This well-known and respected work on the eucharistic celebration has been updated and revised. The editor Monsignor Maas-Ewerd has incorporated the insights of recent research, updated the bibliography, and re-formulated many passages in light of some important changes in thought and language since the first edition.
The Eucharist: Essence, Form, Celebration helps readers gain an understanding of correct form for celebration of the eucharistic liturgy in light of the renewals of Vatican Council II. It is therefore an "explanation of the Mass," as Pius Parsch, to whom the first edition was dedicated, understood it. It is an explanation both of the biblical foundations and of the historical development of the liturgy within its two-thousand-year tradition. Thus, Maas-Ewerd maintains that we must inquire into both aspects—Jesus' foundational intention and the Church's long tradition of celebrating the Lord's legacy—to obtain a clear picture of the enduringly valid form of the Mass at all times, including its present realization.
In the foreword to the first edition, Johannes Emminghaus wrote that, despite the many content and language changes since the first edition, Parsch's fundamental principle was correct, and it remains so today: the essence or nature of the liturgy can only be explained on the basis of Christ's institution (as witnessed in Scripture) and the traditional teaching of the Church. Its form, in turn, with its many changes and its high and low points, is explicable also through Scripture and history; but the manner of its celebration can only be explained through the form as we know it and especially through the concrete faith of people.
The intent of The Eucharist: Essence, Form, Celebration is practical: it is meant as an aid to an appropriate and responsible celebration of the congregational Eucharist. Readers—those in ministry, teachers, catechists, and members of parish liturgical committees and study groups, as well as those interested in Church history—are invited to an active participation, one that bears fruit because it stems from faith.
Maas-Ewerd maintains that our task now is to live with the renewed liturgy, to integrate it more fully into our lives, and at the same time understand and celebrate it as a sign of salvation and as the Church's self-expression. The Eucharist: Essence, Form, Celebration encourages this process.
Part One is "The Fundamental Structure of the Mass Through the Ages." Chapters are: "Fundamental Structure of the Mass," and "The Continuing Identity of the Mass Through Many Changes." Part Two is "The Celebration of Mass in Its Current Form." Chapters are: "The Celebration Begins," "Liturgy of the Word," "The Celebration of the Eucharist," and "The Conclusion of the Mass." A reminiscence of Professor Johannes H. Emminghaus (1919-1989), a bibliography, appendices, and an index are also included.