Monday, April 4, 2016

Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide

The Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide to the Daily Acts that Make Up a Catholic Life by Melissa Musick and Anna Keating is exactly what it says, a field guide. For many cradle Catholics, this might not be necessary but given that only 30% of professed Catholics go to Sunday Mass, I am not sure. A brief conversation with some Catholic friends made me realize that many are Sunday Catholics who are missing out on the riches of the Church, the daily rituals and prayers that lift our hearts heavenward. As a convert, I am constantly learning about various traditions from devout Catholic families but this book is a wonderful primer for a neophyte on what it is to live a Catholic life. I suggest giving this beautiful and accessible book as a gift to the neophytes who are received into the Catholic Church at Easter.

The book is organized in such a way that it’s easy for a neophyte to begin anywhere, whatever piques his or her interest. It begins with what I think is a difficult subject: relics! So many people are appalled by the idea of keeping the mortal remains of a person, let alone venerate them. But the authors do a wonderful job of explaining how it can be a “doorway into the divine.” Just as you might keep a photograph of your grandparents to remember them by, so Catholics keep pictures of favorite saints to remember their lives, or go on pilgrimages to visit their tomb or touch a favorite rosary to the relics. “What we choose to keep tells us what matters to us.”

This section of the book is “Smells and Bells” and covers the sacraments and sacramentals, like holy water, oils, candles, clothes, medals, daily prayers, etc.

The bulk of the book is on the “Seasons of the Church Year” and is especially helpful for neophytes in learning the different ways of celebrating the various feast days in the life of Jesus, Mary and the saints. I do wish the authors had mentioned some of the older traditions before the changes made in Vatican II so that neophytes get a better sense of history but that is just a quibble. The very end of the book is devoted to seasons of a person’s life – childhood, adolescence and adulthood – and how to navigate them, including such things as finding a parish or making a spiritual retreat. It ends fittingly with the funeral liturgy. This book is a great resource for anybody who is interested in living a more vibrant and liturgical life, as well as a person who is simply interested in what it means to be Catholic. I highly recommend the Catholic Catalogue and thank Blogging for Books for providing me with a review copy.

Note: This book came about after a highly successful blog. Check it out.


Johnell DeWitt said...

Wow. That's cool. Blogs can pay off I guess. What a great way to learn more about the Catholic faith for both Catholic and no-Catholics.

Vijaya said...

This month's issue of Writer's Digest is devoted to web stuff and there are quite a few book deals that came from blogs. I suppose when you do what you love, the money follows eventually.

Marianne Kearns said...

HooRayGun! sed RonRaygun. You're a Catholic, the first one I've seen in a long while that aint afraid like a #@!!☆ pansy to stand-up for their faith. Who cares??? Isis is mortal, too. Grrr.

"This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty sed to me in my coma. "Beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find corpulent eloquence" (paraphrased). Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET any moe curly, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs when my beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girl passed-away at 17.

Find-out where we went on our journey far, far away like the symbiotically, synonyMOUSEs which creep across thy brain bringing U.S. together done in sardonic satires.

"Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3

Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

Go git'm, girl. You're incredible.
See you Upstairs...
I won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls

PS Need some uncommon, unique, uncivilized names? Lemme gonna gitcha started:

Oak Woods, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, China Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Sophie Sharp, Gloria Hood, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zachariah Neptoon, Turkey Yankee, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Yates (<-- brothers, Czech republic near Germany), Mortimer Victor, Isabella Kennedy, Redding Rust...

God blessa youse
-Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL