With the coming of spring, our attention turns to Easter, First Communions, Confirmations, and weddings.
And the age-old dilemma-what is a good Catholic gift to give a child, young person, or adult to celebrate the occasion and help them continue to grow in their faith?
Here are the top five gifts for this spring from the Catholic bishops in the U.S.
Number 5 . . . Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Give this book to young adults or adults. It's also a great gift for parents who have children who are famous for asking questions about Church and faith that can sometimes be challenging to answer. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church takes away the challenge and makes those questions easy to answer.
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church gives a clear and comprehensive synopsis of the essential contents of the Catholic faith in 598 questions and answers. Questions are organized around the four pillars of the faith, the Creed, the Sacraments, Morality, and Prayer-just like the bigger, more detailed Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Number 4 . . . New American Bible podcast
Want a technologically savvy gift that's Catholic? Download the podcasts of the daily readings from the New American Bible to a brand new MP3 player.
Help the newly-confirmed young person or young adult in your life continue his or her journey of faith by using these popular devices as a way to pray or reflect on the way home to or from school, on the bus, or sitting in the library.
Number 3 . . . United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
There are two books every household should have. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults is one of them.
Every Catholic will recognize a part of their faith experience in the stories of Catholics from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to Blessed Pope John XXIII that begin each chapter. All 35 chapters include Church teaching, reflection, quotations, discussion questions, and prayer to lead the reader to a deeper faith.
Number 2 . . . Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers
Help the newlyweds or new parents in your life nurture the "domestic church" with their new families. Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers is a rich treasury of prayers from the ancient to the contemporary.
Families will use Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers to learn the "by-hearts"-the essential prayers that every Catholic child and adult needs to know by memory, bless the Advent wreath, and pray for family in times of trouble.
And the number 1 gift is . . . Essentials for Christian Living.
Looking for a pocket-size, inexpensive gift for any age? Children, teens, and adults (especially parents!) will love Essentials for Christian Living. This compact little book (some even call it the essential handbook of faith) can go everywhere they go and answers the important and most basic questions about being Catholic- "What do we believe? How do we pray? How are we supposed to act?"
Each page highlights one of the traditional prayers or formulas of Catholic doctrine centered around the basic pillars of the faith-the Creed, sacraments, and commandments. There are blank lines and space on every page to jot down a question or record an "aha" thought.
And don't forget a copy for yourself. Keep it at your bedside or next to your Bible and use it every night. Let this remarkably simple yet profound little book be your guide to a deeper, richer faith.