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A book is a literary compass that has the potential to direct our thoughts and actions:

"Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature--from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting--we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print." - Fr. John Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The 10 Best Books for New Catholics

Do you know someone who is joining the Catholic Church this Easter? Maybe you're enrolled in RCIA classes yourself. The following books are what I consider to be the best books for newcomers to the Catholic Church, and would be especially appropriate to read during Lent, as preparation for Easter Vigil (assuming one already has a Bible). With exception of the first two titles, they are not listed in any particular order:
  1. The Catechism of the Catholic Church: next to the Bible, probably the most indispensable book for Catholics
  2. The Basic Sixteen Documents--Vatican II: An excellent collection of the results of the Second Vatican Council, for those two young to have experienced it, or too far away from the Church to have noticed or cared
  3. The Catholic Sourcebook: a great reference book full of tidbits and lists and definitions; helpful for absorbing Catholic culture and tradition (with a small "t")
  4. Being Catholic Today by Bert Ghezzi: A terrific survey of what it means to live a Catholic lifestyle, written in an accessible, friendly format; includes reflection and discussion questions, as well as practical action ideas
  5. The Words We Pray by Amy Welborn: A beautiful explanation of the origin and meaning of many of our formal prayers, including the Our Father, Hail Mary, Act of Contrition, and the Jesus Prayer; don't miss the chapter on the Liturgy of the Hours
  6. The School of Prayer, an Introduction to the Divine Office for All Christians by John Brook: Speaking of the Liturgy of the Hours, this book is the defintive resource for learning how to pray the official office of the Church; okay, it may be a little intimidating for new members of the Church, but I'm sure there are some who would appreciate it, and I can't resist putting in a plug for the Liturgy of the Hours whenever I can
  7. The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions by Mike Aquilina and Regis J. Flaherty: A basic primer on Catholic devotions, from morning offerings to offering it up, from novenas to scapulars, from First Fridays to...well, you get the idea
  8. Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft: Dr. Kreeft does his usual superb job of taking difficult concepts and making them clear and logical; this would be an excellent supplement to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  9. Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly: One of the church's most energetic young minds brings a hopeful message to all Catholics
  10. Catholic Social Thought: One of the Church's least appreciated heritages is its social justice teaching; this book gives the full text of her most recent documents regarding work, labor, war and peace, poverty, and other social concerns; again, maybe too much for a new Catholic to digest so soon, but essential nonetheless
I'd love to hear your comments on these choices, or your suggestions for people preparing to enter the Catholic Church this year.

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posted by Nick Senger at 11:12 PM

Comments on "The 10 Best Books for New Catholics"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (Thursday, September 20, 2007 11:20:00 AM) : 

What about the Bible?

 

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