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30 Must-Have Books for a Catechumen Going through RCIA

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Books for a catechumen

When I first discovered Catholicism on Catholic Answers, I devoured the faith like a madwoman. I didn’t know any serious Catholics, so my source of learning was basically the internet and books. Whenever someone recommended a book, I immediately went and purchased it.

People have commented to me that I have a strong faith.  It’s not that I have a strong faith per se. I have my ups and downs like everyone else. However, I do have a solid foundation. When I was converting,  I didn’t get to experience the loosey-goosey, hippie faith we see in many Catholic dioceses. I actually didn’t do RCIA. I ended up learning the faith through one-on-one instruction with an FSSP priest.  I learned the faith the right way.  Scripture tells us that if you build your house upon sand, the wind and rain will come and wash it away. But if you build your house upon a rock, though the tornadoes and hurricanes may come, it will stand firm.

I have not taken the time to write reviews on these recommended books for a catechumen, because it would take too much time.  

I sorted them into four categories: Bibles, Catechisms & the Basics of the Faith, Lives of the Saints and Spiritual Reading.

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I can say that each and every one of them contributed to who I am in the faith today, in some small way.

I hope this list can give you ideas on what to recommend to your friends who are considering converting to the Catholic faith.

Converts, which books helped you build your faith?

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Douay-Rheims Bible

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible:

For the converts, who are really on fire and thirst for knowledge, this study bible is not for the faint of heart!

Haydock Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible

The Catechism of the Council of Trent


Apologia Pro Vita Sua: Being a History of His Religious Opinions

The Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)

Catholic Christianity: A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church

A Course in Religion Set by Fr. John Laux, MA (includes Book 1: Chief Truths of the Faith, Book II: Mass and the Sacraments, Book III: Catholic Morality

The Latin Mass Explained

A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin, by John F. Collins

Summa Theologica (5-Volume)

A Course in Religion, by Fr. John Laux, MA

Lives of the Saints

Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching

Confessions of St Augustine

Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul

The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church

The Life of St. Dominic By Augusta Drane

The Perfect Joy of Saint Francis by Felix Timmermans

Something Beautiful for God (The Classic Account of Mother’s Teresa’s Journey into Compassion

Such is the Power of Love: Saint Francis as Seen by Bonaventure by Wayne Hellman, et. al.

Spiritual Reading

The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1

The Collected Works of St Teresa of Avila, Vol 2

The Ideal of Reparation

The Imitation of Christ

An Introduction to the Devout Life

The Journey of the Mind to God

The Rule of St Benedict 

The Practice of the Presence of God

The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God

The  Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St Therese of Lisieux

This last book was released fairly recently, so it wasn’t around when I converted, but if you are interested in the spiritual life I highly recommend it!

100 Books to Read Before the Four Last Things: The Essential Guide to Catholic Spiritual Classics

A Message to New Converts

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This article was originally posted in 2016 and updated in 2023.

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  1. Thank you for this! You are so right…you learned what being Catholic was all about!
    I’m pretty sure Our Lord took you this route so you could teach us. Just like you are doing so beautifully.

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