Thanks be to God if you have someone in your live who’s decided to join the Catholic church or who is spending their first Christmas as a Catholic. These newbies need your support to help their faith flourish and grow so they will continue to become active Catholics who are making a difference in the world and spreading the Good News.
As someone now in their second Christmas as a Catholic, here are some suggestions for what to buy the budding Catholic in your life, most of which are less than $25:
1) A Rosary – Every Catholic needs a rosary (well, everyone in the world needs a rosary!), but to help keep their faith on fire (see more ideas), a devotion to Mary will do wonders. She will guide and mold them into the people God wants them to be. One of the best ways to get to know Mary — and her Son — is to pray the rosary. Buy them a simple rosary — it doesn’t need to be anything expensive or fancy they’ll be afraid to use — and print them out a guide to how to pray it like this one on Real Men Pray the Rosary.
2) “Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers” book – I just came across this resource on the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops website, which I think is perfect for someone still learning the faith. This paperback book helps you memorize essential prayers, explains the Liturgy of the Hours, goes through the Church’s liturgical year and how to pray throughout, as well as provides basic prayers for meals, blessing a house, Advent wreaths, times of distress and more. Plus, they’re giving away 1 copy daily throughout Advent. Enter to win here.
3) Advent Wreath – No need to buy a fancy, dancy wreath! Make your own just like I did in these 4 simple steps that even the least crafty of us can accomplish. I’ve found many longtime Catholics do not have Advent wreaths, so this is a great way to get them started and it gives them something to pass down from generation to generation.
4) A Miraculous Medal – Continue to develop their devotion to the Blessed Mother by giving them a Miraculous Medal to wear. Mary asked St. Catherine Laboure to have this image cast into a medal and promised many blessings (and conversions) to those who wear it. Mother Teresa handed them out regularly. They only cost $1 at most Catholic book stores. I now have a store of them to pass out because mine always generates conversation among Catholics and non-Catholics alike!
5) “The Way of Serenity” (Harper Collins, 2014) by Father Jonathan Morris – There are several Catholics in the public eye who do a remarkable job of reaching across faith boundaries and demonstrating Catholicism to be modern, relevant and even fun! Father Jonathan Morris, a regular correspondent on Fox News Channel and program director for Sirius’ The Catholic Channel, is one. His new book, which looks at faith through the lens of the Serenity prayer, offers some of the most amazing conversational gems of wisdom that will certainly relate to your Catholic newbie. It’s an easy, inspiring read and it will likely encourage them to delve deeper into the Catholic faith.
6) “God’s Bucket List” (Image Books, 2013) by Teresa Tomeo – Another easy-to-relate-to Catholic who has the gift of reaching outside of Catholicism is Teresa Tomeo, author and host of Catholic Connection, a daily Catholic news and talk radio show on EWTN Radio. I have listened to Teresa Tomeo almost daily since I happened upon the existence of Catholic radio and really enjoy her conversational and fun take on the world, the faith and how we can live it authentically. Her latest book, “God’s Bucket List” challenges you to consider what God has planned for you and shares her own wisdom and experiences through many laugh-out-loud stories.
7) The New American Bible & the Catechism of the Catholic Church – Everyone should have both of these — enough said! Package them together and perhaps bookmark a favorite passage in each that you think will be meaningful to them for a personal touch.
8) “7 Secrets of Confession” (Ignatius Press) by Vinny Flynn — Confession, or Reconciliation, is an easy one for new Catholics to avoid. Or if you have someone going through RCIA, they’re likely very nervous about their First Reconciliation. I’ve got tips in my blog post on what I wish every RCIA candidate new about confession, but this book will do wonders in educating them in an easy-to-read way about the benefits and the reasons for confession. I loved it! It will inspire you to get there much more often, as well.
9) “The Holy Land” (Servant Books, 2013) by Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ – I think that as Christians, we need to take the time to understand the Holy Land in order to provide context in which to place Bible readings and Jesus’ life. For example, when the Bible tells us Mary, newly pregnant, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, did you know geographically how challenging that was? Seeing where she had to walk and the hills she had to climb gives you a new perspective on the self-sacrifice she made. Father Mitch, whom I adore for his ability to simply explain the Catholic faith without all the jargon, takes you on an armchair journey in this beautiful coffee table book filled with photos to all the key spots mentioned in the Bible, offering his unique insight along the way.
10) “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly – I just can’t have a list of recommendations without this book! It was key to my conversion and I think if you have any fence-sitters when it comes to the faith, it will help them make the leap. Matthew Kelly has a unique gift, not unlike Father Jonathan and Teresa Tomeo, to make the faith relevant to you today and explain why fasting, confession, weekly mass attendance and more is important and will help you on the path to becoming your best self. You can order a free copy here.
Let me know what you pick and if they liked it! May they have a very Merry Christmas as they unearth all the amazing resources of the Church!
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