Thursday, February 16, 2017

With book on sex abuse, author hopes to help himself, others heal

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In the 1950s, Norbert Krapf was sexually abused -- along with scores of other boys -- by a priest of the Diocese of Evansville, Indiana, who was loved and respected by the community.
After five decades of silence, Krapf -- a retired professor, author and award-winning former Indiana Poet Laureate -- confronted the monster of his past both by outing the then-deceased priest to the bishop and, in 2012, publishing a book of poems called "Catholic Boy Blues" to help himself and other victims heal.
This year, Krapf published "Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse." In Krapf's own words, the book is a "prose memoir about the experience of writing those poems, with an emphasis on the process of my recovery from the abuse." That experience, as outlined in the book, was a journey of pain, struggles, victories and healing.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Book on parish leadership may be required reading

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No single thread connects the Catholic parishes that are vibrant and thriving in the 21st century. "There is no 'silver bullet' for doing great parish ministry in the Catholic Church today," writes William E. Simon Jr.
Still, the research that prompted him to write "Great Catholic Parishes" revealed four important characteristics of these parishes, namely that they "(1) share leadership, (2) foster spiritual maturity and plan for discipleship, (3) excel on Sundays, and (4) evangelize in intentional, structured ways."
In 2012 the book's well-known businessman author, who ran for governor of California in 2002, founded an organization called Parish Catalyst, "devoted to supporting the health and development of Catholic parishes." This book demonstrates that Simon's interests stretch well beyond the fields of politics or financial investing.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Share the faith at Christmas time

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Several new books make interesting reading for toddlers, teens and adults and deserve to be considered for Christmas gifts.
"All Shall Be Well: A Spiritual Journal for Hope and Encouragement" by Hilda St. Clair. Paraclete Press (Brewster, Massachusetts, 2016). 120 pp., $15.99.
Teenage readers and adults alike will find calm, inspired creativity and peaceful contemplation with this beautifully illustrated journal. Sixty quotes illuminated with bright watercolor are accompanied with activities to help focus the day on God. Hopeful and encouraging, the journal is a reprieve from a loud and hectic world. Ages 13 and up

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Authors offer tips for improving relations, strengthening faith in kids

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  "Keep Your Kids Catholic" is a timely book written by husband and father Marc Cardaronella, who draws from his experience of leaving behind the Catholic Church after eighth grade and on into adulthood, to assist parents with strategies that may foster the lived experience of faith in their children.
Making a case against the assembly-line religious education programs that many parents blindly trust as a guarantee that the faith will be passed on, Cardaronella shares his own experience that is quite typical of many adult "revert" Catholics who went through a program without ever experiencing a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
One thing that is perfectly clear from this book is that any hope of having children living the faith must be preceded by parents who are fully engaged in living the faith. Faith formation that seeks adult conversion in children begins with an adult conversion for the parents.

Moms’ Faith, Health Important to Kids, World

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Two new books show that if mothers take care of their health and faith, the world can be a better place.
"Divine Mercy for Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina" gives practical solutions for mothers to put into practice the Divine Mercy devotion. "The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children -- And the World" analyzes efforts to stop malnutrition at a very personal level by documenting the lives of several mothers and children in the United States, India, Guatemala and Uganda.
Although different in their nature and intended audience, both books address the value of motherhood for the spiritual and physical health of the world.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Author sees 500th anniversary of Lutheranism as a Catholic one, too

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It has been 500 years since Augustinian monk and theology professor Martin Luther set off the Protestant Reformation with his call for a debate on indulgences and other burning issues in the Catholic Church at the time. Prolific Lutheran writer Martin Marty centers his reflections on Luther's 95 theses on Christ's call to repentance, arguing that repentance formed the heart of Luther's spiritual crisis.
What might make this book challenging for many readers is the author's tracing of the history of Lutheran-Catholic rapprochement that led to a 1999 joint declaration on grace. While this topic is treated with sensitivity, it was the Catholic side that seemed to give more on the issue of grace as central to salvation.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Author Challenges Catholics to Live Church’s Social Teachings

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Stephen White is a fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. In “Red, White, Blue and Catholic” he challenges American Catholics to understand and to live out Catholic social teaching in its fullness in their daily lives and more.
In his foreword, he cites three different Catholics who made a difference in their own times and ours: St. Thomas More, Dorothy Day and Jerome Lejeune.
These three, he writes, represent the vocation of all lay Catholics to “bring peace, joy, justice and truth” to all humanity through the “sanctification of the world” and support for the family, the unborn and the poor.”
Such efforts, of course, include but transcend politics.