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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1) Read “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly – This book changed my vision of the Catholic church from stodgy and out of date to the most genius I have yet to come upon.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 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]!

Making the Switch to Christian Radio

Christian Radio

Even just six short months ago, I would have seen the title to this blog and probably run screaming :). I distinctly remember laughing and rolling my eyes about a ride in the car with someone who listened to “Jesus music” even after I had begun my entrance into the Catholic church. My how we should never say never! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to eat my words and ended up doing things I never could have imagined.

So what caused me to take an interest in Christian music? A book I was reading, “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Mission,” a guide to becoming the saint you were meant to be, introduced the idea of being aware of what we surround ourselves with. What TV shows do we watch? What music do we listen to? Who are our friends? All of these choices can help us or harm us. The author, John Wood, shared how he switched to Christian radio, specifically K-LOVE, which is available in most major markets, for his family. That stuck in my mind for some reason because it was such a specific suggestion.

Doesn’t every one feel like if they hear the same song on the radio ONE more time, they just can’t stand it? I was having moments like that where I was sick of all the overplayed songs and ready for something new. Plus, I was becoming more aware of some of the lyrics and how I did not want my young boys to hear inappropriate language and innuendos, which are so common in Top 40 music.

I’d already started listening to Catholic Radio (talk radio), but I found that playing it with my boys in the car was sometimes challenging. Abortion is mentioned quite often, and it’s not a topic I’ve figured out how to address with them yet. Sometimes the conversations even get graphic and I just don’t want them exposed to that. Plus, they find it quite boring 🙂 and I’d rather they have something pleasant to fill their ears and make them happy.

SO, I thought… maybe I’ll give this K-LOVE a try… I scanned the radio and found what I thought was it and decided just to listen to the music for a bit and see what I thought. I’d listen for 5-10 minutes here and 5-10 minutes there until I started to get to know the songs. I found I REALLY liked them. It didn’t take me more than a week or two before I knew enough of the songs that it felt familiar and comfortable. Well, I’ve never really turned it off, except to switch back and forth to Catholic Radio.

The songs and the conversations are so uplifting and inspiring and truly give you a boost if you’re having a challenging morning. When you listen to the lyrics, just like when reading scripture or Catholic books, you’ll find messages that you need to hear RIGHT THEN. Plus, there are NO commercials, which is so lovely. Occasionally, I will switch over to Radio Disney, because I feel like they are the least likely to have offensive lyrics, but I’m still hearing the songs I was sick of several months ago and switch back pretty quickly.

I never even mentioned this switch to my kids and they’ve never made any comment or acted like they noticed. Suddenly their lives are just filled with positive songs, and a couple of times, they’ve even said “I like this song!”

Here are my tips for making the switch:

1) Just try it.

2) Promise yourself to listen just for 5 minutes a day for the next week.

3) At the end of the week, if you haven’t found a song or two you like, I’ll be very surprised! The music is really good and reminds me of singer-songwriter type music, which is very soulful, pure and lets the singer’s voice truly shine.

Take the Christian Radio challenge and tweet about it using hashtag: #SwitchtoChristianRadio. I can’t wait to hear what you think! Anyone else made the switch? How has it changed your life?

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