Mass with children is tough. To them, Mass is boring and uncomfortable, with lots of talking and big confusing words, very little to see, and the requirement of sitting still—for an entire hour! Even as I do my best to encourage my children to appreciate Mass, I can understand why it’s hard for them. Sam the Guardian Angel is a beautiful book that helps explain the Mass to children—in a way they can understand.
I received this book for review courtesy of the author; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Sam the Guardian Angel overview
Sam the Guardian Angel is a conversation between Angie and her guardian angel, Sam. On the first page, they introduce themselves. Angie calls Sam her best friend, and he says he loves spending time with her. Angie’s dialogue is in white and Sam’s is in yellow, so this book could be read as a back-and-forth between two parents or a parent and a child who can read aloud. Sometimes I try to do a different voice for each person, but I’m not the greatest at that.
In the next pages, Sam and Angie go to Mass together. Angie explains, “Today, I asked Sam to help me during Mass. Sometimes there are things during Mass that I don’t understand. I know Mass is important, but I’m not sure how it is important.”
Angie comments on various parts of the Mass, and Sam adds his perspective to her questions or thoughts. For example, Angie says she wants to sing but she doesn’t know the words. Sam explains that all the guardian angels are singing too, and suggests Angie tries to follow along or to learn the songs at home before Mass. Sam also explains prayer, why we kneel during Mass, why we share the peace, how to make a spiritual communion, and more.
Angie isn’t old enough yet to make a spiritual communion, so this book is perfect for children 8 and under who are at Mass without being able to receive. Sam explains the importance of the Eucharist and the parts of the Mass in a way that encourages children to participate as much as they can at their age—by singing, sharing the peace, kneeling, praying, and making their spiritual communion.
Each page also has a little “Did You Know” section that gives more details about what Sam has explained. For example, when Angie asks Sam about kneeling, “Did You Know” explains that “Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist and he wants to live inside of you. Try to keep your heart clean of sin and love him to make your heart a beautiful place for him to rest.”
I find this section helps make the story accessible to children of different ages. For example, when I’m reading Sam the Guardian Angel to my almost-4-year-old, I usually just read the dialogue between Sam and Angie. When I read it with my 5-year-old, then I include the “Did You Know” sections, as she is ready for more details (and often has questions similar to Angie’s).
I would love to see Lis turn this into a series of books with Angie and Sam the guardian angel. Perhaps Sam could pray the rosary with Angie. The back-and-forth dialogue between the characters makes the story engaging. Sam and Angie are easy for children to relate to and present big faith concepts in a simple yet faithful manner.
Going to Mass with Children
As I mentioned, going to Mass with children has been hard since my oldest stopped sleeping through Mass and started wanting to explore the front steps of the church instead. Pearl (age 5) still finds it a bit hard to sit through Mass and is easily distracted. She can now read on her own, so I usually have her bring a Bible, kids’ missal or saint stories to read at Mass.
Sam the Guardian Angel is one of the books I like to include in her Mass bag, as she can follow along through Mass with Sam and Angie. I often ask one of my older girls to sit near the front of the church with Pearl and Jade (age 8), so they can see the altar and what Father is doing. This helps them to focus better, as they aren’t just staring at the crowd in front of them.
I’m often surprised by the questions my children ask at Mass or what they notice—even my toddler. He is the most busy and wiggly of any of my children at church, and finds it particularly difficult to sit through an hour of Mass. Despite this, he loves belting out “Glory!” or “Alleluia!” during the singing and often appreciates the artwork around the parish. While he seems like he’s not paying attention, he’s actually taking in more than I think.
About the Author
Lis Luwia has written several books, including My Catholic Prayer Journal and Our Lady of Sorrows: A Catholic Novena & Meditation Prayer Journal. She also runs the Catholic events website DioceseEvents.com. She and her husband have 3 children and live in the Midwest. Lis spends her days homeschooling her children, loves the sound of her children’s laughter and enjoys the smell of freshly baked bread. Dig up more of Lis’ work at LisLuwia.com.