Bec Review: Beyond Sunday

Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic

2018 Our Sunday Visitor

By Teresa Tomeo.

Through her conversational writing style, the seasoned author and veteran EWTN journalist, Teresa Tomeo warmly invites the reader ‘to discover the fullness of the faith and truly make it a part of their daily lives’ especially those looking for meaning in their lives and wanting ‘to pass on a living faith to those coming up behind us.’

While equally appropriate for the individual reader, Tomeo’s easily readable book, Beyond Sunday, Becoming a 24/7 Catholic would be ideal reading for small groups looking to move forward from maintenance to mission, to evangelise. Tomeo explains that ‘the primary way to share our faith is to live it to the best of our ability and with real joy.’ ‘This book is designed to be a practical and honest look at where we have been and where we need to go”.  A Study Guide is also available.

‘For far too many Catholic, faith is mostly defined by Mass attendance. Many Catholics have no real, flesh and blood examples of what “beyond Sunday means or looks like. For the older generation, faith means weekly Mass; for the millennials, baby boomers and others, faith means Mass on major holidays, if at all.’

However, Tomeo quickly clarifies ‘that this book is about encouragement not condemnation.” Very importantly, she encourages her readers ‘floating’ in the ‘Catholic faith pool’, that is ‘complacent and comfortable… checking the box each week’, to discover the Gospel, the “good news”.  

“The grace of the sacraments needs to activated and cultivated through a sincere commitment to Jesus in our hearts. And that can’t happen if we limit our faith to one hour every Sunday.’

The book is divided into eight chapters, each ending with a gem: a daily plan for going beyond Sunday. Six short, simple suggestions enable the reader to further reflect on the theme of the chapter, to pray about it and to begin to make it a part of their lives.

Acknowledging her own once rather meandering journey of faith (when her very successful professional life took precedence over everything, even challenging her own marriage), Tomeo calls us to reflect on our personal relationship with Christ.  Is He simply a distant relation or a close family friend? Do we find the Mass a bit boring? Why are the saints an integral part of our living faith?  Very importantly, “Do we really recognise just how much the Church should be part of our lives and decisions, no matter where we are, whether in the church hall or in own living room?”

Tomeo weaves her own conversion story throughout her writing as she accompanies her readers with an array of ways not just how but why Catholics need to be going beyond Sunday.  She encourages each of us to open ‘God’s beautiful love letter’ – the Bible, to discover the Church’s teachings written to all faithful and to take silence back (i.e. Eucharistic Adoration) to mention but a few of her suggestions. Attuned to the world in which we live today, Tomeo masterfully presents the church’s teaching on conscience in accessible language, addresses the use of social media and concludes with a comprehensive bibliography of many Internet resources. 

The ringing endorsements by well-known Catholic evangelists: Chris Stefanick, Edward Sri, Fr Mitch Pacwa and Bishop Robert Barron initially drew me to this new publication.  Now, on reading it, I think it was providential not only for me personally but also for my evangelising/catechetical ministry. Moreover, I feel like I have made a new friend and I am very keen to introduce Teresa to others.

Review by Margaret Wickware (Catechetical Co-ordinator, Church of Our Lady, St Johns Wood)

If you have a book which you have found useful in the areas of catechesis, evangelization, spirituality or faith formation, and would like to share your thoughts, please email us your reviews of 400-700 words to office@ccftootingbec.org.uk with the subject header: Bec Review Submission