Reading all about one’s faith

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

St. Columba Catholic Church in Durango is embarking on its first parish read – Matthew Kelly’s Rediscover Catholicism.

By Ann Butler
Herald Staff Writer

Parishioners at St. Columba Catholic Church are involved in a three-month project to renew their connection to their faith by doing something simple – reading.

They are embarking on their first parish read, and they have selected the book Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Purpose & Passion by Matthew Kelly.

“We gave away 500 books in two days to people who were eager to receive them,” said Kathrene Frautschy, the director of planning and development for St. Columba School, who is serving on the committee. “We had to order two cases more.”

The church started distributing the books after Ash Wednesday Masses. An introduction and discussions will take place beginning in late April.

“He’s a very engaging author,” said Beth Parrott, the director of child and adult faith formation. “The feedback we’re getting is that people are really enjoying it. One of our Bible Study learners was talking about discipline, and what he said came straight out of Matthew Kelly’s book, which says discipline is so important in our lives in terms of growing our faith.”

The project is going to include another first – a parish blog.

“We’re still working on getting that technology up and running, but we’ll have it going in a week or two,” Parrott said.

She and the Rev. Jim Koenigsfeld, St. Columba’s priest, will be the bloggers.

Kelly identifies seven pillars of Catholicism in the book – Mass, the Bible, confession, daily prayer, the rosary, fasting and spiritual reading. A series of discussion groups will look at the pillars in depth this summer.

The books were purchased using donations from parishioners, and Parrott sees this as the start of a new tradition at St. Columba.

“We want to build on the success of this first book,” she said. “This is not a wait-and-see attitude.”

For Catholics from the post-Vatican II period (1962-65), the book may provide some education.

“Their education in the church was less formal,” Frautschy said. “Their knowledge of church teaching and practical guidance for living more fully as Catholic Christians could benefit from a renewal opportunity.”

Is there a hope this will bring back people who have left the church?

“In a community like this, there are 900 great things to do outdoors, and many people feel being outdoors is like being close to God,” Frautschy said. “All of a sudden, it’s been a few months, or a few years, since they’ve been to church. We hope this will provide an invitation and nonthreatening path back.”

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