Two recent books are remarkable works that address two different approaches to coming to the Catholic faith. “Atheist to Catholic: Stories of Conversion” (Servant Books), edited by Rebecca Vitz Cherico, recounts stories of 11 former confirmed atheists and their journey to conversion. In detailing the spiritual conversions of these varied individuals, the book explores the process of conversion from the point of view of an atheist's journey which includes philosophical skepticism, personal incredulity, feelings of disdain for God and religion and finally an inquisitive desire for the religious experience, often exemplified through others who are part of the personal or professional lives of the atheist.Throughout the book, there are numerous examples of how the journey from atheist to Catholic believer can begin with something quite ordinary, such as a retreat by a college student, an explanation of why one person attends daily Mass or even the invitation of a child to join in a period of prayer and reflection. These simple activities provide the catalysts that stir up the 11 atheists into exploring a world of religious faith — a journey on which they never imagined they would embark.Most of the individuals portrayed in the book begin the journey from atheism toward Catholic beliefs in an epistemological and rational process that tries to rationalize their personal apprehensions towards any form of organized faith and religions. However, the people they encounter show the nonbelievers through their living examples of Catholic faith the fulfilling and rewarding effects that come about in their lives as a result of their Catholic faith.In "Why Stay Catholic?" (Loyola Press), Michael Leach takes the opportunity to celebrate people, places and ideas that inspire Catholics to remain steadfast in their faith.Both books should be part of the reading material for any Catholic who wants to enrich his or her own appreciation of the faith.His book is a delightfully refreshing work that accentuates the positive reasons Catholics should consider as the foundation for their religious beliefs in the church. Leach utilizes personal experiences and real-life examples to illustrate the positive influences the Catholic faith bestows on its believers whether they are cradle Catholics or converts to the faith.The book is an uplifting and often witty appraisal of the state of Catholic Church activities and affairs that allows the reader to anticipate a great renewal of religious fervor and participation despite the often disturbing news regarding scandals, parish closings and other negative events that often greet Catholics in the pews every Sunday. Leach offers the Catholic reader great hope and promise in a Catholic faith that despite human shortcomings truly is a divinely guided and Holy Spirit inspired source of communal celebration through the church's sacramental life.One of the most striking points in the book is the deep appreciation for spirituality as part of the church's long theological heritage. The book's author has spirituality as the underlying current to every chapter and offers antidotes that benefit every Catholic's particular situation in life. Cradle Catholics, wounded Catholics and even former Catholics will appreciate the invitational call of the author that demands that we all reconsider in a deeply spiritual and realistic manner the positive graces the Catholic Church holds for its children."Why Stay Catholic?" is not a book that examines Catholicism on a merely superficial level. Leach requests that the reader seek the true spiritual beauty of the Catholic Church, not in a nostalgic and saccharine manner of glorifying the Catholic Church of the past; but celebrating the Catholic Church of the present while joyfully anticipating the church's strong future.Both books should be part of the reading material for any Catholic who wants to enrich his or her own appreciation of the faith. They also present great examples for individuals contemplating a personal conversion to Catholicism. Both perspectives are explored, one as a nonbeliever and the other from the perspective of a Catholic in need of personal reassurance. Regardless of where readers stand in their faith perspectives, these books are delightfully refreshing and offer a deep appreciation of what it means to seek a deeper appreciation of one's personal encounter with faith, the Catholic Church and ultimately with God.—CNSHugh J. McNichol is a Catholic theologian and historian. He lives in Wilmington, Del., and writes for multiple Catholic media outlets.