The Celebration of the Mass

Article number: SY355
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The Celebration of the Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Missal

Rev, J.B. O'Conell; 9 ½ x 6 ½ in: Hardcover, 622 pages

After having been out of print for over 30 years, this indispensable rubrical resource for the Extraordinary Form is now again available!

Author of several liturgically-related works, J.B. O'Connell is noted for his ability to clearly explain the complex ceremonial workings of the Roman Rite, particularly for the celebration of Mass by the priest.

The Celebration of Mass is valued by clergy and laity alike not only for its concise handling of the general rubrics, but also for its chapters that briefly describe the history of the development of the traditional Roman Mass, liturgical law, the proper understanding of the force of custom, the importance of the decisions made by the Sacred Congregation of Rites and the opinions of fellow rubricians.

O'Connell's last revision made of The Celebration of Mass was printed in 1964 after a span of nearly 10 years from his last edition, making it one of the few rubrical books completely in conformity with the new code of rubrics implemented in 1960 that comprise the 1962 edition of the Missale Romanum.

Fully indexed and beautifully hardbound in dark green with gold embossing on the cover and spine.

"Whilst preparing the most recent edition of Adrian Fortescue’s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described I added to the bibliography the 1964 edition of Canon J. B. O’Connell’s classic The Celebration of Mass noting that, in fact, this was the only book published in English at the time which conformed exactly to the 1962 editio typica of the Missale Romanum (which itself only appeared from the Vatican Press early in 1963 – printing and binding having been stopped and re-started in order to accommodate Bl. John XXIII’s insertion of St. Joseph into the Canon of the Mass). The 1962 edition of Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described was, therefore, published before the 1962 Missale Romanum and missed some rubrical modifications that appeared only in the editio typica."

"But Canon O’Connell – undeterred, interestingly, by the approach of an ecumenical Council (on the Conciliar Liturgical Commission of which he was a peritus at the time) – proceeded with a thorough revision of his own comprehensive textbook on how to celebrate Mass. It received its imprimatur less than a month before the promulgation of Sacrosanctum concilium and appeared in print in the USA the following year whilst Fr. Bugnini was busy organising the infamous work of his Consilium."

"Needless to say, this fourth edition of O’Connell’s book was quickly found to be redundant (though Canon O’Connell prepared a four page supplement which was printed and sold with the book listing many of the early changes made immediately following the Council) and many traditionalists have missed its importance because of its date."

"Yet, for priests and seminarians learning how to celebrate the traditional rite of Mass, it is the basic textbook, more so, dare I say than even Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described. Ceremonies is certainly the basic manual for all involved in the celebration of the traditional rites, from sacristans to celebrants, but The Celebration of Mass is the textbook every seminarian and priest ought to have studied carefully in order to understand not only the ceremonial of the celebration of Mass, but the nature of the liturgy and the requirements of liturgical law, the rules occurrence and concurrence, the intricacies of the calendar, etc."

"The book does have much to offer laity involved in the celebration of the traditional liturgy, most especially its “Synopsis of the Ceremonies of Solemn Mass” (Appendix A) which lays out the respective duties of the celebrant, deacon, subdeacon and MC for each part of the Mass in parallel columns. The synopsis does contain one error (spotted by my longstanding friend Mr. Michael Pearce of Sydney) in that its instruction that the subdeacon lower the paten, genuflect etc., should be placed during the Pater and not at the Per quem haec omnia."

"It had long been my hope that O’Connell’s invaluable book would be reprinted and I am delighted to report that this has recently taken place in the USA. The worthy hardback reprint (alas, not a new edition) is being distributed by Preserving Christian Publications. Its availability will further enhance the intelligent and faithful celebration of the traditional Mass according to the typical edition of the 1962 Missale Romanum."
Dr. Alcuin Reid, noted liturgical author and speaker

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Canons Regular of St. John Cantius.

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