Friday, August 25, 2006

"Catholicism 101 for Adults"

Friday night Adoration: All are invited to spend at least a few minutes with Jesus in the Eucharist tonight in the SAA Church from 7-8 pm.
An anonymous blogger wrote recently, "I am looking for some reading about faith development. I am someone who has somehow managed to avoid the topic for almost my whole life and now find myself feeling empty and sometimes worthless. I cannot relate to saints or holy people who are well in the swing of it. I need to learn where to look, where to turn my attention. Any reading suggestions?"

While I am sorry that you have had these feelings of emptiness and worthlessness, Anon, I greatly appreciate your comments and question. My hope is that you see this blog site as one place where to turn your attention because it is something like "Catholicism 101 for Adults". Here on this site and in general, I try to meet people where they are, and present our Catholic faith in Jesus Christ as it truly is.

I would primarily recommend looking for opportunities to grow in your faith through personal experiences. For me, it was getting involved with a high school youth group when I was in college; I learned so much about the Faith as a leader in that group. Also, I got together regularly with a priest, picked his brain constantly (that's why priests are there- to teach), and learned from his example. Seeing the witness of true Christians in our community can be the best way to learn the Gospel.

One of these opportunities is the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) here at St. Andrew's, or any parish. Yes, it is a program for those who wish to become Catholic, but it is also for those Catholics who wish to learn more about their faith. I will be leading our weekly discussions which begin on Wed., Sept 13 in the Rectory. We will provide a book, "We Believe" by Fr. Oscar Lukefahr, that is an excellent, brief, and readable survey of the Catholic faith (for beginners). You are most welcome to join us!

Some additional recommendations for spiritual reading beyond those in my August 7 post are:
1) The Gospel accounts - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Reading one chapter a day of the Gospel can be very helpful because there are so many characters there to whom we can relate. One example is the Prodigal Son (Lk 15) - he "squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation" and then came back to his father... "He was lost and has been found".

2) "Welcome Home", edited by Victor Claveau - it's the story of 11 fallen-away Catholics who have come back to the Church. I haven't read it, but it looks good, mainly because it has the story of Fr. John Corapi who was a millionaire playboy in Las Vegas before becoming a very powerful priest. Let me know how it is!

3) "The Darkness Will Not Prevail" by Fr. John Corapi. It is the dramatic story of Fr. Corapi which I have only heard on tape - he is someone to whom most people can relate.

4) "From the Pastor's Desk" - a collection of the writings of Msgr. Thomas Wells, who was my spiritual father and mentor. If you read my post from Wed. which is one of his columnns, then you see that he is very easy to read and relate to. He was a great teacher! Finding a copy of the book is not easy, but I have a few and would be happy to give you one. Many people have come back to Church after reading it.

5) "Surprised by Truth" - I may have put this in my initial list of books, but it is worth mentioning here again. It is a collection of inspiring stories of people who became Catholic after being anti-Catholic, basically. It runs the gamut of Catholic teachings with which they all struggled. Many Catholics have related very well to the experiences of these great converts.


At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RCIA is an experience I can relate to as a cradle Catholic. I learnt a lot!

At 6:06 AM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

I am not from your parish but I am a bit of a stray sheep in catholic terms. But over the past year or so I have been going to Mass a bit and trying to pray. Over the last five months I have been backpacking in Europe. I cycled for five weeks in the Loire and it seemed like the history of Christianity was in the landscape almost. I also surprised myself by spending sx days at Lourdes in May. But I have still not got to the stage of going to Confession or Communion.
I am nearly ready to head home and don't know what I am going to do re faith. I tried to have a talk to the local priest before I left. I think he is a very holy and good man, but he didn't seem to be able to understand that I was struggling with a faith that to him there is no doubt about. Yet I feel there are issues I want to talk about. Not sure what I am going to do about it.

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Greg, Thanks for the book suggestions. I ordered 2 of them online and plan to dig into them as soon as they arrive. Thanks again and for your dedication to this blog-site - a lot of people benefit from it.

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.....this is to KIWI NOMAD 2006.


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