Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book Review: "The Sacraments We Celebrate"

The Sacraments We Celebrate: A Catholic Guide to the Seven Mysteries of Faith
by Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2010

In the introduction to “The Sacraments We Celebrate: A Catholic Guide to the Seven Mysteries of Faith,” Archbishop Timothy Dolan writes that Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi “has baptized hundreds of babies, heard thousands of confessions, celebrated Mass daily, married countless couples, and anointed thousands of infirm and elderly. In other words, he’s been on the front lines of the battle for souls, armed with water, bread, wine, oil stock, purple stole, words, and gesture.” The sacraments are “the front lines of the battle for souls,” yet we Catholics often take them for granted. Msgr. Vaghi’s book is designed both to educate readers about the mysteries of the sacraments and their role in our spiritual lives, as well as to encourage Catholics to make greater use of them.

The book is the second of a four part series examining the four pillars of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.” As such, Msgr. Vaghi quotes heavily from the recently published “United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.” This is designed as a companion volume to that Catechism, but it functions equally well as a stand-alone study.

“In the sacraments, each of us encounters God.” Msgr. Vaghi explores in great detail how we encounter God in Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. Each chapter includes questions for personal or group reflection as well as a prayer. There is so much to learn about the mystery and gift that is the seven sacraments. Readers of “The Sacraments We Celebrate” will come away with a much greater appreciation for the sacraments and will hopefully seek to integrate them more fully in their lives.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

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