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From RCIA to Confession, My 10 Most Popular Posts

From RCIA to Reconciliation, @ACatholicNewbie's Tip 10 Posts

I continue to see that specific posts consistently have the most readers, so I thought I would compile a list of some of the most popular topics I’ve written about. Please enjoy the following Top 10 Most Popular Posts on Catholic Newbie listed in order of popularity:

  1. 10 Things I Wish all Non-Catholic Christians Knew about Catholicism
  2. How to Start a Conversation about Catholicism Anywhere
  3. 13 Things to Do After RCIA to Keep Your Faith on Fire
  4. Tweet These Companies that Support Planned Parenthood
  5. 11 Ways to Work the Rosary into Your Busy Day
  6. The 1 Thing I Wish All RCIA Candidates Knew About Confession
  7. My Conversion Story
  8. The Spiritual Riches of Catholicism: From Prayer Groups to Spiritual Bouquets
  9. 5 Must-Dos for the RCIA Candidate
  10. My First Reconciliation Through RCIA

Thanks to all of you for continuing to give these posts life by sharing them on your favorite social networks and via email, parish newsletters and beyond!

 

8 Free Catholic Items to Deepen Your Faith

8 Free Catholic Items to Deepen Your Faith  @ACatholicNewbie

Did you know there’s quite a lot of amazing Catholic books, tools and more that are waiting for you to order them at either no cost or for a very small shipping fee or donation? These are amazing tools that just might be what you need to light the spark in your faith if it’s started to dim or to make it burn even brighter.

I’ve stumbled across many of these over the last few years and here are some of my absolute favorites. Go order them for yourselves right now!

1) Rediscovering Catholicism – Matthew Kelly and his DynamicCatholic.com organization offer tons of free books and resources on their website. But my favorite is his original book on Catholicism, Rediscovering Catholicism. This is what helped me early on understand Catholicism and its relevance in light of our society today. EVERYONE should read this book. It will bring your faith to life for you! Order here + $5.95 shipping & handling.

2) The Rosary and Divine Chaplet on CD – The easiest way to start praying the rosary is to order this CD and stick it in your car. Pray whenever you have quiet drive time. If you don’t yet know how to pray the rosary, this is the easiest way to learn. They pray it for you and you can either just listen to them or repeat back as you begin to learn the prayers. Order it here for just a $1 donation. Here are more ideas for fitting the rosary into your busy day.

3) Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary materialsRead my blog on Total Consecration (a process I highly recommend) and if you decide you feel called to make this commitment to Mary, order free materials to help you through process from MyConsecration.org. This practice, made popular by St. Louis de Monfort and Pope John Paul II, can be completed in several ways. If you’re interested in the more classic, prayer-filled preparation from St. Louis de Monfort, order those materials free here. If you’re interested in a more modern interpretation and requires less time, order 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley for free.

4) Flame of Love – Similar to St. Faustina’s visions of Jesus and subsequent diary, Flame of Love written by Elizabeth Kindelmann shares messages she says she received between 1961 and 1982 from both Jesus and Marty. They are similar to those of St. Faustina and other approved Marian messages  around the world. Order your free copy of her book. At the National Congress of The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary movement in Budapest, Hungary, June 6, 2009, Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop President of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary and President, Council of Episcopal Conferences in Europe, gave the text his Imprimatur.

5) Mass Journal – Another great free tool offered by DynamicCatholic.com is a mass journal. Bring this notebook with you to mass and write down any messages from God or thoughts that occur to you during mass, so you don’t forget. Order here + $5.95 shipping & handling.

6) The Conversion of Scott Hahn CD – I recently heard a fellow parishoner, who was a lifelong Protestant, mention this CD as key to her understanding and ultimate conversion to Catholicism. Hahn is a wonderful writer who helps explain the Catholic faith in his many books. He is a former Protestant minister turned Catholic convert. Order for just a $1 donation.

7) St. Therese Novena Prayer Card – Many Catholics have a devotion to the “Little Flower,” St. Therese of Lisieux (my confirmation saint, whom I adore). It is said if you pray her novena for a specific intention, she will send you a sign in the form of a rose. I’ve received my rose (read about my signs from St. Therese)! See if you get yours. Simply order this free St. Therese Novena Prayer Card from the Society of the Little Flower. You can also order prayer cards, even ones touched to a relic, for $.55 or less.

8) Prayer Process Cards – This is a wonderful exercise suggested by Matthew Kelly that you strive to complete daily. It encourages you to prayerfully consider your day from what messages God was speaking to you to what you could have done better to thanking God and praying for others. These cards are a simple reminder of the process to keep by your bedside, on your side table, in your prayer area or wherever. They send 20 at a time with $5.95 shipping & handling, so share with your friends!

11 Ways to Work the Rosary into Your Busy Day

11 Ways to Work the Rosary into Your Busy Day via @ACatholicNewbie
To truly advance in growing into the saint God designed you to be, I highly encourage you to make praying the rosary daily a priority in your life. If you just don’t think you’ve got 20 minutes to sit down and ask for Mary’s prayers as you reflect on the life of her Son, let me find 20 minutes for you :). Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be a contiguous 20 minutes and you don’t have to carry a rosary with you. You have 10 fingers, right? That’s good enough.

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Here are 11 perfectly good ways you can pray the rosary TODAY even on the busiest of days!

1) In the shower – What else do you have to do in the shower? Praying is much better than letting your mind wander. Keep your eyes on the Lord! If you’re not done praying by the time you’re finished, continue while toweling off, getting dressed and even blow drying your hair.

2) While running – Do you go running regularly? Make praying the rosary your activity instead of listening to music. There are podcasts, such as on the free Laudate Catholic app, that you can listen to as you run.

3) In the car – It’s amazing how I can quickly pray the rosary just going to and from the grocery, while getting gas, taking the kids to school and more. A few car trips definitely add up to 20 minutes. I often use a free CD from CatholicCity, which I pray along with. It makes me feel like I’m praying with a group! It’s also a great way to learn to pray the rosary if it’s new to you (because it can be quite confusing to newbies). See other free Catholic resources.

4) While exercising – Try the wonderful SoulCore program that pairs core exercises with the rosary. Purchase the DVD and get two important things checked off your to-do list: fitness and prayer. This program has the approval of Lafayette, Ind., Diocese Bishop Timothy Doherty.

5) While cleaning – Pray away as you vacuum, fold the laundry, mop, dust, etc. And while you’re at it, you can bless those who will reap the benefits of your efforts of a clean home and wear those nicely-folded clean clothes.

6) Taking the dog for a walk – Do you walk your dog everyday? Make that your time for praying the rosary. Again, much better than letting the mind wander. Keep your mind focused and make it a fruitful time!

7) At lunch – Take a daily lunch break and sit quietly to pray the rosary. During warmer months, why not pray outside and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature that God has gifted us with?

8) Try a walking rosary (sans dog) – Once a week, consider praying a walking rosary. You hold the rosary in your hand and walk in rhythm to the prayer. Now, other people may see you doing this, so you have to be a brave and joyful witness. A priest in our parish used to do this in visible spots around town and it was incredibly powerful to see him walking and praying in the public eye.

9) As you fall asleep – I received this once as a penance after confession and what a joy it is to drift to sleep with thoughts of Jesus and Mary on your mind. The only downside to this one is you might fall asleep before you get through the entire rosary! Read Patti Armstrong’s post on what happened when she was too tired to pray the rosary. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I consider it a sign that someone needs prayers and so I’ll pray the rosary until I fall back asleep, offering it for whoever might need it.

10) At church – It’s so powerful to pray the rosary in the presence of Jesus or with others in your parish. Make a weekly date with Jesus to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament or in Adoration to pray the rosary. Or, if your parish has a practice of group prayer of the rosary, join in! Better yet, start your own rosary group!

11) While waiting – How many times do we wait in a day? Waiting in line at the grocery, at the doctor’s office, in the school pick-up line? Work in a decade each time you’re in line and you’ll be done by day’s end.

Any other suggestions for ways to work the rosary into your busy life?

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5 Must-Dos for the Catholic RCIA Candidate

RCIA Candidate ResourcesSince I was a Catholic RCIA candidate this time last year, anxiously awaiting Easter and my full communion with the Church, I thought I’d share several resources that I found to be indispensable as a Catholic newbie. Of course it goes unsaid that everyone should have a Catholic Bible (New American version) and a Catechism of the Catholic Church, so I’m going to skip past those. Here are my 5 must-dos for RCIA candidates:

1) Read “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly – This book changed my vision of the Catholic church from stodgy and out of date to the most genius I have yet to come upon. If you’re struggling with any of the common issues, such as praying to Mary, fasting, the Eucharist, etc., Kelly explains it in an easy-to-understand way that makes sense in today’s world. It is FREE at DynamicCatholic.com. Go order your copy today! 

2) Catholic Radio – I did not discover Catholic radio until halfway through RCIA and I could not believe what I had missed. Here in Indy, you can listen to Catholic Radio on 90.9 or 89.3. All day long are shows to help you learn about your Catholic faith. Teresa Tomeo and Al Kresta help you understand the issues of the day in light of the Catholic faith and shows like Open Line and Catholic Answers help explain some of the intricacies of the faith. Good stuff!

3) Laudate & Mass Times App – Now that you’re becoming Catholic, you should never miss mass! To help, use the Mass Times smartphone app when you travel to make sure you can find the closest churches and look up their mass times. Laudate is a wonderful free app that includes the daily scripture readings, saint of the day write up, a whole host of prayers, the complete New American Bible and so much more. All at your fingertips and FREE!

4) A Rosary – Honoring Mary is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give yourself. She is a loving, caring mom who if you ask her, will guide you on your Catholic journey. I began praying the rosary nearly every day early last summer and it’s such a blessing. Find a rosary online or at your local Catholic bookstore (there are some very inexpensive ones) or just use your 10 fingers! You’ll need to learn how to pray it, which is tough for a newbie. Real Men Pray the Rosary has a great explanation (see here), as does the Laudate app (in fact they have podcasts you can listen to so you don’t even have to remember what to say). I recommend finding a pamphlet or printing out the Real Men Pray the Rosary one and following it until you have it memorized (it will take a while, no worries :)).

5) “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Kenneth Brighenti – I had a TON of questions on the most basic tenets of Catholicism, especially on things like indulgences, praying to saints, why certain things are done at mass, etc. The best resource I found that answered nearly all my questions and explained things simply was “The Catholicism Answer Book.” I “checked it out” for free as a Kindle ebook from my local library, but you can buy from Amazon, too.

What resources have you found to be helpful during the RCIA process? Let me know if you have any questions or concerns that I can help with as a recent RCIA candidate. Email me at [email protected]!

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