Left Coast® Monographs

How Will We Know the Way? Bread and Wine, Blessed and Shared Living Symbols, Living Faith Catholic Church Milestones Exploring Pathways to God
William Frank Smith

About William Frank Smith

William Frank (Bill) Smith has been a volunteer adult education leader and lay minister in various Roman Catholic parishes in both California and Oregon for over thirty years. After a long career in business, he retired in 2007 and with his wife, Barbara, moved from Southern California to Oregon. Bill and Barbara enjoy traveling, reading and spending time with their four children and five grandchildren. Both Barbara and Bill are active in their parish in Beaverton, Oregon—Mission of the Atonement—a unique parish that joins two Christian traditions, Roman Catholic and Lutheran, working side-by-side to make the Kingdom of God present in today’s world.

His volunteer roles in various Catholic parishes have included most every form of non-ordained ministry—most recently as a Bereavement Minister for five years before moving to Oregon—and many aspects of religious education. The educational roles have included the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program, direction of teenage Confirmation Programs, and a wide range of Bible Study programs. He has been a longtime supporter of the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Religious Education Congress (the largest annual gathering of religious educators in the United States) and has attended the Congress regularly over the past 30 years.

In 2010, Bill and Barbara celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.


Bill began his secondary and college education in the Roman Catholic Seminaries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He left the seminary part-way through college and continued his education at Los Angeles City College and the University of California majoring first in philosophy, then switching to psychology and eventually into business. He is certified in Industrial Relations Practice by UCLA; he is a Certified Internal Auditor; and, he holds a fellowship in the Life Management Institute. He has authored articles for the professional journals of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Conference Board as well as conducting seminars for both organizations.

Business Experience

During the course of his business career he held positions as an officer and/or director of both privately held and publicly owned companies, including Transamerica Life Insurance; Mattel Toys; The Harwood Companies; and, Intex Recreation Corp. He has represented his employer companies before: U. S. Congressional Committees; regulatory agencies in the United States and abroad; various administrative government departments; domestic and international industry and professional associations; and, United States’ federal and state courts where he personally managed scores of litigated matters.

In addition to his work in the United States, his business assignments included operations in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Hong Kong (S.A.R.) and China.

To learn more about Bill’s career check out his LinkedIn profile.

A Word from the Author

As a volunteer educator in a number of different Catholic parishes and in my personal experience, I have found that many adult Catholics, even those who attend Mass regularly and are fully involved in their parish, have very little knowledge of the history and teachings of their faith. On the plus side, I have also seen that when quality adult education opportunities are offered, they are well received and well attended.

But many parishes have a hard time putting together interesting high quality programs. One of the problems has always been finding good resources for such programs. There are excellent scholarly books available if you want to pursue a graduate degree program in theology. There are also simple texts if you just want one or two word answers to hard questions. Fortunately, there are also a host of excellent publications for an in depth study of specific topics, but most adults don’t have the time to spend on such study.

Whenever I was given the task of making a presentation on a topic I tried to digest knowledge from as many sources as possible, and prepare short, but comprehensive presentations. Such was the case a few years ago when I was asked to participate in a forum at our present parish church on the Eastern Catholic Churches. No one in our Catholic group (all well-educated and most long time Catholics—read “long time” as old) even knew there were such things. This led our parish’s Catholic lay leader to encourage me to write a book on the subject which eventually became Bread and Wine, Blessed and Shared which includes a major discussion on the different Eucharistic rites of both the Western and Eastern churches.

At the same time that I was writing Bread and Wine, a good friend of mine, Jack Butler, and I had both read Hans Küng’s The Catholic Church—A Short History and had planned to get together and discuss it. Unfortunately Jack died before we had the chance, so I decided to create what I hoped would be a more balanced view of church history, which eventually became Catholic Church Milestones.

When I started writing these first two books, I had no plan to publish them; indeed I had no idea what I would do with them. With some very good advice from the first readers of these two books and some generous publishers who provided excellent suggestions for improvement, these first efforts have now evolved into a series of five books that touch on most areas of faith. My goal with these books is two-fold. First, I hope they will provide easily accessible information to the individual Christian wanting to know more about his faith. Second, I wanted to provide tools for diocesan and parish Directors of Faith Formation to help them present better adult education experiences and train new catechists.

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