Rediscovering the Holy Mass Step by Step
By Fr Nilesh Parmar SJ
Pauline Publications, 143 Waterfield Road, Bandra West, Mumbai 400050
ISBN 978-93-93782-14-4 / Pp 192 / INR 210.00
Holy Mother the Church describes the Eucharistic Sacrifice of the Mass as the "source and summit of Christian life" (CCC 1324). It follows then that the Mass forms the barometer of a Catholic's spiritual life. Yet, in reality, many sadly tend to view it as a boring ritual that is, on the one hand, rather overdone, and on the other, far too predictable. That is where this book, Rediscovering the Holy Mass Step by Step comes in. And how!
A quick glance at the table of contents is enough to convince the reader that the author has taken great pains to tackle the problems. The rubrics and interpretations have been so simplified as to amplify the possibilities of exploring the evolution of the various parts of the Mass as part of a journey of sorts! For if truth be told, Nilesh Parmar, author of five books, lyricist and composer of Hindi, Dimasa and Assamese hymns and songs, brings his Jesuit background to bear creditably on the subject. This in turn makes rediscovering the traditional roots of present-day Eucharistic heritage easy for every reader, regardless of his or her background in terms of spirituality.
Rediscovering the Holy Mass Step by Step draws the reader into a deeper understanding of the Mystery of Faith by explaining every rubric, prayer and gesture involved. Whether it is the 'structure' of the Mass or the use of 'scripture' in its celebration, or whether it is 'liturgical terms' or 'liturgical items' used so to say, there is immense clarity in evidence.
Fr Nilesh Parmar SJ, who has been working among the tribals of Northeast India for the past 25 years, enunciates every point lucidly enough to elicit not merely interest, but also appreciation. Inasmuch as Jesus' invitation 'Do this in memory of me' extends to every believer, Fr Parmar's Philosophical background [Jnana-deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune] and his Theological aptitude [Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi] do immense justice to the subject and contents of this book. Serving as an aid to all who want to respond more deeply to Jesus' invite by way of deepening their understanding of the liturgy, the book is all set to be helpful to those involved in pastoral and catechumenal ministries too.
All in all, Rediscovering the Holy Mass Step by Step gives flesh to the sentiments of Pope Francis, who says: "The Eucharistic celebration is much more than a simple banquet; it is exactly the memorial of Jesus' Paschal sacrifice, the mystery at the centre of salvation…; every time we celebrate this Sacrament, we participate in the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ" (p 192).
Ladislaus Louis D'Souza