The mere 123 pages of this little tome hide the amount of information Fr. Damico packs in. Not only does he explain the nuts and bolts of what’s going on and what’s important in Mass, he gives the reader a foundation of real-life, touchable comparisons. He uses family dinners with his grandmother as a way of tying in just why we are selling ourselves short when we leave Mass right after communion (you wouldn’t, he insists, have left Grandma Damico’s without saying good-bye; you just wouldn’t have felt right about it!).

Damico takes us through the Mass from beginning to end. I love how he reminds us that there’s always a full house: “When we gather in God’s house and come into God’s presence, there is always a full house, regardless of how many persons are sitting in the pews. Every time we gather in the house of God for liturgy the place is packed! For gathering with us is a vast throng of angelic beings. And there is also a company of holy souls too numerous to count. Our heroes and heroines are there, both those known to the entire Church and those known only to us. Our loved ones, who have passed on from this life into the loving embrace of God, are there. To realize that our gathering for liturgy includes such glorious and beloved partners cannot help but fill us with wonder and delight.”

Fr. Damico reminds readers that we are family, and that we are gathering around the table of the Lord. It’s a basic concept, but I really needed the reminder! Throughout the book he uses examples of his own family and his relationships with his wife and children (he is a cleric who converted) to make the Mass approachable for each of us, and yet, he does not in any way detract from the great mystery taking place. His examples, in fact, heighten the mystery by making it more real somehow.

The Joy of Worshiping Together is a must-read for you, whether you have your doctorate in Catholic theology or if you’re just bumbling along like me.

What’s truly delightful to me after having read this priceless piece of work is having just found out that, in October, our parish is having him come for a mission (or, for those of us who don’t appreciate the semantics of old-time Catholics, a “revival” or “series of seminars”). I can’t wait to hear him in person!