Last year my publisher, Our Sunday Visitor, asked me to do an expanded version of yet another of my books — The Mass of the Early Christians. Earlier, OSV had released an expanded edition of The Fathers of the Church, and the response was great.
Well, we were all set to re-release The Mass of the Early Christians in late summer, just in time to be used as a college and high-school textbook for Fall semester. But we ran into a problem: sales surged for the first edition, and it’s almost sold out. So OSV is rushing the expanded edition into print in late May.
You can pre-order it now by calling OSV — toll-free at 1-800-348-2440 — and using item number T-419. For those of you who’d rather wait till it’s on Amazon: hang tight — I’ll let you know as soon as it’s up.
Here’s what reviewers said about the first edition:
“This is an excellent and exciting work. I wish that The Mass of the Early Christians was compulsory reading for all ordinands. Mike Aquilina is to be congratulated.”
— Robert Beaken, New Directions (U.K.)
“All Christians from liturgical traditions can read this book with profit and find comfort in the firm historical basis of their own worship. Those who have shunned liturgical worship might after reading this book reconsider their position and wonder what they have been missing.”
— Christian Book Reviews
“The Mass we know on Sunday—the Mass you encounter in this book—is where Tradition lives, where Church’s memory reigns ‘in the Spirit.’ Read this book, then, and remember.”
— Scott Hahn, professor, Franciscan University
“Aquilina is to be congratulated for making these texts accessible to a new and wide-ranging audience allowing us to echo the cry voiced by the martyrs of North Africa in the third century: ‘we cannot live without the Mass!'”
— Fr. Joseph Linck, rector, St. John Fisher Seminary
“Mike Aquilina has performed a needed service in making this heritage accessible to non-specialists.”
— Oswald Sobrino, Esq.
“Aquilina has done us a great service in summarizing 300 years of church history in a 239-page book.”
— Richard J. Vincent, theocentric.com
What’s new in the expanded edition? Lots. The book’s a good deal bigger. There are at least six new chapters — on Clement of Rome, Cornelius, Firmilian, the Anaphora of St. Mark, Eusebius, and the Council of Nicea. I added several more apocryphal texts, and included a discussion of the recently discovered Gospel of Judas. I also added more texts by Cyprian, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and others. Still other chapters were extensively rewritten based on more recent scholarship.
The publisher’s boasts make me blush, but I’ll share the promo copy with you anyway:
What did the first Christians believe about the Eucharist?
How did they follow Jesus’ command, “Do this in remembrance of me”?
How did they celebrate the Lord’s Day?
What would they recognize in today’s Mass?
The answers may surprise you.
In The Mass of the Early Christians, author Mike Aquilina reveals the Church’s most ancient Eucharistic beliefs and practices. Using the words of the early Christians themselves — from many documents and inscriptions — Aquilina traces the Mass’s history from Jesus’ lifetime through the fourth century. The Mass stood at the center of the Church’s life, evident in the Scriptures as well as the earliest Christian sermons, letters, artwork, tombstones, and architecture. Even the pagans bore witness to the Mass in the records of their persecutions.
In these legacies from the early Church, you’ll hear and “taste and see” the same worship Catholics know today: the altar, the priests, the chalice of wine, the bread, the Sign of the Cross … the “Lord, have mercy” … the “Holy, holy, holy” … and the Communion.
You’ll see vividly how Jesus followed through on his promise to be with us always, until the end of time.
Hope you’ll at least put it on your wish list! Thanks for celebrating with me. I do love this book.