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.