Catholics invited to join Imitation of Christ series

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LEWISTON – As part of the Prince of Peace Parish initiative Reading Catholic Classics Together, Fr. Lewiston Parish pastor Daniel Greenleaf plans to lead Maine Catholics through “The Imitation of Christ” beginning Monday, January 17.

Sessions will be offered from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through February 28 in person in the lobby of Holy Family Church, 607 Sabattus St. in Lewiston, and virtually through Microsoft Teams.

“Having it online allows older people who don’t want to go out at night to participate. Young families with kids at home don’t need a babysitter, and there’s no shortage of those scared of COVID-19,” Greenleaf said, according to a news release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. “Those who want to be in person also have that option.”

“The Imitation of Christ”, by Thomas à Kempis, is a Christian devotional book first composed in Latin in the 15th century. It is a manual of spiritual life from the Devotio Moderna movement, of which Kempis was a member, and considered a devotional and religious classic. Apart from the Bible, no book has been translated into more languages.

The text is divided into four books, which provide detailed spiritual instructions: “Useful Advice for the Spiritual Life”, “Guidelines for the Interior Life”, “On Interior Consolation” and “On the Blessed Sacrament”. The approach taken in the book is characterized by an emphasis on the interior life and withdrawal from the world and places great importance on devotion to the Eucharist as a key element of the spiritual life.

The “Reading Catholic Classics Together” initiative at the parish has been a success since its inception in September, according to the diocese. It guides parishioners and community members through classic Catholic spiritual texts, page by page and chapter by chapter.

The documents are also available weekly online at princeofpeace.me. From the first book, Greenleaf knew there was great interest.

“I ordered 500 books for people who wanted physical copies to read. At $5 a book to cover costs, they were gone before the last mass of the weekend even started,” Greenleaf said.

For more information or to register, visit princeofpeace.me/imitation-of-christ.

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