Finding Christ within…
A strong desire to offer Catholics—who may be cut-off from the traditional, parish-centred life of the Church for whatever reason—a practical guide to nurture and sustain a genuine Catholic spirituality, is what lies at the heart of this book by Peter de Haas.
Ongoing pastoral and spiritual support of isolated Catholics in the vast Gulf Savannah Parish in Far North Queensland was the original inspiration and motivation for this guide. However, much of the content may be helpful for others who identify as Catholic (or Christian) but are still longing or searching for a deeper and richer spirituality. Some might be feeling spiritually lost … one of the meanings of ‘bushed’.
The book is organised into two main parts. The first deals with some big questions concerning our very existence, then leads into some of the key elements of Catholic faith and beliefs. The second contains proven practices—some quite ancient—which have assisted countless Catholics (and other Christians) to personally encounter God (the God who is always seeking us).
Bridging these is the pivotal chapter, Thy Kingdom Come. Connecting with the original vision and mission of Jesus concerning the Kingdom (or Reign) of God is spiritually very empowering. From a glimpse of this ‘original’ we can discover a much more expansive, and very inclusive, vision of what it means to be ‘church’, especially within a family setting.
To assist ongoing formation—individually, within families and in small groups—the book also contains stimulating questions for reflection and discussion.
This is a timely book. It is a valuable resource not only for Catholics in the bush, but it is opportune when all our churches have been closed, and we are all thrown much more onto our own resources to nurture our faith and spirituality. We have become a too priest and Mass reliant church, and this has left us unprepared for the situation we face now. We need training in how to lead our families and communities in prayer, and this is the perfect book for that. It is also an excellent summary of what it means to be Catholic, and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted an overview of what it means to believe. I especially liked the combination of questions and text. They made me think.- Fr Noel Connolly, member of the Adult Formation Team with Catholic Mission Australia and member of the Facilitation Team for the Plenary Council 2020
Deacon Peter De Haas has produced an outstanding resource for anyone seeking to understand God in our midst at this time. From a life of service dealing with the messiness of peoples’ experiences, he shares how we can not only access God’s intervention, but be part of God’s response for others. This is an authentic Australian expression of Spirituality, that will resonate and give Hope for anyone seeking God , and not just Bush Catholics and Catholics despairing over inauthentic experiences of church . Well done Peter on guiding us on the life- long journey of faith and service , and being the sort of missionary disciple that we need at this time.-Deacon Gary Stone, Chaplain to the Ex Service Community, Gold Coast Hinterland
I highly recommend this guide for anyone seeking spiritual nourishment when isolated, for whatever reason, from the Church. Although written primarily for those experiencing isolation in rural and remote areas - ‘the bush’ - it may be especially helpful at this time of coronavirus separation being experienced all over the world. Catholics and other Christians in many countries, even in urban areas, are currently unable to attend church services, and have been thrown onto their own resources. This guide is practical, easy to read and to understand, and gives good examples and resources for nurturing a genuine Christian spirituality even in isolation. A most important asset of the book is that single pages or chapters can be used for individual, or group, reflection and ongoing spiritual development. -Judy Wilcox, isolated parishioner, St Francis Parish, West End, Brisbane.