A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

So You’ve Come (Back) to the Church…

Posted on: December 6, 2012

Maybe you’re returning to your Catholic roots. Or maybe, like me, you’re fairly new to the Church. Either way, some resources for your faith journey might be welcome right about now. So here are some ideas from this recent convert.

Your Local Catholic Church
Wondering why no one says, “And also with you,” anymore? Not sure when to sit, stand or kneel? For the first few weeks at my church, I spent a lot of time watching other people to figure these things out. You learn what to do and when by going to Mass so you can participate and not just observe. Having a copy of the Sunday missal helps you understand the service and lets you look over the readings ahead of time.

When you attend Mass regularly, you get to know your parish priest and find out what ministries are available that could help you—or that you could help with. And if you struggle with shyness, as I do, attending a coffee hour or joining a parish group like the Catholic Women’s League or the Knights of Columbus is a great way to meet other parishioners and get involved.

If you’re still looking for a church home, the Archdiocese of Ottawa’s website features a directory of parishes.

The Bible and Reference Books
Never heard of the book of Wisdom till someone read a passage from it at Mass? Protestant editions don’t include every book found in Catholic editions. When I started attending a Catholic church, I purchased the Revised Standard Version for its explanations about Church teachings and cross-references to other passages. I also have the New Revised Standard Version. You can find daily Bible reading guides online at Catholic Bible in a Year and the Coming Home Network International (this guide also includes daily readings in the Catechism).

Questions about Church teachings on marriage or other matters? A copy of the Catechism can help. Our family has a copy of the Popular and Definitive Edition as well as the version for youth, the YouCat. Another resource is Life in Christ with its question-and-answer format, which we used in my RCIA group.

Confirmed and wondering where to go from there? The Confirmed Catholic’s Companion: A Guide to Abundant Living is packed with quick tips and resources to help you live out your faith.

The Internet
In search of Catholic info on the Web? You can learn about Pope Benedict XVI and past popes, World Youth Day, and so much more at the Vatican website. The Holy Father even has a Twitter account now, with the handle @Pontifex. Some Catholic publications, such Catholic Digest, have an online presence as well as print editions. A Google search will turn up blogs about life from a Catholic perspective, including Archbishop Prendergast’s own blog, and you can have discussions with fellow Catholics at CatholicAnswers.com.

Believe it or not, that’s a shortlist of helpful resources! If you’d like to recommend a book, website or other resource, I’d love to hear from you.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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