Catechism for First Communicants (CFC) Introduction

I figured that now would be as good of a time as any to start going through my father’s old Catechism for First Communicants.  I thought I would start with the first five pages, which I will call the “Introduction”.  The title page (page 1) indicates that it was written by Rev. Joseph A. Newman, and this copy was the Fourth Printing, Copyright 1944.  It was published by Rogers Church Goods Co.  in Louisville 2, KY.  The number 2 behind the city name indicated the postal zone implemented by the Postal Service for larger cities in 1943, pre-dating the invention of zip codes.

Page 2 includes the Nihil Obstat by William D. Pike, Censor Deuptatus and the Imprimatur by J.A. Floersh, Archbishop of Louisville.  For anyone unfamiliar with the term, the “nihil obstat” is an official seal granted by a theologian that nothing in a document on faith and morals contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church.  An “Imprimatur” is another seal usually granted by a bishop that a work is proper reading material for Catholics after the nihil obstat has been obtained.  J. A. Floersh became the first Archbishop of Louisville when the diocese was elevated to an Archdiocese in 1937.

Page 3 starts the list of prayers.  In order, the prayers on this page include “The Sign of the Cross”, “The Lord’s Prayer”, “The Hail Mary”, and “The Glory Be to the Father”.  On page 4 we have “The Apostles Creed”, the “Prayer Before Meals”, and the “Prayer After Meals”.  On Page 5 there’s the “Act of Faith”, “Act of Hope”, “Act of Love”, and “Act of Contrition”.

Protestants obviously know “The Lord’s Prayer” and “The Apostles Creed”.  In his book, Swear to God Catholic convert and theologian Scott Hahn covers the importance of “The Sign of the Cross”.  Unfortunately, I can’t recall how he so eloquently describes it, and I am too lazy to drag my pregnant self upstairs to get my copy of the book to reference it.  “The Prayer Before Meals” is exactly how we said it every night before dinner when I was growing up.  We never did the “Prayer After Meals”; sometimes I would say a prayer during meals that my family would stop talking about the company they both worked at for one night.  (It really got bad when my sister started working there, too, during the summers.)

I must admit to being completely unfamiliar with the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love.  The “Act of Faith” is a short prayer that reaffirms one’s faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church as they come from God.  The “Act of Hope” is reads “O my God! I hope that you will help me to be good and help me to go to heaven, because You have promised this to me.  Amen.”  The “Act of Love” reads “O my God!  I love You with my whole heart because You are so good; and I love all people because You love them.  Amen”.  Those are both short but sweet prayers that I think any Christian would have a hard time finding fault with; although I could see where Protestants wouldn’t be as keen on the “Act of Faith”.

The “Act of Contrition” is an older version with which I am unfamiliar.  I’m used to saying a variation from the 80’s without all of the “thee” and “thy”.  The “Act of Contrition” basically apologizes to God for sinning, asks His forgiveness, and states the intention to never sin again with the help of God’s grace.  It is sometimes said during Mass, especially in the weeks leading up to Easter.

So that’s it for the “Introduction”.  Any extra information came from quick searches on Wikipedia or my own memories.  I welcome any comments, insights, or information that others may wish to provide regarding these prayers.

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2 Comments on “Catechism for First Communicants (CFC) Introduction”

  1. motherofmany Says:

    Not all Protestants know the Apostle’s Creed, as fundamentalists are sola scriptura, and it is not found in the Bible.

  2. barboo77 Says:

    Obviously, “obviously” was a poor choice when talking about the Apostle’s Creed and Protestants. At the same time, I have known many Protestants who believe in sola scriptura but are more familiar through their church services with the Apostle’s Creed than me (I know the Nicene variation used at Mass better). Thanks for the clarification, Motherofmany.

    -Barbara C.


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