As a cradle Catholic and possessing a Master’s in Catholic theology, I am in a sort of unique spot reviewing this title I’m Catholic. Now What? by Shaun McAfee. I don’t have the formal experience of being a convert. I never left the Catholic Church. Nor returned to it. I always remained with Her. In the past, I sometimes took my faith for granted.
My initial concerns about this review did not center on the book itself, but my background. How exactly will I write a qualified review when I am not officially part of the audience for this work?
That was my sentiment before reading. After reading this book I must say this. Buy this book now! Order this for your Church (especially if you work in the parish office). Get it in bulk.
Even though I knew most of the content already, this book helped me fall deeper in love with Catholicism. I wish this book was already when my wife converted. She would have definitely enjoyed it back in 2009.
Without further ado, here are my thoughts on I’m Catholic. Now What?
Bridge from RCIA into Post-Baptismal Life
In the introduction, McAfee tells the reader, “That’s what this book is you’re holding is all about: helping you perfect your soul by living out the fullness of the Christian life. When you’re reading this book, expel the temptation to do the minimum. Be an all-out Catholic!” (p. 15.) I think this message is lost when it comes to bringing new members into the Church. We need not be afraid to welcome them and urge them to FULLY embrace and engage with Catholicism.
The author breaks his book into the following sections: Getting Started; The Sacraments; Mary, the Church, & the Saints; Prayer; Catholic Life; Customs, Rules, & Basic Etiquette, Being a Modern Catholic, Knowing & Defending Your Faith; and Evangelization.
This book serves as a connection from the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults to life afterwards. The honeymoon time after baptism and acceptance into the Church is brief.
The safest way to travel over a tumultuous body of water or dangerous terrain is to go on a bridge. McAfee’s book helps new Christians travel with both confidence and delight.
He answers the basic and most logical questions that come up for new converts such as: how do I learn more about the Faith (he provides a concise but detailed explanation of the Catechism and other key resources), precepts of the Church, how to grow in holiness, and the importance of the sacramental life.
Both Depth and Simplicity of Catholicism
Along with providing a road map and bridge for converts to travel, McAfee demonstrates both a depth and simplicity of Catholicism in his book. His short chapters help keep the pace moving. The author does a great job with giving you enough information without watering down the faith or overwhelming the reader.
McAfee sprinkles in personal stories about his journey as a convert and new experiences as a Catholic: attending an ordination Mass or going on a pilgrimage to a holy site. These mini-anecdotes add depth, but also add to the relevance and importance of Catholicism as a long-life journey. It’s not merely a ritual here or there.
Catholic Church teaching is not always easy to tackle or wrap our heads around. I mean there is a supreme treasure trove of over 2 ,000 years to draw from! But at its core the Church has a teaching role and does not change the teaching of Jesus. We simply gain a deeper understanding of the Deposit of Faith over the course of time.
The author’s approach to tackling the “hot-buttoned” issues is not really tackling them. McAfee writes with unity and love in mind. He only states the facts about the Church’s teaching. No judgment. McAfee wants the reader to approach Catholicism with an open heart and mind.
Style— Welcoming to Converts
Along with providing a bridge and simple road map for new converts to the Catholic Church, McAfee does a great job to welcome converts. It felt like he was in my home or at the door of the Church when I read this book.
I think the author’s conversion experience gave him this ability. The best Catholics in my opinion have been converts. Saint Paul. Saint Augustine. Scott Hahn. My wife Jennifer. Reading this book makes be comfortable put Shaun McAfee in that conversation (at least in the same category of Hahn and my wife!).
While I enjoyed the entire book, Chapter 63— What’s the priest wearing? McAfee’s clear and informative writing style. He defines provides a brief description of all the important priestly vestments worn in the Liturgy. This is simply one example of the clarity he provides.
I could seriously write an entire book about the relevance and epicness (no pun intended—he is the founder of EpicPew.com) of I’m Catholic. Now What? but that will take time from you purchasing this book. Go to https://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Now-What-Shaun-McAfee/dp/1681923432/ and order your copy today!
Other Simple Catholic book reviews
Book Review on Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth
Book Review: God’s Human Face: The Christ Icon
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