For Catholics, the Mass is the “source and summit of the Christian life,” as the documents of the Church put it. Yet many Catholics might confess to not understanding in depth what goes on in an ordinary celebration of the Eucharist. In what may be her most compelling and original book to date, novelist and spiritual writer Paula Huston offers herself as guide. One Ordinary Sunday presents both a moment-by-moment record of her experience of one particular Mass in her home parish in Arroyo Grande, California, and a theologically and historically rich exploration of the origin and meaning of the liturgy. Her personal and spiritual reflections offer fresh and often unexpected insights into the profound mystery at the heart of Catholic faith.
A natural story-teller, Huston deftly illuminates what might seem either mysterious to those unfamiliar with the Mass or overly familiar to those who have lost an appreciation of its beauty. This is a book for all Catholics, especially those who have questions about the basic practices of their faith, who are new to the Church and still somewhat baffled by its rituals of worship, or who have left the Church behind but still feel like part of the family.
First place, General Interest Category, Association of Catholic Publishers 2017 Excellence in Publishing Awards.
First place, Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith, Catholic Press Association 2017 Book Awards.
“In a marvelous story-telling form using the Mass for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Paula Huston, a convert, takes readers on a scintillating survey of the Mass, its antecedents, significance and the excitement of its various parts. Whatever one’s own pilgrimage has been like, no one will come away from a reading of this gem without a firmer appreciation for the Mass as the bedrock of Catholic celebration” (Judges, 2017 CPA Book Awards)
“This is possibly the best introduction to the Western Rite Mass I have read. I am pretty sure I have never read one more winsome. Huston puts together the gospel, the technical, the doctrinal, the poetic, and some of the tragic, and when she is done, she has explained exactly how the Mass has ushered us into the Upper Room with Christ.”
(Russell E. Salzman, web columnist for First Things and Aleteia)
“Paula Huston does for us in the twenty-first century what Ambrose and Cyril did for Christians in the fourth. She wants us to know that an extraordinary thing happens at Mass on every ordinary Sunday. To her task of opening up the mysteries she brings a novelist’s sense of drama and descriptive power as well as a convert’s sense of discovery and wonder. She has made something beautiful for God and for us. This book will do much good.”
(Mike Aquilina, author of The Mass of the Early Christians)
“Rare is the occasion when a book addresses a Big Theological topic–a central, tangible aspect of religious life–with the gifts of a true narrative writer. Huston is the perfect person to unpack the dense, layered richness that is the Roman Catholic Mass.”
(Gregory Wolfe, Image)
“To say I loved this book would be an understatement.”
(Paul Mariani, author of Thirty Days: On Retreat with the Exercises of St. Ignatius)