With the new catechetical year beginning, it may be time to consider once again a purchase of my book. This basic bilingual catechism (Spanish/English) meets a pastoral need that I have encountered over and over again: in working with Latino immigrants, I found that a very large number of them have little formal education in the Catholic faith. Many come to the Church as adults to make their first communion — some, even, to be baptized! When faced with pastoral situations such as this, it is helpful for the pastor or catechist to have a basic resource to put in their hands: something that can be a sort of “springboard” for learning what is needed for sacramental preparation and personal spiritual growth. I have also found that many individuals who already have their sacraments enjoy this resource for “brushing up on the basics” of their faith.
This basic catechism is just that — basic. It’s a starting point. I have seen it produce good results in helping people to begin orienting to a more active and informed life of faith.
This slim volume, at 98 pages, entitled Our Wonderful Catholic Faith, has a number of features that I think are quite useful:
- It is in large print (helpful for the many immigrants who have poor eyesight and have never been able to remedy that due to their financial situation);
- It is completely bilingual (helpful especially for the second generation – those born here – who live in “both worlds” and who need to know their faith in both languages; also helpful for those who still only speak Spanish but need to learn English in order to integrate better into American society);
- The English translation is rather literal, to help those who are learning one language or the other to form correct correlations between the two;
- The book is attractively priced (at just under $5.00 per volume – notwithstanding coupons that you might find on sites like Retailmenot.com – making it affordable for pastors and catechists to buy multiple copies and even re-sell them at a modest profit; also making it affordable for those of modest financial means, like many immigrants).
The Lulu self-publishing site used to have an option for me to show a complete preview of the book online. Now that seems to depend upon having Adobe Flash (which many don’t) and it is only partial. Therefore, I have uploaded a PDF of the entire book here to the blog. Take a look so you can see what you can decide for yourself if this resource might be useful. Download:
As you will see from the preview file, this book has several sections: Basic Prayers (including the beautiful rhyming prayers often used in Spanish), Formulas of Catholic Doctrine (often in list format, either for memorization or reference), Questions and Answers (101 total, touching upon the main tenets of the faith in a non-exhaustive manner), How to Confess Well (including a basic examination of conscience suitable for children – when this book will be used by adults, a more complete examen should be inserted), and a section on Indulgences (this may seem somewhat esoteric to some, but I am convinced that by teaching the spirituality of indulgences we can be most effective at encouraging regular worthy reception of the sacraments).
A pastor faced with helping an adult immigrant prepare to complete his Christian initiation could give him a copy of this book, encourage him to study it, and then meet with him on several occasions to “flesh out” the relevant sections and understand them better. An Hispanic family (with bilingual children) that wants to practice daily family prayer could use the prayer section of this book as a guide, ensuring that their children not only learn their prayers in Spanish but can see them in English also. A seminarian charged with learning Spanish could find in this book a good reference for things not easily found elsewhere.
This book does not pretend to be exhaustive: there is much more that I could have included in it, such as “How to pray the Rosary”, the Stations of the Cross, more Q&A, the Liturgical Year, etc. But I saw the need for something more basic. Perhaps in the future I will be able to develop a more comprehensive resource. This book is not meant to replace official Church catechisms, such as the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, but rather is to serve as an introduction to such official resources.
To learn more and/or to place an order, GO HERE (click). Remember to check the web site Retailmenot.com, typing “Lulu.com” in the search box — often there are great coupons available. Also, Lulu itself offers bulk discounts for purchases of 15 copies or more.
Please share this resource with your pastor, DRE, other parish staff, seminarians, and other possibly interested parties!