Thursday, September 7, 2017

Honest book on prayer is compelling

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Heather King is a wonderful writer who, in "Holy Desperation," gives us a contemporary rendition of classic Catholic asceticism.
Her story -- a recovering alcoholic who gave up the practice of law to embark on a full-time vocation as a writer -- would be compelling enough as a human memoir. But what she has done in this remarkable book is more impressive. King, who entered the church in 1996, has allowed us to see the contours of her prayer life and the daily discipline that led her to a life of service.
The book begins with the prayer of desperation King uttered from the depths of 20 years of alcoholism, an acknowledgment of defeat and the utter need for God's help. The kernel of her wisdom is the recognition that "genuine spiritual awakening seems to consist in a disappearance, however temporary, of self."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Catholics should read inspiring book on Mass

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It's been a long, dry stretch since someone published a book on the Mass that is captivating, informative, inspirational and challenging.
Rooted in solid, intellectually honest, balanced scholarship, yet written in language that the average person will follow easily and enjoy, "Bored Again Catholic" is a book that will renew just about anyone's appreciation for the Mass. Indeed, it should be required reading for Catholics in general and priests in particular.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Authors help couples provide credible, effective witness to marriage

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Research on many fronts makes it clear that a healthy marriage is beneficial to both the individual couple and to the larger society.
Married couples tend to be healthier, happier and more prosperous than those not married. Husbands and wives tend to live longer with few fewer medical issues than do single men and women. The larger society promotes marriage through tax policies and other laws because of the benefits marriage brings to society.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Explore nature, poetry, saints with new children's books

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By Regina Lordan Catholic News Service
The following books are suitable for summer reading:
"How to be a Hero: Train with the Saints" by Julia Harrell, illustrated by Chad Thompson. Pauline Kids (Boston, 2017). 176 pp., $14.95.
This summer elementary-school readers can take a timeout from preparing for the next grade or athletic event, and train to become a saint by using the virtues as a guide. Organized by mini-biographies, reflections and questions, "How to be a Hero" explores the virtuous lives of St. John Paul II, St. Josephine Bakhita and St. Charbel Makhlouf among many others. The book includes discussions on the cardinal, theological and "little" virtues, and can be read daily or weekly as a part of a summer religious curriculum. Ages 9-11.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Author explores nun’s path to martyrdom

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On Thursday, Dec. 4, 1980, the bodies of four women were found in a shallow roadside grave in El Salvador. It became clear after the autopsies that two of them had been raped before being murdered. There were over 8,000 murders that year in El Salvador, but these four victims stood out because three of them were Catholic nuns, the fourth was a lay missionary and all of them were Americans.
"A Radical Faith" tells the story of the eldest victim, Sister Maura Clarke, who was a Maryknoll nun. She had been in El Salvador only four months, but she had been a missionary sister serving in Nicaragua for 20 years.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Insightful look at 'radicals' shows link between faith, social action

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Today as racism, sexism and electoral politics divide millions of Americans, the distinguished religious scholar Albert J. Raboteau offers moving accounts of seven 20th-century activists whose commitment to social justice is exemplary.
"American Prophets: Seven Religious Radicals & Their Struggle for Social and Political Justice" demonstrates how Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, A.J. Muste, Dorothy Day, Howard Thurman, Trappist Father Thomas Merton, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer all were compelled by "a deeply felt compassion for those suffering injustice."
Through their social activism, which included writing, speaking, organizing and picketing and other kinds of demonstrating, they changed Americans' views toward the wrongs inflicted by war, racism and poverty.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bishop provides incisive look at Latino experience in U.S.

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Anyone looking for a primer on the Mexican-American (and by extension, the Latino) experience in the United States should read "Power From the Margins." The author, retired Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, was born of Mexican parents in Bay City, Texas, along the Mexican border.
Bishop Ramirez blends his personal experiences as a Mexican-American with his pastor's knowledge of how Latinos have been and are contributing to U.S. secular and Catholic society. He also dissects how they think, act and survive in a secular atmosphere and church culture often alien to their understandings of society and religion.