Simply put, Mass Explained is written for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the Mass. Exactly who this is and why they’ve manifested this interest, however, varies greatly.
Cradle Catholics: For many lifelong Catholics, their formal sacramental education ended with their First Communion or confirmation. Their current understanding of the Mass and the Eucharist is based on childhood instruction. Although they may know all the Mass prayers, responses, and gestures, they’re unsure of what it all means. “Mass Explained” will help transform their rudimentary understanding of the Liturgy into a more mature and comprehensive one.
Converts/Neophytes: The newly initiated likely received an explanation of the Mass during their OCIA preparation. With so many topics covered, however, this instruction would have necessarily been brief. Even though they’ve been received into the Church and attend Mass weekly (or even more frequently), they’re still in a period of early spiritual growth and want to know more about this beautiful yet mysterious ritual. “Mass Explained” is an ideal way for them to further their development, become more acquainted with the Mass, and increase their understanding and participation.
Parochial Schools / Educators: From DREs to religion teachers to campus minsters and catechists—anyone involved in faith formation will profit from reading “Mass Explained.” They will not only benefit personally but can use it to train teachers and volunteers and incorporate the book into the curriculum they develop. The images will help capture their student’s attention and draw them into the text. Each of “Mass Explained’s” 43 chapters ends with a chapter overview, 15 review questions, and three questions for reflection and group discussion.
Homeschoolers: There are 3.7 million homeschool students in the United States that make up about 6.73% of all school-age children (K-12). Many parents who teach the Mass to their children do not know their faith as well as they would like. “Mass Explained” is the perfect addition to their sacramental catechesis curriculum. Parents can read the book alongside their younger children while older students can read it on their own.
Small groups:Many churches have small groups that get together regularly at the parish or someone’s home to pray, read Scripture, and share faith. Mass Explained can be used by these groups as part of a special series of meetings. The 43 chapters make it ideal to be covered at weekly gatherings over the course of one year with nine weeks off for vacation and holidays. Members can read a chapter together or at home then meet to review the questions and discuss how the previous chapter impacted how they celebrated Sunday Mass.
Parents: Catholic parents want to pass on the faith to their children. Those whose kids are leaving for college have a particularly pressing task. These young adults are at a pivotal point in their lives, when the faith of their parent’s either becomes their own—or it does not. Impressionable students often wonder whether their faith is reasonable while many things at college tell them it isn’t. Parents could gift Mass Explained to their freshman children to help evolve their faith into a more adult one that can tackle the questions they will undoubtedly encounter. In addition, parents of younger children may feel stumped when they’re asked more mature questions about the Mass. In these circumstances, parents can read the book to solidify their understanding of the liturgy in order to provide grown-up answers.
RadTrads: With the promulgation of “Traditionis Custodes,” Pope Francis restricted the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. Some “radical traditionalists” exclusively attend the older form asserting its superiority over the Novus Ordo which they reject as being irreverent or illegitimate. Reading “Mass Explained,” which continually references the Latin Mass, will reveal the beauty and sacredness of the newer form, continuity between the preconciliar and postconciliar Mass, and help heal the division the Holy Father sought to mend.
Post-Pandemic: The pandemic separated many faithful from the Mass for two years. Reading Mass Explained is a good way for those who have been away to re-engage and recommit themselves to the central act of our faith with passion, joy, and a deeper understanding.