Bec Review: A Year with the Catechism

A Year with the Catechism

2018 CTS

By Petroc Willey, Fr Dominic Scotto, Dr Donald Asci

This is an excellent book, put together by top authorities in the area of catechesis, including Dr Petroc Willey, once head of theology at the Maryvale Institute in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and now a member of Steubenville Franciscan University’s theology faculty.  This is certainly a book which has come forth from a team with impressive catechetical expertise, and this comes out clearly in the reading of it.

It is set out in the order – and into the four sections – of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, namely the Profession of Faith, the Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ, and Christian Prayer.  Each page, corresponding to one day, offers commentary on a few articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The book therefore comprises 365 short commentaries, filled with original quotations from the Scriptures, the Catechism, the Saints, and Church documents.  This book is packed with wonderfully simple turns of phrase which convey truths with a sharp lucidity, like, ‘Christians can express in the own lives the mystery of Christ, and can then impart that same mystery to others.’ (p. 141)

It is important to note that this is not a catechism per se, and would not be very useful as a book from which to teach or prepare catechetical instruction, although it could be of use for family catechesis with older children if one were to, say, read a page before each dinner throughout the week to encourage faith-centred conversation round the table.  In any case, the main way that this could be used by catechists is for their own formation.  It would be very advantageous for all catechists to own a copy, and simply use it throughout the year to evermore familiarise themselves with the content of the Catechism, and even use it for spiritual reading as well as a resource to aid their learning.  This point in fact goes for any Catholic concerned with his or her faith formation, but also worried about how much time one can put aside; most pages take no longer than three or four minutes to read even with a slower and more meditative reading.  This is an excellent resource, and no doubt many will benefit from its use.

Review by Sebastian Morello (Formation Adviser, CCF)

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