Monday, April 4, 2016

The Catholic Catalogue--A Field Guide #Books #Catholic

I received a copy of The Catholic Catalogue to facilitate this review. I was not compensated in any way nor required to write a favorable review.

I am a cradle Catholic. I spent 12 years in Catholic schools. My mom always said those that converted to Catholicism as adults know more about our beliefs than we do. And having married a man who converted as an adult, I would agree. He knows more about the history of the church (I have never been good at history) than I do.

But even at that, there is so much to the Catholic Church than neither of us know about. Intricacies such as signs and symbols, the multitude of feast days, when and why oils and incense are used...and the list goes on. There are things that go on in the parish that I belong to now that quite honestly, I had never heard of in any of the other parishes I belonged to in the past. And having children now who ask questions, I want to be able to give them correct answers instead of best guesses or I don't know answers. That's where The Catholic Catalogue--A Field Guide to the Daily Acts that Make Up a Catholic Life by Melissa Musick and Anna Keating comes in handy.

This book is set up like any guide book and is not meant to be read straight though, although one  could choose to do so. However, I think most would want to look things up as they have questions or curiosities. Or possibly, one might like to read it by the season of the year or seasons of life.

This is a big book--over 400 pages. It is printed on quality paper and bound appropriately with a hard cover. In other words, it is made to last and be referenced over and over.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part, Smells and Bells, covers traditions within the Catholic Church, such as holy water, vestments, sacred space, daily prayer. The second section is Seasons of the Church Year, including Ordering Time, Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time. The third section is the Seasons of Life and includes Childhood to Adolescence, Young Adulthood and Adulthood.

In addition to the facts, this book has great ideas for Catholic traditions within the family. One is celebrating name day. Honor your child (or even your friend) with a celebration on the feast of the Saint whose name was received at baptism. A recipe is even included for a quick chocolate cake recipe for throwing a name day dessert party!

I don't think any guide book could ever cover all there is to know about Catholic life, but this is book is an excellent place to start. I suspect that from here, readers may want to research more about a different topic as they would with any guide. The author cleverly likens this book to a field guide for birds. As she states, "Birds are known by habits and habitats, by diet and coloration. Like us, the daily acts that make up Catholic life also can be identified by practices." As a birdwatcher, I remember my early days started with basic field guides. As I learned more, I found I researched some birds in greater detail. I believe this guide will have similar effects--as I learn more, I may want to research more on certain topics.

This book is great for cradle Catholics, new Catholics, people curious about Catholicism, non-Catholics who may want to understand Catholic practices better, or those thinking about becoming Catholic. It is easy to read and understand and readers will gain a clearer picture of Catholic life.

Read more about this mother-daughter author team at

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Catholic Catalogue to facilitate this review. I was not compensated in any way nor required to write a favorable review.

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