The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Highway to Heaven Series Book 6

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Highway to Heaven Series Book 6

St. Augustine Academy Press

  • $14.36

Produced by the Marquette University Institute of Catechetical Research under the editorship of Edward A. Fitzpatrick in the 1930’s, the Highway to Heaven series of Religion textbooks is a breath of fresh air.  Unashamed love of the Catholic Faith is evident on every page. 

Full of beautiful black and white illustrations, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the Sixth Grade text in the series. It studies the Traditional Latin Mass with particular attention toward helping young people learn to use the Missal.

Unlike the other books in this series, which we reproduced directly from the originals, we have retypeset this volume.  This was because we needed to combine elements of two different editions: the original 1937 edition (which, like the rest of the series, used the unrevised Baltimore Catechism) and the 1949 edition (which added a chapter on the priesthood that was very much worth adding).  In melding these two editions, we took the opportunity to improve the illustrations as well, which were mostly aged photographs.

Sadly, no Teacher's Manual was ever published for this textbook.  In time we hope to build one, but for the time being, those who are curious to see what the original creators of the series had in mind for this year's instruction may wish to consult the master curriculum plan called A Curriculum in Religion.

The late 1920's and early 1930's would appear to have been an especially fertile time for the writing of Catechism books.  The world had just finished a Great and terrible war, and was entering a new modern era.  There was a great desire for new methods of teaching that were less formalized and exterior--forms that incorporated the new understanding of how children learn, such as those enumerated by educational pioneer Maria Montessori and others.

This reaction to the teaching methods of the past, especially in the field of catechism, which had for many years been largely rote teaching and memorization of the questions and answers of the Catechism, resulted in the Munich Method, also known as the Steiglitz or Psychological Method.  This method sought to teach children the faith by first engaging the imagination of the child with stories or other visualizations, followed by a discussion of the application of the moral of the story to the child's life, and finally--only as a last step, after the lesson had been absorbed by the child--this process was followed up with the formula from the Catechism for memorization.

In assembling a new curriculum for the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Marquette University Institute for Catechetical Research sought to incorporate this method in its presentation of Catholic Doctrine to children.  And thus, the Highway to Heaven series of textbooks, along with the Religion in Life Curriculum of which they are the centerpiece, was brought into being. 

This goal of seizing the imagination of the child is what makes these books especially charming: they tell the Greatest Story Ever Told in a way that engages children and encourages them to visualize the scenes of the Life of Our Lord.  To this end the series is most beautifully illustrated as well.

One item worth pointing out:  Because this series was printed in the 1930's, before the Baltimore Catechism was revised in the early 1940's, it contains the unrevised Baltimore Catechism.  This means that it will align numerically with the original BC as printed by TAN, but NOT with the later St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, which uses the revised BC.

Sixth Grade: The Holy Sacrifice of the Massspends the entire year studying the Mass in detail, with a special focus on the prayers themselves and in helping young people to learn to use a Missal.  It may prove helpful for newcomers to the Traditional Latin Mass of any age.

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