In 1999, Bishop Ken Untener of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw decided to create a Little Black Book, which would use the prayer tradition of Lectio Divina to help people pray the Passion of Our Lord.
On the right-hand side of the book, there would be a verse from the Passion and a reflection. Folks would be asked to spend “six minutes a day with this Little Book, letting God speak to them through this scriptural verse. The left-hand side would be like a “buffet table” with a variety of items: Catholic customs and traditions, the saint of the day, historical tidbits and other interesting information.Continue Reading
The Little Black Book debuted in 2000 as a Lenten reflection book for the bishop’s mid-Michigan diocese. Besides an English version of the book, there was also a Spanish edition, and a children’s book (Little Purple Book). Soon, however, word of the Little Books began to spread to parishes throughout Michigan and the Midwest, and the Saginaw Diocese was flooded with requests for copies of the book.
The following liturgical year, Bishop Untener added a Little Blue Book for the Advent/Christmas season, and a Little White Book for the Easter season. A couple years later, he introduced a Little Burgundy Book, a four-week undated book which looked at stewardship in light of the Gospels.
Bishop Untener also published Introductions to Sunday Scriptural Readings. The book contains a brief introduction to each of the first two Sunday readings for Cycles A, B and C. The introductions are to be read prior to each reading at liturgy to “set the stage” for the passage parishioners are about to hear.
Although Bishop Untener died in 2004, he remains the inspiration for the Little Books. His Little Books staff continue to produce Little Books each year for the Advent/Christmas, Lent and Easter seasons, based on Bishop Untener’s writings. They are also producing four Stewardship books in light of the four Gospels.
Today, more than three million books are distributed annually worldwide.