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The Library’s Latest

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Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulfiller is not what I usually review during Advent. It, however,  is the kind of book you will want to read and also give as a gift to your special friends. It is part autobiographical, part practical advise and encouragement for both fervent and lukewarm Catholics. It is funny, it is serious, it is heartwarming. Jennifer was raised as an atheist and enjoyed the life of the privileged that money, education and an Ivy League husband can offer. After discovering that Christianity gave the answers to questions of good and evil and life and death she converted to Catholicism. Shortly after this, however, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease that contradicted her faith. Read how this tested her faith and was resolved. She is a popular writer in many Catholic publications and chronicles her experiences of faith and family life on her blog, ConversionDiary.com. A great Christmas present.

Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI Emeritus, would be a beautiful book to give or receive. It is published by Magnificat in all that magazine’s glorious artistic style.  Each entry contains two small miniature religious pictures pertinent for the date or the writing. The daily meditations are from the most recent writings and addresses of Pope Benedict while he was Pope.They are one page long and are inspiring and instructive.  The book has several other features of a keepsake volume.  The book stays open easily. It is a comfortable size for holding and it has an attached gold ribbon for keeping your place. These are short but powerful meditations.

Ignatius Press has released a new DVD series called Religious Mysteries. Each DVD investigates intriguing mysteries connected with apparitions and history of Popes, saints and holy places. Volume one explores the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes, the holiness of St. Bernadette, the secret that made her such a great saint and the reality of her incorrupt body. It tells the story of the deep relationship between St. Pope John Paul II and St. Faustian Kowalski. Even though these two never met their stories are profoundly connected. On the third part of the DVD, the legend and mystery of the Ark of the Covent is explored. Did you know that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon is reported to have carried the Ark to Ethiopia? These and other mysteries await you in viewing this DVD.

The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin; On Self-Accusation is a series of profound meditations by Pope Francis when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aries. As Cardinal he gives an inspiring introduction to the path of humility needed to form true Christian Communities. He reflects on the connection between sin and corruption and how pride and self-sufficiency lead from one to the other. In short, pride is the problem: humility is the solution. Drawing on Scripture and writings on the teaching of Christ, these powerful insights offer simple and practical wisdom. In these texts on humility, honesty and simplicity, one sees the roots of the prevailing themes of Pope Francis’ pontificate.

Last year we reviewed the DVD on the life of Fr. Emil Kapaun.  The library now has the book on his life, The Miracle of Father Kapaun.  Fr Kapaun was born in Kansas and became a priest for the Diocese of Wichita Kansas. Early in his priesthood he joined the ranks of military priests. He served during the Korean War. Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying relate his heroism and self-sacrifice during his imprisonment during the Korean War. He risked cruel punishment for saying Mass, anointing the dying soldiers and sharing his meager rations with other prisoners. His bravery and trust in God gave others hope and courage to survive.  He died from the harsh conditions but is remembered by all to whom he ministered.  President Obama last year awarded him the Purple Heart for bravery.  His cause for beautification is now before the Vatican Tribunal.

The novel, The Cypresses Believe in God by Jose Maria Gironella is only for readers who love history, mystery, intrigue and strong characters.  Yes, it is long, but well worth the time of pure enjoyment, escape and insight into the lives of the characters, their feelings and beliefs.   It is considered a classic similar to Pasternak’s, Doctor Zhivago. It tells the story of the movements and personalities that led to the Spanish Civil War.  Marxist ideas under the guise of socialism were spreading outside Russia, Germany, France and Italy. Spain and the Catholic Church became a prime target for promoting these atheistic beliefs. The Socialists’ tactics were the takeover of the Monarchy and formation of a new government.  This civil war was a prefigurement of World War II.  It is now recognized that reporting on this war was neglected by the American media because of the Catholicism of Spain.

Some of you have enjoyed and appreciated YOUCAT, the youth Catechism, based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Credo is a DVD that in 15, five minute segments explains the faith and is a good vehicle to accompany YOUCAT.  It includes a useful guide for parents and teachers. Both DVD and guide are in English and Spanish. Reminder, YOUCAT, is also in Spanish in the library.

There have been many movies about Saint Joan of Arc and the library has a fair collection but our latest is very special.  In it, leading researchers and historians of the saint show her as a vibrant courageous, level headed young lady who loved God first and her country next.  Doing the will of God gave her the strength to fight but in an honorable way. In warfare she believed in praying for not only her troops but those of the enemy.  She made sure all involved in combat were administered the sacraments. The DVD Saint Joan of Arc: Maid of God is labeled a docudrama, but it is so well presented you think the saint is alive and talking to you.  The discussions by the researchers lend credibility and accentuate the depth of this saint’s faith and trust in God.

Anyone who has been to Ireland or dreams of going there will appreciate the DVD, A Shine of Rainbows. The setting is the northern coast of this country with its rough seas, lush green terrain, beautiful clear blue skies and unexplored coastal caves.  The plot centers on an orphaned child who brings hope to a family. The real message, however, is how sacrificial love brings reconciliation even human through loss and loneliness. As Roger Ebert writing in the Chicago Sun-Times says “This is a feel-good movie”. Good family entertainment. Might need the tissues for this one.

Susan Boyle became an international sensation as a singer when she won a talent contest in England in 2009.  She has made four musical albums since then.  The library has two of them, Someone to Watch Over Me and Standing Ovation.  On these she sings favorites such as “Send in the Clown” and “ Autumn Leaves”. More could be said about Miss Boyle’s beautiful voice but listening to her rendition of the songs says it best. Come and listen for yourself.

My, are you in for a treat with this DVD set, Where Did The Bible Come From? It is amazing how much information and history are packed into these three 45 minute DVDs. You will come to better appreciate the dedication of the Church in identifying and compiling the books of Sacred Scripture.  You will have a clearer answer to the long standing accusations: Catholics don’t reverence the Bible; it is the non-Catholics who preserved and taught it for us; it is Scripture (Sola Scriptura) only, not the Church that saves us. This DVD engagingly explains the clear labor of the many Catholic saints, early church fathers and popes who worked so carefully and diligently to preserve the Word of God.  This DVD is guaranteed to help you and your family love and appreciate the tireless work of the Catholic Church .You can also check out the accompanying booklet.

How many of us postpone going to confession.  We have all the excuses.  It is at an inconvenient time. I don’t have any bad sins to confess. The church doesn’t emphasize it much. Going to confession during Lent and Advent when the parish offers it in a formal service  is enough. I hate telling the priests my sins.  What will he think of me. I always have the same old sins to confess, nothing changes. Or my sins are so bad the priest is really going to give it to me. Well, if you read Vinny Flynn’s, 7 Secrets of Confession you will not only WANT to go confession you will RUN there.   Flynn shows us the beauty of this sacrament and how it is an encounter with the Trinity.  Flynn does not give us a list of things on which to examine our conscience; instead he tells of God”s love and all the graces and mercy He bestows on us in an extra special in this sacrament. Truly this sacrament is a real love feast for us from God. Trust me, you’ll want to experience this after reading this book.

Which of us has not struggled with an over abundance of activities and too little time for them? The challenges of friends ,family, work,and associated problems seem overwhelming.  We long for peace in our lives but can’t seem to find it.  Peggie O’Neill, a  wife for 54 years, a mother of six boys, cancer survivor for 20 years and founder of a consulting firm, knew what stress was. In her book, written with one of her daughter-in-laws, she explains her way of coping. She calls it: Juggle without Struggle: Five Secrets, Four Weeks, Nine Minutes to Inner Peace. This is anything but your usual self-help book. It reads like a novel. We can easily identity with the characters, their foibles, failures and growth. Even if your life is fairly stress free you can gain much insight into the beauty of living and the blessings we have for just being alive.

Unconditional is one of those movies you will long remember. It is based on a true story of the murder of a children’s illustrator’s husband and the unpredictable events that follow.  In her search for the murderer, the artist goes to the “projects” neighborhood  and there meets people who are as suspicious of white people as she is of black people.  Unexpectedly she fines the suspect but must accept the fact that he was as noble as her husband.  She also meets people, although poor, who have their own dignity and moral sense of right and wrong. They too learn that middle class people have integrity.  This movie is a beautiful example of self sacrifice and the true dignity of the human person.  This is good mystery with equal amounts of suspense and pathos.

Rob Decker was big city sports agent who loved the good life that his very large salary afforded him. Amassing wealth was his only goal in life. During a trip to recruit a new super high school baseball player he is confronted with his worldly values and the meaning of true happiness. Check out the DVD Ring the Bell and see how the life style of a small town baseball player and his family forced Decker to examine his own life style and value system. Good family viewing.

There are many books written about forgiveness: how we offer it and how we receive it.  The library has several on the subject but the latest one, Set Free: the Authentic Catholic Woman’s Guide to Forgiveness, by Genevieve Kineke, is one of the better to be published in a long time. Recognizing that the capacity to love is one of the most beautiful attribute of women, Kineke explains how this becomes a strength for women. It leads to peace as it teaches both the forgiver and the one being forgiven. Kineke says, “ Once women see the grace and freedom inherent in forgiveness, their natural response to injury gives way to the transforming power of God’s grace.”

Former Pentecostal Pastor Alex Jones in his forceful preaching style gives us three powerful talks on the splendor of the Catholic Faith in his CDs set, A More Perfect Way.  He shows the mystery of suffering in “Trail of Thorn”; God’s love and forgiveness in “The Kiss of Reconciliation” and the beauty and power of the Sacraments in “A More Perfect Way.” This is inspiring listening for people of all faiths.

Olivia’s Gift is the sequel to Nancy Belanger’s Olivia and the Little Way. In this novel we see the adventures of Olivia and her friend Hayley at the beach home of Olivia’s aunt and uncle.  Again Olivia relies on the wisdom of her favorite saint, Therese of Lisieux, to help her in the challenges she faces as a young teen. Readable, delightful, believable and inspiring.

Pray for Me: the Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis is the first book about our new Pope, Francis added to the library collection. Robert Moynihan, regarded as one of the world’s leading analyst on Vatican affairs introduces the new Pope by first describing his beginning weeks in the Vatican.  We gain an understanding of the warmth and welcoming personality of Pope Francis as he relates to his peers, the press and the public at large. Moynihan then discuses the Holy Father’s family and clerical life in Buenos Aires and then Rome.  He talks of his prayer life, spiritual guides and his work as a Jesuit. In the last and perhaps the most interesting part of the book, we read Pope Francis in his own words. Suffering, religion, the future, justice, modernity, youth, freedom are just a few of the topics in which we see the spiritual insights and depth this new Pope brings to our Church and the world.

The unique arrangement of The Fathers Know Best : Your Essential Guide to the Teaching of the Early Church by Jimmy Akin makes not only information about lives of the early Fathers ,but also their sayings on various topics easy to understand and access. Using, maps, mini-biographies, 900 quotes from their writings, their moral teaching on nearly 50 topics, and 30 ancient heresies, the book is a practical resource and guide while also being a good read.

Thanks to the generous donation of a patron, the library has the three DVD set, The Best of Catholic Answers Live.  The set contains 47 responses to the most frequently asked questions by listeners of this very popular Catholic radio show. Apologists, Tim Staple, Jimmy Akin, and Stephen Ray give clear, concise answers that help defend and explain the faith. This is particularly helpful in discussing the teaching of the faith to non-Catholics.

Winner of the 30 best documentary films of 2010, The Human Experience, will touch your heart and mind. As the blurp on the cover says:  “By spotlighting heartwarming stories from around the world, this uplifting documentary shows viewers that every person, no matter his or her lot in life, is beautiful.”  A group of young men from difficult life experiences endeavor to understand the true essence of the human spirit by visiting forgotten souls such as homeless NewYorkers, Peruvian orphans and isolated Ghanain lepers. Hauntlying beautiful and profoundly moving.

In The Eucharist and the Rosary, Matt Swain, connects the mysteries of the rosary as they relate to the holy sacrifice of the Mass. As a convert to Catholicism, Swain offers the beautiful meditations as we view the Mass through the lens of the Rosary.

We have all heard the saying if you want God to laugh tell Him “your“ plans. No doubt God smiled when Dolores Hart, a young beautiful talented college student, decided to become a Hollywood star. In 1957 she had her major break as the leading lady in Loving You with Elvis Presley. She starred in ten other major motion picture productions and was engaged to be married to a wonderful man. The world of success, fame and riches were hers. What more could she want? Read in her biography, The Ear of the Heart: Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows, how instead she chose to become a bride of Christ and a contemplative nun. In this truly inspiring and adventurous love story, she writes that listening and following God’s plans brought her true happiness and the fulfillment of all her dreams. Isn’t this always true, though, when we listen and follow God?

The Little Flower: The Story of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus by Mary Fabian Windeatt is a children’s classic on the life and spirituality of this beloved saint. Engagingly written but always true to the facts and incidences, Windeatt offers children a beautiful model for practical holiness in today’s world.  This would make a wonderful birthday or First Communion gift.

On Easter Day in the Morning, by Vicki Howie and Ayres Honor, is the perfect way to introduce children to the first Easter. Beautifully illustrated and simply told, the story will help children understand the importance, relationship and truth of both the cross and Resurrection in their lives.

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, is ready to be checked out in the library.  As the Pope, seeks to answer, in this second volume of his life of Christ “how do we encounter the decisive sayings and events of Jesus’ life.?” And states “I hope that I have been granted an insight into the figure of our Lord that can be helpful to all readers who seek to encounter Jesus and to believe in him.”

Last Sunday in his homily, Deacon Dan spoke of John Newton, the man who wrote Amazing Grace. The library has a very inspiring film of his life. Newton is not only remembered for this hymn but also his work in the British Parliament in the1800s to stop racial segregation. His was a life of courage and integrity. When you check it out just look in the biography section or ask for Amazing Grace.

Saints for Dummies, by Frs. Trigilio and Brightness, gives us practical information on both the well-known and not-so-well known saints.  We discover what they are best known for, what they did to achieve sainthood and how we can pray for their help. In addition we learn about relics, popular shrines and pilgrimages.

Reverend Alex Jones was a Pentecostal Pastor who began to study the early Church Fathers and decided he had to make his Sunday services more liturgical.  What happened is an incredible story of faith and courage. Reverend Jones found the teaching of the Fathers and beauty of the liturgy based on a true understanding of Scripture meant the Catholic Church was the one true Church founded by Christ and where he belonged.  See how not only Mr. Jones but most of his Protestant congregation followed him into the Church on Easter Sunday 2001. You will not forget his story as he related it on the DVD No Price Too High

Are you looking for an inspiring book for the young teen in your life or a good read for yourself ?  Olivia and the Little Way is beautiful story of a young girl who must face the challenges of a new school and friends.  Learn how to her surprise St. Therese becomes her best friend and Therese’s Little Way a practical guide in understanding herself and others.  Well written and inspiring but not “preachy”.

A generation as passed since the publication of a Catholic Bible Dictionary. Much new scholarship has occurred since then. The library is privileged to have accessioned the latest Catholic Bible Dictionary. Several features of this new dictionary are: a complete outline and explanation of all the books in the Old and New Testament; “social conditions and traditions of everyday life in ancient Israel-from marriage and religious festivals to music, money and food; civilizations that influenced events recorded in the Bible–Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome”. It also includes key archaeological sites and finds.This is a great asset to Scripture study groups and individuals who have questions about person, places and things related to the Bible. It is makes for interesting browsing on a cloudy winter day or when playing Bible scrabble or Trivia.

If you are looking for a good quick suspense, fantasy story then Leo Madigan’s, The Weka-feather Cloak: A New Zealand Fantasy is for you. The setting is the striking location of the recent Lord of the Rings movie.While the characters are fictitious, personalities such as Julian of Norwich, Giovanni ad Frisole the artist,(Fra Angelico), Zanobi Strozzi, the Emissary of the King of Edessa, the Turkish Pashas and Sultans have been respectfully borrowed from history and replaced. Don’t be surprised if you stay up late to finish it.

We are all familiar with priests attributing their vocation to the prayers of their mothers. Have you heard of the priest who was a professed atheist but says the prayers of his loving wife during their marriage and after her death led to his conversion and vocation to the priesthood?  Felix Leseur read the diary of his wife after her untimely death. In it he discovered she offered the torment he and his friends caused her by their publicly mocking her Catholicism. She quietly offered this and her own lengthy physical sufferings for his conversion.  Felix relates this in My Spirit Rejoices.  You can also read a brief biography of Elisabeth in Real Women Real Saints, by Gina Loehr. You will learn that God calls and needs all kinds of men to be priests in his vineyard. Fr. Felix is a good example of a late vocation and the positive example of the power of prayer and suffering.

Jacob’s Ladder: 10 Steps to Truth is Peter Kreeft’s latest book. Kreeft asks what he believes are the ten most important questions everyone should ask. He uses wit and insight in a dialogue between two persons to demonstrate that the answers can lead to ultimate truth. We can discover this though reason not just faith.  See why Patrick Madrid, author of Where Is that in the Bible?, calls Kreeft our generations C. S. Lewis.

In A Long Way from Welcome: A Mystery in Paris, the author, Echo Lewis tells us:  Cities scare Maggie McGilligan (the main character), so does change.  And yet unbelievably, she finds herself not only in the midst of great change as her widowed mother remarries, but also spending her summer vacation in Paris, France, instead of her beloved town of Welcome, Indiana. New friends, new adventures and new answers to mysterious happenings in both Welcome and Paris unfold for her as she catches the rhythm of life happening …a long way from Welcome.  Not only a good mystery but great descriptions of Paris and its surroundings.

We all know the power of St. Monica’s prayer for her worldly son, Augustine. Come listen to a modern day priest’s tribute to his saintly mother. From the time of his birth, when she dedicated him to Our Lady, to her very painful death of a rare cancer she prayed  constantly for him.  Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea was not just known as a man of the world with lavish possessions he was also well known in the world of drug dealers, mobsters and other unseemly persons. He always stayed close to his mother and she never stopped believing that one day he would be a priest.  On the CD Power of a Mother’s Prayer hear Fr. Reylea’s story of how her prayers and God’s grace helped him overcame his sordid life.This is a story of hope for all parents.

Many parents would love to leave words of wisdom for their children but seem never get to it.  Children often don’t appreciate what their parents have tried to tell them until it is too late. Peter Kreeft, one of our patrons’ favorite authors, has written the jewel of a little book that conveys much of the wisdom we all want to share with our children.  Here is an example of one of the 162 short “letters” he has written to his children In Before I Go: Letters to Our Children about What Really Matters: How to Be Wiser, Happier and Better in Seven Minutes: Count Your Blessings by thanking God. then tell Him how grateful you are for the following seven things.

1. one specific, concrete thing in the world

2. one specific, concrete thing in your life

3. one specific event in the world

4. one specific event in your life

5. one specific person in the world

6. one specific person in your life

7. one attribute, aspect or deed of God Himself    Results guaranteed. Page 158

The editors of Our Sunday Visitor press asked the question how do Catholic parents talk to their children about staying Catholic without sounding preachy.  To answer their question they asked ten prominent writers for their responses. The topics the writers discussed were: Being Catholic; Jesus; The Mass; The Eucharist; Reconciliation; Confirmation; Mary; Prayer; Death and Dying. Based on Scripture, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and magisterial teachings, the writers present basic information concerning each topic.  Then they offer a simulated conversation between the youth and the parent. This concludes with a section called ”Actions Speak Louder than Words.”  How to Talk to Your Children about Being Catholic is practical not only for parents but grandparents and teachers.

What nicer way to spend the time after the holidays than with a good novel? Do No Harm by Fiorella De Maria is set in today’s London. The plot involves the moral dilemma an emergency doctor faces. The concerns are contemporary and solutions made complex by government regulations.  Many persons’ lives are effected by one decision. There is intrigue, mystery and pathos and much to ponder in the story.

We are all familiar with priests attributing their vocation to the prayers of their mothers. Have you heard of the priest who was a professed atheist but says the prayers of his loving wife during their marriage and after her death led to his conversion and vocation to the priesthood?  Felix Leseur read the diary of his wife after her untimely death. In it he discovered she offered the torment he and his friends caused her by their publicly mocking her Catholicism. She quietly offered this and her own lengthy physical sufferings for his conversion.  Felix relates this in The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur.  You can also read a brief biography of Elisabeth in Real Women Real Saints, by Gina Loehr. You will learn that God calls and needs all kinds of men to be priests in his vineyard. Fr. Felix is a good example of a late vocation and the positive example of the power of prayer and suffering.

The Christmas season begins not ends with December 25.  To continue the celebration why not enjoy the album, A Holy Night and a Merry Christmas, by Collin Raye and Andrea Thomas.  This is a double treat because it includes both a CD of their songs and their live performance captured on DVD. You will appreciate the joy in their hearts and clarity of their voices. Check out why their music is so popular. This is a musical way to continue the real spirit of Christmas.

What would Christmas be without a lovely children’s story about the adventures or misadventures of a Christmas mouse?  Stephanie Jeffs and Jenny Thorne have written just such a story, The Christmas Mouse. You will feel the wonder and awe this little gray creature experiences when he realizes his adventures have led him to witnessing the Holy Family on the first Christmas. As the shepherds come to worship the Infant, he, too, bows his head. Like the angels he joyfully sings and so will you, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.”

In the Christmas season the Church teaches us the awe inspiring fact that God became Man.  It is a wonderful time to remind of us the infancy of Christ and the lives of his Mother and foster father, Joseph. It is a great time to enjoy beautiful children’s books related to these holy events.  For the Sundays of Advent this column will review some of these. Please remember, good children’s literature can be appreciated not only by the young but the young in heart.  The first book we recommend is 24 Christmas Stories to Welcome Jesus, published by Magnificat. These great stories, one for each day before Christmas, are appropriate for middle school children to read or for parents or grandparents to read to their children of grandchildren. Some stories retell old tales such as the “the First Living Nativity Scene” and some explain unusual situations that could occur during this season such as “A Nurse Like No Other.” A treasure of a book that could start a tradition by being read every Advent.

During the Advent Season we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. Did you ever marvel that Mary appeared as a pregnant maiden during the same month the Church celebrates the birth of Christ? In the richly illustrated book The Beautiful Lady, Grandmother Lupita tells Rose and her friend, Terri, the story of Juan Diego and his quest to convince his bishop of a message from a beautiful lady. We listen as Grandmother tells how roses bloomed in winter and these fell from Juan Diego’s tilma when he greeted the Bishop.  An image of the “Beautiful Lady” was also miraculously imprinted on his tilma.  Since 1531, this tilma has been on display in Mexico City. This is a beautiful way to introduce children to Our Lady of Guadalupe ,the patron of the Americas.

Can you imagine what it was like to be a lay Catholic or priest in England in the 16th century when the King banned the practice of Catholicism and publicly executed all violators.  John Gerard, a Jesuit, tells the various disguises he used as he secretly ministered to the faithful Catholics. He and his faithful were in constant danger of being discovered. The houses in which he found shelter were frequently raided by “priest hunters.” Priest-holes, hide-outs, and hair-breath escapes were part of his daily life. He was captured, tortured and thrown into the infamous Tower of London. His escape is a daring climax to a true story. The power and truth of this story far exceed any fiction. This priest’s life is a beautiful testimony of the unbelievable hardships one priest was willing to undertake selflessly to bring the Faith to others.  The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest is the story of a life you won’t forget.

With the holy season of the birth of Christ approaching what better way to prepare than with beautiful sacred music. The CD, Angel and Saints, recorded by the Benedictine Nuns from Missouri is the perfect choice. Like their other CD, which the library has, it ,too, is breaking previous sales records for religious music. In Angels and Saints at Ephesus we are introduced to some lovely but unfamiliar songs such as “Dear Angel Ever at My Side,” “Lorica of St. Patrick ,“ and some familiar ones like “A Rose Unrelated” and “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent”.  After listening to these clear beautiful voices you will understand why they are so highly acclaimed. You might even want to own or give one as a gift.

Many homes and most libraries have books on etiquette. Ours has one, Everyday Graces: A Child’s Book of Good Manners.  It is very unique because it teaches kindness and manners through family stories, poems and sayings.  Instead of preaching it shows how children (and adults) should behave at home, at the table, school, sports, church, weddings, funerals. The author, Karen Santorum, who is one of twelve children and mother of seven, shows the importance of using words wisely, washing and dressing appropriately, appreciating persons with disabilities, caring for the elderly and sick, being kind to animals, respecting our country, and getting along with others.

The Library has two very popular volumes of Fr. Joseph Esper’s books, Saintly Solutions for Every Problems. We recently accessioned a five DVD set where Fr. Esper discusses many of the saints, their problems and solutions found in these books. Some of the topics he addresses in his quiet, calm manner are:“Difficult Relationships”, “Guilt and Deep Regret”, “Financial Woes”, “Disappointment and Failure”, “ Anxiety and Fear”. Hear from him how the saints faced situations much as ours today. Learn how their prayerfully guided solutions helped them turn away from bleakness and despair and become saints.

We all know the power of St. Monica’s prayer for her worldly son, Augustine. Come listen to a modern day priest’s tribute to his saintly mother. From the time of his birth, when she dedicated him to Our Lady, to her very painful death of a rare cancer she prayed constantly for him.  Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea was not just known as a man of the world with lavish possessions he was also well known in the world of drug dealers, mobsters and other unseemly persons. He always stayed close to his mother and she never stopped believing that one day he would be a priest.  On the CD Power of a Mother’s Prayer hear Fr. Reylea’s story of how her prayers and God’s grace helped him overcame his sordid life. This is a story of hope for all parents.

Many of us have questions about spiritual direction in our life.  What exactly is it?  What is its value? Daniel Burke’s book, Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, offers more than answers to these questions. It is written for those beginning the process of spiritual direction, veterans of spiritual direction or those struggling outside of spiritual direction. Burke discusses the value of a spiritual director, how to select one and what to do if you are unable to find one.  One of the book’s most useful section is a survey to assist persons in knowing where they are on their spiritual journey, how to set reasonable goals and how to proceed. The aim of spiritual direction is always to assist in deepening our relationship with God.  Burke further explains that a good spiritual director is a valuable aid in this process.

The popular media today report that the majority of Catholic women believe the same as the general population on questions of morality. Helen Alvare a professor of law at George Washington University questioned these findings. She and Kin Daniels co-authored an open letter to women on religion and freedom. They sent this to a few dozen friends and colleagues who shared it with other women. In less than a month over 30,000 women replied with their opinions. You might be surprised by how these women explained their struggles with the church’s teaching and their personal  conclusions regarding feminism, contraception, abortion, children, and careers. Read these in Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves.

Which of us has not struggled with an over abundance of activities and too little time for them? The challenges of friends ,family, work,and associated problems seem overwhelming.  We long for peace in our lives but can’t seem to find it.  Peggie O’Neill, a  wife for 54 years, a mother of six boys, cancer survivor for 20 years and founder of a consulting firm, knew what stress was. In her book, written with one of her daughter-in-laws, she explains her way of coping. She calls it: Juggle without Struggle: Five Secrets, Four Weeks, Nine Minutes to Inner Peace. This is anything but your usual self-help book. It reads like a novel. We can easily identity with the characters, their foibles, failures and growth. Even if your life is fairly stress free you can gain much insight into the beauty of living and the blessings we have for just being alive.

Brother Andre Bessette (1845-1937)who is the Canadian saint best known for his devotion to Saint Joseph.  As one of 10 children who lost his parents at the age of 12 Saint Andre had to make a living for himself.  This he did first in the United States working at menial jobs and textile mills.  At the age of 30 he returned to Montreal and three years later was accepted as a religious Brother in the Congregation of Holy Cross. He spent most of the rest of his life as a porter.  In this task people shared with him their sufferings and he counseled them to pray to Saint Joseph. Many were cured through the intercession of these prayers.  Soon a small chapel was built to St. Joseph, later a larger one and finally the largest Basilica’s in honor of St. Joseph in the world. Today thousands of persons come each year to pray to St. Joseph and honor the memory of this humble priest who did much to comfort the ill and show them the glory of St. Joseph. You can view St Andre’s life on the DVD Brother Andre and see the beautiful Basilica of Saint Joseph in Montreal, Canada.

There are many books written about forgiveness: how we offer it and how we receive it.  The library has several on the subject but the latest one, Set Free: the Authentic Catholic Woman’s Guide to Forgiveness, by Genevieve Kineke, is one of the better to be published in a long time. Recognizing that the capacity to love is one of the most beautiful attribute of women, Kineke explains how this becomes a strength for women. It leads to peace as it teaches both the forgiver and the one being forgiven. Kineke says, “ Once women see the grace and freedom inherent in forgiveness, their natural response to injury gives way to the transforming power of God’s grace.”

Pray for Me: the Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis is the first book about our new Pope, Francis added to the library collection. Robert Moynihan, regarded as one of the world’s leading analyst on Vatican affairs introduces the new Pope by first describing his beginning weeks in the Vatican.  We gain an understanding of the warmth and welcoming personality of Pope Francis as he relates to his peers, the press and the public at large. Moynihan then discuses the Holy Father’s family and clerical life in Buenos Aires and then Rome.  He talks of his prayer life, spiritual guides and his work as a Jesuit. In the last and perhaps the most interesting part of the book, we read Pope Francis in his own words. Suffering, religion, the future, justice, modernity, youth, freedom are just a few of the topics in which we see the spiritual insights and depth this new Pope brings to our Church and the world.

The theologian, Fr. Robert Spitzer, S. J., offers profound insights in the current topic of atheism.  In his New Proofs for the Existence of God, he explores the implications of the latest discoveries in the big bang and string theories, quantum physics and the ontology of time to construct philosophical arguments that counter skeptics in their question for the existence to God. Written for both the professional scientist and the ordinary person interested in this subject.

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre helps us realize the richness of the Eucharist and its meaning in considering the Jewish covenant.  Pitre’s writing is clear and profound and provides us with deeper insights into the Last Supper and the Eucharist. St. Monica’s and Ave Maria’s Book Clubs’ s member’s choice for review and discussion in the next few months.

We have all heard the saying if you want God to laugh tell Him “your” plans. No doubt God smiled when Dolores Hart, a young beautiful talented college student, decided to become a Hollywood star. In 1957 she had her major break as the leading lady in Loving You with Elvis Presley. She starred in ten other major motion picture productions and was engaged to be married to a wonderful man. The world of success, fame and riches were hers. What more could she want? Read in her biography, The Ear of the Heart: Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows, how instead she chose to become a bride of Christ and a contemplative nun. In this truly inspiring and adventurous love story, she writes that listening and following God’s plans brought her true happiness and the fulfillment of all her dreams. Isn’t this always true, though, when we listen and follow God?

In The Mass, Cardinal Donald Weurl and Mike Aquilina demonstrate in a very readable manner the historical bases for the Mass.They show the connection between the Old and New Testaments and the development of the Mass as recounted by the Church Fathers.  This is for life-long Catholics, new converts or others interested in understanding more about the beauty of the Mass.

Did you know that the scientist whose research led to the discovery of insulin as a cure for diabetes is also a canonized saint? Dr. Giuseppe Mosquito was a prominent medical doctor and professor in Italy during the early part of the 20th century. He was devoted not only to curing physical illnesses but also promoting spiritual health. As a lay man he worked with the needy and freely gave all his inheritance to provide for their welfare.  Watch the DVD, St. Giuseppe Mosquito, and you’ll understand why this saint is lovingly called the Doctor of the Poor.

No One Cries the Wrong Way: Seeing God Through Tears by Fr.Joe Kempf is really three books in one. It is a great book to have or give to a friend who has lost a loved one. It is the perfect book to help you know what to say to the person who has lost a loved one and third it is the perfect book for a group study on those experiencing grief. As one reviewer wrote, “ Fr. Kempf is consoling in a way that is both simple and profound. His reflections are interwoven with insight from psychology, theology, Scripture and literature and illustrates these with engaging stories”. There is much inspiration to gleam from this short book.

To Save a Thousand Souls is a guide for discerning a vocation to the diocesan priesthood. One seminarian rector said it is the most comprehensive guide for a man thinking about the possibility of becoming a Catholic priest.  The author, Fr. Brett Brannen, was vocation director for ten years and also served as Vice-Rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland. He provides valuable information for parents who think their son is being called to the priesthood.  The book is a useful aid to parish priests in their counseling of young men considering a vocation.  Young men inquiring about the priesthood will find the chapter titles and content good for asking and answering questions they might have.  While this is practical tool for discerning the vocation to the priesthood, Fr. Brannen emphasizes it is God’s calling that men most recognize first and foremost in their decision.

Bible Top Tens: 40 Fun and Intriguing Lists to Inspire and Inform is the perfect book to have when you are playing bible trivia.  In it Army Sperry organizes people, places and events in the Bible into categories such as “ Blessed are the Peacemakers”, “Unsung Heroes”, “Chips Off the Old Block”, “Cities of Blinding Light”, “Square Meals”, “Famous Sayings” “All Good Gifts”, “Talk to the Animals”. For each of her 40 categories she lists ten facts from Scripture citing chapter and verse. A great fun read while learning interesting bible facts.  Check it out and see why it would be good for Trivia and charades.  A good party pleaser.

Who has not had times when we feel lost and depressed?  Some persons have even suffered deep bouts of depressions. Dr. Aaron Kheriaty with Fr. John Cihak offers hope to such persons in The Catholic Guide to Depression.  Here Dr. Kheriaty identifies the various types of depression and shows the manifold causes: biological, psychological, behavioral, cultural and moral. He reviews the pharmacological and medical treatments, the benefits and limitation of psychotherapy, the clinical place that spiritual direction must have in healing and the vital role that Christian hope can play in driving out depression. A good readable Catholic resource for all who have questions concerning this topic.

Many of you read and appreciated Fr.Larry Richard’s Be a Man!  His new book Surrender!: The Life Changing Power of Doing God’s Will is equally as straight forward and powerful.  Fr. Larry is a tough coach in helping us free ourselves from the attachment, assumptions and excuses that hold us back from complete acquiesce in doing God’s will. Not one to mince words Father tells it like it is in the spiritual journey.  His goal is to help us become saints.  His an approach you will either love or hate but one that will make you ponder and want to change for the better.

Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J. was an American priest who went to Poland with the purpose of serving Catholics behind the Iron Curtain in Russia. To do this Father had to create a new identity and work undercover. After Russian authorities discovered his true identity he was imprisoned for 23 years in Soviet prisons and Siberian labor camps where he lived out his vocation clandestinely saying Mass and administrating the Sacraments to prisoners. In his biography he describes the hunger, physical and psychological abuse and torture and intrigue surrounding his captivity. His narrative demonstrates how his complete trust in God and his love for his priestly vocation gave him the strength to survive. His is a beautiful story of hope even in the most dire circumstances. It shows how meaningful and consoling a priest is to persons in equally grave desperate situations.The library has his autobiography, With God in Russia, as a book and CD.

Did you know that many Catholic priests, religious and laity lived through some of the worst persecution in North America during the early part of the 20th Century? Communists and Fascists had taken control of the government in Mexico and the first thing they did was to try to destroy Catholicism.  In 1920, a group of rag tag rebels led by an ex general started the Cistero War.  In the DVD, For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada , we experience the courage of ordinary men and women who gave their lives to defend their faith as they took orders from a general, who though not a believer, saw their cause was really for freedom of religion and realized losing this was a great lost for all of Mexicans. This is a sad part of history the Mexican government hid from its citizens for many years.

While I am happily married and can attest to the joys of this state of life, I learned much about the joys, hope, questions and concerns of women in the single life from Emily Stimpson’s,The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years: The Nuts and Bolts of Staying Sane and Happy While Waiting for Mr. Right . Stimpson offers practical advise on finances, work, dating, depression, for women who are navigating the years between college and “I do”. This is serious but humorous guide for living a spirited single life. Single women will find they will return to it when they need a boost of inspiration or consolation. A great gift for that single daughter, relative or friend whose current singleness was/is not part of “the plan”.

Some books we must read from front to back to understand them. With others we can randomly select chapters. Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by Fr. James Martin, S. J. is one of the latter.  You can start with chapter six, “Laughing in Church: Recovering Levity in the Community of Believers” go to chapter 3, “Joy Is a Gift from God: Humor and the Saints” and then read chapter 9, “Rejoice Always!: Introducing Joy, Humor, and Laughter into Your Prayer”.With either method you will be well rewarded with the positive aspects of Fr. Martin teachings. In this book we have a combination of prayer, humor and joy.

Men will like but women will love Colleen Carroll Campbell’s new book My Sisters the Saints.  Campbell tells of her search for meaning and her place as a modern Catholic woman who wants to balance a professional career and marriage on her terms.  In her attempts to find peace and give God His place in her life she identifies with saints such as Therese of Lisieux, Mother Teresa and St. Faustina. Their examples guided her as she dealt with her father’s alzheimer, and her infertility.  Be advised this is one of those books you’ll stay up late to finish.

The book The Unchanging Heart of the Priesthood by Fr. Acklin offers us wonderful insights into the mystery and the reality of the our spiritual fathers. He provides us with a better understanding of what a gift the priesthood is to each of us. Fr. Acklin’s insights will be an inestimable value to all who love Christ’s priests.

As Cardinal Dolan says, “No Catholic’s spiritual life is complete without devotion to the Mother of Jesus.” In Mysteries of the Virgin Mary: Living Our Lady’s Graces, Fr. Peter John Cameron, founding editor of Magnificat, presents the “real life” of the Blessed Virgin Mary as it is commemorated in the liturgical calendar. Father hopes that this helps us to look at our life, shows us who we are and helps us to become better our self. In Mary’s life of faith we fine courage and grace to do the same. This is a good meditation on major feasts and Church’s celebrations Mary.

For those fans of Peter Kreeft, the library has another one of his book, Angels (and Demons) What Do We Really Know About Them. From actual questions posed to him, Dr.Kreeft, separates facts from myths. In his usual humorous, clear, profound style he answers such questions as “Do we become angels after we die?” “What do angels do all day? Don’t they get bored?” “ What can demons do?” If you are a fan you’ll love this book and if you have never read or listened to Dr. Kreeft this is a good introduction.

The Church praises the vocations of the priesthood and concentrated life but also the married state.  In his book, Married Saints and Blessed Through the Centuries Ferdinand Holbock describes the lives of many such saints.  The Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph being our most beautiful examples.  There are many others such as the Blessed parents of St. Therese of Lisieux and the prominent modern physician, St. Giana Molla, who gave her life so her unborn baby would live. Come read the short biographies of other men and women and compare their struggles and challenges to those of married couples today. See how their examples led their children to the priest hood and consecrated life. All five daughters of St Therese’s parents became nuns.

Greg and Julie Alexander had it all: good careers, material possessions and children, but they were on the brink of a divorce as a way out of their loveless marriage. In their book, Marriage 911: How God Saved Our Marriage (and Can Save Yours, Too!), they explains how by understanding the Church’s true view of marriage they rebuilt their marriage. They offer solid, practical, real life tips for getting a marriage back on track. They serve on the pastoral implementation committee for the USCCB Marriage Initiative and are members of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers and trained marriage coaches. A good read even if you have the perfect marriage.

Hildegard of Bingen( 1098-1179) was recently named a Doctor of the Church. To this day she remains a fascinating and remarkable woman of medieval times. She was the first woman north of the Alps to write on natural history, theology and medicine.  She was a visionary who founded convents, preached in public squares, communicated with Popes, Emperors, famous clerics, wrote on medicine, spiritual matters and theology as well as composed poetry and music. Come listen to her music on a CD or read a book of her selected writings from the library’s collection to see why she is still highly regarded today by persons of all religions and beliefs.

What would you think If Aristotle’s Kids Had an iPod? Well, Conor Gallagher in his book by that name shows how this ancient philosopher’s wisdom answers this question. His answers are as relevant today as when Aristotle lived in 300B.C.  Aristotle’s common sense about the moral life and how parents and society can instill virtue in children still holds true.  Gallagher’s writing is clear, concise and humorous.  A fast read with good practical advise for parents, educators and spiritual directors.

Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was a political prisoner of the Communist regime in Vietnam for thirteen years, nine of which he spent in solitary confinement. His story is told in the DVD, Road to Hope. His remarkable faith sustained him during those long years when he would celebrate Mass in secret with three drops of wine in the palm of his hand and the host smuggled inside a flashlight by his faithful.  His spiritual writings, penned on the back of old calendars, have spread throughout the world inspiring millions.This film offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life of a modern day priest who was a martyr and a saint.

We know that death comes to all of us.  How do those left after the death of loved one make sense of the grief and loss? Well known writer, Amy Wellborn, faced these questions when her forty-nine year old husband died of a sudden heart attack. Wish You Were Here: Travels through Loss and Hope is both a travelogue of her journey with her three children through Sicily five months after her husbands’ death and also her spiritual journey that revealed the way grace makes sense even when life seems the darkest.  Her writing is humorous but spiritually up lifting. A good gift to one who is grieving a loss of a spouse.

Pope Benedict’s last book in his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy is in the library. This short book concerns the early years of Jesus.  Here the Pope draws mainly from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. In his discussion he includes commentaries of other biblical scholars. This work, aptly titled The Infancy Narratives of Jesus of Nazareth, is a beautiful meditation of the early life of Jesus and the persons who were significant.  In it the Pope demonstrates his great love and belief in Jesus and draws his readers to the same realization.Thanks to the generosity of a patron, the library now has as audio books all three of Pope Benedict’s books on Jesus of Nazareth. Listening to these beautifully read books will provide you with many hours of meditation and insights into the life of Christ. Come and reserve a copy today.

Sacramental Theology V. II, by Brant Pitre, is a continuation of his series on the Sacraments. In this CD Dr. Pitre explains the beauty and healing power of Confession and Anointing of the Sick.  To better appreciate the graces of these sacraments he discusses what sin is and how it wounds us. He explains where this is taught in Sacred Scripture and how to avoid it. This presentation is consoling and inspiring.

A Dominican priest, Augustine Thompson, has written the latest and most comprehensive biography of St. Francis of Assisi. In this intriguing work, Fr. Thompson combines his knowledge of the times in which Francis lived with the alleged and proven facts of the Saint’s life.  This painstakingly researched work provides a beautiful and credible portrait of one of the most loved saints of all times. Serious reading for serious admirers of St. Francis.

Eugene Hamilton did the ordinary things in life.  He came from a loving family graduated from college, had a promising career in computer technology or law, but he also knew he was being called to be a priest.  He entered the seminary at the age of 22 and year later was diagnosed with cancer. He continued his studies even while undergoing treatment.  His diary reveals his courageous fight to overcome this disease. Those around him recognized his holiness and finally realized he will never live until ordination.  With persistence his local bishop and seminarian professors petition the Holy Father to ordain Eugene before he died. The petition was granted and several hours before his death Eugene left this earthly life a priest. A beautiful and inspiring biography. A Priest Forever: The Life of Father Eugene Hamilton.

Bridges to Contemplative Living in Lent and Holy Week which is being used by some of the Lenten study groups is based on the ideas of Thomas Merton. Those wanting to learn more of Merton or some of his writings are invited to visit the library check out any of ten (10) book about or by him. Of particular interest is his No Man Is An Island. In this Merton offers a series of spiritual reflections on the meaning of human existence and a guide to living the richest, fullest and noblest of life.

Fr. Pacwa’s The Year of Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholic is a book being used in the some of the Lenten study groups.  In this book Father Pacwa discusses and recommends as additional reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults and several papal documents.  The library has extra copies of the Catechism to check out.  It has Porta Fidei, (The Door of Faith ) the ten (10) page letter which Pope Benedict XVI issued to announce this year of faith.  It also has the short encyclical on sacred Scripture, Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium which is on the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.

February, 3, we celebrated those called to the vocation of the consecrated life.  This includes both religious nuns, brothers and other certain laypersons. The library has the biography of one such nun, Sister Pascalina Lehnert, Secretary to Pope Pius XII.  Today we think nothing of women serving in the Vatican, but in 1929 when Eugenio Pachouli was appointed Cardinal Secretary of State, Sr. Pascalina moved to the Vatican as his main cook and aide. Her knowledge of German and Polish helped him as he sent letters to German bishops at the beginning and into the Nazi  regime.  Sister, with the Pope and clergy in Vatican City, managed to save the lives of many Roman Jews. The library’s DVD, God’s Mighty Servant, shows that this woman’s complete dedication to doing God’s will led to not only personal trials but frightening situations where only trust in God could save her and many others.

St. John Bosco, whose feast (January 31) we celebrated last Thursday, is best known as a priest who dedicated his life to the tough youth gangs in Turin, Italy during the 1800s. His approach to educating and socializing these young men was at first questioned, criticized and hampered by both civil and church authorities. He believed his mission was to show these youth the great love God had for them. Through his steadfast confidence and work with them they were slowly transformed into credible citizens who in turned helped others.  The Library’s DVD, Saint John Bosco, beautifully and honestly depicts St John’s life, but more importantly shows how his personal love of his priestly vocation gave him the strength to persevere.  His example gave them courage to overcome their struggles. Check out the DVD and see why he is called the Apostle of Youth.  Come and read more about the religious order, Salesian, he founded and learn about the work these priests do today.

Girls Like Us by Rachel LLoyd is the story of a young girl and her entanglement in under world of prostitution first in England and then Germany. Through the grace of God  and the care of a religious community she breaks from her destructive situation. She comes to America where she first works in a shelter for girls and women trying to escape this lifestyle and heal and rebuild their lives. This work leads her to begin a national organization, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS). She is now a well respected authority who addresses congress and the UN on the devastation and causes of human trafficking and how the victims deserve our help. While the subject of last week’s and this week’s book is sad both books are so well written we not only gain a good understanding of the topic but are also edified and inspired by the lives of the authors. We realize persons like these can change lives for the better. Both saw their work as a way to take care of God’s children.

In last week’s bulletin, we read the horror of human trafficking and how seriously the Church takes this crime. The library has two books that are real eye openers on this subject.  The first, God in a Brothel reads like a detective story. Daniel Walker, as a private investigator, infiltrated the multibillion-dollar sex industry. His account of releasing hundred of children and young teens from slavery while tracking down and prosecuting dozens of perpetrators of sex trafficking will both startle and shock you. As a dedicated Christian, his dangerous work inspires as it instructs us. Look for the review of the second book in next week’ bulletin.

As Catholics we are often challenged on our beliefs concerning Mary.  Can we base our understanding on the Bible or do we just unquestionably take the authority of the Church?  To answer this question, Brandt Pitre, in his, CD, Mother of the Messiah, takes us step by step through Sacred Scripture .Beginning in the  Garden of Eden and ending with the Book of Revelation he demonstrates how really Biblical the Catholic church’s teaching of Mary really is. Good listening while commuting.

We all know the important teaching role of Papal Encyclicals and Apostolic Exhortations in our faith.  We recognize that they can also be a challenge to read. Raymond Cardinal Burke, in his new book, Divine Love Made Flesh: The Holy Eucharist as the Sacrament of Charity gives us an over view of two of these recent documents,  Blessed John Paul II’s last encyclical,On the Eucharist in Relationship to the Church and Pope Benedict XVI’s first important Exhortation, The Sacrament of Charity. The purpose of both was evangelization. Cardinal Burke first presents a comprehensive, clear summary of these works then in the second half of the book he applies their teachings to the truth of the Eucharist and all its implication to the liturgy and church teachings. A beautiful, inspiring, easy to read book during this year of faith.

Which of us has not had concerns about the “end times”, the “Second Coming”, the “Rapture”, the “Antichrist”?  Listen to Brant Pitre in the CD set, Jesus and the End Times: A Catholic View of the Last Days to learn the Church’s explanations. He tackles questions such as: Are we in the end times? Does Jesus’ prophesy of the destruction of the Temple relate to the End of the World? Is the Protestant belief in a secret “Rapture” biblical teaching or false doctrine?  What will the Final Judgment be like? How will we be judged? A good learning tool for us and a guide to explaining these issues to our non-Catholic acquaintances.

If you have read anything in the Catholic and some secular media lately, you know the term, “natural law” is much in discussion, but ask most people to explain it and they draw a blank. For anyone who wants a serious explanation, Written on the Heart, by Bzenzenski is the perfect book. Beginning with Aristotle and continuing to today’s philosophers Bzenzenski shows what this term means and how it is used and misused today.

Most of us have our idea Heaven. To learn more, we read stories of near death experiences and “personal visions.” But, can we trust these? Do they tell us anything about heaven? Brandt Pitre in his CD, A Biblical Tour of Heaven, shows how Sacred Scripture answers these questions . Since we all pray that our final destination will be Heaven, what better place to learn about it than the Bible? And what better place to find this CD on the subject than our parish library?

The Sacraments are the important and (and most misunderstood) aspects of Catholic faith and life.  Biblical scholar, Brandt Pitre’s in his new CD, Sacramental Theology Volume I explains why the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the sacraments as “power that flows from the body of Christ.”  Using Sacred Scripture and the CCC, we learn why the Seven Sacraments are also understood as “Seven Mysteries”.Then he details these concepts in Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.   This study will not disappoint those interested in deepening their knowledge and love of the graces of the sacraments.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Whore of Babylon?”  Non-Catholics usually think of the Catholic Church.  Brandt Pitre in his CD, Who Is the Whore of Babylon, explains the origin of the word in the Old Testament and its use in the New Testament. He then asks what we, as Christians, are to learn from this.  Listen and hear for yourself how his explanations aids your spiritual journey.

Did you notice there is no picture in this weeks “Library Latest”? The reason is, through the generous donation of a library patron, the library has seven new CD albums by Dr.Brandt Pitre. You will remember his name.  His book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharistic and short CD of the same title were the most checked out items last spring.The topics for his new CDs are: Biblical Tour of Heaven; Spiritual Theology: Who Was the Whore of Babylon?; Sacramental Theology Volume I: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation; Sacramental Theology Volume II: Confession and Anointing of the Sick; and Mother of the Messiah. Each album comes with a helpful outline and list of additional readings. Dr. Pitre’s works are based solidly on Sacred Scripture and The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Watch for reviews of them in the next few months.

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to read and enjoy, My Brother the Pope, a biography of pope Benedict XVI, by Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, you might want to check out the 45 minute CD of the same name.  It is just a teaser but a good one for the book.

Thanks to a library patron who generously continues to donate the latest CDs from Lighthouse Catholic Media, we have three new ones for your enjoyment and education. Msgr. Daniel Deutsch, talks of God’s plan for His people in The History of Salvation. Fr. Robert Barron expounds on the four great expectations of the Messiah in Who Do You Say I Am.  Fr. Michael Schmitz’s in From Love, By Love and For Love offers a deeper understanding of contraception, same sex attraction and authentic love.   Come check out one or all three.

Come travel to Rome, via a  DVD, and visit Vatican City. Martin Sheen is your personal guide Inside the Vatican.  Avoid the crowds and visit many galleries, private offices, and chapels usually off limits to tourists. Be one of the privileged to watch professional artists as they care for and restore very valuable century old tapestries, sculptures and paintings. See how the bones of St Peter were rediscovered and where they now rest.  You’ll still enjoy this arm chair journey even if you have personally visited the Vatican.

Fr. Benedict Goeschel, in a four CD set, Mountains and Valleys on the Spiritual Journey draws on his many years as a spiritual director and psychologist to share timeless truths designed to help us walk through the challenges and trials we meet in our search for union with God.  Vintage Groeschel.

In her second book, Holding on to Hope, Sr. Kathryn Hermes offers practical suggestions to live a positive life after coping with depression, emotional chaos, burn-out and family problems. Using stories, scripture, and contemplative experiences, she leads the reader to appreciate the God given graces in our lives and to use these for permanent change.

Fans of Peter Kreeft won’t be disappointed in Prayer for Beginners. This is the library’s latest addition of his works. This is good reading for those who have little time to pray or don’t know where or how to start. It is equally helpful and inspiring for those who have hit a dry spell in their spiritual life. While simply written this small book is solid in Catholic doctrine. A note worthy tool for the new evangelization.

From time to time we hear or see references to Eucharistic miracles.  Joan Cruz investigated 36 ecclesiastically authenticated miracles. The earliest occurred in the 8th century and the latest in 1970. Cruz’s purpose in writing Eucharistic Miracles was to develop a deeper appreciation of the mystery of the Eucharist.  Come check this out and see if she succeeded.

The actor, Leonardo DeFilippis, in a new DVD, offers a gripping presentation of the life of the Saint of Auschwitz, Father Maximilian Kolbe. Fr. Kolbe selflessly gave his life for a fellow prisoner in the infamous Nazi death camp.  This prisoner survived the gas chamber and eventually was united with his wife and children. This is a beautiful example and lesson in heroic Christian love.

St. Francis de Sales said, “A sad saint would be a sorry saint”.  Frank Sheed proves this true in Saints are Not Sad.  By reading of the escapades of forty saints we experience the diversity and humanity of these men and women. We witness how their  challenges provoked as much humor as surprise.  A cozy bed side book that will leave you with positive thoughts before you say your night prayers.

Pillar & Bulwark is Marcus Grodi’s second novel. You might remember his, How Firm a Foundation, and watch him as the host of the Coming Home program on EWTN. This former Protestant minister now works to bring other Protestant, Jewish and Muslim leaders into the Catholic faith. His work provides him with many examples of how “God writes straight with crooked lines”.  This novel is one of intrigue and surprises that clearly shows the providence of God.  A real page turner.

Beginning Contemplative Prayer, by Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes, is a practical guide to contemplation. Her suggestions are solidly rooted in the Catholic tradition.  She provides much encouragement and unique advice on how to start and maintain this beautiful method of prayer.  Her practical and uplifting suggestions are beneficial to even the most seasoned of contemplatives.

The Trinity.  Why discuss this?  It can’t be understood; leave it to the theologians; what does it have to do with my life? I believe, isn’t that enough? If you have had thoughts like these you are not alone according to Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap. Since 1980 this preacher has given the weekly sermons to members of the papal household.  During Advent and Lent he conducts retreats for them and the Pope. One of his Advent series was on the Trinity and the book Contemplating the Trinity: the Path to the Abundant Christian LIfe is the result of this. See if this book doesn’t make you think deeper about the mystery that is the Trinity.

Just as every good Catholic parish library needs a few books that are easy reads, so too does it need works that challenge readers.  Such a book is Ten Universal Principles: a Brief Philosophy of the Life Issues by Fr. Robert J. Spritzer, S.J. Ph. D. This is not a book on abortion or euthanasia.  It is a comprehensive forthright presentation of what it means to be human. It discusses questions such as: Are there intrinsic rights of individuals? What are the basic principles of human freedom? What is the roll of culture and society in these rights and our freedom?  The discussion of these and other factors is for people of all religious persuasions. It’s also a great tool before talking with persons who claim to be atheists.

My Brother the Pope, by Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, is a delightful biography of Pope Benedict XVI.  Here we read the experiences of a strong Catholic German family before and during the Nazi regime.  We see how parents and church fostered the vocations of these brothers. We travel with the future Pope and his brother on many academic and pastoral assignments.  There are personal challenges and disappointments along the way and also humor, humility with complete trust in God.  This is an honest assessment a man who never strove for high clerical ranks and who always reluctantly accepted new assignments, but whose intellect and spirituality led him to them. You won’t be disappointed in this well written and engaging biography.

Much has been written about Saint Catherine of Siena, one of the first women Doctors of the Church. The library has Sigrid Undset’s highly acclaimed biography of this saint.  The library recently acquired this work on CD read by renowned actress, Sydney Penny who is the star of the DVD, Bernadette.  You will hear what it was to be one of 25 children of a fairly well-to-do merchant in a small but warring town in Italy in the 1300‘s. You will hear how Catherine’s deep love and trust in God gave her the courage, not expected of women of her time, to travel to France to persuade the Pope to return to Rome. This audio book makes a good companion on either long trips or short commutes.  Listen, learn, enjoy and be edified.

Every good Catholic parish library needs little inspirational gems and Anthony DeStefano’s, I Just Can’t Take It Anymore: Encouragement When Life Gets You Down is that. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and that is true of this little jewel.  Lest you think this is just glitter then recall who the author is.  Two of his books, Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes Too and A Travel Guide to Heaven are some of our patron’s the most read books (and I dare say, also shared with our patrons’s friends). Check it out for inspiration that puts a smile on your face.

Depression can strike anyone. It knows neither gender, religious affiliation, nor life style, but when it occurs can be devastating to both the afflicted and those around them. Sr. Kathryn Hermes experienced the hopelessness of severe depression, but through prayer-based therapy learned to grow both emotionally and spiritually from her situation.  In Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach she shares what she learned and offers practical advise to others in a similar state.  Her second book, Holding on to Hope written with Helene Cote explains how one goes beyond mere survival to living the life God intends for each of us. Depressed or not, these are good spiritual reading for everyone.

Have you ever wanted to visit the majestic cathedrals in Europe but didn’t have the time, money or energy?  Then the library can help you satisfy your interest and curiosity and at a price you can’t beat. Watch the DVD, Faith in the Heartland.  See how the German and Irish immigrants, using and modifying architectural techniques of the Old World churches, constructed magnificent churches along the Mississippi. After watching the DVD you’ll want to travel to eastern Iowa to be edified by these structures and at a minimal fuel expense.

Depression can strike anyone. It knows neither gender, religious affiliation, nor life style, but when it occurs can be devastating to both the afflicted and those around them. Sr. Kathryn Hermes experienced the hopelessness of severe depression, but through prayer-based therapy learned to grow both emotionally and spiritually from her situation. In Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach she shares what she learned and offers practical advise to others in a similar state. Her second book, Holding on to Hope written with Helene Cote explains how one goes beyond mere survival to living the life God intends for each of us. Depressed or not, these are good spiritual reading for everyone.

Are you fascinated by the marvels of the glorious Gothic cathedrals of Europe, most built over a 1000 years ago? The DVD, Building the Great Cathedrals, is a comprehensive tour explaining the design and construction of one of the major cathedrals. Here we see how architects in the Middle Ages incorporated designs of ancient Rome with new inventions, such as clear and stained glass and flying buttresses. Today, these cathedrals still achieve their builders’ purpose: to give honor and glory to God.

The last of Brian Gail’s trilogy is in the library.  Just as Fatherless and Motherless were real page turners so will Childless keep you reading rapidly and possibly into the middle of the night to the conclusion. See if this is what you expected for the end of this series. This is one novel the library won’t need a two week check out limit. You’ll finish it much sooner than that.

China is a major world power today and its culture in much need of our continued study.  One aspect of this culture is the effect of the Catholic Faith in the lives of its people.  Anthony E. Clark examines this in his DVD series, China’s Saints: Catholic Martyrdom (1644-1911). Clark sees similarities between these times in Chinese history and the early Christians during the Roman Empire, but with “the exception, Catholic missionaries to China were not successful at producing a ‘Chinese Constantine’ ”.  The DVD is an intriguing and fascinating study for anyone interested in comparing Western and Chinese culture and observing how the Faith has influenced each.

In the liturgical calendar, June is the month of the Sacred Heart. What better way to commemorate this than with Fr.James Kubicki’s book Sacred Heart of Jesus: A Heart on Fire.  In this volume Father explains that devotion to the Heart of Jesus is devotion centered in the Eucharist. He further shows how it is also relevant to the Divine Mercy Devotion.  Combining historical background, scriptural understanding, spiritual reflections and prayer exercises, this work offers us new appreciation and deeper love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Blessed Mother, Mary, is the Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception.  While this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has been accepted by the church from its beginning, it was hotly debated in the 13th century by the Franciscans and Dominicans. It was the Franciscan, theologian, Duns Scotus who laid the ground work for the formal proclamation of this dogma. In the award winning DVD: Blessed Duns Scotus: Defender of the Immaculate Conception, we see this humble, courage apostle of the Faith stand up to anti-Catholic government of the time and the suffering he experienced. A powerful drama, beautifully filmed in some of the ancient monasteries of Europe.

Who would think Blessed Pope John Paul II would be a strong example of a CEO . Using first hand examples of his Swiss Guard experiences, Andreas Widmer, in The Pope and The CEO, shows us how the personal habits of the Pope demonstrated strong,practical,positive leadership qualities.As Carolyn Y Woo, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services says the Pope “shows us it is possible to achieve the sanctity of leadership even in the context of business. He gives us a role model truly worthy of the word.”  This is an inspiring read for all of us, clergy, religious, married, single, retired, widowed and especially business people of all ranks.

Those of us who journeyed with Sigrid Undset’s, Kristin Lavernsdatter and found Kristen’s discussions of love, God and faith very powerful will want to read Undset’s later novel Ida Elisabeth. While still investigating these themes, Ida, is set in contemporary not medieval time. Undset, who won the Nobel Prize for literature, is most admired for her honest portrayals of relationships between men and women, especially her descriptions of romantic love and marriage.

Desiderata: A Teenager’s Journey to God by David Eich uses fifteen mysteries of the Rosary as a means of understanding important virtues and how to live them in daily life. Using examples, anecdotes, real life stories in a conversational style he provides teenagers, young adults and their parents navigational tools on their path to God. A great Confirmation, Graduation or Birthday gift.  Just don’t miss the opportunity to read it before gifting it.

YOUCAT, short for Youth Catechism would make a meaningful and useful gift for any youth. This book was given to all persons attending World Youth Day in Spain.  It was written with the consultation of youth and youth workers. It is based on the same structure as the Catechism of the Catholic Church but designed for quick, easy access to the truths of the faith.  In his foreword to YOUCAT Pope Benedict says,” Study this Catechism! This is my heartfelt desire.  Study this Catechism with passion and perseverance.  Study it in the quiet of your room; form study groups and networks; share with each other on the internet….You need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents.” PS I haven’t found any adult who doesn’t like this book too.

Did you know that between 1936 and 2009, the Church had published sixty-one documents concerning the media? Pope Paul VI said the Church “would feel guilty before the Lord if she did not utilize [it]”.Pope Benedict in his recent announcement of the Year of Faith has called for use of the media in his exhortation for evangelizing the culture. Aware of these Pope’s word and his reading of the Church Documents, Eugene Gan, in his book Infinite Bandwidth offers seven “keys” for evaluating our use of electronic media. These keys are: balance, attitude, person, truth, inspires, skillfully developed, motivated by and relevant to experience. While a practical and helpful guide, this book is also positive in its understanding of media in today’s culture.

It was a time when bishops gave their unordained nephews choice bishopric; many of the clergy were corrupt; religious orders were lax; prostitution was rampant and great saints were born.  One such holy person was Philip Neri, born 1515 in Florence, Italy but who lived in Rome most of his adult life. The DVD on this saint’s life recounts his complete dedication to the will of God but his early confusion in discerning this. It shows the joy he had and gave to others through his aid to the poorest of the poor.  We also see the many trials and challenges he had to overcome with civic and clerical leaders to carry out his ministry. Many flocked to him for confession.  He attracted holy men to the priestly fraternity he founded called the Oratory, whose only rule is charity.  He died in 1595. Blessed John Newman was an Oratorian.  A great inspiring family movie.

Are you a fan of mysteries?  Do you find the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson fascinating?  Then come as they solve three murders in the Vatican at the invitation of none other than the Pope, Leo XIII. See if you can guess how the murders happened and what clues Holmes used to solve these cases.   Enjoy Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes when you want to escape with a good book but don’t have much time to read.

Any time is a good time to reflect on Christ’s Passion.  A new DVD in the library can aid in our reflection. It centers around one of the most studied articles in history: the burial clothe of Christ. The DVD,The Shroud of Turin, is three films in one. The first film, The Silent Witness broke box office records when it was shown in 1978 and  greatly expanded interest in the Shroud worldwide.The second film, The Shroud of Turin, was the first production to have direct access to film the Shroud in high definition.The third film, Shroud, is the official film for the 2010 Exposition of the Shroud. It tells the story of the Shroud for our modern age of high technology and shows the image of the Man on the Shroud as never before seen. A must see DVD.

It is one thing to know the six Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick or inprisoned, along with bury the dead.  Fr. Andrew Apostoli in his book What to Do When Jesus is Hungry is a practical and spiritual guide to carrying out these works of mercy. But Fr. Apostoli also outlines lesser-known but equally important Spiritual Works of Mercy such as counseling the doubtful, teaching the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, consoling the afflicted, forgiving others, bearing wrongs patiently and praying for the living and dead. He does this in ways that we can incorporate these in our own life. A book we all need to read and use for prayer. Good for an examination of conscience before Confession.

I love books with short inspiring personal stories in quick to read chapters.God’s on the Phone: Stories of Grace in Action is just such a book. Regis Flaherty’s experience of answering the call of a wrong number and the unusual results led him to write this book. In thirty episodes he describes how small even seemingly insignificant incidents are moments of grace. We just need to recognize them and if we cooperate with God they can have positive spiritual growth for all involved.

Radio commentator, Teresa Tomeo’s, Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ Not Conformed to the Culture is not your typical women’s “how to book”.  Tomeo does not apologize for believing women must be countercultural in addressing the hot-button issues such as the media’s distorted portrayal of women and families. Her comments are straight forward, with a no holes bar approach. She leaves no doubt that Christ, His Church and prayer are the saving of our culture and of women’s profound role in it.

The setting for The Song at the Scaffold, by Gertrud Von Le Fort, is the French Revolution or also called, the “Reign of Terror”, when many Catholic clergy, religious and laity lost their lives. It is the true story of sixteen Carmelite nuns who must decide between preservation of their lives or their Faith.  It is a question we might ask ourselves.  Are we willing to die for our Faith? The story was make into the famous opera, Dialogue of the Carmelites, by Puccini where it is reported that every time it has been produced at least one cast member converts to Catholicism and most audiences don’t clap at the ending  because it is profoundly moving.

If you are searching for a book to lead you into a deeper awareness of God’s presence than Fr. Mitch’s Pacwa’s, How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics, is for you. If you, also, are looking for a way to discern what you should do in life than this book is for you. In a practical, witty but deeply spiritual way Fr. Pacwa helps us be aware of God’s voice. The reflective comments at the end of the short chapters allow us greater insights into our lives and how God assists in making life a beautiful journey.

The movie, The Passion of Christ, which our library has, is a good to see during Lent but the book, The Day Christ Died, by Jim Bishop is equally powerful. Here we experience the human agony Christ suffered from betrayal, beating, and exhaustion while never losing sight of His divinity.  This classic that should not be overlooked by those who seek deeper union with Christ through His suffering and Resurrection.

You may have seen Fr. Thomas D. Williams on CBS as a Vatican Analyst or you might have read some of his books on spirituality which our library has. Father teaches at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome and as visiting professor at various United State Seminaries. His latest work, The World As It Could Be: Catholic Social Thought for a New Generation is being highly praised by leading Catholic and Protestant clergy and laity. Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law, Harvard, says,“Fr. Williams writes with verve and clarity on the development of doctrine in fields as diverse as the legitimate use of force, global governance, and the challenge of scientific advances that have run ahead of moral reflection.” While this topic is serious and could be very challenging to understand, Fr. Williams makes it understandable to all interested persons who take seriously the application of Catholic principals to the complexities of modern times.

Who doesn’t like to laugh and which Catholics don’t appreciate a good joke about themselves.  Comedian, Lino Rulli, will have you wiping tears from your eyes from both laughing and crying as you read his hilarious situations in Sinner. Rulli hosts, “The Catholic Guy”, a three-hour show heard daily on Sirius XM Radio.  He is a three-time Emmy winner who has worked in television since 1998 earning some of its highest awards in journalism. Originally from Minnesota he now spends time in New York City, Italy and the Bahamas.He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a Master’s in theology. A book you can pick up and start anywhere and come away with a smile knowing full well some of these short episodes could well be describing you.

Have you ever asked yourself the questions,”Can I really integrate my Catholic Faith with my work? Shouldn’t my faith be separate from my job?”  If you answered maybe or yes or how can I do these, than you are not alone.  Randy Hain shows how he wrestled with these and concluded faith in the workplace is both positive and possible. His book, The Catholic Briefcase, provides the practical tools for doing this. The chapters are brief and to the point. Good for the busy person with little time to read.

The 2010 Cannes, Grand Prize DVD, Of God and Men, is inspired by the lives of eight French Cistercian monks. Set during the radical Islamic’ actions in Algiers between 1993 and 1996, it shows the monks struggle between to leaving and saving themselves or staying and facing very dire predictable consequences.
One of the great works of literature is Kristin Lavransdatter by the Nobel Prize author, Sigrid Undset. This classic shows the life a young strong willed woman from age fourteen until old age.  No novel has ever better described the inner turmoil and the psychology of a women as this three volume work.You will live every moment as Kristin struggles with virtue and sin. She is one woman you will never forget and identify with easily. Nor will you forget the setting which lends so profoundly to the mood.

Father Leo Patalighug is a popular cooking host on EWTN where he prepares quick easy meals for an audience. His recipes are now in a cookbook, Grace Before Meals: Recipes and Inspiration for Family Meals and Family Life. Each recipe follows a liturgical theme,and includes a Scripture verse, and suggestions for special feast days. Father offers practical suggestions and ideas for families to incorporate these in their own lives.

C.S. Lewis : Christian Reflections is a compilation of some of C. S. Lewis’s essays on culture.This volume covers such topics as: the language of religion; religion: reality or substitute; the psalms; Christianity in culture and literature. Eventhough many essays were written more than fifty years ago the topics are as timely today as then. Anyone who loves Lewis will greatly appreciate this slim volume.

Francis: the Journey and the Dream by Franciscan father Murray Bodo is considered one of the best book on Saint Francis.  This is not a true biography but a series of short, delightful stories told about Francis. The personal, informal manner of the writing gives us not only a greater understanding of Francis’ love for poverty but also his cheerful and kindly nature.

In the DVD, Mystery of the Three Kings we trace the steps of the Wise Men who made their way to Bethlehem. We learn the origin of their gifts, the route they took and through mosaics in ancient churches unravel a puzzle presented by their journey and quest to find the new King.

In the DVD, The Juggler of Notre Dame, Barnaby overcomes his despair when he receives a miraculous gift from Our Lady at Christmas. He learns his one talent is the perfect gift to offer the Christ Child.

The DVD, Silent Night, recounts the true story of three American and three German soldiers in World War II who during Christmas Eve in Germany must face the reality of war and the meaning of peace on earth. This inspiring film shows courage and love and a message you don’t forget.

The Nativity Story (DVD) depicts the journey of Mary and Joseph on their way to Bethlehem A lovely family film that will be cherished for years to come.

If you are looking for something different to make for dinner or that new dessert to bring to the next parish potluck look no further than Sacred Hearts’ parish cookbook, Feeding the Flock. This is available to check out, but after you read this and try one of the recipes from our great cooks, you are going to want your own. You can get copies after Mass or at Ann’s office. It makes a great Christmas gift.

The How to Book of Catholic Devotions by Mike Aquilina and Regis J. Flaherty offers a step by step guidelines to Church devotions. Chapters include: catholic prayers; tradition of prayer; praying with Mary; penitential and eucharistic devotions; sacramentals and blessings; living the faith and where you can learn more.Each chapter provides background for these topics, saints involved with these practices and practical ways to include these concepts in our own prayer life.

The New Translations for the New Roman Missal is a good introduction and explanation of the new English translation of the Missal. On this DVD Cardinal George and members of the International Commission for English Language not just talk about the changes but demonstrate them. This is seeing and the hearing the words of the prayers. It provides a better understanding of the reasons for the new translation and a deeper appreciation of the beauty and truth of the Mass.

The summit of the Mass is the Eucharist. In Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, the young scripture scholar, Brant Pitre, explains how the Jew’s worship of God foreshadows the Eucharist. Using Scripture and Jewish religious teachings he helps “unlock the secrets of the Last Supper. Pitre’s beautiful, thoroughly researched work will help us realize the Father’s plan for Salvation allows us to fall deeper in love with Christ, the Church and the Eucharist that feeds us during our journey to heaven. The library also has a CD with an introduction to this work.

Scott Hahn is a favorite author of our library patrons. His book, The Lamb’s Supper: the Mass as Heaven on Earth shows how the relationship between the Book of Revelation and the Mass was the early Christians’ key to understanding and interpreting of the sacrifice of the Eucharist. His direct language provides us with both a clearer explanation but also deeper meaning into this mystery.

The Spirit of the Liturgy written by Pope Benedict while he was a Cardinal is a must read for anyone who wants a better understanding of what the Fathers of Vatican II wanted in the development of today’s liturgy. The Pope traces the Mass from its beginning to its current form and shows the continuity between the Mass of the first Christians and what it is today.

The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery and the Tradition by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina is an authoritative exploration of the Mass. It provides the rationale for the changes in the liturgy and shows how these will aid in our appreciation of this gift to us. The discussions and explanations are clear and easy to understand while keeping with the sacredness of the topic.

Through the centuries, saints and holy men and women of the Church have written beautiful, meaningful comments on various parts of the Mass. Dominican father, Thomas Crean, has organized many of these writings into a short book that provides new, profound insights into the Mass. His book, The Mass and the Saints, can be read as daily meditations or for information about that various aspects of the liturgy.

The DVD, The Mass Explained, by Fr. Larry Richards is a “nuts and bolts walk through” of the Mass. Father provides the daily attendee, Sunday goer or fallen away Catholic with insights on how and why to grow our love for the Mass.

Edward Sri, offers clear, concise explanations of the new translations of the Mass in his book, A Biblical Walk Through The Mass: Understanding What We Say and Do in the Liturgy. He explains the “whats” and “whys” of the changes and draws us to a deeper meaning of the mystery of the Mass. His accompanying DVD is an additional useful tool for those who prefer to get their information by listening.

The Founding of Christendom, by Warren Carroll, is the first of five volumes on the history of the Church. Written in a very readable style these volumes are perfect for both the person who finds reading history fascinating and the scholar who wants accurate information. The works are thoroughly researched and balanced in relating the facts of Christendom.

A Bedside Book of Saints by Aloysius Roche are charming, often humorous stories of eminently human saints that will ease your soul and help bring you good dreams. Read it before bedtime and in the morning. You’ll rise from your bed with fresh hope and carry with you into your day greater confidence in God and His saints. You’ll meet various saints and their delightful, all too human exploits. You’ll meet that holy friend of those who have sleep-related woes; –St. Vitus, whose symbol is a rooster. He helps sleepyheads who find it hard to wake up in the morning!

A good Catholic parish library aims to serve the needs and interests of all parishioners. This week’s book is not for those of us who favor biographies, fiction and uncomplicated discussions of Scripture and Church teachings. Robert J Spritzer’s, S.J.,Ph.D.,New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy is for the physicist, engineer and mathematician who appreciates indepth explorations in these disciplines. As Professor Stephen Barr of the University of Delaware says,”Rare is the theologian who keeps abreast of the latest developments in fundamental physics, and even rarer the one who can discuss them with the theological and philosophical sophistication that Fr. Spritzer display in this book.” As an expert in diverse areas, including theology, physics, metaphysics and ethics, Father offers the most contemporary complete and integrated approach to rational theism currently available.

150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know by Patrick Madrid is more than what it’s title says.Scripture is our guide to what matters most in life. Cardinal Sean O’Malley says of this book: “One of God’s greatest gifts to us is his Word, inscribed through the ages to be held in our hearts as a source of guidance. Through this book, Patrick Madrid, provides us a practical, accessible resource for spiritual development that will make a meaningful difference in our relationship with the Lord and the people in our lives. It will help us grow in faith and awareness of God’s presence in our world.”

Bob Lockwood is a guy’s guy, and a Catholic guy’s guy. In A Guy’s Guide to the Good Life: Virtues for Men, he’s done the step-by-step for all of us who won’t stop and ask for directions, even though we really, really need them. Maybe the idea of a life based on the virtues creates an uneasy feeling. Too hard, too boring but by weaving Scripture, Church teaching and everyday stories from– Babe Ruth’s funeral to his doomed effort to make the varsity basketball team– he shows the virtues for what they really are: a call to action and our tie to the living God.

Saint Peter is one of the most beloved and revered saints of the Church. He is called the Rock, the fisher of Man and Head of the Church. Stephen Ray in his DVD, Peter: Keeper of the Keys, shows us how this rustic fisherman came to deserve such honor and authority. This DVD is an energized, high-impact adventure that’s also a travel documentary, biography, bible study and Church history in one place.

In his usual lucid engaging style, philosopher and author, Peter Kreeft tackles crucial issues about the deeper meaning of life. In Because God is Real: Sixteen Questions, One Answer, he explores questions, such as, is faith reasonable; can you prove there is a God; why is Jesus different; why is there evil; why must we die. He then provides thoughtful and persuasive answers for believers and seekers to consider.This book is ideal for those exploring the faith the first time as well as those looking for concise answers to complex questions. As Kreeft says: The good news of the Gospel is as exciting as a murder mystery. For at its heart there is a murder: the murder of God almost two thousands years ago in Jerusalem. And this God is the greatest of mysteries: who He is and why He put us here, why He came here and what His plans are for us. The story is literally a matter of life or death–eternal life or death.”

Most Christians know the classic guide to holiness, the Introduction to the Devout Life by Fancis de Sales but few know the details of his courageous life as a priest and bishop. In Michael de la Bedoyere’s biography, Saint Maker, we read of the time Saint Francis, dressed in full bishop’s regalia, openly rode his horse down the main street of a town filled with anti-Catholics who would have loved to see him dead. We learn how Francis in this threatening environment was able to win even his enemies to Christ.We see how his example and teaching formed the souls of thousands, including many whom the Church now considers saints. His adventures not only will thrill you but his teaching and example will lead you to Heaven.

In the book and accompanying DVD, Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols, Mike Aquilina conducts an intriguing and insightful tour of the symbols that expressed the life and devotion of the Church through the first four centuries of its existence. He explains how Christians freely borrowed pagan and Jewish symbols, giving them new, distinctly Christian meaning. Recover the zeal of our spiritual ancestors as you learn to read their symbolic language and discover the impact the symbols still have in our lives today.

The Priest: Harmony is the second music CD by three Irish parish priests. Their first album broke the Guiness record for the fastest selling debut classical album, chalked up unexpected sales and positions in some of the world’s Top charts and be nominated for a Classical Brit Award. This album combines English with some classic Latin favorites and and is sure to be as popular as their first recording.

Bold and Brave: Fearless Faith is one of a series of DVDs for children 3 years of age and older. Each DVD is entertaining and inspirational. They all include a visualized prayer, an illustrated Bible story, two high concept kid music videos, a Jesus teaching, a Scripture song, interviews and loads of fun.

Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stone focuses on values and attitudes drawn from the Gospels and the literature of Christian spirituality to discover solutions to psychological problems. With clinical insights as well as personal experiences of graces in the lives of people faced with serious challenges, Father Benedict Groeschel offers a series of meditations for readers with an interest in spirituality.

The DVD, Early Christians: The Incredible Odyssey of Early Christianity, walks us through the history of the early Church. Using both actors and paintings by famous artists we see the struggles and glories of these Christians during the first three centuries after the Resurrection of Christ. The nine episodes on these three DVDs makes these times come alive for both old and young viewers.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel in his forty years of psychological counseling has found that most people prefer to avoid the issue of mortality. Asserting we live in a death denying society, in his book, After This Life, he masterfully explains how consoling and uplifting the truths surrounding death, judgment, Hell, Purgatory and Heaven really are. These topics offer us the opportunity to think clearly about death in order to live fully in God’s grace. His intention is to write on what we think and feel about these things as we make our way in life towand them.

In two talks, on this CD, Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change, Matthew Kelly, well known speaker, offers a practical message that there is genius in Catholicism but if the Church is to avoid falling into obscurity, individual Catholics must demonstrate its relevance through a dedication to becoming the best version of themselves. He shows how we can change our habits to change our lives..and awaken the sleeping giant that is the Church.

In May 1941 Fr. Jean Bernard was imprisoned at Dachau for denouncing the Nazis. His story of survival told in Priestblock 25487 recounts the inhuman brutality, degradation and torture of his three years there. Unforgettable, but a beautiful story of God’s mercy is shown through this priest’s example.

In Boy Should Be Boys, Meg Meeker, mother of four children and pediatrician, talks about the needs of boys today. With the emphasis on the positive, she discusses how parents and guardians can help foster the great qualities of boys in a cultures that sometimes downplays their typical robustness and dominant personalities.

Using true stories, Robert Lockwood shows how the virtues influenced positively the lives of famous and not so famous men. A Guy’s Guide to the Good Life: Virtues for Men is filled with hard-won insights and loads of wisdom. A good read for women too.

The DVD, Bakhita:From Slave to Saint is the story of a slave girl from the Sudan in the late 1800s whose simplicity, kindness, humility and truthfulness changed the lives of her slave masters, clergy and other people with whom she came in contact. We see the harshness of her early live in the Sudan and her trials in Italy before her freedom. The acting is superb, the scenery breathtaking. The message and memory of her life will stay with you a long time. You will understand why Pope John Paul II canonized her a saint on October 1,2000.

The Kitchen Madonna is the tale of mystery, intrigue and trust. Read the adventures and misadventures of a nine year old boy and his sister who in their search in old London shops for an icon to give their Ukranian housekeeper leads them to discover stolen rubies. Rumor Godden, the author, captivates the imagination of his readers and teaches a lesson in friendship at the same time.

Fr. John Hughes explores the inspiring lives of 30 Remarkable Saints in a book and CDs of the same title. Fr. Hughes, our Lenten retreat master, says” Every saint has a past–every sinner has a future.” Understanding the past lives of our favorite saints helps us gain insights into a better possible future for our Church, our world and ourselves.

The DVD, Witness to Hope, is the story of the life of Pope John Paul II, who will be beatified in Rome on May 1st. This is based on the book with the same title by George Weigel who was a personal friend of the late Pope. Check this out and Weigel’s second book on the last years in the life of this Pope. Other DVDs and books about this beloved modern Pope are available in the library.

Roy Shoeman, a convert from Judaism, in his book Honey from the Rock tells the stories of fifteen other Jewish persons who through the grace of God found their way to the fullness of the Catholic Church. From this book one gets an even better understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith.

Using the clues provided by the works of C.S. Lewis, ( Narnia), J.R.R. Tolkien ( Lord of the Rings), a young American woman and an Englishman set out to search for the spear that pieced the side of Christ. Looking for the King, a historical mystery by David C. Downing, offers adventure, humor and romance while providing insights into the lives of these authors.

Cardinal Basil Hume’s, Hope from the Cross: Reflections on Jesus’ Seven Last Words, is a short but beautiful meditation at any liturgical season but especially good during Holy Week.

Anthony DeStefano, the author of Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, has written a delightful book for young children. This Little Prayer of Mine, shows the sincere thankfulness and heartfelt requests of two children as they talk to God in their simple, innocent way. Mark Elliot’s brilliant illustrations lend beauty and inspiration to this book.

Conversing with God in Lent leads the reader through the steps of lectio divina for the Old Testament and gospel reading for each Sunday in the A, B, C, cycles during Lent. Stephen Binz offers a concrete, scriptural way to deepen our prayer life during this holy season.

Who Is Jesus Christ? Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew, by Eric Sammons offers great insights on the many dimensions of Jesus Christ. Using not only Scripture but the writings of the early church fathers, he provides us much to ponder when asking who is Christ. This is good for personal meditation during Lent or as a companion to a Scripture course.

Pope Paul VI wrote: “Although the greatest of the saints, after Mary, St. Joseph is perhaps the least well understood.” Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P. in his inspiring book, The Mystery of Joseph, leads us deep into the beautiful mysteries of St. Joseph. As the humble, heroic guardian of Jesus and Mary, St. Joseph provides us with a good example of silent steadfastness. Father Philippe helps us contemplate the true face of St. Joseph in all its chivalrous nobility and explains why this saint is the Guardian of the Church whose feast is March 19.

Peter Kreeft provides thoughtful, lucid and persuasive answers for believers, unbelievers, and simple seekers to consider when exploring the faith for the first time in Because God is Real.

Lent is an ideal time to begin the practice of lectio divina, the ancient practice of praying with the Scriptures. Conversing with God in Lent by Stephen J. Binz provides a transforming experience which will make this Lent a milestone in your spiritual development.

Thanks to a generous donor, the library now has the Spanish edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Come and check it out and other items we have in Spanish.

Time for Mass is a lovely and lively children’s book. The face of a clock on the cover and colorful illustrations are both engaging and inspiring. This is a beautiful way introduce toddlers to the basics of the Mass.

Author, Michael O’Brien, says Paul Badde’s, The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus, “reads like a detective story, an archeologist’s journal and the most thrilling of all–an adventure tale that is no mere fiction.” See how the origin of the image that Badde tirelessly researched compares to the one on the Shroud of Turin.

In the DVD, Brother Andrew, we witness the life of a person dedicated to the service of the ill, the poor and poor in spirit. Blessed Andre’s profound humility and his love of St.Joseph led to many conversions and miraculous cures. Thanks to his labors, a beautiful church, in honor of this saint, now stands near Montreal Canada. The Shrine attracts many pilgrims every year.

Catholic Bibles Covers

The library staff will supply a book cover for any Catholic Bible purchased at Mattingly Book Store during the next year. Please visit the library for more details.

About the Library:

Our parish  library offers books, DVDs CDs, magazines and vertical files of Catholic materials in conformity with the teachings of the Church. Topics include, scripture, spirituality, church doctrine, history, current affairs, liturgy, encyclicals, church fathers, biographies of saints and other persons, and reference materials. About half of our items are on CDs and DVDs. We have some books on CDs and are acquiring more.

We have items for toddlers, children, young persons, adults, and the seeing impaired. We are currently improving our juvenile collection. We have many 30 minute CDs on church teachings for the commuter, jogger or hiker.

The purpose of the library is to support the various parish ministries and increase the holiness of our parishioners. We respect the old traditional church writers but continually add the best of new Catholic writings. We gladly accept items by Catholic authors but reserve the right to give these to other libraries if we cannot use them.

The library displays new items and features materials for the various saints’ feast days and liturgical seasons. Look for a review of new items in the weekly bulletin. We will gladly research information for our patrons.

Parishioners and patrons outside the parish must register before checking out items. The checkout time is two(2) weeks, but items can be renewed either by calling the library or in person. If an item is not available, it can be reserved. The library is open after most week day and weekend Masses and Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 A.M. to noon. If you have a question, need for certain materials or different time, please call the church phone and leave a message for the librarian.

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

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6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856