Karen Estep reviews two LEGO-themed graphic novels about the Holy Mass and the Seven Sacraments.
I was excited to review both Catechism of the Seven Sacraments and The Holy Mass: On Earth as It Is in Heaven books by Kevin and Mary O’Neill. Because my husband and I are still new to the Catholic faith (though we both come from Christian families) there are still some very special things that set the Catholic faith apart. We want to be prepared when both of our children are ready to decide if they want to go through all of the sacraments as well. So, when the book list came through that there was an opportunity to review graphic novels that cover Mass and explain the Sacraments in greater detail than what we had learned, I jumped on it!
But I will admit when these books came in the mail, I laughed out loud, like really loudly, in my kitchen. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it for sure was not LEGOs I opened up the press package and the cover is full of a LEGO Jesus during the Last Supper or a LEGO priest in full vestment holding out the Eucharist. I was incredibly worried about how these could possibly be the right books for me to review.
However, the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” fits perfectly in this instance. Once you really dig in deep with these books you will find a beautiful yet funky way to tell the story of our faith.
First, the pictures are very detailed! The things Kevin and Mary add to the Legos is incredible! Mary has a veil, they have added miniature statues to the chapels (even a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe), the saints are all in custom clothing, a LEGO Rosary, and both books are just filled with amazing details that had to be very time-consuming to create but make for great pictures. A reader could probably read these books many times and still find new details within the pictures.
Both books follow two characters, Cynthia and Fulton. In The Holy Mass: On Earth as It Is in Heaven, the characters walk through how the Mass is connected to the Old and New Testaments. The book tells about why we do certain things during Mass and how those things tie into the Bible. There is even a page dedicated to what vestments the priests wear, when they wear these vestments, and what each piece of the vestment represents. All of the scriptures or references to the Catechism are referenced at the bottom of each page.
In Catechism of the Seven Sacraments, the reader follows Cynthia and Fulton through all seven sacraments. Each Sacrament is explained on how it connects to the Bible and why we as Catholics believe that all of these Sacraments will lead us to a better relationship with God and Jesus. As a new Catholic, I really enjoyed learning more about Mary and the chapter on Reconciliation. I also really liked reading about the various degrees of Holy Orders.
Overall, these were not the books that my husband and I were expecting. Truth be told, we both are not the biggest fans of graphic novels either. However, and this is a huge however, everything is awesome (if you get this reference, you are also awesome, and I hope that song gets stuck in your head). There is a LEGO museum full of information in these books. We both learned a lot while reading through these books. Also, my husband and I both agreed that these are a great introduction to some of the more difficult concepts (the Old Testament has a lot of death) in a more age-appropriate manner. For example, the Egyptians being swallowed and drowned by the Red Sea can be a lot of death to learn about at once but when it is shown with LEGOs, it doesn’t look so gruesome.
Also, we almost did not get to read these books because my kids tried to steal them a few times before I could write the review. Now that this review is done, I will be handing them over to my kids to look at and learn more about why we do things a certain way as part of our faith. I also feel confident that as a Catholic parent, I can use these books to help better explain concepts that I may not know or fully understand just yet. Everything is referenced in either the table of contents in the front or the glossary in the back.
If you have a LEGO lover, a child getting ready to receive Sacraments, or children that are curious about our faith, these books are fantastic!
Copyright 2022 Karen Estep
About the Author
Karen Estep is the host of the podcast Stand, Kneel, Now What? In coming home to the Catholic faith as an adult she hopes to share her love of the Church on a daily basis. Karen has been shown many graces through the Sacraments even through all of her blunders. She hopes to help other adults navigate their faith journey as well.