Sunday, July 30, 2006


By Kathi Scarpace
A couple of summers ago, I was wandering around the internet looking for good ideas from other parishes that I could adapt to my parish. One parish had a book club. I thought, what a great idea.
So in my simple self, I typed Catholic Book Club in the window on Google, and up popped This site was a goldmine. It has numerous ideas for creating a book club in a parish. They made it sound so easy that I decided to try it.

We are into our second full year. The first year we read books from those listed on the above website. There are several years of book selections from which to choose. It was fun to pick among the many titles. We tried to find books that were both topical and interesting to everyone in the group. For example, we read Conclave by John Allen just a few months before the conclave that elected Benedict XVI.

Now that we are in our second year we have moved a little away from the list used at the America site. We determined that we want to alternate fiction with non-fiction.

We do not always choose Catholic writers. Instead we choose books that will help us grow in faith and provide a good discussion. We read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini in January this year, as well as Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints by Elizabeth Johnson in March and April.

In terms of organizing, it is very simple. We meet once a month, for hour and a half to two hours. The first year we selected the books at the book club meeting. At the end of the first year, we decided to select books for a year. This worked well. Everyone brought reviews and books to a potluck meeting in July and then lobbied for their inclusion on the list. As we worked through the list during the year, we made changes as we went along.

This year we kept the same format and met again this July to lobby for the upcoming year’s list. This year highlight may be the reading of Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino by Joyce Rupp. One of our book club members is planning to walk the pilgrimage route in Spain next year.

The books provide a context to share our faith and our lives. We laugh sometimes until we cry, share our doubts and questions, and in general have a good time.

A book club might be something that your parish would like.

(Click here to view the rest of the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if St. Patrick's would start a book club. I would love to participate!

Karen Gorny