I wonder if there are some parishioners who could benefit from some suggestions, if they have time to read in the area of theology, spirituality, morality, or doctrine. Here are some quick suggestions.
For daily devotionals that have a combination of the day’s liturgy, various traditional church hymns, writings from Saints and Fathers of the Church and prayers, I would recommend The Magnificat, One Bread-One Body, or The Word Among Us.
For doctrine, morality and spirituality you have, of course, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, or the USCCB’s Adult Catholic Catechism. There is the late Fr. John Hardon’s Catholic Catechism, or Fr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Catholic Answers’ website is a great resource for handling all kinds of doctrinal and moral questions as well.
For an overview of spirituality, one could read Fr. Jordan Aumann’s Spiritual Theology, or Fr. Thomas Dubay’s Fire Within, or Dr. Ralph Martin’s Fulfillment of All Desire. Or there are great classics, such as St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life, or Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ, or Dom Chautard’s Soul of the Apostolate; or there are books which are collections of pithy wisdom sayings, such as Sayings of the Desert Fathers, or the Philokalia, or Unseen Warefare. (These last three titles come from the Eastern Church, but Unseen Warfare was first entitled Spiritual Combat, by Fr. Domenico Scupoli, a Roman Catholic priest, and then it was augmented/edited by both Russian and Orthodox monks).
For morality one could read Pope Saint John Paul II’s Splendor of Truth, or Fr. Servais Pinckaer’s The Sources of Christian Ethics, or Dr. Peter Kreeft’s Back to Virtue, or The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper.
For theology of man and woman, the marital embrace, human sexuality, etc., one could read Pope Saint John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility, or his apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio/On the Christian Meaning of Family; John Kippley’s Marriage is For Keeps; Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae/On Human Life. The Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, NE (where I think some great women’s care/research in the world is happening, www.popepaulvi.org) publishes a newsletter Culture of Life, and a Fertility Care for Young Women newsletter. Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a nationally known Catholic psychologist/therapist consulted by many bishops, appearing often on EWTN, has a helpful website with articles on many areas (www.maritalhealing.com). For same-sex-attraction issues, one could read Dr. Fitzgibbons’ articles, or the late Fr. John Harvey’s The Homosexual Person, or the late Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s The Courage to Be Chaste, or Christian Anthropology and Sexual Ethics by Fr. Benedict M. Guevin.
For medical moral issues there is a journal called the Linacre Quarterly, published by the Catholic Medical Association. The National Catholic Biothecs Center has a bunch of resources on medical issues and morality, including an end-of-life guide, a monthly Ethics & Medics newsletter, and a quarterly journal you could purchase.
The risk of providing these suggestions is that a reader might think I consider anything outside of this list unorthodox: untrue (although I do think there is plenty outside of this list that would not be considered “from the heart of the Church”). I am only scratching the surface by providing some initial suggestions. I am always willing to give my opinion on Catholic resources, if you have any questions.
On a practical note, you see that we have a new bulletin format. I am grateful for all the work Heather Miller and Dianne Jones did to bring us this electronic version. A company named Diocesan Publications is now printing our bulletin for us. The advantages to us are many: free printing and mailing, help with other free, printed worship aids throughout the year; then help with website design, and a parish app for smartphones that can keep us even more connected as a parish community. The weekly deadline for sending the bulletin electronically to print is Tuesday morning; so please be aware of that timing, if you are responsible for placing something in the bulletin. We should save some $$$ each month, since we will no longer have xerox overage charges for all the xeroxing we have been doing. Plus, we will save time and effort in the office, since we will no longer have to do the xeroxing and collating of bulletins.
Of course everything about the bulletin is not free: Diocesan Publications will be calling local companies for us in the near future to give them the opportunity to advertise on the back page of the bulletin. We are very hopeful that we can fill the entire page with ads. We will be providing Diocesan Publications with the names of likely advertisers. If you own a business and would like to purchase a yearly ad in the bulletin, please contact Dianne Jones, so that she can be sure to put your name on the list. Also, do the same if you know of a small business in town that our parishioners frequent that would be a potential advertiser.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,