The Most Important Thing You’ll Never Do for the Year of Faith

The Year of Faith is starting soon.

And, Pope Benedict has asked everyone to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

But you’ll never do it.

Oh, you’ve wanted to for a long time. You know you should do it. But it’s so big! And it’s kind of…dry.

I once read the Catechism all the way through…once! But I have to admit, I did it out of fear.

In the Catechetics program at Franciscan, you had to pass a test on the whole Catechism to get the degree. Anything was fair game, so I read the whole thing.

It was a killer test. Hardly anyone passed it the first time. But I did (grin).

How did I do it? Well, here’s a better question, how do you eat an elephant?

The Catechism is essential, if not bedtime, reading

The Catechism is an amazing book. It’s a marvelous compendium of everything the Catholic Church believes. But let’s face it, it’s not light reading.

And did I mention it’s big.

To be fair, it was meant to be a reference for priests and catechetical leaders–people with theological backgrounds. So, it’s written in a more technical style. However, everyone (including people without theology degrees) just found it so awesome, it became a best seller.

Even so, many people are daunted by the thought of reading the it all the way through.

I had a similar book as a Naval aviator. It was called NATOPS, the Naval Aviation Training and Operating Procedures Standardization.

NATOPS was everything you needed to know about an aircraft–systems, electronics, weapons, emergency procedures…you name it, it was in there.

We had to know everything in the NATOPS. Some things, like emergency procedures, we had to know cold. Not only were we regularly tested on it, our lives depended on it. As you can imagine, it was quite large…and quite daunting.

When I first saw it, I was overwhelmed with the thought learning it all.

How do you eat an elephant?

My NATOPS instructor in flight school understood. He said it seemed like an impossibly large task. So how can you approach it?

Well, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

The Catechism is way better reading than NATOPS. And, it’s just an indispensable to your spiritual well-being as the NATOPS was to my physical well-being.

Love depends on knowledge. St. Teresa of Avila believed growth in the spiritual life required knowledge of Christ. For her, the only thing better for this than Sacred Scripture was doctrine. The Catechism is the source for Catholic doctrine.

The Catechism is important because it clarifies and sets forth the revealed truths of God in a systematic way. It helps you get a grasp on understanding who God is and what your response to him should be. That goes a long way toward deepening faith.

How to read the Catechism with Flocknote

I read the Catechism all the way through by starting early and studying it in bite-sized chunks. Some people tried to read it through a few weeks before the test and didn’t absorb the content. It was all just a blur. Or, they got totally burned out and stopped.

Flocknote is offering a great service for the Year of Faith. It’s a “Read the Catechism in a Year” program.

Here’s how they describe it:

For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here’s an easy way to do it. Simply enter your email address and – starting October 11, 2012 – you’ll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you’ll read the whole catechism in a year. Cool, right?

This is a perfect devotion to take up for the Year of Faith. The pope wants everyone to study the catechism. You’ve always wanted to read the whole thing but have never been able to make it work. It’s a perfect match!

And as you read a little bit every day, the truths of God will soak into your soul. You’ll gain new insights into how these things apply to your life. You’ll find yourself growing stronger in faith and closer to God as the year goes because the Catechism is truly light along the path of faith. Isn’t that what the Year of Faith is all about?

So prove me wrong! Read the Catechism this year! You can do it if you take it in bite-sized pieces.

Here’s the signup link. Go to that page, put in your email, and beginning October 11, you’ll get little bites of the Catechism delivered to your inbox for daily consumption.

Go now. Your soul will thank me later.


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  1. Flock Note looks awesome, and I just signed up. Thank you for sharing!


    This site has helped me tremendously. I’ve read the CCC three times and found that I retained little of what I read. I am used to the old Baltimore Catechism style of questions and answers. This helped me to retain what I read…finally…

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      That’s interesting! I always had the opposite reaction. I don’t do well with the question and answer type format. I’ve found this Catechism to be way more engaging. That’s a good approach though. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow! What a great idea. We already read Catechism citations in our Catholic Scripture Study, but conquering the whole thing would be great. I’m passing this on.
    Bte, some of the references are breathtaking. It is a treasure.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      The Catechism truly is a treasure. To have something that definitively gives us the mind of the Church and expresses the Tradition of our teaching in one volume is a great gift. I think you’ll find that making it all the way through will give you a different perspective than just using it as a reference. You’ll see a unity to the Faith. Happy reading!

  4. What a great idea! I have the Catechism on my shelf of holy books, but it’s way too intimidating. When will this program start?

  5. What a coincidence! I just finished recording this Saturday’s podcast and mentioned this same program. Flocknote and the guys behind it are great.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Cool! Great minds think alike. I think the people behind Flocknote are great too. They are really working that company up the right way.

  6. Thank you!! This is great!

  7. James Patrick John says:

    Phew! I thought I was the only one eggheaded enough to read the Catechism at night. The comparison to NATOPS is interesting but the Catechism doesn’t get revised nearly as often as NATOPS. Bravo Zulu on a good article!

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Thanks for the BZ James. Yeah, I guess you’re right. You don’t need to re-read the Catechism as much as NATOPS huh? I saw the comparison with the two right away though. You know all those guys that could quote NATOPS word for word, I never was one of those but I always wanted to be. I need to bring that kind of dedication to the studying the Catechism.

  8. Oh cool! Count me IN on that. I used to recommend to people to just look up one point a day and you’d know something you didn’t know before but I really like the idea of it being served up on an online plate. I’ll pass this onto anyone I can think of. J

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      I know huh? The biggest problem for me is remembering to read it everyday. It’s great when you get that little bit in your inbox. That would be awesome if you passed this on.

      • Just posted it on FB and Twitter. It’s such a simple idea, I’ll bet a lot of ordinary folk will sign up if they hear about it. I’ll repost it next week too.

        • Marc Cardaronella says:

          Hey thanks for getting the word out Jennifer. I hope a bunch of people sign up. I think it will be very rewarding for them.

  9. Matt Brounstein says:

    Dear Mark,
    Another option for people is the following:

    Read through the Bible or the Catechism in one year. It’s not e-mail but for those who are self motivated, it works well.

    Yours in Christ,

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Hi Matt! This is a very interesting take on reading both at the same time. Nice idea, thanks for sharing this resource.

  10. Kathryn H says:

    This year I started delving into my faith because I was really hungry to go deeper. And I did pick up my CCC, but boy there are some really big tough words in it. First of all, I started at the beginning and got about 800 numbers in, but since then have read that if you are new to it, it is easier to start on the section on prayer (like reading the Bible and starting with the Gospels instead of Genesis!). Since I am still not through it, I think I will look into the flock notes. It is my goal to get through it once anyways. Thanks, Marc.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Hey Kathryn! Glad you’re going to give it a try with Flocknote. I think you’ll come out better. I think your experience is much like many others. Little daily bites will, hopefully, help.

  11. Thanks for this link, Marc! I’m excited to sign up for this!

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Awesome Wendy! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. God bless you on your journey to move deeper into the heart of the Church during this Year of Faith. I’m anxious to read what you discover this year.

  12. Teresa Arens says:

    I was wondering what the ending part of the email, ie @gmail, will be. I have not received one yet and I want to check my junk mail, but have no idea what I am looking for. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

    • Marc Cardaronella says:

      Hi Teresa. In my email, it comes in as “Read the Catechism in a Year “. The sender is “” See if you can find that address.

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