By Clare Walker, Holy Trinity In-House Writer
When Mass was celebrated in Latin, the Sunday Missal was essential equipment for Catholics who wanted to follow and understand the weekly readings and prayers. With Latin on one side and their native tongue on the other, the faithful could engage with the Word of God and with the liturgy using a keepsake-quality volume of their own.
Even after the Church began to celebrate the Mass in the vernacular, some of us may remember our parents or grandparents dutifully toting their treasured Missals along every Sunday, even though they weren’t really needed anymore. Post-Vatican II Catholics, for the most part, have jettisoned the Missal as a vestigial accessory. We walk in, genuflect, take our seats, and hear the Sunday readings for the first and only time as they are proclaimed from the ambo.
For Kassie Manning and Christie Peters, roommates at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, that passive approach to attendance at Mass just wasn’t enough. They went to Mass faithfully every Sunday, but like many Catholics, they “were hungry for something more,” says Christie.
They joined a campus-wide non-denominational Christian fellowship, where their Protestant brothers and sisters taught them not only a greater appreciation for the Bible. Kassie and Christie also began the practice of taking a journal to Mass and jotting down notes on the homily, the readings, or anything that resonated deeply during the liturgy. They took this habit with them after they graduated in 2012 and took up their respective careers in the Houston area.
But a blank journal doesn’t include scripture. In order to refer to and highlight the Sunday readings you need a large missal or Bible of your own. The delicate pages of a missal don’t stand up to underlining and note-taking, and anyway there’s not enough room. Plus, hauling two large books around and flipping between them during Mass is cumbersome and distracting.
Then, almost two years ago, Kassie and Christie, who remained friends after college, both voiced the same thought: What if those two things—Sunday Missal and journal—were combined into one volume?
“We looked all over for a single-volume publication that combined the Sunday liturgical readings and had space for journaling and note-taking,” says Christie. “But we discovered that the product we wanted didn’t exist. So we asked one another, ‘what if we created it ourselves?’ ”
“Once we said it out loud,” says Kassie, “we felt called to do it.”
In August of 2017, the Every Sacred Sunday Mass Journal was born.
The Mass Journal contains all the Sunday readings for the year, beginning with Advent, and is formatted with plenty of space for notes, prayer requests, and action items. The pages are sturdy enough for highlighting and vigorous writing, and also color-coded according to the liturgical seasons.
“We feel like this is the Holy Spirit’s project,” says Christie. “The book is filling a space that hadn’t been filled, and He gave it to us to be His hands and feet to bring it into the world.”
For Jen Bartley, our Holy Trinity Youth Minister, the Mass Journal is “a sacred space to spend special time with God in the scriptures.” She uses the journal to prepare for the upcoming Mass, starting on Monday morning. When the readings she has been reflecting on for almost a week are finally proclaimed at the liturgy, the Word of God falls on the well-prepared soil of her heart.
I use the journal a little differently. I start on Friday or Saturday by reading the Scriptures for that weekend’s Mass. On Sunday, I underline passages and jot down notes on the homily. Then, in the days that follow, I refer to my notes, prayers and highlights, paying particular attention to the “Go Forth” section, which serves as a spiritual action plan for the week.
The book is beautifully illustrated with watercolors by Christie, who was an art major in college. “We were hungry for this,” she says. “It’s clear that many, many other Catholics are hungry for the same thing.”
The new edition of the Mass Journal is available at www.EverySacredSunday.com. Order your copy today!
Note: A slightly longer version of this article appeared in the National Catholic Register on November 25, 2018 and can be found at www.ncregister.com/daily-news/mass-journaling-for-jesus.
Clare T. Walker, a Holy Trinity Parishioner since 2003, writes for the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com). She is also an independent fiction author. Here are some handy links to her website and her books:
Clare T. Walker
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