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Welcome! During this Year of Mercy (December 8, 2015-November 20, 2016) Pope Francis has asked us to use Dante’s Divine Comedy as a “spiritual guide.” Knowing how intimidating this project sounds, the Department of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Diocese of Rochester has put together a reading plan along with a group of theologians, literary scholars, and other lovers of Dante’s work to help us all mine the riches from one whom Pope Benedict XV called “the most eloquent singer of the Christian idea.”

The concept is simple. There are 100 cantos in the Divine Comedy, 33 for each book (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) with an introductory Canto in Inferno. By reading about 2 cantos a week we will be able to read the entire work over the course of the Year of Mercy. A new post will appear on the blog each Monday and Thursday (with a little adjustment over Christmas and Easter) so that each canto is accompanied with a little additional background information and reflection.

The most current reflection will be available at the top of the homepage. Older canto reflections can be found on the All Entries page and in the page for the appropriate book.

While this blog is edited and maintained by the E&C staff of the Diocese of Rochester, it is a collaborative effort with our brothers and sisters in Faith around the country. Contributors include priests, professors, and students from near and far. Should you be interested in more information about who is contributing please see the Contributors page.

There are several translations of the Divine Comedy, some of which are available for free. The E&C staff will be reading the Anthony Esolen translation, which is a more modern and readable, though still beautiful, translation, and which can purchased in 3 volumes for a total cost of about $30. The Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander translation for free online at the Princeton Dante Project (2.0) while Allen Mandelbaum’s translation can be found at World of Dante, which also has some other interesting resources.  There is a Kindle version of John Ciardi’s translation which includes the whole Divine Comedy in one single volume as well as a free audio version of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s translation available on LibriVox.

Comments are on, though moderated, so feel free to share any insights you have while reading along. We’d love to have you join the conversation!