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Books for Catholic Kids: The Weight of a Mass

Written by Josephine Nobisso

Illustrated by Katalin Szegedi

Copyright 2002

Publisher Gingerbread Press

Ever wonder how you can possibly teach your children about the beauty…the grandeur…the mystery of Holy Mass? Here is the book for you!

I wager that this is one of the most beautifully illustrated Catholic children’s books ever written. If there was a Caldecott Award for Catholic literature, this book would have won.

It is a feast for the eyes, rich in detail, complete with characters who react to the story with nuanced expressions. Every page is irresistible.

Oops! I am getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you about the story. It begins in classic fashion.

Once upon a time, a king betrothed to a queen from a faraway land consented to be married in the cathedral even though he knew a handful of old women would attend the Holy Mass.

For you see, the people had grown stale and lukewarm in the practice of the Faith.

Sound familiar? The scene moves to an upscale baker’s shop visited by customers wearing elegant Victorian garb. One poor woman shuffles in to beg for a scrap of stale bread in exchange for her offering of one Mass intention. She is soundly ridiculed by the baker.

Now we arrive at the heart of the story. The baker writes the words One Mass on a piece of tissue paper and places the wispy sheet on a bronze scale. “Let’s see how much bread I owe you,” he taunts.

Now the fun begins. He places a slice of old bread on the other tray of the scale, expecting it to outweigh the paper. The bread does not lift the paper. Shocked at the result, the baker places a layer cake and cherry-topped cupcakes on the tray. Still the paper weighs down the confections. Frustrated by the apparent miracle, he cries out, “Pile it high!”

I can imagine children enjoying the sight of breads, buns, candies, and cakes stacked on the tray. Seriously, I get hungry looking at them. Bring on dozens of donuts and finally the royal wedding cake. Still the other tray containing the slip of paper does not budge.

It weighs them all down.

All good stories have a happy ending and this one is no different. The entire village (including the baker) process to the cathedral and celebrate the royal wedding Mass.

Here is the punchline. You may think this all a fairy tale. Not so. It is based on an actual incident that happened in a butcher shop located Luxembourg.

Buy this book and enjoy the feast!

Kathy Swegart is a best-selling author of award-winning children's books with a Masters in Education from Boston College. She is the mother of three and the grandmother of many book-loving children. You can catch up with her on her website: http://kathrynswegart.com/

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