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The Reading Café: Seton’s Online Catholic Book Club

Have you been looking for a good Catholic book club in your community only to find that there are none? Have you wanted to join a book club in the past but found that it just wasn’t possible because your responsibilities at home conflicted with the time and date of the meetings?

Perhaps you’ve even thought of starting a club in your own home, only to talk yourself out of the idea after considering all of the work that would be involved, such as cleaning the house, getting the kids out of the way, preparing food to serve, etc.

If you have answered “Yes” to any or all of the above, Seton may have just the solution for you: an online Catholic book club, or the Seton Reading Café!

As book clubs become more and more the rage in our society, creative individuals are coming up with more and more innovative ways for book lovers to be able to come together in order to do what they do best… discuss good books! Refusing to be hindered by time, place, and overall unavailability of a good book club in their own area, many now belong to online book clubs.

People are actually getting together in cyberspace in order to read a book together and then share their thoughts and perspectives about the book with group members online. The results of this creative endeavor have been phenomenal!

At Seton, we have decided that since this online endeavor is meeting with tremendous success in the secular world, why not attempt to do the same for the Kingdom of God? We are thinking of creating an exclusive Seton online book club called The Reading Café to be facilitated by yours truly. I’ve been facilitating book clubs in my living room for quite some time now, as it’s something that I really enjoy. To me, there is nothing more enjoyable or mentally and spiritually stimulating than getting together with other Catholics in order to discuss good Catholic books and how the material contained within those books can relate to our lives and change us for God’s glory.

The purpose of this article is to simply throw the idea out to the readers in order to get an idea as to how many would be interested in participating if Seton makes this online book club available. At the end of this article, you will be given an opportunity to vote YES or NO as to whether or not you would be interested in participating in such a group.

The way that I would like to do this is as follows:

1. Assign a Book

A book will be assigned to the group. (The books that work out very well in Catholic book clubs are usually books about Saints or Catholic classics, such as The Imitation of Christ, etc.) However, this does not mean that every book will fall under these two categories.

2.Time to Buy

Those who wish to be a part of The Reading Café will have two weeks to purchase the book.

3. Save the Date

Once the book is assigned, a date for our first meeting in the Seton cyber living room will be set.

4. Once a Week

Because this is an online group, I would like the meetings to take place once a week, not once a month. In this way, the material contained in the book will remain fresh in our minds as we read the book together chapter by chapter. Because most of us are extremely busy, my plan is to simply assign one chapter per week. A chapter a week is nothing overwhelming; it’s something that all of us, no matter how busy we are, can pretty much handle.

5. Journaling Prompts

With each chapter assigned, I will provide reflection questions and what I call journaling prompts that pertain to the specific chapter. When we meet together the following week, we will share with each other the insights that we have gained after reading the assigned chapter. What did we come away with most? In what way did God speak to us through this particular chapter? Did we see God challenging us in certain areas of our own lives as a result of what we read?

6. Assign a New Chapter

After we’ve had our discussion, the next chapter will be assigned, accompanied by another set of reflection questions and journaling prompts.

Spiritual reading is not like secular reading. When we sit down to read a spiritual book, we must slow down and think — really think — about what God is saying to us through the material that is being read. If there’s anything the devil loves, it’s a speed-reader!

Our goal at The Reading Café is not to zip through a book. Rather, we will read each chapter slowly and thoughtfully. We will take our time. Only when we read in this particular manner will we be open to the Holy Spirit and His particular message to each of us individually. When we read anything too quickly, without taking the time to absorb, digest, and most of all meditate on what we’ve read in the presence of God, we will completely miss out on whatever it is that the Holy Spirit desires to teach us.

The benefit of coming together in order to discuss good spiritual books is that in so doing, we are able to receive insights from others that may not have even come to us when we were reading the book. Also, it’s a great way to minister to one another and to read books that we would not have read otherwise.

So, there it is, dear reader: we would like to provide an online book club for you here on, but we will go ahead with it only if there is sufficient interest on the part of those who regularly visit this site.

Will you take a minute to vote on this?

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About Lorraine Espenhain

Born in Philadelphia, PA, Lorraine now lives in New Mexico. She is a wife, homeschooling mother, religious instructor, and freelance writer with 200+ articles on She also has her own children’s column at Agua Viva, her diocesan newspaper. Meet Lorraine
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