The Mass: A Guided Tour

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If you are looking for a balanced and comprehensive treatment of what Catholics believe about this sacrament, there are many books which you might find helpful-not the least important of which would be the Catechism of the Catholic Church....But if you ar

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Overview

If you are looking for a balanced and comprehensive treatment of what Catholics believe about this sacrament, there are many books which you might find helpful-not the least important of which would be the Catechism of the Catholic Church....But if you ar

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867166460
  • Publisher: Franciscan Media
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Pages: 129
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS RICHSTATTER, O.F.M., S.T.D., has devoted most of his life to the study and teaching of liturgy and sacramental theology and is currently professor of liturgy and sacramental theology at St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana. A popular writer an

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  • Posted November 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Toward a more meaningful and fruitful celebration

    Thomas Richstatter O.F.M., S.T.D., holds a doctorate in theological sciences with a specialization in liturgy and sacramental theology. A priest for more than 40 years, he has spent most of his life teaching in his chosen field. Richstatter's latest work began as a series of newsletters he wrote during 2004, the Year of the Eucharist. He chose the book's tour/pilgrimage theme on the basis of his positive experience as an informal, personal "tour guide" for friends. His goal is to provide readers an opportunity for growth and inspire us to approach the Eucharist with reverence, hospitality, and gratitude. "I hope that each time you celebrate the Eucharist, this pilgrimage will help you to find that celebration more meaningful and more fruitful," he writes.

    Our increased appreciation of the Eucharist, its meaning and fruitfulness, come about as a result of Richstatter's gifts as teacher and writer. He weaves in Church history alongside his personal challenges as a priest trained and ordained before Vatican II. At the same time, he supplies examples from everyday life to help us relate to the mysteries of the Eucharist. The Holy Thursday chapter, for instance, contains a "side trip" on changes in the frequency with which laypersons have received Communion over the centuries. The same topic comes up in another form in the Part Two chapters gatherings storytelling, meal sharing, and commissioning, based on Luke 24:13-35.

    Referring to the earlier Holy Thursday "meal" discussion, Richstatter offers a graphic comparing the Mass to Thanksgiving Dinner. His reflection on the Communion Rite begins with his own experiences as a child in the 1940s. Next is a list of several obvious ways the rite has changed over the years, including receiving both Bread and Wine and laypeople distributing the sacrament. Rather than go into detail, he moves on the "more subtle" changes. One is the concept of "receiving Holy Communion," as opposed to "sharing a sacred meal." Our subconscious images of the Eucharist, he writes, are influenced by our understanding of the sacrament. "Is Communion primarily a private action, or is it an action of the worshiping community?" he asks. He observes that at our family Thanksgiving celebration we think in terms of sharing a meal, not "receiving" food.

    Going back to Scripture, Richstatter reminds us that the disciples recognized Jesus not in "receiving Holy Communion" but in sharing a meal with a stranger.

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