The In's, Out's, How's, and Why's of the Liturgy

Is there a book that walks people through the liturgy? Maybe one that explains the gestures, i.e. genuflecting, sign of the cross, etc? I am looking for something “official”, so that I may learn the proper procedures for myself and show others the correct way. Thanks!!!

Have you considered reading the GIRM?

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

The GIRM is full of wordy, technical language; it is obviously not a primer for a person seeking to learn the first things about liturgy.

I HIGHLY recommend the video “The Mass” by Fr. J.Glenn Murray, SJ. You can get it on the internet or from most catholic bookstores.

I don’t remember who wrote it but it’s called Mass Confusion. It covers everything pretty well. Also, Catholism for Dummies explains it pretty thoroughly. Good luck!

I’ve found The How-To Book of the Mass to be the most helpful for me. It walks you step-by-step through each part of the mass. It also gives the background on each part (i.e. where it can be found in Scripture and/or Tradition), and has other little tidbits of infomation sprinkled throughout the book.

**The Incredible Catholic Mass: An Explanation of the Mass,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20.jpg

…**Reading even a snipet of this book, can change forever the way you worship during the Holy Mass. If your mind tends to wander and you lose your concentration during the Mass, that will never happen again. Each step of the Mass will become for you, the most intense act of Worship. Knowing its true value will place a desire in your soul to make this ‘Highest Act of Worship’ every day for the rest of your life! Read it and see!

This appears to be a book about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. While it could very much enrich your appreciation of the Mass, it might not provide the answers you seek if you attend a Mass in the Ordinary Form.

I believe the author of the *Mass Confusion *book is Jimmy Akin.


It is an older book, but the Mass is the same sacrifice so it applies for the ordinary form also.

It just will give a better illustration of how the Mass should be done with reverence. It certainly sheds light on the meaning and the importance of each motion and symbol.

God Bless

Well not to throw a curveball here but I think I’ll go out on a limb and be original how about the GIRM?

The GIRM is an instruction for saying the Mass. It really doesn’t go into the deeper meaning.

The Incredible Catholic Mass

…The Incredible Catholic Mass is truly an incredible book about the most incredible reality in our midst–the Catholic Mass! No doubt fewer than ten percent of lay Catholics, before reading this book, would be aware of even ten percent of what it teaches. Written by a learned theologian, who was also a popular writer, The Incredible Catholic Mass is the fruit of a lifetime of study, plus, for this book alone, three years of intensive research in Scripture, the declarations of the Church, the Fathers and Doctors, and famous spiritual writers. The result is a book of tremendous breadth and penetration–one which, though highly theological, is not written in a dry, theological tone, but is aimed directly at the average reader, to show him what the Mass is in its essence and what great advantages and consolation it possesses for him–if he will just offer it with the priest in an informed way and with great devotion. For the Mass is none other than the re-enactment of the actual Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary though in a sacramental and unbloody manner. Thus, in the Mass, we have Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself acting as Chief Priest and Primary Intercessor for us with the Heavenly Father. In other words, we have in the Mass an unfailingly powerful Mediator, who will present us and our petitions in the best possible light to God the Father. Filled with fabulously interesting true stories about the Mass and many Eucharistic miracles, the book reads extremely fast and easily, keeping the reader’s attention riveted on first one absorbing point and then another, all of which are melded into a symphony of insight about the Mass that will leave the reader in absolute awe! Here is a book that is a product of our rich Catholic heritage, one that is destined to instruct both our modern times and the future. Written with the traditional Latin Mass as its paradigm, it is nonetheless not actually about that Mass, but about the essence of the Mass in general–about any Mass, in any rite–and thus it has a universal appeal and is for the whole world.
Here is a book that should be owned personally by every Catholic 15 years of age or older and read until its insights are one’s own–and thereafter every three to five years to refresh one’s memory. The laity will gain tremendous instruction from this book, and even priests will discover their learning about the Mass renewed and their fervor in saying it increased. Everyone who reads The Incredible Catholic Mass will think of his Mass attendance in terms of before and after this book. For it confirms the understanding that the Mass is incomparably the greatest prayer–that it is offered to God, not just by the officiating priest, but also by Jesus Christ Himself: in homage, in praise, in thanksgiving, in reparation, in petition, for conversions, for the Poor Souls, for health, for the Church, for the country, for society, etc., etc.–in short, for whatever intention a person can have.

I bought my own copy of the GIRM, but it is the current edition (published in 2002/2003). It is very helpful. I also own Redemptionis Sacramentum, although a priest friend of mine has it right now. I also have my own Roman Missal (Sacramentary) as well as a copy of the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy (Second Vatican Council), as well as Sacramentum Caritatis. If you want a clearer indication of some of the abuses addressed during the 2005 Synond on the Eucharist, the Vatican’s website has a good listing. Click on the link regarding the Synod.

That being said, I think that the best book to have is Dr. Scott Hahn’s The Lamb’s Supper. It’s an excellent work and gives you both biblical and traditional references. As Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict wrote three excellent books on the Liturgy: Feast of Faith, A New Song for the Lord and the Spirit of the Liturgy. If you want a true indication of where we are heading as a church when it comes to Liturgy, these three books are a good road map as they are now coming into play as Benedict begins his reform of the reform.

Those of us who have read Ratzinger’s books have a pretty good idea of where he is now going as he is slowly putting into place what should have been done years ago.

Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers wrote Mass Confusion.

Fr. John Trujilio co-wrote Catholicism for Dummies.

How To Book of the Mass from Our Sunday Visitor

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