My ‘Books to Review’ pile gets bigger and bigger by the week. I can’t really get through them all in time, but I’m doing my best. This one came in last week and jumped to the top of the pile because of it’s relevance for Holy Week.
The Easter Vigil is the great event of the church year. A time when the catechumens are plunged into Christ through baptism, so this little book on baptism was an appropriate read.
Thomas Scirghi SJ is a theology professor at Fordham University. He’s written a handy little book to inform us about the depth of meaning in the sacrament of baptism. I enjoyed the historical section where he links the rites of baptism with the precedents in the Jewish faith, and shows the progression from the ritual washings of the Jews, the vows taken as part of those washings and the step from there to the understanding of baptism in the New Testament and early church.
With down to earth stories from his own experience, this book opens up the sacrament of baptism with a combination of solid catechesis and practical relevance. I appreciated this balance since so much post Vatican 2 catechesis veered toward the experiential and relevant, and so much recent catechesis has veered in the other direction–giving solid historical, theological and liturgical catechesis but not worrying too much about its relevance or application to the spiritual lives of ordinary people
Fr Scirghi manages both pretty well. This book should be read by all people doing baptism preparation, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make it available to catechumens, RCIA candidates and parents preparing to have children baptized. James Martin SJ says, “The best book on baptism I’ve ever read.” I agree. Highly recommended. Go here to learn more.