A History of the Mass and Its Ceremonies in the Eastern and Western Church begins with a brief dissertation of the principle liturgies in use in the East and the West at the turn of the last century. It then gives an account of the origin and meaning of the word Mass before providing a full account of the liturgy as it is performed in Catholic churches of the extraordinary rite. Starting with the preparations of the priest before the celebration, O'Brien takes the reader step-by-step through the ceremony, giving the literal and mystical meaning of everything that is done in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
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There are many excellent works in the English language, both Catholic and Anglican, treating of liturgical history and cognate topics. Father O'Brien has compiled the one which for the practical use of Catholics, and also of non-Catholics who wish to understand our rites and ceremonies, is the best and the most interesting.
The work is a valuable one for Protestants, as well as for Roman Catholics. The present volume is well adapted to give an idea of the Roman Catholic ceremonial as it is explained by those who practice it.
John O'Brien (1841–1879) was a Roman Catholic clergyman and educator. He was a professor of liturgy, ecclesiastical history, and sacred theology at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland.