I'm so happy to share with our CatholicMom.com readers the great news about the latest installment in the Come and See Catholic Bible Study series, Acts and Letters by by Fr. Joseph L. Ponessa, S.S.D. and Laurie Watson Manhardt, Ph.D.  As with the other Come and See studies we've reviewed, this series is firmly rooted in Catholic doctrine.  In addition, it's the perfect way to commemorate the Year of St. Paul!

Please be sure to take note of Laurie Manhardt's generous offer near the conclusion of this article to learn about how you can obtain a free "Acts and Letters" promotional DVD to help you get started with your bible study.

I'm pleased to share my recent interview with series co-author Laurie Watson Manhardt, Ph.D. and to give Acts and Letters my highest recommendation!

Please share with us about the latest resource in the Come and See Catholic Bible Study Series.

"Acts and Letters," the seventh book in the Come and See ~ Catholic Bible Study series covers the Acts of the Apostles and ten epistles attributed to Saint Paul: 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Romans, Galatians, Colossians and Philemon.

Why did you feel compelled to create and share this new study?

Father Ponessa and I hope to cover all of the books in the Catholic Bible in a 14 volume series, God willing. We didn't know when we were writing this book that Pope Benedict XVI would declare this the Year of Saint Paul, but we're very happy that he did. Perhaps it was Divine Providence or a prompting of the Holy Spirit to look at the life and letters of Saint Paul at this particular time.

How will individuals and families grow in their faith by undertaking this particular study during the Year of St. Paul?

The Acts of the Apostles is so exciting. Jesus ascends into heaven right in front of his apostles. The Holy Spirit comes in power while Our Blessed Mother and the disciples are waiting and praying in the upper room. The Church is born and there is an evangelism explosion. Then Saint Peter is imprisoned, Saint James is martyred, Saint Paul is beaten and shipwrecked and run out of town. It is an exciting adventure for any family to study the beginnings of our Catholic Church and the lives of Saints Peter and Paul.

How can undertaking a Catholic bible study help to enhance one's prayer life?

The more we study God's Word, the more we learn about God, the more we are drawn to praise Him and worship Him. God's magnificence is revealed to us more and more as we study God's Word. Bible Study serves to enhance one's prayer life and make prayer deeper and richer.

For those who may not have done bible study in the past, do you have any hints or suggestions for getting started?

The best way to start is to JUST DO IT!  Find a good Catholic bible study that is manageable. There are many excellent Catholic bible studies available today. Some are more challenging than others. Some require a certain level of academic preparedness and home study. Go to a Catholic book store and look over some offerings. Or look on the Internet at several Catholic bible studies, and then choose one. You might want to talk to friends or family members who have done Catholic bible studies and see which ones they would recommend. Always make sure the materials you choose have the imprimatur of a bishop, to ensure that they are free from doctrinal or moral error. Then determine who will be in your study. Do you want to have a Family Night Bible Study around the kitchen table? Do you want to meet with a few young mothers in the parish? Would you and your husband like to invite some couples over for a Couples' Bible Study? There are many possibilities. But, the bottom line is JUST DO IT! God will bless your efforts.

Please share with us about the generous giveaway offer you've extended to our Catholic Mom readers for this new study? How should people contact you if they are interested in participating?

Father and I would like to offer a free promotional DVD for "Acts and Letters" to anyone who is interested in starting a Catholic bible study. Just please send me your name and street mailing address with zip code by Email to CatholicBibleStd@aol.com and I will send one out to you. If anyone is interested in looking at a sample of our materials to see if they might meet your needs or suit your purposes, you are most welcome to go to our web site www.CatholicBibleStudy.net and go to the "Books" page. In the upper left hand corner, you are welcome to download the Introduction and first chapter of our book on "Genesis." You are also welcome to print it out to look at the commentary and home study questions.

What types of responses have you received from people who have undertaken this new study?

The response has been amazing. I was thinking of writing specifically for mothers with pre-school children. But surprisingly our studies are also being used by teens, prisoners, men's groups, couples' group, religious sisters in a convent, small neighborhood home groups and large parish groups.

How can people get in touch with you if they would like additional information on your studies?

Please contact me through our web site www.CatholicBibleStudy.net. You can also Email me directly at CatholicBibleStd@aol.com or telephone me at (772) 321-4034 and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. All of our Catholic Bible Study materials can be purchased through Emmaus Road Publishing in Steubenville, Ohio. Call 1 (800) 398-5470 during business hours or purchase bible study books and DVDs any time on the Internet at www.emmausroad.org.  Emmaus Road can also help you to purchase a good Catholic Bible and they have many other topical Bible Studies and excellent catechetical materials for children that you might want to look at. Their "Faith and Life" series is the finest catechetical series for children I have ever seen.

Are there any additional thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?

The family or individual who studies the life and letters of Saint Paul in this Year of Saint Paul should expect to receive many special graces and blessings from Our Lord through the intercession of Saint Paul. May each of share in the fervor and evangelistic zeal of Saint Paul. As Jesus revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus, may Christ reveal more of Himself to each of us, and transform each of us powerfully as He transformed the life of Saint Paul, for the greater honor and glory of Almighty God.

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