"The Mass and the Saints" is a catena of quotations from writers of every century in which the Mass has been offered. Some general topics are covered first: sacrifice, Church, East, Language etc. and then the quotations are arranged according to each part of the Mass. The Roman Canon is covered in particular detail, with quotations for each section. Authors include the Fathers of the Church, the scholastics, St John Fisher, St Robert Bellarmine, St Alphonsus, Newman, Guéranger and Bl John XXIII (especially on the value of Latin.)
As this collection is intended as an aid for meditation and devotion rather than as a contribution to scholarship, the quotations are not referenced. There will be a few of us who lament this but it is perfectly understandable.
Naturally, the book follows the traditional Roman rite; as Fr Crean says,
... the great bulk of quotations in this work are drawn from priets who offered Mass according to the usus antiquior, or in some very similar way. It seemed reasonable to attache their commentaries to the Ordo to which they directly correspond.and, of course, there are no patristic commentaries on Eucharistic Prayer IV. Nevertheless, the book would be perfectly usable as a devotional aid for those who only go to the Novus Ordo.
"The Mass and the Saints" is clearly a labour of love: love for the holy sacrifice of the Mass. It is a book to be savoured slowly and meditatively, giving, as it does, both instruction and food for prayer. With the growing popularity of the usus antiquior, it is important to have material to foster devotion and, as it were, to prolong the contemplation of the mysteries made present in the Holy Mass. Fr Crean's collection of quotations will serve this need well.
As ever, Family Publications have done a great job with the production of the book - a sewn hardcover, sensibly laid out, with appropriate illustrations in the form of photographs by Br Lawrence Lew OP, a regular contributor to the English Dominican blog Godzdogz.
ISBN 9781871217773. Hardback 208pp. £13.50