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What is a Mass journal, and how do you use one?

mass-journal-everyday-prayer-co

Courtesy of Brennan Costello

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 04/24/23

A Catholic Mass journal is an intentional way to enrich your participation in worship. Here's why and how to get started Mass journaling!

When I first heard about the concept of Mass journaling, I was intrigued but a little confused. After all, I’ve never seen someone use a journal at Mass. What was this all about?

It turns out Mass journaling can be a wonderful way to engage more deeply in prayer and participation at Mass. Note: As with many prayer tools, it could become a distraction. But if used carefully and at proper times, it can help us get more from the liturgy.

I had the chance to learn about all things Mass journaling from Brennan Costello, founder of Everyday Prayer Co. Besides creating the popular wallet Rosary card, Costello also put together a Catholic Mass journal.

mass-journal-everyday-prayer-co

What is it, exactly? The website says:

Take a journal to Mass! A Catholic Mass journal is an intentional way to enrich your participation in the worship of the Mass. A Mass Journal is a journal used during Mass to help you pray, take note of what God is trying to tell you, and then continue reflecting on it. Our paperback journal includes prayers for Mass, lined journaling space, and a minimalist design. 

Included in the Catholic Mass Journal are prayers to help you prepare for Mass, give thanksgiving after Communion, and to pray at the close of Mass. These prayers are an intentional tool to put yourself in the right attitude for Mass. There are 70 pages of lined journal pages in the Mass Journal to provide space for journaling, notes, and prayers.

I wanted to know more about why Mass journaling is becoming popular, and how a person can get started with the practice. Here’s what Costello told me.

What are some of the benefits of Mass journaling?

1Be fully present at Mass

“I started the Mass Journal as a lightweight way to help me better participate in the Mass. Mass isn’t meant to be passive, it is meant for your active participation. A Mass Journal helps you to be present.”

2Offer the Mass as a prayer

“I was taught by a priest that a great way to ‘get into’ the Mass is that before Mass begins, create your own intention for that Mass. What do you want to offer your participation in the Mass for? Writing this down in the Mass Journal is a tool to help you focus on that, and ‘place’ that intention on the altar. I like to do this when I sit down in the pew before Mass starts.” 

3Remember what happened at Mass

“A Mass Journal can also be very helpful in prayer later. Maybe the priest said something in the homily, or you noticed something that stuck out in the readings. Making note of this in your journal, and then coming back to it in prayer later can make that prayer very helpful. It’s a way to help you understand what God is trying to tell you.” 

mass-journal-everyday-prayer-co

What advice would you give to someone who’s never used a Mass journal and wants to start the practice for the first time?

1It’s ok if you’re the only person journaling

“Don’t worry if you are the only one journaling! If it’s helpful to you, do it! And what a great way to share how it’s helping you or how you are trying to be an active participant in Mass when others ask you about it.” 

2Let the Holy Spirit guide your writing

“Go into Mass with one or two practices that you’d like to use the journal for, but not with a plan for how much you want to write. The journal should be a tool to help you pray, but not replace your personal prayer with mindless writing. I like to use it as a  way to write down my intentions, but then use the Journal as I feel prompted. … Treat it like a tool to make your time in Mass more fruitful, and is personal to you!” 

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Catholic LifestyleLiturgyMass
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