A new children’s missal combines the revised prayers of the Mass with the art of old masters. Lacy Rabideau, mother, author and blogger at CatholicIcing.com, came up with A Picture Book of the Mass Illustrated by the Masters when she couldn’t find the right book to aid her children in the revised prayers of the Mass.
“I went looking for picture missals for my children and just couldn’t find what I was looking for,” said the Spartanburg, S.C., mother. “I wanted something that was simple enough for children of reading age, yet beautiful — not ‘cheesy.’ What I was looking for didn’t exist, so I wrote it myself.”
Rabideau combines the beauty of fine art with the text of the Mass in her new book. Each illustration includes the title and artist’s name, and icons accompany the text, indicating the appropriate posture at different points of the Mass.
Illustrations include works by Fra Angelico, Bloch and Bouguereau, among others. Striking images draw the reader into the rich meaning of the different parts of the Mass, offering an effective focus for the wandering mind and an opportunity for meditation on the mystery at hand.
Father Price Oswalt of the Oklahoma City Archdiocese believes the usefulness of the work extends to adults as well. “I think it is good and useful,” Father Oswalt said. “I’d recommend it. I might even suggest it for RCIA.”
Rabideau was targeting a wide audience with her book. “I pictured a resource that could be used as an evangelization tool for anyone visiting a Catholic Mass, children and adults,” Rabideau said. “My dad is Baptist and recently started attending Mass. I had him on my mind as I wrote the book, and he helped me clarify things from the perspective of someone unfamiliar with the Mass.”
Jill Papsdorf, a parishioner of St. John’s Church in Viola, Kan., found out about the book from a friend and immediately bought several copies for her family. “We are all using it. I gave copies to my 8-year-old son, 5-year-old daughter and almost 4-year-old daughter,” Papsdorf said. “I think it’s great. It’s inexpensive, easy to read, full of beautiful pictures, and even has little pictures showing when to sit, stand and kneel, which my 5-year-old could ‘read.’”
The illustrations were influential in Papsdorf’s decision to purchase the book. “I’ve never seen a missal that included such beautiful real artwork, and I think it’s a perfect match for the awesome beauty of the Mass,” Papsdorf said. “The illustrations help inspire a love for the Mass that I think is hard to find with other books. I think the illustrations in Lacy’s book will really help the children to contemplate the meaning of different parts of the Mass.”
Barbara Berg, the religious-education director of two rural parishes in Mayetta and Holton, Kan., has plans to use the book in her parish’s religious-education program.
“I am very impressed with Lacy’s Mass booklet,” Berg said. “I have been a fan of Catholic Icing [Rabideau’s blog] for a couple of years and find Lacy’s work to be such creative ways of helping children and adults to learn the faith and to make it part of their daily life, not just a Sunday thing. When she posted the announcement of this new Mass booklet, I was very excited. It looked beautiful, with the choices of art she had made. I ordered one copy for myself to see the ‘real thing.’ I was not disappointed.”
“I find Lacy’s book to be the best of both worlds: beautiful artwork that fits with the parts of the Mass and text that is easy to follow,” Berg said. “I really like the icons that show the proper postures for the different parts of the Mass.”
“I showed the book to our pastor, and he, too, was impressed. I do think we will order this booklet for our first- and second-graders,” Berg said. “These children are in preparation for first Communion at the end of second grade. I think this booklet will help them to follow and participate better at Mass. I am pleased to have this booklet available to help children come to know and love the Mass better.”
Father Meinrad Miller, a Benedictine monk who is also the chaplain of Benedictine College and a theology instructor, had an opportunity to review the booklet recently.
“This year the Church recalls the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council,” Father Miller said. “As I looked through A Picture Book of the Mass, I could not help but connect the beauty of this little booklet with this 50th anniversary.
“This booklet adds beauty to the new words of the Mass utilizing great artists through the ages to show us the life of Our Lord and the saints, along with the text of the Mass and some basic commentary on what is happening at the Mass. For example, in describing the words of consecration, the author reminds us that: ‘During the consecration, the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Jesus.’”
Father Miller sees the book as a good resource for parents. “The beauty of the little booklet, as well as the clarity of the text, will be a great help for families who want to educate their children about what is happening at the Mass.”
Laurie Ghigliotti writes from Atchison, Kansas.
To order copies of the missal, visit CatholicIcing.com.