Faith Formation: Level 1

"And so we emphasize the importance of the continuing spiritual development of Courage and EnCourage members, a development which brings each believer a deeper knowledge of the Faith and its practice, to a deeper knowledge of Christ alive for us in the Church, Who accompanies us along our pilgrim way to our lasting home in Heaven." (Spirituality of Courage Statement).

On this page, we have pulled together a list of suggested rescources which we believe will provide a thorough and faithful path of study. For the best results, these resources should be approached over time with the goal of reading them all. While each text is a wonderful resource, filled with inspiring and enlightening information, the Catholic Faith is multifacited and broad, and it is easy to focus on certain disciplines to the exclusion of others. Thus, we highly recommend reading all of them as time permits. Many of these texts are also available in Spanish.

We also recommend that Catholic households keep a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church available. It is the ultimate resource text. Another terrific resource is Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine.

Note: Copy and paste the book title and author into your browser for online ordering.

“To do their part, adult Catholics must be mature in faith and well equipped to share the Gospel, promoting it in every family circle, in every church gathering, in every place of work, and in every public forum”
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States, CCB/USCC, 1999.

Nourished by the Word
Margaret Nutting Ralph, Ph.D.
Loyola Press


This text is designed to introduce learners to the Bible, and to help them understand, love, and live by Scripture. It will help readers understand:

  • The meaning of inspiration, historical development, and literary criticism
  • The primary themes and basic concepts in Scripture, including covenant, kingdom, creation, salvation, and conversion
  • The scriptural foundations for Catholic moral teaching, conscience formation, and decision-making
  • The use of Scripture in theological reflection
  • God's revelation in Creation, the person of Jesus, and lived experience
  • Jesus' life, mission, death, and Resurrection

True God, True Man

Matthias Neuman, O.S.B., S.T.D.
Loyola Press

This text will help learners develop the skills required to proclaim Christ in today's world. It will:

  • Bring individuals to a clear knowledge of Jesus Christ as true God and true man
  • Clarify the Church's teachings about the nature and life of Jesus Christ
  • Help bring individuals into a personal relationship with the living Christ
  • Help seekers understand why Jesus is the example and guide for their lives
  • Help them worship the living God through Christ and in the Spirit

The Church as Communion
and Mission

Morris Pelzel, Ph.D.
Loyola Press


This text presents a theological study of the Church with a particular focus on the Church as "communion" and "mission." It follows the vision of the Second Vatican Council in explaining the nature and identity of the Church. It will help readers:

  • Answer the call to communion and mission in specific ways of life and activity
  • Understand what is meant by a "communion of disciples"
  • Clarify the ordering and structure of the Church
  • Examine the Church's ministries of Word and Sacrament
  • Understand the Church's evangelizing activity in the world for transforming human society in the light of the Gospel
  • See that being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic is both what the Church is, as well as what the Church is called to become
  • Understand the role of Mary in the life of the Church

Sacramental Theology
Means of Grace,
Ways of Life

Kurt Stasiak, O.S.B.
Loyola Press


This text is an introduction to the history, theology, and pastoral practice of the Church's liturgy and her sacraments. It will help readers:

  • Realize how the liturgy is understood as the work of the Church and the work of God
  • Examine the sacraments as visible signs
  • Understand how and why the sacraments confer the gift of grace
  • Clarify the meaning of "the institution of the sacraments by Christ"
  • Examine a brief history of the early development of each of the seven sacraments
  • Grasp the importance of Baptism as the sacramental action of the Church that makes us Christian and Catholic
  • Understand the history and theology of the Eucharist
  • Examine the theological and pastoral implications of the Church's sacramental life

The Catholic View
Servais Pinckaers, O.P.
St. Augustine's Press

This text emphasizes a view of  Christian morality which is  rooted in the theology of St. Paul and the morality of the Gospels. It will help readers:

  • Understand that Christian morality is not first of all about obligations but about happiness
  • Realize that the happiness of union with God is our natural destiny made possible by grace
  • See the Sermon on the Mount as being at the center of an approach to morality that brings about human flourishing
  • Comprehend the connection of human freedom, moral decision-making, and happiness
  • Grasp morality as being grounded in human freedom

A Concise Guide to Social Catholic Teaching
Fr. Kevin E. McKenna
Ave Maria Press


This text stresses that “to work for social justice is embedded in the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, who came ‘to bring good tidings to the poor ... liberty to captives ... and recovery of sight to the blind’” (NDC #42-C). This text will assist readers to:

  • Understand and carry out the seven key themes at the heart of Catholic social teaching articulated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Distill the teachings of major papal social encyclicals
  • Receive guidance regarding some perplexing social issues
  • See the themes of justice and charity as predominant themes of the Scriptures
  • Review the concrete proposals and suggestions that are often recommended in the various Church documents

Church History
Faith Handed On
Kevin L. Hughes, Ph.D.
Loyola Press


This booklet gives a short outline of the origins of the devotions to Mary and the saints, the way in which saints are proclaimed today, and the place apparitions of Mary have in the context of the Church.  This text help will help readers:

  • Explain the place of Mary and the saints within the context of the life of the Church
  • Contemplate many of the most touching images in the Catholic imagination -- those of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of favorite saints
  • Look closely at the example of the young Mary making a choice not only for herself, but for the world as well, and the later image of a sorrowful mother at the foot of the cross
  • Examine the saints and their heroic love for God and others: the joy of St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds; the sacrifice of St. Maximillian Kolbe giving up his life so another can live

Copyright 2013
Courage International, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Mary and the Saints
Companions on the Journey
James P. Campbell, D.Min.
Loyola Press


The history of the Church is the story of faith handed on, of how fallible human people have struggled to live out the Gospel in the very concrete circumstances of their lives for two thousand years. This text will help readers:

  • Understand that the entire Church is responsible for the conservation and transmission of the Gospel message
  • Examine the role that prayer, study of Scripture, and the teachings of the Church have played in the Christian story
  • Learn from the insights and wisdom, as well as the mistakes and missteps, of those who have striven to live the Gospel message throughout the history of Christianity
  • Understand why some knowledge of the depths and riches of the past help nourish the ministry of the Church today