The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso, illustrations Katalin Szegedi

One of the nicest things that can happen to you is to get a surprise book sent by a friend. If the book turns out to be really good, it gets better and better. This is exactly what happened to us with The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso with beautiful illustrations by Katalin Szegedi. My daughter got it mailed to her by a good friend from Vancouver Island. The timing was interesting too because the book arrived when we were in the middle of baking gingerbread cookies for Christmas and the two events wonderfully melted together (it was the day of the year when our kitchen turns into a bakery and there is also lots of baking in the book).

After the old woman asks the owner of the fanciest bakery in town to give her a crust of stale bread, the baker refuses. He laughs at her because she promises to offer one Holy Mass in exchange of bread. When she is ready to leave the shop, the owner mocks her even more, in front of his noble customers. He puts the piece of paper with the words “One Mass” scribbled on it, on one side of the scale and says that he will give her as much bread as the Mass is worth, according to his trusty brass scale. On the other tray he places the slice of bread. The scale shows that the scribble is heavier than the slice of bread. This does not change even after the baker loads the tray with all the pastry he can find in the store.

All this happened in the kingdom, whose king wanted to get married in the beautiful old cathedral, which usually stayed empty because people stopped praying and turned away from God. After the bakery incident was talked about all over town, people did some thinking and huge crowd attended the royal wedding Holy Mass. And maybe their cathedral was never empty after that. The baker certainly became a different man.

The Weight of a Mass by Josephine Nobisso, illustrated by Katalin Szegedi