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By virtue of your parenthood, you are the primary catechist and educator of your children. While the parish is called to work with the family and help educate and form children in the faith, parents are the ones who are first called to this divine task.
As we live our daily lives, we catechize by modeling the Christian faith. The way we treat those around us, the way we pray together as a family, how we speak about Jesus, and taking time to explain morality and more are all ways that we catechize at home.
But if we aren’t well versed or formed ourselves those things can be difficult to connect with our living faith. Here are five specific books I think are the most helpful to have on hand as we hand on the faith to future generations.
YOUCAT. This resource was written for youth based on the format and pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (view the free online version of the CCC here). The Youcat is written in a Q & A format that’s easy to read and follow with quotes from Saints and Scripture throughout the margins. I love using it at home for quick recaps and easy to repeat summaries of various topics. If you have a teen at home, this is also a great one to gift to them so they can have it to reference and pray with!
THE COMPENDIUM OF THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Much like the Youcat, this is a Q & A format condensing into easy to read and understand paragraphs what is laid out in full in the actual Catechism. This is great for older teens but more importantly it is awesome for parents to read alone to help solidify Catholic teaching on various topics in an easy to understand way. This resource is definitely solid too – don’t let the ease make you think it’s watered down. It has all the jam packed truth of the Catechism only put into chunks that are easy to reference. It’s a great way to form your own conscience so you’re ready when kids start asking questions about morality and the faith.
IGNATIUS STUDY BIBLE SERIES. Below is just one of the Gospels, but they have an entire series you can slowly collect. They put each book of the bible into it’s own book with the original text and format from Scripture. But each page is FILLED with detailed footnotes actually giving you a Scripture lesson in miniature unlike what you’ll find in other bible footnotes. I love this resource because when I have questions about the meaning of certain passages in Scripture, I can go find it in my Study Bible and find the corresponding footnote to get the history and meaning. Definitely a must have to start unpacking the Scriptures in light of what the Church teaches about them.
CATHOLIC CHRISTIANITY. Dr. Peter Kreeft laid out this beautiful resource which is also based on the pillars of the Catechism only in much more depth. This is definitely for the adult wanting to go even deeper and really understand what the Church teaches. It is so well written and his explanations are easy to grasp but filled with the depth of a solid theologian you can trust. Reading this is a must so when kids start asking the hard questions we have great and clear explanations stored away in our minds to offer them. It is pretty dense though, so it’s great to just take a small chunk at a time (much like the Catechism).
THE CATHOLIC SOURCE BOOK. Have you ever wished all the little and big traditions of the Faith were put in one book so you could easily find it? This is the book you want to have around then. It’s filled with all explanations and meanings behind what we do and celebrate as Catholics in an easy to use source book. It includes sections on prayers, devotions, the Church year, and more.
There you have it! There are countless amazing resources for Catholics out there – these are just my top five for becoming a more formed catechist in the home. What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!