As we approach the high holy days of the Catholic liturgical cycle, I am reminded of my time when I oversaw the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) at a parish in Gilbert, AZ. This is the time of the year when the Church receives many new converts at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday Night. If you never attended an Easter Vigil, I would highly encourage it. It is by far one of the best liturgies of the entire liturgical cycle and a personal favorite of mine.
Although we gave our RCIA participants many good resources and invited them to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, I always wanted a resource that would help our new Catholics discover the Catholic Church in the days following their last Mystagogy class. I would remind them that if the Catholic faith was going to take hold in their lives, they would have to make it their own. I encouraged them to embrace the traditions and teachings of the Church by doing Catholic things.
If you are an RCIA coordinator, a catechist, a sponsor, or just know someone that is coming into the Catholic Church this Saturday, I would suggest purchasing for them the book, I’m Catholic, Now What? by Shaun McAfee. When I first heard about this book, I immediately ordered it. As I was flipping through the pages after it arrived, I said to myself (thinking about my days overseeing RCIA), this is the book that every new Catholic should have in their personal library. Actually, it is a great book for the even the most seasoned and well-formed Catholic to have too.
This book reminds me a little bit of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the sense that you don’t have to read it cover to cover. You can research what you want to learn about first and then go from there. This is not a theology book but a book on “how to be Catholic.” The subjects that McAfee covers are the following: Getting Started, The Sacraments, Mary, the Church, and the Saints, Prayer, Catholic Life, Customs, Rules, and Basic Etiquette, Being a Modern Catholic, Knowing and Defending Your Faith, Evangelization: It’s for Everyone and a Conclusion.
The chapters that grabbed my attention were – “Have a beer” [yes, this is actually covered in the book], “Invite your priest over for dinner”, “Attend an ordination”, “Start a holy card collection”, “Combat relativism”, “Papal elections and how they work”, and one of my favorites, “Know your heresies.” This book will make any Catholic – a new convert or a seasoned believer, want to “do Catholic things." It is also a great tool and resource to assist in evangelizing family and friends that may not understand the rich history and traditions of the Catholic Church.
If this book was published when I was overseeing the RCIA program, it would have been in the hands of every new Catholic convert on the night following the Easter Vigil.
To purchase, I’m Catholic, Now What? by Shaun McAfee, please visit Amazon or Our Sunday Visitor.