unity of their communion in that sacrifice "Who ever eats this
(9) The very name of this sacrament-sacrifice, the Eucharist, derives from the blessing" and "giving thanks" of Christ in instituting it; this custom is the origin of our "Eucharistic Prayer,'" the Preface and Canon of the Mass. The (10)"breaking of bread" still survives in present  liturgical practice; so significant a feature was it of the eucharistic rite that the celebration of the Eucharist was caned by this name. Cf. Acts 2:42, 2:46, 20:6-21:
Didache, Chap. 14, n. 1. bread," says St. Paul, "or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the of the Lord" (I Cor. 11:17).

Yet the natural difficulties such a ceremony might give rise to only too quickly eventuated. Abuses inevitably crept in (d. I Cor. 11:17-24), and with the rapid spread of Christ's worship led to an impracticable situation. Sts. Matthew and Mark, for example, make no mention in their accounts of the institution that the chalice was taken after the meal. And the Didache (A.D. 80-100) clearly distinguishes between the agape and the Eucharist. Within the first century, the festival meal as an essential component of the divine service of the Christian community had completely disappeared.


   If the external celebration of the Eucharist quickly and fundamentally changed from the form observed in the upper room, not so the essential elements it was expressive of. The prayer of thanksgiving remained and it was the necessary ceremonial skeleton of the development which continues through the ages down to our own day. Practical considerations had eliminated the banquet as an appropriate setting for the sacred action; practical considerations also suggested the considerable external evolution which followed in may quick succession this early exclusion of an impracticable and nonessential ceremony. We regret that we no longer have the simplicity and fervor of those early converts whose charity was never better expressed than in their mutual feasting and drinking together; the facts of original sin and its consequences, of a charity grown cold, are already manifest in the first century, and few of us would care in this day to deny them.

What new external form would the Eucharist take ? First of all, it would necessarily continue to be a thanksgiving, an action of gratitude (the sacrifice, the gifts given in thanks) expressed by words of gratitude. This, as Christ himself suggested, is the proper setting for his offering in which man shares. St. Ignatius of Antioch (+ 110) implies just such a ritual action. (11) Herein is found the primary source of Christian unity, the center of that isolated and reviled community which is the early Church among the hostile Jews and pagans. (11) Epistle to the Smyrnaeans. VII, ).

But St. Justin (+ c. 165) more clearly indicates the development which had ensued. Separated from the agape, the Eucharist was preceded by a series of readings. The service proper consisted of the kiss of peace, followed by the offering of gifts to the bishop; then followed the great eucharistic prayer, improvised by the celebrant, during which came the consecration through the words of institution; it was concluded with the great "Amen" of the people. This action was followed by the distribution of the consecrated bread and wine, provision for communion in the sacrifice (i.e., reception of the sacred species) being made for those who were absent.(12)

Recorded here is the union of the Jewish tradition respecting the worship of God with the specifically Christian service. The Synogague had always had a "service of the the word," readings from the sacred books (d.Lk. 4:16-21; Acts 13:14-16), followed by a communal prayer of petition; preserved by the Christians, this sacred observance is now (the dangers of the Judaisers being past) incorporated in Christian worship. At this early time, however, the instruction service was not a necessary prelude to the Mass proper. It substituted for other liturgical observances which would, on special occasions (solemn baptism, confirmation, ordinations, etc.), precede the usual celebration of the Eucharist (13)

Two features of the ceremonies described by St. Justin and St. Hippolytus are to be noted. The first is the bringing forth of the offerings of the people, although as yet there is no offertory procession. The second is the distribution of the consecrated elements to the people; this is an office executed in St. Justin's time by the deacons, but only a half century later, St. Hippolytus describes a procession in which the faithful approach the sacrificial table themselves to receive Holy Communion, singing meanwhile a hymn of praise. After the Communion there was a prayer of thanks, a blessing through the imposition of hands, and the dismissal: "Go in peace."
(12) First Apology, 65, 1-5. (13) Cf. Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition, Chap. 4, 7 and 22; the description of St. Justin already referred to is of the Roman rite of Mass for Easter Sunday when baptism was solemnly conferred.
Thus in these very early centuries was already established the basic structure of our Mass today, what we may call, with Doctor Parsch, the "ground plan" of the eucharistic sacrifice, the basis of all the liturgies:

I: The Foremass: service of the word of God
1. Readings from the Old and New Testament.
2. Sermon by the bishop.
3. Communal prayer (petitions) and kiss of peace.                                                             

II. Sacrifice-Mass
1. Offertory (procession).
2. Eucharistic prayer with the people's Amen.
3. Reception of Holy Communion (procession).
This was a universal pattern, acceptable not only in Rome but equally in the East. But these liturgical essentials having been so determined during this period of transition, we now enter on a third stage of the celebration of the Eucharist. In this later period East and West will part company, for the Roman Church will adopt Latin as the language of her liturgy, while the Greek and Eastern Churches will retain their own liturgical traditions, including the use of language. Thus from a common starting point East and West will develop through the centuries many accidental modifications of the essential celebration. We shall ignore the former (although they are of great importance), in order to concentrate on the latter, for these are of greatest moment to our present liturgy.


From the end of the third century until the end of the pontificate of St. Gregory the Great (+ 604), the accidental modifications of the essential Mass structure already established are of great import. Not only is Latin a substitute; the special Roman genius pervades all the prayers and ceremonies of the liturgy from now on, pervasive in its conciseness, incision, concentration, precision, its sober and honest approach even to supernatural reality, its minimal and dogmatic use of all-gesture, vesture and ceremonial-that involves emotionalism and sentimentality. The important contribution of this period in the development of the Roman liturgy is to determine fixed forms for the celebration of the Mass; this is accomplished, not by arbitrary choice, but through a perceptive artistic genius, as appreciative of the doctrinal significance of ,what it was doing as of the pro-per use of the artistic means it selected. Thus the great Eucharistic Prayer was no longer left to the discretion of the celebrant; the Canon of the Mass, including the Preface and Sanctus, was composed in its essential outlines (the petitions for the living and dead and the lists of saints were a later insertion of this same period into the course of the older prayer of thanksgiving and of offering). Both Preface and Canon were the special prer-ogative of the celebrant, the former being sung solemnly, the later at first chanted and then recited aloud; the great doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer was climaxed by the "Amen" of the people.

There ,were changes in the liturgical structure, too, although not such as to affect the essential outline. The solemn entry of the clergy was accompanied by the singing of a psalm by the choir, which continued until the act-ion taking place was ended. In the early Mass the reading of the Word of God had preceded the great common prayer of petition; in the Roman liturgy these prayers disappear from this spot, and a number of other prayers (Kyrie, Gloria, Collect) are inserted before the readings. Psalms were also sung when the faithful brought up their bread and wine after the readings (after receiving these gifts, the priest washed his soiled hands) and during the Communion of the faithful; in both instances (as after the entry chant) there was a concluding prayer by the priest-the prayers we today call the Collect, the Secret and the Post communion.

 Even in the early Mass there had been sung interludes after the Epistle, usually entire psalms appropriate to the feast being celebrated. During this period, with the singing of special chants taken over by the choir, these interludes (Gradual and Alleluia or Tract) were considerably shortened but musically elaborated, and frequently sung as solos for the meditation of the people, who joined in only in the responses. For all its solemnity, the Roman Mass of this golden era of the liturgy was marked by simplicity, sobriety and harmony. It was a meaningful ceremony for both priests and people.


With the barbarian invasions came the Dark Ages and the decline of Rome as the cultural center of Europe. In the lands to the north, however, which would be the possession of the great Charles, the Roman Mass reached a further step in its development. It was transplanted into the kingdom of the Franks in preference to the local rituals, which varied considerably from place to place but were all influenced by the eastern liturgies. Although the Roman rite prevailed, it was inevitably modified by these Gallican customs, so much so that our Mass today may be more properly styled Roman-Frankish than purely Roman.

 Chief among the obvious changes was the practice of reciting certain prayers silently. Up to this time all the prayers, including the Canon, had been declaimed in a loud voice so that they could be understood by the people. Now new silent prayers, to be said by the priest alone or quietly with his ministers, were inserted at the beginning at the foot of the altar; when the gifts were received from the faithful and placed on the altar; and at the Communion. Even the Canon was recited inaudibly. Moreover, a tendency grew up to emphasize each ritual gesture with explanatory words; kissing the altar, washing the hands, the breaking of bread, all previously Curried out in silence, came to be accompanied by (inaudible) prayers which emphasized their significance. The practice of saying the Creed on great feasts was also introduced.

This important development (and a more subtle change in style and tone) had a most important effect: the separation, if not exclusion, of the people from the altar. They were now an audience, a group of spectators, and no longer participants in the sacred action and its witnesses.

E. THE MIDDLE AGES: 1200 - 1600

   The contribution of the Ages of Faith to the liturgy of the Mass was not an entirely happy one. The changes, however, were in the main minor. Since the people no longer brought bread and wine (unleavened bread was used from the ninth century, which had to be supplied by the clergy) but now made their offering by way of a collection, the procession was suppressed and the psalm reduced to a short antiphon. The entry psalm (Introit) and Communion psalm were also curtailed to our present antiphons. The wording of the Canon was not changed, but the rite of the elevation of the host began at the end of the twelfth century, the elevation of the chalice in the fifteenth, and genuflections were made by the priest every time he touched the Blessed Sacrament. There were several additions made during this time. Chief among these were the Sequences, extensive and sometimes very beautiful commentaries on the themes of the feast sung to simple melodies by the people after the Alleluia. The composition of "tropes," amplifications of the original text by insertions, was also much practiced in the late Middle Ages. All of this was but an intensification of the earlier tendency to relegate the celebration of the Mass proper to the priest as his work and supply private devotional practices for the people.


   The multiplicity of local variants and customs, the abuses and exaggerations which had crept into the Mass liturgy in the late Middle Ages, led the great Council of Trent to take action to purge the liturgy of questionable accretions. In 1570 St. Pius V imposed the text of the Missal of the Roman Curia everywhere.(14) Subsequent changes in the celebration of the Mass have been concerned with the way in which Mass is celebrated rather than with the fixed rite (14)

Those liturgies which could show a full two hundred years of existence were permitted to continue; thus the liturgies of the Dominicans, calced Carmelites, Carthusians, and of several dioceses still remain. itself. Thus High Masses have become more prevalent, and the celebration of Low Mass has become a universal custom. The revival of interest in the liturgy, one of the spiritual phenomena of our day, has witnessed many attempts to secure the participation of the faithful and to render that participation more active and vital.


Wherefore, 0 Lord, we thy servants, as also thy holy people, calling
to mind the blessed passion of the same Christ thy Son, our Lord, and
also his resurrection from hell and glorious ascension into heaven,
offer unto thy most excellent majesty, of thy presents and gifts, a pure
+ host, a holy + host, a spotless + host, the holy bread + of
eternal life, and the chalice + of everlasting salvation.

   This prayer, which immediately follows the Consecration, is our answer to Christ's request: "Do this in memory of me." It expresses the very essence of the Mass, which is a memorial ("calling to mind"), a sacrifice("we ... offer a host") and a sacrificial and eucharistic banquet ("bread of eternal life"), of priests ("we thy servants") and of people ("thy holy people"). These are the elements we must keep in mind in briefly setting forth in general lines the theological aspects of the liturgy of the Mass.(I5) Before we do so, however, it would be well to outline the general plan of the Mass.


   As has been noted, the Mass is composed of two principal parts, the Foremass ("service of prayer and instruction") and the Sacrifice Mass ("the sacrificial action"). The main parts are subdivided as follows:


( also known as the "Mass of the Catechumens," because in olden times the catechumens were dismissed at its close, since they could not take place in the offering)
(15) No detailed analysis will be attempted. There are several fine works available in English, especially those mentioned in footnote 8, to which may be added a valuable pamphlet, What is the Mass? by H. Chery, a.p. (Westminster, Md.: The Newman Press, 1952).

I. The Prayer Service:

2. INTROIT-entry chant, formerly an entire psalm.
3. KYRIE- a shortened litany, expressive of desire.
4. GLORIA-the people's hymn of acclamation to the Blessed Trinity, an exultant expresof
5. COLLECT-the climax and term of the prayer service, a solemn summing up by the
priest of the prayer of the people, presented by him before the throne of God: petition

II. The Scripture Service:

1. EPISTLE: God speaks to us through his prophets and apostles.
2. GRADUAL: a sung interlude providing meditation material for the people.
3. ALLELUIA: a sung interlude which serves as an invitation to the Gospel and a preparation
for it.
4. GOSPEL: God speaks to us through his Son made man.
5. SERMON: God speaks to us through his Church.
6. CREED: a renewal of faith by the people, a witness to Christ and confession of his

(also known as the"Mass of the Faithful")

   I The Offertory (originally constituted by the bringing of gifts of bread and wine and other stuffs symbolic not only of material creation but of man's work and of his life-and their hallowing on the altar; thus it was the people's act of surrender of self, expressive of their sharing in the sacrifice).
1. OFFERTORY-the antiphon which is the curtailed processional chant.
1) Of the bread: Suscipe sancte Pater.
2) Of the wine: Offerimus .16
3) Of ministers and people: In spiritu humilitatis.
(16) Here occurs the ancient ceremony of the mixing of a little water with the wine (in imitation of Christ, for this was a Jewish custom). Symbolically, as the prayer Deus qui humanae substantiae expresses, the wine is Christ, and we are the water (which is therefore blessed by the priest); the mingling recalls the Incarnation and Redemption (Christ took our nature that we might be made partakers of his divinity) and signifies what this sacrifice and the whole work of Redemption accomplish: our divine adoption, and the transfiguration of our human nature through ~". the Eucharist.
3. INVOCATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT to sanctify these offerings ("epiclesis"): V eni Sanctificator.17
4. WASHING OF HANDs-now symbolic of the necessary purification of the heart for a worthy offering of the sacrifice: Lavabo.
5. OFFERING TO THE TRINITY, associating the saints with our gifts: Suscipe sancta Trinitas.
7. PRAYER OF DEDICATION OVER THE SACRIFICIAL GIFTS: Secret (like the Collect and Postcommunion, this is proper to each Mass).
(The redirection of this preparatory service, the Offertory, should be evident from this analysis; it is now an offering to God of the gifts to be consecrated which looks eagerly forward to the coming consummation of the sacrifice, rather than an expression of the people's sharing in the sacrifice. But its beautiful prayers, and the repeated acts of oblation, are still a most excellent preparation for offering the sacrifice well, and through them the faithful can approach the altar at least in spirit and make the necessary offering of themselves.

  II. The Great Eucharistic Prayer: the prayer of thanksgiving which is the right and proper setting for the sacrifice and from which it springs.

1. INTRODUCTION: it should be emphasized that the Preface and the Canon are one prayer, constitutive elements of a single prayer of praise and thanks which ends with the great "Amen" of the people.
1) Acclamations: a preliminary dialogue ("Lift up your hearts," etc.) of priest and people.
2) Preface: a majestic chant of praise to the Father through Christ for the works of our salvation; a solemn prologue to the Canon, this crescendo of thanks climaxes and reverberates in the
3) Sanctus: a hymn of angelic praise (Isa. 6:2), in which we join the choirs of angels, continuing our praise in the
(17) At High Mass, the incensation occurs at this point (there had been a previous incensing of the altar after the prayers at the foot of the altar). The offerings, the altar, the celebrant, the ministers and the people are all incensed in turn, solemnized and purified and enveloped in the aromatic smoke as in an atmosphere of holiness; the rising cloud of incense is also symbolic of our prayers and expressive of our dispositions during the sacrifice.
4) Benedictus: an acclamation of the faithful to Christ on his coming to us, as once he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

PRAYER BEFORE THE CONSECRATION (at this point the canon begins,"Rule" of eucharistic prayer and sacrifice first composed in since the time of St. Gregory).

1) Prayer of petition: a request that God will accept "these gifts" as an expression of our thanks and trans form his heavenly blessing into what they are to become, and a petition:
a) For the Church as a whole, and especially for those who have charge of it: the pope, our bishop, and all the bishops of the world: Te igitur.
b) For the Church militant, in particular those who are near and dear to us, and all who are present at Mass, our co-offerers of the sacrifice: Memento Domine.
c) For our communion with the saints, a memento of the Church triumphant:

2. Prayers of sacrifice:
a) A plea for the gracious acceptance of our oblations; renewing the initial idea of the Te igitur; Hanc igitur
b) A prayer for consecration, that rthe offerings may become for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ: Quam oblationem.

THE CONSECRATION: the sacred narrative of the institution sacramentsacrifice, in which the very words of our Lord are used to effect the change of bread and wine into his body and blood, thereby accomplishing the sacrificial action which is the offering of the Son of God which we present to the Father together with Christ.

1. Prayer of remembrance ("anamnesis"): while celebrating the redemptive work sacramentally, we must also call to mind its decisive steps: Unde et m

2. Prayers of sacrifice
a) A plea that God will accept Christ's sacrifice precisely as offered with him by the Church, as it is our sacrifice in token of our gratitude and homage: Supra quae propitio.
b) An expression of our desire for the carrying up of our offerings in Christ and a preliminary petition for a fruitful share in the sacrificial banquet: Supplices te rogamus.

3. Prayer of petition:
a) Intercession for the dead, those near and dear to us but also the entire Church suffering: Memento etiam.
b) Intercession for "us sinners," beseeching fellowship with the saints: Nobis quoque peccatoribus.
c) Intercession for inanimate nature, represented by bread and wine: Per quem haec omnia.
4. The final elevation: taking the sacred host, the priest describes three crosses over the chalice, from lip to lip, followed by two crosses in front of the chalice, and then raises host and chalice slightly. He accompanies these gestures with a solemn doxology to the Holy Trinity: per ipsum. This is the solemn conclusion of the Canon, and the elevation of the sacred elements an invitation to the people to share in the sacred banquet. The concluding words of the prayer are chanted or recited aloud by the priest.
5) Amen: the people express their identity with what has been accomplished through the priest. The prayer of thanksgiving and the liturgical action of sacrifice have always been the sale prerogative of the celebrant. But this "Amen" shows that it is the people's sacrifice as well, offered by them through the hands of their priest.

 III. THE SACRED BANQUET(his is the communion, the fellowship or union of the members of Christ's Mystical Body with their Head, and with one another, sealed and cemented and manifested through the eucharistic body of Christ in this sacrificial meal).

1. The Pater Noster, the most sublime and precious of prayers, taught us by Lord himself, links the Canon and Communion together. The first three petitions summarize the preceding action, the acceptance of the divine will which is the heart of all sacrifice; the other petitions beseech not only the "bread of eternal life," but all the fruits of the Mass-it is a synthesis of all our desire and allour needs.18
2. "Prayer for deliverance: a development of the final thought of the Pater Noster: freedom from the evils, especially from every moral evil, of past, of present and of future: Libera nos.
3. The breaking of bread: the ancient ceremony symbolic of Christian unity (I Cor. 10: 17), also expressed by the subsequent commixture of the elements as the priest announces the kiss of peace: Pax Domini. People and clergy chant a litany-like greeting to the Lord, concealed
under the species as the sacrificial Lamb, a salutation of the Blessed Sacrament: Agnus Dei.
4).The kiss of peace: expression of the fraternal charity which is anecessary prerequisite for the reception of the divine mystery of love,prefaced by a prayer amplifying the theme of peace: DomineJ esu Christe.
5. Preparation prayers before Communion:
a)Confession of faith: Domine Jem Christe Fili Dei van.
b) Profession humility: Perceptio Corporis tui Both prayers ask for a worthy and fruitful reception of the sacrament.
c) Exclamation of joy (Ps. 115): Pan em coelestem.
d) Humility and confidence (Matt. 8:8): Domine, non sum dignus.

1. The Communion of the priest: the celebrant receives the sacred host "May the body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul to life everlasting. Amen." After a short meditation he expresses his thanks and gratitude ( Ps. 115): Quid retribuam, and receives the precious
blood, for only with the Lord's own gifts can adequate thanks be rendered to him.
2.The Communion of the faithful: after the Confiteor in the name of all the faithful, and the priest's Misereatur and absolution, he shows the host to them, saying,Ecce
(18)Traditionally the Pater has always been the prayer of preparation for Communion--the only prayer in ancient times; it is the table prayer recited by the children of God before the sacred meal. Hence the new rubrics for Good Friday prescribe that this prayer should be recited by all the faithful.
3. Agnus Dei and then repeats for the faithful the Domine non sum dignus. Finally he distributes the Eucharist, using the same prayer with which he communicated, Corpus Domini Jesu Christi.

1. The ablutions: purification of the sacred vessels and of his anointed fingers by the priest, together with prayers:
2. Corpus tuum. Both prayers ask that the effects of this sacrificial banquet may be accomplished in the souls of the communicants: purification of all sin and eternal possession of spiritual consolation.
3. The Communion: the antiphon which is a relic of the processional chant sung by the faithful as they approached the sacred table.
4.  Postcommunion: a final prayer (variable, like the Collect and Secret), petitioning that the graces of the sacrament may be experienced and shown forth in our daily life.

1. THE DISMISSAL: lte, missa est.
4. LAST GOSPEL (St. John's prologue).


From the summary of the Mass liturgy just completed, and in the light of the theology of the Mass, certain general features stand out. The Mass is, as it were, a great five-act drama which celebrates and memorializes and re-creates the "admirable exchange" between God and man accomplished by the Incarnation and Redemption of the Godman.

In THE FIRST ACT we go to God through prayer, expressing om sorrow for our sin (prayers at the foot of the altar), our deep desires (Kyrie), the joyous praise of Christ and the Trinity (Gloria), and our petition for our material and spiritual needs (Collect). God stoops to us, so to say, in

THE SECOND ACT, exchanging for the the word of man the word of God, through his prophets and apostle Epistle through his only-begotten Son (Gospel), through his Church (sermon); this divine instruction is the best possible preparation for the sacred mysteries themselves, into which we are introduced by our public confession of the divine truths God
has revealed (Creed).

THE THIRD ACT is the offering (Offertory) or self-giving and self surrender of ourselves, symbolized by our gifts which are to be the matter of the sacrifice. In the great Eucharistic Prayer 'which comprises

THE FOURTH ACT, we (the Church through the ministry of the priest) offer in sacrifice the immaculate Victim whose immolation is made present by the Consecration. In this tremendous mystery the bread of man has become the Lamb of God and the Bread of God;

in THE FIFTH ACT we receive the sacrificial victim as members of one another united in our Head, the supersubstantial Bread God gives to us in a sacrificial banquet.
It should be well understood, however, that we are not the principal actors in this sacred drama, although the sacramental characters of baptism and confirmation enable us to have a true share in it. But it is Christ himself who effects all these actions here on earth: it is his Spirit who prays in us, his Word that instructs and vivifies us; the gifts we offer (ourselves) we have first received from him, and it is Christ who presents his pleasing and acceptable sacrifice to the Father, incorporating our self-surrender in his. Finally, it is Christ himself who gives himself, that we may all be one Body deeply one with one another and our one


Several important considerations arise from this reflection on the theological significance of the Mass. It will be worthwhile to analyze them in greater detail.
1. The Mass is an action. For all of its wealth of symbolism and the splendor of the magnificent prayers which surround it, the Mass is essentially an act of giving, a sacrifice. Who does the giving? It is we, together with Christ, i.e., the Church, who offer to God through the hands of the priest of the assembly. What do we give? We offer
God the whole Christ, Christ principally, but ourselves in him, united with him as consecrated victims (by sacramental character). Hence of its nature the Mass demands our active participation, as active a sharing through word and gesture, eyes and lips and limbs as permitted to us. Only the priest can accomplish the sacramental sacrifice (the Eucharistic Prayer and action are his special divine privilege), but our external activities should express the interior sentiments which unite us with the offering, so that we can truly give voice to our identity with the sacrifice and our agreement with the priest's action in the great "Amen" at the end of the Canon. But, most importantly of all, we will share by participating in the sacrificial meal. For Communion, by which we partake of the Victim that is offered, is the normal, the natural, even (in some sense) the necessary completion of our share in the Mass. Christ sacrificed should become Christ our food, for only then are we completely united to the sacrifice.

2. The Mass is a thanksgiving. About the tremendous central act of sacrifice the liturgy brings together a number of petitions, in order that our needs and desires may be inserted more deeply into the sacredness of the celebration, and thus acquire a greater urgency and even a greater efficacy. But this should not obscure the fact that Christ's sacrifice and ours, like all sacrifice, is an expression of man's recognition of his relations to God: of his dependence and God's eminence, of his nothingness and God's excellence; primarily and above all, sacrifice is an offering of thanks in the form of a gift. And thus the Mass is accomplished from the very
beginning in the midst of a verbal offering of thanksgiving, and its chief prayer is concerned in the first place with the thanks which we offer to God for his great mercies; only then do our verbal thanks resolve into adoration and sacrifice. This by no means excludes the fact that the Mass is also a sacrifice of impetration, and above all of expiation and propitiation; but it is a corrective for the forgetfulness and egocentrism of modern man. Our duty toward God is first absolved by our participation in Christ's sacrifice, before we think of the benefits that can accrue to us from so perfect an offering.

3. The Mass is the concern of the whole Church. To insist on the active participation of the individual Catholic in the Mass emphasizes the truth that it is not the act of the priest alone. But it is my Mass precisely because I am a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, marked with the very likeness of Christ through the baptismal character (and more perfectly through the seal of confirmation) which is common to all the members. Thus the prayers in the Mass (except for the private prayers introduced later) are all in the plural: it is the Church who prays, who offers, who receives. At the sacred moment of Consecration she gathers about the
altar the entire Mystical Body he hierarchy and the faithful of the Church militant, but also the Church suffering and the Church triumphant, the angels even, and all of material creation. And in the Mass we pray not for ourselves only, and for those close to us, living and dead, but for the entire holy Catholic Church in the first place, and for all Christians, and especially "for all here present." Communion, too, is not an accidental gathering of individuals each busy with his personal piety, but above all the communal sharing of the assembly in a common sacrificial banquet, wherein our separatedness and divisions are destroyed by our assumption into the unity of Christ. In the Mass is fully realized, in a manner prognostic of eternal
glory, that oneness for which Christ so fervently prayed (In. 17:11,20-23), for which he became man, for which he hung between heaven and earth, that he might draw all things to himself.



The changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ is celebrated in an unbloody manner as a representation of Christ's bloody sacrifice on the cross. Thus the rite used, the ceremonies of the Mass, is truly a real sacrifice; that is, Christ's true body and true blood are offered to God. He is made a sacrificial victim through the power of the words of consecration which bring about the separate presence of his body and blood upon the altar. Both the sacrifice of Calvary and the sacrifice of the Mass are attuned to the one purpose of giving g1ory to God. Through sacrifice we pay to God the honor due to him as our Creator and Master. This is an infallible effect of
the Mass, produced infallibly because of the fact that the Mass is the way on which Christ himself adored heavenly Father. We sacrifice as Christ a sacrificed, and this obtain the fruits that he so perfectly picked for us from the tree of Calvary.

Unde et memores-memorial, sacrifice, banquet,the Mass is the solution of divine wisdom for the problem of bring man deep into the heart of the redemption won for him by Christ , Son of God and of man. It is our opportunity to share fully in the sacrifice of Christ and obtain the fruits so redemption and share we shall, in the measures of our giving, in the surrender of self to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. And through our participation in the Mass, climaxed in our union with the sacrificial victim as this sacred banquet, we can truly wax strong in the grace of wisdom of God, filled unto all the fullness of of God, to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ.

From this analysis of the Mystery of Faith innumberable practical conclusions can be derived. Only a few are offered here, as suggestions for further meditation and reflection and as examples for your own thinking.

1. The modern world has discovered "togetherness" as a necessary complement of man's life: no man is an island. But compared with the profound unity established through, with and in Christ, this worldly union and community is shallow and evanescent. ST. Cyril of Alexandria points out: "To merge us in unity with God and among ourselves, even though we each have a distinct personality the only begotten Son devised a wonderful means: through one only body, all receiving him, the one and indivisible into our own bodies, we are the members of this one Body. And thus he is for us the bond of unity." (19)

2. To the celebration of Christ's sacrifice the Church brings all that resources can offer. Here are unified all the finest contributions of the arts, of man's mastery of the material and sensible as signs and ministers of the spiritual and supernatural. Once again in our day, as in the glorious past, the artistic homage of man should surround our central act of worship, not with ersatz, sham and plaster, but with the finest products of mind and imagination. (19) Commentary on John. Bk. II, Chap.2.

3. As the grains of wheat must be crushed in the mill to provide the bread and grapes crushed in the wine-press to yield the wine, so in each of us there is much to be pressed and crushed that we may be one with Christ and his members.

4. The more active our share in the communal sacrifice, the more fully we may realize its significance and effects our daily lives. The formation of parish groups to learn the Mass chants, the dialogue, the reverential movements which express the congregation's attitude this will be of great assistance to enable the parish to live more fully the liturgical life planned for it by Christ and his Church. Such a project could will be undertaken as an apostolic work by existing parish societies, as is already done in many places. But at least each individual can assist at Mass in a more active way by using a Missal, and synchronizing his prayers, in time and meaning, with those of the Church.

5. If we cannot assist daily at Mass, it is highly recommended that we unite our intentions with those o Christ and this Church at the very time when Mass is being celebrated in the Parish. It is growing and commendable custom for at least one member of each family to attend Mass daily, the the family itself may be represented: "Be mindfull of all here present," says the priest at the Memento. "For them we offer up to thee this sacrifice of praise, as they too for themselves, their households and all dear to them...."

There have been innumberable books published of the Mass, both from the dogmatic and the liturgical point of view. Of these we select only a few which see most useful for the college student. Besides the works by Jungmann and Parsch already mentioned in a footnote, the follow note.

   An excellent booklet, a brief introduction to the study of the Mass, has been written by H. Chery .O.P., and is entitled, What is the Mass ? (Westminster, Md.: The Newman Press, 1952). Fr. Chery does not claim to treat the subject exhaustively in his book, but students will find it suitable for their present needs, Holy Mass, Approaches to the Mystery (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1953), by A.M. Roguet, O.P., appeals to a large audience of readers because of its origins and theories, but from its ritual acts. Another book written in the popular vein and a great source for meditation on the Mass is The Spirituality of the Mass (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co. 1952), by Adolph D. Frenay, O.P. Its fifty chapters take their inspiration from the approximately fifty prayers which make up the Ordinary and the Cannon of the Mass. A further advantage to this book is its use of ST. Thomas' tract on the Eucharist.

The Teaching of the Catholic Church contains a fine easy entitled. "The Eucharistic Sacrifice," by B.B. Miller. Other sources for study are the article on the Mass in the Catholic Encyclopedia and the encyclical Mediator Dei by Pope Pius XII