Skip to main content

Another Community Reading Idea

Last week I suggested that developing a shared reading experience within a parish could be a valuable effort at both community building and catechesis. My pick to start this out was Because God is Real by Peter Kreeft. Let me add to the community reading list by recommending Catholicism and Society: Marriage, Family, and Social Issues written by Rev. Edward Hayes, Rev. Msgr. Paul Hayes, and James J. Drumey.

A couple of weeks ago I attended Mass at St. Raymond of Penafort Catholic Church. The pastor’s note in the bulletin included a recommendation of this book for summer reading. The parish uses this book for the ninth grade religious education program thus prompting the pastor to include an admonition to all parents who allow their children to stop attending religious education classes once they are confirmed in eighth grade: Read this book and see what your children will not be learning!

The subject of marriage and family are near and dear to my heart so I took a look at the book. I noticed it was published in 1997. I wondered just how relevant it would still be as we near the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. I have now completed the first four chapters. I can tell you that it is not only relevant but it is outstanding. I can see why this book is used for high school religious education but I think it should be included in Pre-Canna classes as well. In fact, as the traditional institution of marriage and the concept of family are under assault by the secular forces of society, this book is an excellent primer for everyone on the Church teaching concerning marriage. These are not just random thoughts by the authors. They back up their assertions with references to Scripture, Second Vatican Council Documents, the Catechism and a myriad of papal writings.

Here is a sample:

Marriage is a sacred vocation. It is the state in life to which husbands and wives have been called by God from all eternity. Their meeting, attraction to each other, and decision to set up a Christian home are not the result of blind chance, but are part of the Creator’s divine plan. As instruments of God, husbands and wives are involved in a holy and noble undertaking. They have a responsibility not only for their own salvation, but also that of their spouses and their children. How important it is then that husbands and wives understand the earthly and heavenly ramifications of their state in life, and work to mold their marriages into the supernatural unions that God wants them to be.

Imagine an entire parish community that has taken the above paragraph to heart. Marriages would be strengthened. Families would be strengthened. Catechesis within the home would be strengthened making the parish religious education program richer. There is really no aspect of parish life that would not benefit from a community wide commitment to the principle of marriage as a sacred vocation. I urge you to read this book then pass it on to your neighbor. It makes an excellent gift for a newly engaged couple or anyone who is contemplating marriage.


Popular posts from this blog

Find Catholic Mass even when Traveling

First published 1/27/06 There is no such thing as a travel dispensation. Even when you are away from your home parish, you are expected to take advantage of your Sunday opportunity to attend Mass. With most communities offering a Saturday evening vigil Mass as well as Sunday Mass, there is really no excuse for missing Mass while traveling unless you are backpacking beyond the reach of civilization. It takes just a little planning and effort on your part. The question is, “Do you really want to go to Mass?” Why should we worry about missing Mass while traveling? Well, the easy answer is “’Cause the Church says so!” Missing Mass is considered a serious sin. Jesus told Peter Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven ( Mt 16:19 )so we must take the edicts of the Church quite seriously. Still, this is a child-like level of understanding. The more mature answer is we have a responsibility to maintain our relationship with God. Like any relationship, if it is neglected, it

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling . I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road. I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become s

I Was There!

I was there! Yesterday I gathered with hundreds of thousands— please note the mainstream media will only say scores, thousands, or even tens of thousands —to make a stand for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. It was a joyous and uplifting event. Of course, the message of support from the President that we have enjoyed for the last eight years was missing. There were numerous members of Congress who joined us to make a stand. This is not a Catholic event. Orthodox Jews and many Protestants were there. But it was striking to see the Catholic clergy and religious. I was excited to see the number of young priests and sisters. Take a look at the Sisters for Life . These young women are vibrant, beautiful, and just exude holiness. I would be honored to have my daughter be among their number. I was also excited to meet up with my blogging buddy Rosemary . She was there with her three lovely daughters. You know, the Washington Post coverage devoted as much space to th