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.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Journey through the theological life of the retired pope

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Peter Seewald's interview of Pope Benedict, which follows from previous interviews and works including "Salt of the Earth," offers readers a journey through the theological life of the retired pope. This includes thoughts on significant individuals such as Jesuit Father Karl Rahner, Father Hans Kung and St. John Paul II.
The first part of the book highlights a world radically different from our own, that of Bavarian Catholicism in the mid-20th century. Its piety centered on family, village and Christ.
Joseph Ratzinger stepped out of this world into the seminary and then higher theological studies in Munich. He relished this world.

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.