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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine companion for the Year of Faith, September 27, 2012
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This review is from: The Year of Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics (Paperback)
Pope Benedict has called for a "Year of Faith" to begin in October 2012. He has done so because he has recognized the "profound crisis of faith that has affected many people" (Porta Fidei, n. 2). Eroding the faith today are tendencies toward rationalism (science must prove belief), atheism (denying God and denouncing the Church), and compartmentalizing God (isolating Him from social life, morality, and regular use of personal time). The pope is calling all Christians to strengthen their belief and follow Christ more closely.

Fr. Mitch Pacwa's The Year of Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics is an excellent way to honor the pope's call and counter the attacks on faith. By highlighting key points in the pope's apostolic letter Porta Fidei ("Door of Faith" - see Acts 14:27), which called for this Year of Faith, Fr. Mitch takes the student on a journey through the Bible and the liturgy that will reawaken, renew, or refresh one's faith.

The Year of Faith celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Synod on the New Evangelization happening the month the Year of Faith begins. Fr. Mitch, echoing the pope, begins by calling Catholics to read the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism. With an entire year devoted to strengthening one's faith, this is a wonderful opportunity to take time on a regular basis to work through these documents so important to the Faith.

The Bible study itself consists of six sessions each of which are broken up into sections. "Consider" and "Study" provide historical background on, doctrinal considerations of, and insight into the week's theme. "Investigate" segments give many opportunities throughout to look deeper into session themes in Scripture with encouragement to ponder these passages and often to answer questions about them ("The Creed and Scripture" exposition, in which Scripture quotes underlying each statement of the Nicene Creed, is, itself, worth the price of the book). Each session closes with "Discuss" and "Practice" assignments: the former has three questions that encourage reflection on the material studied and allow for sharing insights gained; the latter encourages use of the time until the next session to ponder further the week's theme and to apply it in a practical way to one's life.

In addition, the text is happily interrupted by boxes designated as "Information," which go more in-depth on topics like the early Church councils, the Samaritans, the parts of the Mass, and the liturgical calendar, and "Stop and Read" which provide plentiful opportunities to turn to Scripture and ponder it.

Whether working through the text alone or with a group, appropriate time must be taken to do this study slowly and reflectively. To get the most out of it, the reader must work carefully through the text (which is helpfully broken up into short sections), read and contemplate all Scripture texts referenced, and thoughtfully consider and answer all questions.

With study group tips at the beginning of the book and writing that is very accessible and engaging, there is no reason why involved Catholics should not encourage their pastors to allow them to do this six week Bible study in their parishes or, at least, conduct them in their own homes.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 30, 2012 10:55:12 AM PDT
J Grainger says:
Richard, Many thanks for your informative review. Unlike the other reviews which say absolutely nothing about the content of the book your review gives an insight into what the book actually contains. It is not just a one or two sentence eulogy which offers no practical advice; on the basis of your comprehensive analysis of the book I have placed my order. Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2012 11:25:30 PM PDT
Rilke says:
And along with Richard's review click on the "Click to Look Inside" at the top of the page, so you can see inside the book. There is the content and outline of the book and the words of the Holy Father and I just can't say enough good things about this very important book. What a wonderful thing this book is!
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