The purpose of this book is to present the Catholic Faith in order to facilitate a systematic understanding of its teachings and a deep love for Christ and the Church he founded. The book is arranged by topic; you will find an explanation of each, followed by some real questions that have been asked and explored by people in previous RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults sacramental preparation process) courses. This book is also valuable as a text for use in Confirmation, parish small community, and marriage preparation programs and may be an excellent resource for use by all Catholics who wish to improve and update their knowledge of the Faith.
Two pages of open-ended reflection questions follow each chapter, to challenge your heart as well as your mind. Answer the ones you find helpful. Some of the questions are compatible with group discussion; others are intensely personal. Space is provided to journal your journey, so write in this book and make it your own. You will find suggested readings and websites from Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and related sources designed to provide further information and enrichment.
This book is written largely in the second person, precisely because it is a personal book, a silent companion for the journey, and a supplement to instruction. When you see the term, “we,” you may usually think of your RCIA team, sponsor and others. In other contexts, it can mean all Catholics, or all of us as human beings.
A formal meeting of all the bishops of the Church in collaboration with Pope John XXIII followed by Pope Paul VI, called “Second Vatican Council” or simply “Vatican II” will be referenced frequently. This meeting took place in four sessions between the end of 1962 and 1965. It initiated significant change in worship style, and opened discipline and organizational structures to new scrutiny. Vatican II inaugurated a watershed cultural development within the Catholic Church. It did not, however, alter the fundamental integrity of beliefs or the essential sacramental system.
May you walk with God always, and may the Holy Spirit lead you into a path that will fill you with peace and joy.