Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ask a Franciscan ~ Answers to Catholic Questions ~ a Book Review

Ask a Franciscan
"Why do you light candles?"

"How often do you go to confession?"

"Why do you pray to Mary and the Saints?"  (we don't, really... )

Many people find the Catholic faith mysterious or confusing.  Sometimes, even the Catholics think so!  Father Pat McCloskey, O.F.M. has been addressing these questions for years in his column "Ask a Franciscan", one of highlights of the St Anthony Messenger magazine.  A little over a year ago he went through the more than 600 questions that had been asked to him in just over a decades' worth of time.  He chose 97 and put them together and came up with the book; Ask Franciscan - Answers to Catholic Questions.

This paperback volume is 112 pages filled with information.  Broken down into 8 chapters, Father McClosky examines and answers some of the most common questions about the Catholic religion.  The answers are aimed at the layperson, so there are no deep, intimidating apologetics.  Instead, you will find easy to understand, personal language.

The chapters break down like this;
  1. How we Understand God
  2. How we Relate to Mary and the Saints
  3. How we Read the Scripture
  4. How we Celebrate the Sacraments
  5. How we Pray
  6. How We Grow Morally
  7. How we Grow in Faith and Practice
  8. How we Experience Faith and Redemption
Each chapter sheds light on our Catholic traditions, ceremonies, and beliefs.  The table of contents pages are broken down extensively, making it simple to look up a single question.  However, because it is very well written, in a conversational tone, I would recommend  reading through the entire book.  It's easy to read, and I learned some things I hadn't known before.  Especially some information about saints  and the church's position on scattering of ashes.

This book is available through The Catholic Company for $10.99.  Here is their description:
For years, Franciscan Father Pat McCloskey has heard people's questions and then responded in his "Ask a Franciscan" column in the award-winning St. Anthony Messenger magazine. This book collects in one volume the best of the "Ask a Franciscan" questions and Fr. Pat's expert and pastoral answers. These are challenging, provocative, and even quirky questions Catholics and others ask about Catholic faith and practices.For easy use, Father Pat grouped questions and answers into these subjects: how we understand God as Father, Son, and Spirit • how we relate to Mary and the other saints • how we read Scripture • how we celebrate the sacraments • how we pray • how we grow morally • how we grow in faith and practice it • how we experience forgiveness and redemption.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Ask a Franciscan . They are also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts