By Winifred Charlier
THERE is nothing easier than I starting an up to date parish library, and no reason vihy it should not be efficiently run and play an important part in the campaign against the "leakage."
All will agree that the vast majority of those who cease to practise their religion do so because they have never fully understood it, Many people think that when they leave school their knowledge of the Faith is complete, with the result that they go through life as spiritual adolescents, Is it any wonder that they are worsted in their first encounter with an intellectual pagan and are tempted to discard their beliefs as childish. instead of realising that it is their own grasp of them that is childish?
Anyone who delves even a little into the hidden depths of Divine Truth is fascinated by the perfect symmetry that gradually unfolds like a vast map, to be gratefully accepted by the mind which can only be completely satisfied by what is true.
To arrive at this stage in any branch of knowledge one has to read books about it and listen to lectures by qualified teachers.
How many Catholic* read books about the Faith or listen to sermons? Very few these days, I fear; and in the matter of books, one has to admit that if there is no Catholic library within miles, they are scarcely to blame.
With the ever-rising cost of books, due largely to the constant demand for higher wages, few people can afford to buy books.
The need for pa ris is lending libraries has grown steadily in the last few years until now they are a vital necessity. With the steady decline in religious observance outside the Church and the recent flood of enquirers about the Catholic Faith, it is imperative that Catholic literature be made accessible to all.
How can this be done? In several ways—by setting them into public libraries, giving them as Christmas and birthday presents and, most important of all, by the formation of parish libraries.
With the blessing and encouragement of the parish priest, suitable accommodation for the hooks to he attractively displayed, a few keen helpers and a little money, the success of the library is a foregone conclusion.
With judicious buying, an outlay of about £25 should provide 100 new and second-hand popular Catholic books as a nucleus, to which should be added at regular intervals a few of the latest publications.
This is important as a means of stimulating interest and attracting new borrowers, A list of recent additiona displayed in the church porch will help to this end.
The normal charge is 3d. a week per volume, and it is remarkable how rapidly this accumulates into a fund for the purchase of new books and. if necessary, the repayment of the original outlay.
A parish library should not be another burden, financial or otherwise, on the parish priest. It is essentially a lay apostolate, a job that is well worth doing and worth doing well.