Okay, you have read every book on liturgical law and can quote
passages from Vatican II documents like some can quote the Bible.
But what is proper behavior at a funeral? What should be done with
children at Mass? This book is meant to provide some practical advice on those
matters that cannot be found in liturgical law but are still very important.
The book is intended for a broad audience - both Catholics who may
have questions about general "manners" and non-Catholics who may be attending
a Catholic liturgical service and do not know what to expect. The book
succeeds in explaining things to both groups.
Since Mass is the most common place for both groups to be, several of
the initial chapters treat this topic in great detail. The author has spent
a great deal of space trying to answer any questions one might have at any
point in the Mass: Can I wear a hat? What is proper attire? Why do we
make the sign of the cross? Who can receive Holy Communion? and many others.
After the sections on the Mass the author walks through each of the
sacraments and not only answers "etiquette" questions, but also provides a
short explanation of the history and significance of each sacrament.
The final chapter addresses Catholic customs such as pilgrimages,
Quinceanera and Lenten fasting. This is a nice way to conclude the book
since, at least it is hoped, being Catholic is a way of living and not
just a Sunday obligation.
This book does a very good job of providing helpful advice to
all participants in Catholic services and also at giving new-comers a
quick introduction to the Church which will help them feel more at ease.
Our only caution about the book is that there are a few places where the
author makes a statement that is historically misleading (concerning indulgences)
or mistates Church law (she states that receiving first Reconciliation before first Communion
is not mandatory).
These are most likely unintentional errors and we still recommend the book
for the common sense wisdom it contains.