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Mass Explained to Children by Maria…
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Mass Explained to Children

by Maria Montessori

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In The Mass Explained to Children, the great educator Maria Montessori explains the whats and whys of the Catholic mass in a easy, clear way. There are no complex theological expositions, but rather simple definitions and explanations for what things are (e.g. a chasuble or a burse), and why things happen (e.g. the consecration).

After some background on the history of the mass, Montessori guides the reader step-by-step from the beginning of the Mass of the Catechumens, through the Mass of the Faithful, all the way to the “Ite missa est” and the Last Gospel, explaining everything that happens along the way. This book is aimed at children, so the explanations can be a bit simplistic, therefore those seeking deeper, more technical reasons for the actions of mass should look elsewhere. However, I can see how this book would be perfect for adults seeking an easy “because” for endless “why”s. Plus, the book has both Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, so the theology has been checked and found solid.

The mass explained here is what is now know as the Tridentine or Extraordinary form, but there is still plenty of useful and relevant information here for those who attend the ordinary form. Also, being published in 1932, decades before the ICEL, Montessori's translations are not identical with the modern “standard” (but resemble the Anglican Rite I, as well as, to a certain extent, the latest Catholic translation). Also, while it does not use “ineffable”, the vocabulary is a bit elevated and is better geared for parents or more advanced readers. Montessori's use of the word “holocaust” to describe the sacrifice of the mass (she defines the term), falls into this category, because the word's modern connotations may cause some confusion.

Overall, however, The Mass Explained to Children is an excellent reference for children and adults seeking answers for why the mass happens the way it does. ( )
  inge87 | Nov 20, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0912141611, Hardcover)

Dr. Maria Montessori's most valuable book.  Every conceivable element of the traditional Mass unfolds before the eyes of children 8 to 15.  36 illustrations assist in answering hundreds of typical questions (asked by adults as well as kids), about Mass.  Narrative, not storytelling, not condescending.  Masterpiece.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -0400)

The Mass Explained to Children presents the beauty, depth, and simplicity of the traditional Latin Mass, helping to make it easily understandable for any and every child. With acute sensitivity to the purity and clarity of a child's mind and soul, Maria Montessori wisely instructs in how to prepare for Mass, explains how the altar is set up, and clarifies the meaning and use of the sacred vessels and other elements used during Mass. She describes also the role of the priest, the use and symbolism of vestments, and much more. Then she proceeds - in refreshingly straightforward language, and with abundant illustrations - to follow the order of the Mass as it slowly unfolds in word and gesture. This is a sure guide to the beauties of the traditional Mass for children of all ages, and at the same time a wonderful primer for adults who want to deepen their understanding of the Mass of the Ages.… (more)

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