The How-To Book of the Mass – Everything You Need to Know But No One Ever Taught You
Michael Dubruiel, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, $24.95
Reviewed by Barbara Flynn
SINCE Vatican II, reform and renewal in liturgy practices in the Catholic Church have given deepened meaning and purpose to celebration of the sacraments, more particularly the Mass.
However, despite such positive outcomes there remains a remarkably negative aspect of Church practice today. This is the “across the board” fall in attendance at weekend Masses.
In The How-To Book of the Mass, Michael Dubruiel sets out to help Catholics to deepen their understanding of what they are doing together, in their corporate act of worship and thanksgiving and their offering of sacrifice when they gather to celebrate Mass.
He proposes that there are unfathomable riches available to individuals during the celebration of the Mass through their personal participation and informed understanding.
From the time a person arrives at the entrance of the church to the dismissal at the conclusion of the liturgy, Dubruiel maintains the processes of the liturgy impel the active participant into encountering Jesus Christ.
Through each sequence of the communal celebration, the reality of Christ present with His Body the Church is inescapable through the sharing of Scripture, the prayer of the Church and the presence of God’s baptised people.
Helpful links to texts of Scripture or to explanations of the traditions of the Church or to quotations from the Catholic Catechism are contained in “boxed” inserts within each chapter of the book.
Their purpose, generally speaking, is to provide further insight and understanding to the text and to enrich appreciation of the traditions and heritage that baptised Catholics possess in God’s gift of the Eurcharist.
It is important to affirm the reader that this is not a theologically-dense text.
Quite to the contrary, the text is lucidly written, almost conversational in style and draws the reader into the reality of the living and life-giving process of Eucharist.
Michael Dubruiel employs the second person (we, us, you etc) as an effective means of reader engagement.
This How-To Book of the Mass was originally written in 2002 as a guide for faith education of adults.
So popular was its demand as a resource for preparation of candidates for the sacraments of initiation at Easter into full communion in the Catholic Church and their subsequent formation in faith, that the author added, for the 2007 edition, reflections and teachings on the recent Papal encyclical of Pope John Paul II Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003).
Additionally, by providing thoughtful review and reflection questions on each chapter, Dubruiel, a lay person, broadened the book’s utility making it a useful study guide for groups of adult learners.
Its usefulness as a book for individual meditation and “spiritual growth” is not diminished.
The How-To Book of the Mass is recommended reading for all who desire to deepen understanding of the communal aspect of the Mass while developing a personal relationship with Jesus.
Significantly it could be used as a most useful resource for parishes in youth education and for refresher courses in faith education for adults.
The book is available from Christian Supplies, 179 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane.