Some of our parish catechists have found the list of books below very helpful, both in their personal lives and in their ministry of sharing the faith. For your convenience, they have been organized into a few different categories and have a short description included.
Almost all of them can be ordered on line easily from various vendors, so feel free to browse the different categories and let the Spirit move you to discover more about your faith.
The Bible is the most indispensable book in our faith. It is the account of God’s action in the world. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty human authors, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is a collection of 73 books which are written in very different styles, all containing the message God desired us to have, a testament of his love and care for us, his people.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism is an organized presentation of the beliefs of the Catholic Church. It was developed for the Church under the sponsorship of Pope John Paul II in 1992. It aims to summarize, in book form, the main beliefs of the Catholic Church in the areas of faith and morals. It draws heavily on both the Bible and various Church writings and teachings that have been promulgated over the centuries.
Crossing the Threshold of Hope Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II speaks out on some of the major issues confronting humankind at the dawn of the twenty-first century, sharing a timely and thoughtful message with people of all nations and faiths. He speaks with passion about the existence of God; about the dignity of man; about pain, suffering, and evil; about eternal life and the meaning of salvation; about hope; about the relationship of Christianity to other faiths and that of Catholicism to other branches of the Christian faith. His message: Be not afraid!
Theology for Beginners F. J. Sheed
More than a compendium of the central doctrines of Catholicism, the book is designed to equip you with the information you need to understand key doctrines and to explain them to others. Along the way, you will find yourself falling more deeply in love with your faith and more confident of your ability to bring healing and hope to what Frank Sheed called “a society that is losing contact with God.”
Christian Faith Explained in 50 Letters Gerhardt Lohrfink
Presents the faith through fifty letters, each on a different topic. As the writer responds to initial queries about the nature of faith, one subject leads to another until the correspondence reveals an overview of the important facets of Catholic Christian belief.
Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis
In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. It is a forceful and accessible doctrine of Christian belief, bringing together what Lewis saw as the fundamental truths of Christianity. He explores the common ground on which all those who have Christian faith can stand together, proving that “at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.”
To Light a Fire on the Earth Bishop Robert Barron
In this compelling new book – drawn from conversations with and narrated by award-winning Vatican journalist John L. Allen Jr. – Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, proclaims in vivid language the goodness and truth of the Catholic tradition. Through Barron’s smart, practical, artistic, and theological observations – as well as through personal anecdotes about everything from engaging atheists on YouTube to his days as a young die-hard baseball fan from Chicago – To Light a Fire on the Earth covers prodigious ground.
The Godless Delusion Patrick Madrid and Ken Hensley
Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley look at the contradictions of the atheists with themselves, showing that above all, their arguments against God are at embarrassing odds with their own everyday experience and actions, their own deepest assumptions, and their own moral compass. With remorseless logic, wit, skill, and boundless, joyful enthusiasm, The Godless Delusion lays waste that stronghold, routs the enemy, occupies the high ground for Christ their king, and dares anyone to retake it.
Life of Christ Bishop Fulton Sheen
The fruit of many years of reflection, prayer, and research, it is a dramatic and moving recounting of the birth, life, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ, and a passionate portrait of the God-Man, the teacher, the healer, and most of all the Savior, whose promise has sustained humanity for two millennia. Filled with compassion and brilliant scholarship, Fulton Sheen’s recounting of the Birth, Life, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ is as dramatic and moving as the subject Himself.
Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI describes his book as ” my personal search ‘for the face of the Lord.’” He rescues the person of Jesus from recent “popular” depictions and restores Jesus’ true identity as discovered in the Gospels. Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the Pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and incites us to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of the Christian faith.
Jesus of Nazareth, Part Two: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection Pope Benedict XVI
Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, and no myth, revolutionary, or misunderstood prophet, insists Benedict XVI. He thinks that the historical evidence, fairly considered, brings us face-to-face with the challenge of Jesus-a real man who taught and acted in ways that were tantamount to claims of divine authority, claims not easily dismissed as lunacy or deception. Why was Jesus rejected by the religious leaders of his day? Who was responsible for his death? Did he establish a Church to carry on his work? How did Jesus view his suffering and death? How should we? And, most importantly, did Jesus really rise from the dead and what does his resurrection mean? The story of Jesus raises these and other crucial questions.
The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ Brandt Pitre
For well over a hundred years now, many scholars have questioned the historical truth of the Gospels, claiming that they were originally anonymous. Others have even argued that Jesus of Nazareth did not think he was God and never claimed to be divine. In The Case for Jesus, Dr. Brant Pitre, the bestselling author of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, goes back to the sources—the biblical and historical evidence for Christ—in order to answer several key questions: including: If we don’t know who wrote the Gospels, how can we trust them? How can the four Gospels be historically true when there are differences between them? How much faith should be put into these writings?
This Is Our Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults Michael Pennock
Bestselling overview of the faith for those preparing entry into the Church, as well as for both newly initiated and lifelong Catholics who wish to understand Church teachings more clearly. This revised and updated edition strengthens one of the strongest endorsements of the book: that it communicates important Church teachings in an engaging and understandable manner. It provides a solid, clear presentation of the Catholic faith for adults at any stage in their faith journey.
Catholic Customs and Traditions : A Popular Guide Greg Dues
From candlemass, to the Easter candle, through relics, the saints, the rosary, and much more, Greg Dues traces the riches of the traditions, customs, beliefs, as well as the practices of the church for contemporary Catholics. It answers the questions most commonly asked by both Catholics and non-Catholics. It outlines traditional Catholic religious history, gives an engaging overview of the rich variety of customs associated with Advent, Christmas, Holy Week, and Lent, and provides a thorough understanding of why Catholics practice their faith the way they do.
Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith Bishop Robert Barron
What is Catholicism? A 2,000-year-old living tradition? A worldview? A way of life? A relationship? A mystery? In Catholicism Father Robert Barron examines all these questions and more, seeking to capture the body, heart and mind of the Catholic faith. Starting from the essential foundation of Jesus Christ’s incarnation, life, and teaching, Father Barron moves through the defining elements of Catholicism–from sacraments, worship, and prayer, to Mary, the Apostles, and Saints, to grace, salvation, heaven, and hell. Whether discussing Scripture or the rose window at Notre Dame, he uses his distinct and dynamic grasp of art, literature, architecture, personal stories, theology, philosophy, and history to present the Church to the world.
How to Read Church History Volumes 1 & 2 Jean Comby
Specifically geared to the adult learner; adaptable to individual, parish, and other group needs; and richly illustrated with photos and charts, this two volume set helps teachers and students connect the content of each text with their own life experiences and the community in which they live.
The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church Jimmy Akin
The Fathers Know Best introduces you to the teachings of the first Christians. It is specially designed to make it easy to find the information you want and need. It includes:
– More than 900 quotations from the writings of the early Church Fathers, as well as from rare and important documents dating back to the dawn of Christian history.
– Mini-biographies of nearly 100 Fathers, as well as descriptions of dozens of key early councils and writings.
– A guide to nearly 30 ancient heresies, many of which have returned to haunt the modern world.
– The Fathers’ teaching on nearly 50 topics, including modern hot-button issues like abortion, homosexuality, and divorce.
Sin and Salvation
Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home Pope Francis
(available on USCCB website)
Laudato Si’ is is the second encyclical of Pope Francis, published in May 2015. It focuses on care for the natural environment and all people, as well as broader questions of the relationship between God, humans, and the Earth. The encyclical’s subtitle, “Care for Our Common Home,” reinforces these key themes.
Letter to a Suffering Church Bishop Robert Barron
Reading the current crisis through the lenses of Scripture and Church history, Bishop Barron shows that we have faced such egregious scandals before; that the spiritual treasures of the Church were preserved by holy men and women who recommitted themselves to fighting evil; and that there is a clear path forward for us today. For Catholics questioning their faith, searching desperately for encouragement and hope, this book will offer reasons to stay and fight for the Body of Christ.
Seven Secrets of Divine Mercy Vinny Flynn
In this compelling and timely book, Flynn draws from Scripture, the teachings of the Church, and the Diary of St. Faustina to not only reveal the heart of Divine Mercy, but to offer you an invitation and a road map so that this mercy can transform your life.
Becoming Who You Are : Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints James Martin SJ
By meditating on personal examples from the author’s life, as well as reflecting on the inspirational life and writings of Thomas Merton, stories from the Gospels, as well as the lives of other holy men and women (among them, Henri Nouwen, Therese of Lisieux and Pope John XXIII) the reader will see how becoming who you are, and becoming the person that God created, is a simple path to happiness, peace of mind and even sanctity.
The Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below”. At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old Devil to his nephew, Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation, and triumph over it, ever written.
Making Choices: Practical Wisdom for Everyday Moral Decisions Peter Kreeft
“It’s a moral jungle out there,” writes Peter Kreeft. In Making Choices he describes why we find decision-making so difficult and living with our choices even harder. With penetrating wisdom, good humor, and common sense, Peter Kreeft draws a map through the everyday jungle of moral choices, one simple enough for the believer and convincing enough for the skeptic. This book clears a straight road through the thorny jungles of skewed modern thinking about the way to live, and does do with the easy brilliance, impish insight, and searching simplicity that have become Peter Kreeft’s special trademarks.
Theology of the Body in One Hour Jason Everett
Today’s sexual confusion is not caused because the world glorifies sexuality, but because the world fails to see its glory. Through his Theology of the Body, St. John Paul II unveiled the beauty of God’s plan for human love. In 60 minutes, discover how the human body—in its masculinity and femininity—reveals who we are and how we are called to live.
The Virtue Driven Life Benedict Groeschel
Since when is being called “virtuous” an insult? It’s a word that has gotten a bad rap, misused and misunderstood even by great thinkers, philosophers, and theologians, and mocked in the cynical sound bites of the media. Rediscover virtue as it should be understood in our lives. With wit, warmth, and wisdom, Father Groeschel reintroduces the seven virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, and charity. One by one he makes them meaningful for modern men and women, shaking off the dusty mantle of pretentiousness and demonstrating how each has a real role in a whole and holy life.
Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts Fr. Robert J. Spitzer S.J.
We seem, in the words of Viktor Frankl, to be suffering from an absence of meaning that pervades both individuals and societies, giving rise to a collective emptiness, loneliness, and alienation. Finding True Happiness attempts to provide a way out of this personal and cultural vacuum by helping people to identify and then reach for happiness. As Aristotle noted 2,400 years ago, happiness is the one thing we can choose for its own sake – everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness.
The Bible Compass Edward Sri
The Bible is central to our Faith as Catholics. But approaching such a large and complex collection of writings that span thousands of years is intimidating for most of us. We need a guide, a compass to set us off on the right course so that our time spent studying the Scriptures is a time spent encountering the living God. The Bible Compass provides Catholics with the tools to study the Word of God with confidence and purpose, and it teaches them how to understand the Bible within the living Tradition of the Catholic Church.
The Bible and the Life of Faith: A New Approach Michael Guinan OFM
In this work the author starts at the beginning, presuming almost nothing. What is the Bible anyway (name? parts? content?); how did we get it? What about English translations and study Bibles? What does it mean to say the Bible is the Word of God? How has the Bible been interpreted before and how do we approach it today? What does the Catholic church teach about the Bible and its interpretation, especially after Vatican II? How does this differ from a fundamentalist approach that we often hear so much about in the media (e.g., creationism? the end of the world?)? The Bible is “inspired and inerrant;” What does this mean? How can we pray the Bible in our lives?
A Concise Catholic Guide to the Bible Father Matthew Nathan
This introduction to the Bible will help you view the bible as one, comprehensible story of God’s love for us. In it, you will find:
•maps, charts, and timelines to situate each book of the Bible;
•summaries and notable quotes to help biblical comprehension; and
•appendices that show the Holy Land and central worship sites throughout key moments in salvation history.
Saved: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics Fr. Mitch Pacwa
What does it mean to be saved? Can I know that I am saved? As Christians, and especially as Catholics, we face these questions on a daily basis, not only from the people we meet but also in our own hearts. Scripture provides the answer, for the Bible isn’t simply a collection of disjointed tales it is the story of our salvation. In this Bible study, Fr. Mitch Pacwa guides us through Catholic teaching on salvation, as found in Scripture. With his characteristic wisdom, he tackles tough topics and questions, including grace and free will, repentance and faith, the role of the sacraments, and the necessity of good works.
Understanding the Bible: A Catholic Guide to Applying God’s Word to Your Life Today Fr. Jeffrey Kirby
This book shows that the Bible is accessible, understandable, livable, and enjoyable. Each chapter provides a quick, easy-to-read summary of a book of the Bible, touching on the history and themes, applying the book to our own issues and struggles today, and offering guidance for getting started reading that specific book. By growing in confidence and understanding of the Bible, we can discover more fully the words and deeds of God and apply the revelation and wisdom contained in Sacred Scripture to our lives today.
Introduction to the Spiritual Life Brandt Pitre
The path of following Jesus is an ancient and storied spiritual tradition. Yet many believers are not familiar with the three major forms of prayer and the three stages of spiritual growth that exist to bring them closer to God. In his most personal book yet, Brant Pitre, PhD, draws on the riches of the Bible, the words of Jesus, and the writings of mystics across the centuries to shed light on the mystery—and wonder—of the spiritual life.
Praying the Rosary Like Never Before Edward Sri
Do you struggle with praying the rosary: finding time, fighting distractions, worrying about your mind wandering? In Praying the Rosary Like Never Before, Edward Sri offers practical suggestions that come from the rosary’s tradition and, most especially, St. John Paul II. These helpful tips will make the rosary a constant companions through the different seasons, moments, and challenges we all face. These tips serve as easy on-ramps for those who don’t pray the rosary regularly motivate avid devotees of the rosary to go deeper with the Lord.
Catholic Book of Prayers Rev. Maurus Fitzgerald (Editor)
Today’s most popular general prayer book, the Catholic Book of Prayers offers prayers for every day as well as many special prayers including prayers to the Blessed Trinity, Our Lady, and the Saints. Compiled and edited by Rev. Maurus Fitzgerald this prayer book has been updated in accord with the Roman Missal. With a helpful summary of our Catholic Faith, this useful prayer book will prove invaluable for making regular prayer easy and meaningful.
Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours
Christian Prayer from Catholic Book Publishing is the official one-volume edition of the internationally acclaimed Liturgy of the Hours. This regular edition of Christian Prayer contains the complete texts of Morning and Evening Prayer for the entire year. With its readable 10-pt. type, ribbon markers for easy location of texts, and beautiful two-color printing, this handy little one-volume Christian Prayer simplifies praying the official Prayer of the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours, for today\’s busy Catholic.
The Lamb’s Supper : The Mass as Heaven on Earth Scott Hahn
Of all things Catholic, there is nothing that is so familiar as the Mass. With its unchanging prayers, the Mass fits Catholics like their favorite clothes. Yet most Catholics sitting in the pews on Sundays fail to see the powerful supernatural drama that enfolds them. Pope John Paul II described the Mass as “heaven on earth”, explaining that what “we celebrate on earth is a mysterious participation in the heavenly liturgy.”
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist Brant Pitre
Pitre explores ancient Jewish beliefs about the Passover of the Messiah, the miraculous manna from heaven, and the mysterious Bread of the Presence. As he shows, these three keys – the Passover, the manna, and the Bread of the Presence – have the power to unlock the original meaning of the Eucharistic words of Jesus. Along the way, Pitre also explains how Jesus united the Last Supper to his death on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
A Biblical Walk Through the Mass Edward Sri
In A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, Dr. Edward Sri takes us on a unique tour of the liturgy. Based on the revised translation of the Mass, this book explores the biblical roots of the words and gestures we experience in the liturgy and explains their profound significance. This intriguing look at the Catholic Mass is sure to renew your faith and deepen your devotion to the Eucharist.
Understanding the Mystery of Mass Fr. Matthew Buettner
Father Buettner succeeds in making his reader aware of the sacredness of what will take place during Mass. One fears at times that those attending Mass see it as a social gathering, a duty imposed upon them, a chore, a pure act of obedience to Church authorities, totally failing to realize that it is the greatest gift that a loving God could possibly grant to His sinful creatures.
Confessions Augustine of Hippo
Saint Augustine of Hippo’s classic spiritual memoir — his story of coming to faith from a dissolute and pagan youth to become one of the greatest theologians and intellectual forces in the development of early Christendom. The Confessions of Saint Augustine is considered the all time number one Christian classic. Augustine undertook his greatest piece of writing with the conviction that God wanted him to make this confession. The Confessions are, in fact, an extended poetic, passionate, intimate prayer. Augustine’s experience of God speaks to us across time.
Rome Sweet Home Scott and Kimberley Hahn
The well-known and very popular Catholic couple, Scott and Kimberly Hahn, have been constantly travelling and speaking all over North America for the last few years about their conversion to the Catholic Church. Now these two outstanding Catholic apologists tell in their own words about the incredible spiritual journey that led them to embrace Catholicism. Scott Hahn was a Presbyterian minister, the top student in his seminary class, a brilliant Scripture scholar, and militantly anti-Catholic … until he reluctantly began to discover that his enemy had all the right answers.
Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy, first published 1908, is Chesterton’s spiritual autobiography. Subtitled, ‘The romance of faith’, Chesterton declares that people need a life of ‘practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure.’ His view of his faith is that it is an answer to all of our natural needs, and that it is not an arbitrary set of beliefs, but a reason for living a full life.
Surprised By Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic Patrick Madrid
These eleven personal conversion accounts are unlike any you’ve ever read, they’re packed with biblical theological and historical proofs for Catholicism. Each year thousands of atheists, Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Pentecostals are being surprised by Catholic truth – and these converts tell you why.
Apologia Pro Vita Sua John Henry Newman
Apologia Pro Vita Sua (A Defence Of His Life) by Cardinal Newman offers a marvellous insight into the mind of a devout Christian, a colossal figure of the nineteenth century. It is, moreover, one of the greatest spiritual autobiographies ever written in the English language, laying out the development of John Henry Newman’s religious opinions up to the year 1845 when he finally converted to Roman Catholicism.
The Story of a Soul Therese of Lisieux
Two and a half years before her death in 1897 at the age of 24, as Thérèse Martin began writing down her childhood memories at the request of her blood sisters in the Lisieux Carmel, few could have guessed the eventual outcome. Yet this Story of my soul, first published in 1898 in a highly edited version, quickly became a modern spiritual classic, read by millions and translated into dozens of languages around the world.
Interior Castle Teresa of Avila
The Interior Castle is considered St. Teresa of Avila’s masterpiece. She wrote this last work in just a few months in 1577, five years before her death. At this point in her life she had been granted the highest mystical graces; this book is the fruit of her lived experience and a deep-felt praise of God for it. Using the image of a castle, Teresa describes the soul’s progressive inner journey through seven dwelling places, until finally reaching the center where, now transformed, it is united with God.
An Introduction to the Devout Life St. Francis de Sales
Written over 400 years ago, Introduction to the Devout Life is still one of the most popular books for those pursuing holiness. St. Francis de Sales explains how to turn that desire for sanctity into resolutions that yield grace-filled results.
Summa of the Summa Peter Kreeft
This unique book combines selected essential philosophical passages from Thomas’ Summa with footnotes and explanations by Kreeft, a popular Thomist teacher and writer. Kreeft selected those passages from Thomas that are intrinsically important, non-technical enough to be intelligible to modern readers, and most likely to be used in a class or by independent readers who want to study the Summa on their own. Kreeft’s detailed footnotes explain difficult or technical passages and call attention to points of particular significance for the modern reader. This book is the most intelligent, clear, and useful access to Saint Thomas in print.
Our Lady of Fatima William Thomas Walsh
Here is the whole remarkable story of the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three simple children at an obscure Portuguese village in 1917. Her prophecies of World War II and the rise of communism, her plea to humanity to do penance, her promise that world peace and the conversion of Russia would take place if her messages were heeded — these are some of the dramatic events in this fascinating account of a modern miracle.
The Little Flowers of St. Francis
The Little Flowers is a traditional collection of tales of St. Francis and the early Franciscans. The legend of St. Francis (b. 1181, d. 1226), the patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment, greatly expanded as time went by, and accumulated in this work.
33 Days to Morning Glory Michael Gately
From Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC, comes an extraordinary 33-day journey to Marian consecration with four giants of Marian spirituality: St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed Pope John Paul II. Father Michael masterfully summarizes their teaching, weaving their thoughts into a user-friendly, do-it-yourself retreat that will bless even the busiest of people.
Mary in the Christian Tradition Owen Cummings
Owen Cummings explores the traditions regarding Mary that have developed since New Testament times. In addition to the patristic themes usually covered, he includes other traditions such as Syriac and Celtic. He includes Islam since their tradition comes from Christian sources such as the Protoevangelium of James, and more is written about Mary in the Qu’ran than there is in the New Testament. After surveying church history, especially in Europe and including the Reformation, he examines Vatican II, the relatively recently defined Marian doctrines, and devotion to Mary.
Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius
Deeply rooted in Christian tradition, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are poignant meditations on spirituality, often used in retreats to facilitate spiritual growth. Since its inception in 1524, countless Christians have been invigorated and challenged by these exercises, as their heads, and minds, have been opened to God’s will.
The Imitation of Christ Thomas a Kempis
Thomas à Kempis’ collection of meditative writings from the Bretheren of the Common Life is the most widely read book in the world after the Bible. The reflective devotions have been a heartening friend to great men such as Thomas More, St. Ignatius Loyola, Thomas Merton, Pope John Paul I, and John Wesley. Learning to live live Jesus is the central task that A. Kempis explores in this classic devotional. This book provides comfort and counsel to every person who seeks to live a more connected and whole life.