Last night, I was privileged to spend a couple hours with 28 of my own parish's fellow catechists, all Hispanic, almost all of whom attend Spanish Mass. I have known some of these folks for years, but last night, I watched them grow, right before my eyes as I presented an adapted-for-catechists version of my book, From Mass to Mission for Children. What I experienced confirmed my suspicion that many Catholic adults know very little about the Mass except the basics of external participation.
As I unfolded the structure and meaning of the Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word, I noticed that lots of notes were being taken. Their responses to questions about how they personally prepare for Mass revealed a wide range of practices, but many of those in the room had a real "aha moment" when they learned that looking at the readings ahead of time and considering what they need to pray for at that Mass are good practices.
They did not already know (except those who are readers at Mass) that there are 3 cycles of Sunday readings - and years dedicated to Matthew, Mark and Luke, nor did they know about the relationship between the Old Testament readings and the Gospel, or the role of the Holy Spirit in bringing the Word from the ear to the heart of the listener.
When we talked about what they had heard, there was such wonder and joy in their ideas on how they will now attend Mass differently.
It was a very good session - and I definitely felt the love and appreciation. I bet they all come back on Monday for Part 2 - and maybe they will even bring a few friends.