In most every parish that I served in as a priest, I started a “book club." With a book club, a group of interested parishioners would commit to reading a book and then coming together every two weeks or so, to discuss what each learned and any insight given. If you have not had this kind of experience, I recommend it. The books could be fiction or non-fiction.
When folks from these groups asked me for recommendations for books, I would recommend a wide selection of books on spirituality, books on the lives of the saints, on discipleship, on service, on theology, on the study of sacred scripture…and so on. But in each of these groups that I led, I would always recommend three books as foundational…books that each Catholic missionary disciple and every family should have for prayer and study: (1) the first book on that list, the sacred scriptures, the Bible, preferably a Catholic Study Bible. It is foundational. (2) The second book I would recommend, the Documents of Vatican II. (3) The third book that every Catholic should have, The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
This month, on the 11th of October, we will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Why did Pope John Paul II (now St. John Paul the Great) decide to use the 11th of October 1992 as the official date of publication? The Holy Father intentionally linked the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the date of the opening of the second Ecumenical Council held at the Vatican….or Vatican II…which began on the 11th of October 1962, under the guidance of Pope John XXIII (now St. John XXIII). Like the revised Code of Canon Law in 1983, St. John Paul the Great understood both the revised Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church as fruits of this great Council of the twentieth century….given by the Lord…as blessing.
Let us give thanks to God for the gift of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I hope that you will look to purchase a copy (the 2nd edition)…if you don’t have one already. I’m presuming that all of you reading this column have a Catholic Bible! And, why not look for a book club…or…start a book club? Reading opens up our minds and hearts to the great mystery of life and the Lord!
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For The Greater Glory of God)