The Library’s Latest

Would you like some light but informative reading for this summer month?  A Priest Answers 27 Questions You Never Thought To Ask by Fr. Michael Kerper would be a perfect choice.  Here are several of the questions posed to Fr. Kerper in his twenty-seven years as a parish priest in New Hampshire. “Do ghosts really exist”? “Why doesn’t Pope Francis like pets”? “Why do priests get moved?”  “What is a plenary indulgence?” “What is the origin of the name Jehovah”?  Sometimes in several paragraphs or several pages, you will read clear definitive easily understood answers to these and other questions. You will also appreciate the great teachers of the faith we have in our parish priests.

It matters not if you are a new mother or a seasoned grand mother you will appreciate Holly Pierlot’s, A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul. This is not just another self help book to let you make a schedule and feel good about yourself. Holly Pierlot’s purpose for herself was holiness. It took her time to see how God was working in her life and how her vocation as a wife and mother determined her path to holiness. She shares what she has learned and explains how her experience is not unique but any woman could follow in her journey to God. Her “Rule of Life” is inspiring, practical, and attainable.

All you Matt Maher fans, the library has a great CD, That They May All  Be One, which describes Matt’s spiritual journey.  For those who don’t know him, he is an internationally acclaimed Christian singer, song writer and eight-time Grammy Award nominee. He has been the lead singer at several World Youth Day events, the United States’ visit of Pope Francis and recently at the Iowa State Fair. He stresses the importance of forming relationships to build unity among all persons and to help bring Christ to all. Come check out his CDs. Listen, enjoy and be inspired.

Augustine’s Confessions is a classic that all serious Catholics should read at one time in their lives.  The library has what is considered the best translation. In his biography, St. Augustine tells us of his life as a pagan in Rome and then his transformation as he discovered the truth of Christianity. The book is long but can be read over many months or years. Saint Augustine arranges his material into thirteen books with short chapters.  While this is technically a biography, it is takes the form of meditations on the Saint’s spiritual life and his conversions with God as he ponders theological and philosophical questions. You can open almost any book and chapter and find much thought for meditation.  For example in Chapter Twenty of Book Ten, Augustine wrote: “How then do I seek You, O Lord? For in seeking You, My God, it is happiness that I am seeking .  I shall seek You that my soul may live.  For my body lives by my soul and my soul lives by You.  Because I have no happiness till I can say, and say rightly; ‘Enough, it [happiness] is there [God]’ ”.  You won’t be disappointed when you make some time in your life to reflect on any of the chapters of this book.  You’ll find your spiritual life will grow accordingly. You can understand why he was called not only to serve as a priest but a bishop and is considered an example for all priests.

Most of us recite the Apostles Creed before praying the rosary and at various liturgical celebrations.  But have you ever thought of the profound meaning of the words we are saying.  Dr. Scott Hahn in his new CD, The Treasure of Our Soul: the Apostles Creed, explains how, why and when this prayer evolved. He then expounds on how this is a source of unity for all Christians. He invites his listeners to use the words of the Creed as source for meditating. Dr Hahn’s talk will help you not only appreciate the depth of this prayer, but lead you to meditate on other mysteries of our Catholic faith.

One of the interesting things Catholics like to do is go on a pilgrimage. Some of our parishioners have made one to the lovely churches in eastern Iowa and some have traveled to Rome, Poland and Medigorje and the famous shrine Compastella in Spain, But did you know one of the most ancient and famous pilgrimages sites is in England and has been immortalized in a poem, The Canterbury Tales?  For over thirteen centuries pilgrims have traveled to the Canterbury Cathedral to honor the memory, the martyr,  St. Thomas Becket. Two British priests filmed their pilgrimage to this site.They begin in London and proceeds for five days along the south-east part of England. We follow their adventures in the DVD,To Be A Pilgrim: The Canterbury Way, as they visit the same famous churches, old lodges and ancient ruins previous pilgrims had visited. Besides enjoying the beautiful

The cover of the new movie, Voiceless, might lead you to believe its subject is abortion.   Its real theme, however, is courage.  This is one man facing his own terrorizing, horrifying experiences both during and after his tour of military duty. It is his recognition of his complicity in the grave sinful behavior of his past. Working through the trauma caused by these events we see how he came not just to peach the Gospel but to live it.  His life’s story is a powerful tool for evangelization. This award winning film can inspire us to be the best person we can be when standing firm in our Catholic beliefs. The truth does set us free.

Dorothy Day: Champion of the Poor by Elaine Murray Stone is the library’s latest biography of this women who was both a saint and a sinner. Here you will read the unvarnished truth of the early years of this woman when she thought her promiscuity was not considered a moral wrong. You will see her profound conversion and her sincere dedication to the poor and universal peace.  Her views and life style were considered radical by many but none could doubt the depth of her spirituality and her love for the marginalized.  Her cause for canonization is now in the process.  This is not only an inspiring read but also a quick and easy one because of the larger print.

June 29, is the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Tim Gary, a highly respected Scripture scholar has a new book, Peter: Keys to Following Jesus.  Dr. Gray systematically follows the life of Peter as he walked with Jesus. We watch this honest, strong hard working man as he, sins, repents, learns to trust, believes and falls deeply in love with Christ and his teachings. We see how Jesus gently but firmly challenged Peter for his role as the first Pope.  Dr Gray’s scriptural references, his insightful archeological and linguistic examples from Peter’s life and times provide, us, today, a model for evangelization. For example, when Jesus was with Peter and his other disciples in Capernaum, Jesus was teaching them their need and ours for strong faith.  When Jesus said to them “ O men of little faith” (Mt 6;30: 8:26’14:31;16:6) Dr Gray tells us the Greek translation is much stronger.  “It is dinky faith”.  In this book,Peter becomes a very real person with whom most of us can identify.  Through Peter’s faith journey and Dr. Gray’s many helpful insights we too can find strength for our journey in learning to love Jesus more. We learn too to explain our faith more clearly.  After Christ, Peter was our first priest.  What a beautiful realistic example of Peter’s life this book is for all priests and their flock.

If last fall you were unable to attend the Men’s group that discussed Edward Sri’s book Who Am I To Judge?, you are encouraged to come to the library and check it out and its accompanying CD. In this age where your opinion is as good as mine, it can be difficult for many to discern the real truth and/or to know how to explain to others.  Today, relativism seems the easiest way to handle subjects that can cause disagreement. Many of our discussions with family and friends or topics discussed in the media involve feelings more than reason. It, therefore, is important to distinguish between these two.  Dr Sri explains how it is important to respect other persons opinions. Disagreeing with them or they with us doesn’t mean we hate each other. As his editor says, “He helps us understand the classical view of morality and equips us to engage (not avoid) relativism, appealing to both the head and the heart.”  This is a book and CD that can be read or listened to many times and to share with our friends and family.

St. Dominic is well known as the earliest patron of the Rosary and his Dominican Friars as its staunches advocates. When you read Dominicans’s unconditional praise for a new book, Champions of the Rosary, you know it must be special.  Since, the author, Fr. Donal Calloway, is not a Dominican but a Marian Father of the Immaculate Conception you know the volume must be doubly special.  And it is.  Fr. Calloway begins by describing the most important information concerning the rosary beginning with the thirteen century through today.  He next names prominent priests, religious and laity through the centuries and describes how the rosary enriched their spiritual lives. Their spiritual insights are particularly good for meditations. Then he offers a short section on how to pray the rosary with brief meditations on each mystery.  But perhaps the most delightfully surprising chapter is the final one.  Here Father shows us how the rosary is depicted in art through the centuries.  This book truly has something for everyone and when you see it you will understand why the Dominicans give it such high praise.

In the book, When Women Pray, Kathleen Beckman, presets the thoughts, stories and examples of the power of prayer in the lives of eleven women. Each woman shares how she enters into prayer.  How prayer effects her life and those she encounters. Some of these women rely on Scripture to begin their prayer.  Others relate how the Holy Spirit guides them. Some say that prayer is essential to their spiritual and physical well being. Featured in the book are one page comments on prayer entitled: Feminine Wisdom. Also included are spiritual reflections of prominent women saints such as St Therese of Lisieux, St Clare of Assisi, St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)  Each chapter concludes with a suggestion to Ponder, Practice, Pray.  Here the reader is asked to reflect on such questions as, How has God used my gifts through prayer? How has God taught me through prayer? This would be good for group discussion and also for personal use and reflection on our prayer life.

Jeanne Jugan: Humble, So As to Love More by Paul Milcent tells the extraordinary life of this woman.  Born of poor parents in Brittany, Jeanne worked as a nurse and domestic for 47 years. One day she observed a destitute elderly, ill, woman living on the streets begging for food. Jeanne brought her home and cared for her until her death.  This ministry grew as more fragile poor elderly sought Jeanne’s care.  At the end of twelve years, as other women joined in caring for the destitute, a religious community was formed and today the order is known as the Little Sisters of the Poor. They serve the neediest elderly in over thirty countries  Through astonishing events Jeanne’s role as foundress was taken from her and she spent the last twenty-seven years unrecognized among the community she began. Nearly thirty-seven years after her death the truth of these circumstances were revealed and in 2009 Pope Benedict XXVI canonized her.  May is the month dedicated to Mary our heavenly Mother . On this first Sunday in May we pray for religious vocations, and on the second Sunday we honor our own Mothers.  It is certainly appropriate to remember St. Jeanne Jugan, too. Her motherly instincts, deep humility and acceptance of God’s will in all things is a beautiful example for religious nuns and a role model for all mothers.  It is said some of her last words were “O Eternal Father open your gates to this most wretched of your little daughters…Mary, You know you are my mother, please do not forsake me.”

It is not unusual to hear people today to discuss and even argue about the major events of our times.  Some argue we are living in the worst of times.  Things could not be any worse. They are the pessimist among us.  Others say things are really not so bad.  Every thing is fine and avoid discussing problems .  These are the optimist of the world.  Archbishop Charles Chaput in his recent book, Strangers in a Strange Land looks at today’s culture through a different lens: that is Christian hope. In his first chapters he acknowledges the troubling situations of the times and their presentation by the media. He further acknowledges the optimist point of view and the challenges it presents. His chapter describing what he calls the “people of the lie” is worth the cost of the book. His conclusion is we must be people of hope.  Our Christian faith dictates this.  The beatitudes are our solutions to these challenging times.  God is with us every step of the way if we listen to and follow his plan for us.  Archbishop’s book is addressed to not just Catholic but all people of good will.

If you are looking for a good novel than look no further. The library just accessioned, Willa Cather’s, Death Comes for the Archbishop. If you never had the chance to read this novel than please come and check it out. It is the story of a French Bishop and a priest sent by the Pope to the New World to establish a diocese in New Mexico territory. Conflict develops when the long established Spanish clergy, who have for several centuries been ministering to the Native Americans, see their live style threatened. This novel was on the Time’s Best English language novels from 1923-2005 and the Modern Library’s list of 100 best English-language novels of the 20th Century and the best Western novel of the 20th century by the Western Writers of America. So, come, enjoy it again or see what you’ve been missing.

The trafficking in humans is not a pleasant topic.  It is an evil most of us know exists but don’t ever want to see .  The DVD Priceless shows all the aspects of this horrible criminal activity.  We learn that the victims are more than just girls sold into this bondage.  We see the sad hopelessness and also hopefulness in the lives of those involved.  Based on real events, this  is a PG movie you won’t forget.

This year Vocation Sunday falls during the Easter Season, the most glorious and greatest Church Season  We celebrate our redemption and adore Christ as the first High Priest, the one all priests are called not only to follow but become— Persona Christi. We know Christ’s teachings led many sinners to follow and believe in Him. One of his staunchest believers was also one of the self acknowledged greatest sinners of His day, Mary Magdalene. She is also the first person he appeared to after his crucifixion and burial. From earliest times, this saint has been highly revered by Apostolic and Church Fathers and other saints such as Thomas Aquinas, Gregory the Great, and Teresa of Avila.  During the last seventy-five years Protestant and some Catholic biblical scholars have questioned the identity of Mary Magdalene.  Is she the sinner from whom Christ removed seven demons? Is she the person who washed Christ’s feet with her tears and dried them with her hair? Is she the sister of Lazarus and Martha? Is she one and the same person or three different persons?  Fr. Sean Davidson, the author of Saint Mary Magdalene: Prophetess of Eucharistic Love uses early Church writings, tradition, plus Scripture to seek an answer this question. Come read how Mary’s recognition of Christ’s deep love even for the worst of sinners and His forgiveness of her sins led her to be His most ardent and faithful disciple.  As one of His most faithful followers, after the crucifixion, she went as quickly as was allowed to anoint His body.  Her reward for such love was to be the first person to see Him risen.  Through the gift of Holy Orders, Catholic priests by loving their flock as Christ loved Mary Magdalene and extending forgiveness to penitents not only promotes greater love for Christ but strengthens their own life in Christ.  You’ll have to read Fr. Davidson’s book to find the answer to his question. You will also get a glimpse at the great love Mary Magdalene experienced in the presence of Christ. By recognizing Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament we, too, can learn to follow her example.  You will understand why she is called the Prophetess of Eucharistic Love and a model for priests.

If you had or were asked questions about the Inquisition then the library has just the movie for you.  It is called just that The Inquisition, and comes in 2 discs, each an hour long. The first disc tells the story of heresies through out Church history and the pertinent ones to the Spanish Inquisition.  The Second gives great details of  the Roman Inquisition and The Myths of the Inquisition. The topic is serious and well and clearly presented.  It would make a wonderful resource for a student who had this as essay topic.

The name, Jerome Lejeune, might not be familiar to many persons outside a select area of medicine.  Dr Lejeune is one of the unsung heroes of the war on abortion, especially the abortion of Down syndrome babies. The DVD, To the Least of These My Brothers and Sisters shows the heroic work of this physician and the personal rejection he suffered for upholding his Catholic moral principles regarding life. He discovered the extra chromosome 21, responsible for the condition known as Down syndrome — which he called Trisomy 21. When he realized his discovery could be used to terminate life, he spoke and wrote ever more forcefully about how his findings could be used to learn more about this condition. He showed the positive benefits to all of society that Down syndrome persons offered.  When he spoke openly against the wrong use of his findings, his name was withdrawn from the list of prospective Nobel Prize winners. He was, however, praised by Pope Saint John Paul II and was his personal consultant on many life issues.  This is an inspiring and uplifting movie for people of all ages. It shows how one man’s strong belief in the truths of the Catholic faith meant more than worldly honor and prestige.

The library has two new children’s books on lives of the saints written in Spanish. Primer Libro De Los Santos: La Historia De Sus Vidas Y Sus Ejemplos and Nuevo Ilustrado Libro De Los Santos: Las Vidas De Los Santos Ilustradas Para Jovenes Y Adultros are adapted from the writings of Fr. Lorenzo G. Lovasik . Both volumes have beautiful pictures of the saint and then a brief descriptions of his or her life.  In the smaller book the pictures make them easy to keep children’s attention while having the story read to them. It is easy enough for second or third graders to read on their own and would be a lovely First Communion or Baptism gift. The larger volume is better for the older child and can be a quick introductory reference for a Confirmation name.  This book includes some newer saints such as Beata Teresa de Calcutta and San Pio Pietrelcina

Good libraries need a few books that most likely will never be best sellers and won’t appeal to many patrons. Sometimes the books have controversial themes, but the topic is pertinent to an important Church doctrine. By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment, could be considered such a book. Its topic is the death penalty in respect of Church doctrine. As the publisher says, the authors, Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette,“challenge contemporary Catholics to engage with Scripture, Tradition, and natural law and actual social scientific evidence in order to undertake a thoughtful analysis of the current debate about the death penalty.” In four pivotal chapters they discuss: Natural Law and Capital Punishment; Church teaching and Capital Punishment; Serving Justice in this world and Salvation in the Next; and The American Bishops’ Campaign against the Death Penalty. They include a compressive index. All you law officers and others working in criminal justice will find this a worthwhile and provocative read.

The priests of the Catholic Church come to their vocation with various personal strengths and charisms.  Some are called to be pastors, some scholars, some teachers, some missionaries.  They discern this in consultation with their bishop or abbot. Some are offered choices they never realized they could follow. Some hear a strong voice from God that with the blessings of their superiors they answer even with impossible odds. Many of these describe the choices in the life of Fr Christopher Hartley. as told by Jesus Garcia in Slaves in Paradise: A Priest Stands up for Exploited Sugarcane Workers.

When you mention the name Mark Twain people today might think of two things: his very popular works of fiction: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. You might also have heard the banning of these because of racial issues.  But did you know that Twain spent 12 years of his life researching and writing one of the most definitive works on Saint Joan of Arc? He even traveled to France to gather first hand material about her war tactics, trials and execution. He wanted to learn what or who had inspired her to take on the role of warrior.His work is a beautiful tribute to this saint and an inspiring read for all of us.It has never been out of print since he wrote it in 1896 (121 years ago). If you are searching for a biography that also reads like mystery story then please check out Twain’s Joan of Arc. You are also welcome to join the Ave Maria Book Club on Thursday, March 1at 7:00PM when we will discuss this book.

During 2017, much was written about the miracles of Fatima.  One of the best volumes is A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary. This is the biography of Sister Maria Lucia, the last surviving seer of the apparitions at Fatima. It is written by the Sisters of Carmel of Coimbra, the religious community where Sr. Lucia resided most of her adult life.   The sisters used Sr. Lucia’s notes and her written answers to questions posed to her by many clerical authorities not only shortly after the apparitions but also during the rest to her life.  Her notes show a person in love with Christ and His Mother who willing dedicated her life to penance, prayer and sacrifices for reparation to the Heart of Jesus for the sins of the world.  Her true joy was sharing the messages of Mary for the conversion of sinners and bringing all to Christ. A beautiful and inspiring biography .

Much confusing information has been written about the role of the Papacy during war times. This is especially true of the papacies of Popes Pius XI and XII which were during World War II.  Peter Bartley, in his book, Catholic Confronting Hitler, presents an honest and well researched assessment of the credible documents written during these trying years. He quotes from both Roman and Germany Church authorities, the leaders of the Nazi party, Presidents of European countries and the United States plus Protestant clergy and jewish leaders .  He explains what these persons could and did do to save the lives of many Jews.  He also documents the many Christians who were also persecuted and executed because of Hitler’s decrees.  This volume provides succinct answers to many troubling questions of this sad time in history.

The Benedictines Nuns of Mary, Queen of Apostles have a new music album, Lent at Ephesus. It is their third album.  Like their other two albums they sing both traditional and contemporary Catholic songs and chants. This one focuses mainly on Lenten and Easter music. You won’t be disappointed in the beautiful melodies. They will help in deepening your experience of this holy season.

The late Fr. Gabriel Amorth was Chief Exorcist of Rome. In his last book, An Exorcist Explains the Demonic, published shortly before his death, he gives eye-opening accounts of the deadly antics of Satan and the fallen angels but also spiritual remedies for foiling their tactics. He goes into details of the cult of Satan and its manifestation. He describes such actives as the Black Mass ,and agents such as wizards, fortune tellers and witches and common cultural activities as horror films. He shows how these and other activities aid the devil’s mission to seduce souls. He also explains what an exorcism is. In the final chapters he explains the aids the Church provides to dispel Satan and his enticements and the hope for mercy we have from the life and death of Christ. As Father states , “We are made for Love and it is Love (God) who will judge us”. A forthright book on a serious subject, but a book that leaves us with hope and a greater love of God’s love for us. This book will be discussed in the Ave Maria Book Club , February 1.

The library has two new graphic novels,( they were called comic books in my day).  They are written by a contemplative priest who lives a life of prayer, adoration, work and study in central Massachusetts. In the first volume, The Truth Is Out There, the characters discuss “Where can we find happiness; does the soul survive death; does God exist?” In the second volume, The Big Picture, the characters take a time journey.  Here they discover God’s plan for creation: man’s fall and his redemption through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. These are written for the older teenager and adult.  They present a novel way of learning the truth and beauty of the Catholic Faith.  These are one set of books you must SEE in order to really appreciate, enjoy and understand. Part of the proceeds from the sale of these books will help support the Maronite Monks of Adoration.

The Face of Mercy a new library DVD, was inspired by the encouragement of Pope Francis for the world to embrace mercy.  Jim Caviezel, Christ, in Mel Gibson’s movie, Passion of the Christ begins the film by showing St. Faustina’s role in telling the world about God’s mercy. He links this to the encyclicals of St Pope John II on this subject. But more importantly he shows us mercy in the lives of a woman who found forgiveness after experiencing her family’s genocide ; in the former NFL linebacker who gave up his career to work with the homeless; the baseball player who trader the MLB for the monastery; and the woman who forgave her husband’s murderer.  With these real life stories we see mercy in practice not just in theory.  These are beautiful  concrete examples for us to consider in our own lives.

The CD, Making of a Jewish Nun, is the story of Rosalind Moss’s journey into Christianity, Catholicism and, finally, the religious life. Rosalind was a very successful business woman and pious Jew. In California, she encountered evangelical Christians who showed her how Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Testament. She became not only a good Protestant, but one who felt the Catholic Church was wrong in all its teachings. Through God’s grace, she read her way into the Catholic Church. Five years ago, she founded a religious order for older women. This order’s ministry is to strengthen families experiencing crisis by serving their ordinary needs. They practice the Beatitudes and are a living example of God’s mercy.

Just as we need a good movie at Christmas we also need a good novel, Treason, by Dena Hunt is good choice. The setting is England during the time of Shakespeare and Elizabeth the First. Persecution of Catholics was very real. The very wealthy Catholics paid an enormous tax to keep their land but still could not practice their faith. Stephen Long steps ashore in England one day in May of 1581.  He is the young clandestine priest who has come to minister to the many underground Catholics. Elizabeth’s spies are everywhere and no one is safe to even mention their Catholic faith.  Those who are caught can to hung and if a prominent villager or clergy will be drawn and quartered. I concur with the British researcher and author, Joseph Peace, who writes, “Treason is one to the most powerful historical novel I’ve read in a long time.  It brings to vivid and shocking life the age in which Shakespeare lived and in which the English martyrs died.” This is solid historical fiction at its best.

A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century by Robert Royal is a great gift to this generation of Catholics. In this very large (616 page) volume, Royal presents a comprehensive and very balanced assessment of notable Catholic persons of the last century .  He evaluates the works of leading figures, in the humanities such as G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Charles Peguy, Picasso, and theologians/philosophers such as Karl Rahner, Jacque Maritan, John Henry Newman, and scriptures scholars such as Joseph Ratzinger.  One very valuable section of the book covers the theories and philosophies the major figures who shaped Vatican Council II.  The thoroughness with which Dr. Royal presents his material is well worth the time spent reading it.  This book will no doubt be referred to by persons for many years to come.

If you enjoy a good humorous book than look no further than Kevin Lowry’s How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church. You know this is not the typical conversion story to the Catholic church when Lowry tells you he was a preacher’s kid from Toronto, Canada whose double majored was “beer and billiards” in his first semester at Stubenville University. Needless to say he found himself back in Canada at the end of that semester with a do not return notice to him and his parents.  But three years later he had to humble himself and show true discipline to return because this University offered the very degree he needed to fulfill the goals he had learned he wanted. You would think his Catholic theology university courses, or his job experiences and family life, or his and his wife’s search for the perfect Protestant church would have led him to the Catholic Church. And why did it take fifteen years? Perhaps though, the most helpful section of this of this book is Part II, “Turning Stumbling Blocks in the Stepping Stones to the Church” The first stumbling block, the “Eucharist,” is by far one of the best examination and explanation of the Eucharist I’ve read in years.  It is worth the cost of the book.  His other stumbling blocks are good to know too.  PS. You’ll have to read the book to learn WHY Lowry finally converted.

Venerable Fulton J Sheen’s, CD, The True Meaning of Christmas is a beautiful and inspiring way to prepare you and your family for the birthday of Jesus. Venerable Sheen traces the Old Testament’s passages that show how God prepared His people for Christ’s birth.  He then demonstrates the true meaning of God sending His only Son as told in the New Testament account.  Here he explains the significant role of Mary in this and how the Advent liturgies prepare us for this marvelous event. The message in this CD is the perfect way to show us why and how the Christ Child is the real center and reason for this holy season. Good listening for all ages.

Most of us know the story of Mother Teresa’s life and dedication to the poor. Her religious vocation led her to India to teach in a girls’ school but God wanted her to teach the world how to love the poor by seeing Christ in their faces.  Mother’s yes to God did not mean earthly comfort or inner voices affirming her work. It was her love and knowledge of Christ’s life and example that allowed her to persist in her vocation. She knew Christ was always there watching over her even when His voice seemed silent.  David Scott’s The Love that Made Mother Teresa focuses on the lessons her live teaches us in recognizing and in overcoming the slum of doubt and confusion in our lives.This is a good read on many levels but especially when we experience that dark night of the soul in our lives.

If you haven’t had the chance or time to read Matthew Kelly’s latest book Resisting Happiness, I strongly encourage you do so and the library will kindly check a copy out to you.  In his own personal, straightforward and friendly style Kelly asks us to examine very serious concerns in our lives and then to consider how we approach them. Do we face the situations for what they are, or do we avoid them or worst still, like most of us, justify our reasons for avoiding them? Using personal examples, Kelly explains how this avoidance reduces our happiness and then suggests ways to overcome this trait and to really accept the happiness we so crave. This is a fast read but a book you will want to read again so as to recall all the positive ideas Kelly offers us for growth in true happiness which is really growth in holiness.

Our parish encourages adoration before the Blessed Sacrament either in the tabernacle or when it is exposed in the monstrance.  But why should this practice be encouraged? This centuries old Catholic pious custom is one of the strongest ways we show our belief in Christ and attest to the truths of the Catholic church.  It shows we believe in a God who sent His Son to become a man, die for us and rise from the dead. Fr. Joseph-Marie Perrin, Little Manual of Perfect Prayer and Adoration is a great guide in learning to be better watchers during adoration.  He describes how prayer can help transform us into the life of Christ. He suggests how we can make life a continuous prayer and a means to meeting God in all we do each day. These suggestions can aid us in avoiding and falling into a non thinking routine in the spiritual life. This is a good companion to take to adoration at church or to use during private meditation home.

The DVD, Letters to God is the heartwarming story of a young cancer victim’s correspondence with God . Based on a true situation, it is a story of hope and love. A good family movie to be enjoyed more than once. I won’t give away the ending but encourage you to learn what it is by watching it.

You might ask why would the book, Churches and Monasteries of the Holy Land by David Rapp and Hanan Isachar be reviewed on vocation Sunday.  The pictures are beautiful, the narration clear and add much to the charm of the volume. But more importantly if we realize that it is the work and care of these places by Catholic priests and some religious women, that make it possible to visit and enjoy the Holy Land, we can appreciate why God chose some persons to this religious vocation. We have much to be thankful to these religious orders and their many years of service in preserving these treasures of the Church. Theirs is a special vocation that deserves our admiration, prayers and support.

The Walls Are Talking by Abby Johnson, is very different from other books on the sad subject of abortion.  In just 155 pages you read the stories of fifteen persons who worked in abortion mills. Their stories are horrifying and scary.  For example, you experience abortion from an employee’s perspective, as she watches a young women being rushed to a hospital because of a botched abortion. As a reader you ponder how can such abuse and torture continue in a civilized society? How could the staff in these mills not know they were killing a baby? Answering these and other serious moral questions forced these writers to eventual exit their degrading work.  For some it was not easy.  It took much support from pro-life groups, prayers and perseverance to disentangle themselves, but they all knew they had to for their own personal respect and conscience.

The last weeks of reviews have been about money.  If you are short on reading time I recommend you select this last book,” Why Enough Is Never Enough: Overcoming Worries about Money —A Catholic Perspective.” by Gregory S. Jeffrey. Through humorous stories and years as a financial manager Jeffrey has found that no amount of money will ever lift a person’s anxiety. Making peace with money entails something other than money. What is needed is the realization of the relationship between our spiritual and financial lives. He asks us to consider some both profound and practical questions.  For example, how do we address the temptations against generosity? Have we ever considered there is a battle between mercy and envy and envy is the single biggest factor that stops people from making peace with money? What is needed to convert our anxiety to trust?  At the end of each chapter is one question for reflection and a suggestion for implementing changes in our life to help us make true peace with money.  It is a great book to share as a couple. It would make a wonderful first anniversary present for yourself or a family members.

Our second book discussing money is Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck by Kevin Lowry.  In this small book, Lowry explains how practicing Christian principles can help us practice sanctify in our everyday work place. Understood correctly, ambition and success are positive virtues. This is not a book of platitudes but of concrete suggestions on handling the challenges we encounter in the workplace.For example,  “How do you be a team player through humility; How do you maintain a spirit of gratitude in all circumstances; How do you overcome interpersonal strife at work through forgiveness?” At the end of each of the thirteen short chapters Lowry offers “Action Step” to practice in the workplace what you have learned in the reading.  Then he asks an in depth question for personal reflection in our path to holiness. Lowry shows us how our attitude  in the workplace can lead us and others to holiness.  A job is more than just making money. This would be a great book for a discussion group.

Trust In St Faustina’s Footsteps by Grzegorz Gorny and Janusz Rosikon is more than just a beautiful table picture book of the life of this saint. It shows and tells how a simple Polish young women overcame obstacles to follow her vocation and then become God’s instrument for spreading His message of Mercy.  In the convent  Faustina gladly served as the cook, dishwasher and gardener. No task was too humble for her. Her goal was to do God’s will. There are many photos in this volume, but I particularly like the one on page 136 that shows St. Faustina in her habit with her hands crossed.  It is the hands that capture my attention.  They are ones of a hard working person. They are sturdy but rough. No doubt they spent many times folded in prayer. These hands can be a good example for us.  God uses both the contemplative and the hardy laborer in his vineyard…

Just about everyone needs it. Many persons seem to need or want more of it than others. Everyone struggles with it at times. Most persons hesitate talking about it in polite conversation.  Popes have written encyclicals concerning the implications of it.  Pastors usually dislike preaching on it. Yet it is a big part of everyone’s life.  Of course it is money.  Given these facts, the library has accessed several books on the topic.  The first is Faith and Finances by Thomas E Zordani.  This is a practical guide to becoming and staying debt free.  The author went from having just the basics of living to extreme wealth to bankruptcy to final recognition of the true value and use of money.  His personal habits almost cost him his family.  With much prayer and perseverance he overcame bad spending habits and decisions and now shares how he accomplishes this.  He tells why and how to avoid his mistakes. This is a good reference tool for learning how to manage, enjoy, spend and share the money with which God has blessed us.

Kelly Wahlquist, has introduced a profound, unique but practical method of praying the Scriptural passages of the Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday,, Holy Saturday, Easter and Pentecost. In each of the six chapters in her book, Walk In Her Sandals, she begins by setting the stage for what we are to ponder in the events of these special religious days.  Next she offers comments on their meanings as gleaned from both the Old and New Testaments and Church Fathers. Then she offers a fictional accounts of what it was like to be a woman during these particular days of Christ’s suffering.. From this the reader explores the specific gifts, such as receptivity or self giving of woman. Next there is a prayerful reading of the Scripture passage of these days. The  last segment asks how women can use their special gifts, as understood through these readings, to bring others to Christ. What a wonderful way to prepare for Christ’s Resurrection and Pentecost! Anyone interested in discussing this book is welcome to join the Ave Maria Book Club,Thursday, March 1, at 7:00 in the library.

St. Teresa of Avila said: “Don’t let your sins turn into bad habits”.  Elizabeth Scalia, in her book, Little Sins Mean A Lot turns this around to,“ Don’t let your bad habits turn into sin”. She recognizes sin is bad but since most of us don’t commit murder or lie egregiously or steal millions, we rationalize we aren’t really a big sinner. But, she asks what about those habits in our lives that cause us unhappiness or hurt other? How are they occasions of sin?  She lists thirteen, such as, gloominess, griping, deliberate spite or passive aggression and excessive self-interest. With humor, self confession and empathy she describes how we easily fall into to these behavioral patterns and how they effects us and others.  Then she offers practical ways to change. This little book doesn’t offer the usual list of sins we review before going to confession. Instead, it provides a very in-depth search for reforming our lives and conforming us to the life Christ wants us to enjoy.  Anyone interested in discussing this book is welcome to join the Ave Maria Book Club, Thursday, November 2, at 7:00 in the library.

Brendon McGinley, begins his new book, The Joy and Challenges of Family Life with these words,  “You may want to live like a bachelor, but those days are behind you, chief.” McKinley, a newly married 29 year old, realized life had changed when he became a husband and father.  He also realized other Catholic men were seriously assessing the challenges and joys of this vocation. He asked seven friends to share their personal insights and advise with today’s young Catholic men. Some of these men speak as first time fathers while others talk from the perspective of many years of fatherhood. One tackles the topic of Natural Family Planning (NFP) with its challenges and positive benefits; another sees the benefit and need for raising today’s kids in the Catholic faith; several discuss the relationship between technology and family life and the real threat of the porn war; an older dad takes about facing the sad topic of infertility but the joy of adoption. You will laugh at some of the situations these men describe and sympathize with their struggles in learning to be good husbands and fathers.  They speak frankly about how their Catholic faith guides, encourages, strengthens and influences their decisions. Ladies this would be a great gift for your spouse, son or any married man, but also good for wives to appreciate the seriousness with which men take their roles as husband and father.

Many persons all around the world witnessed Mother Angelia on the Eternal Word Television station which she founded. She was admired for her wit, her no nonsense defense of the Catholic church, her love for the Eucharist, care for suffering persons and her perseverance in physical pain and suffering.  Until Raymond Arroyo’s book, Mother Angelica: Her Grand Silence; The Last Years and Living Legacy few knew the spiritual “dark night of the soul “ she endured for many years after a second stroke led her to a more restricted life.  He also relates the struggles and conflicts within her religious community..Arroyo believes her common sense approach to these problems and her suffering show that life as a religious is not always easy. These trials show us both her humanness and also her deep trust in the mercy of Jesus. Clergy, religious and laity can all learn from her example.

Calming the Storm, by Connie Morgan Wade, is a board book designed for small hands and soft laps. It introduces the New Testament story of the apostles’ fear when travelling by boat on a stormy sea.  And where is Jesus? Fast asleep! Frightened, the apostles wake him. As we know, when Jesus says, “’Peace, be still!’” the wind and high waves subside. This familiar Gospel reading can lead to reassurances of how Jesus is always there to help us with our own fears, when we ask.  Here’s a bonus for the musically inclined: not only is this book written to be read, but also to be sung to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Listen, learn, and apply. That’s what Caleb, Billy, and Henry do after listening to Fr. Frances’s homily. Pointing to the crucifix, he tells his St. Joseph’s parishioners, “The greatest sign of love is to make a sacrifice for someone else.’”  This message sparks a solution to a problem that each of the boys is facing at the church picnic that afternoon.  The first in a series of Tales of Not-So-Long Ago, The Parish Picnic, by James and Carmen Marcoux, is placed back in time, maybe around the turn of the last century. Even so, its message is timeless. Illustrator Rebekah Marcoux paints the rustic community of Tuckerville with bright colors and friendly characters that catch the readers’ attention. And the story ends with a prayer that they can use to ask Jesus’ help in applying the book’s message.

Bedtime Bible Promises is a gem by Bonnie Rickner Jensen.  A beginning note to parents reads: “The Bible is filled with promises God wants every heart to know, especially little hearts just beginning to learn of His character and love. This sweet book teaches children how truly special they are in God’s eyes and how His Word speaks to them in a personal way. Each page begins with a proclamation of the good things He has promised and a Bible verse. It ends with an easy-to-memorize prayer that focuses on the accompanying verse.”  Artist Donna Chapman illustrates recognizable life situations using baby animals to stimulate discussion of each verse.  Most of the Bible verses are drawn from Psalms, but other Old and New Testament sources are sprinkled here and there. For example, from Psalm 7:10, Jensen shares and expands on this affirmative promise: “You Are Protected.” And from Galations 1:15, she unfolds the theme of “You Are in God’s Plan.” The prayers at the end of each verse and promise personalize the book’s messages.

John Allen , Editor of the Catholic website, Crux, stated: “There is an African moment unfolding in Catholicism, and Cardinal Robert Sarah is among its most important voices.  If you want to understand the forces, shaping the church’s future you need to read his book, God or Nothing.” This, however, is only one of many reasons. Cardinal Sarah’s spirituality and joy of being a Christian in the face of many political and cultural difficulties are beautiful examples for clergy and laity.  The conversational style, also, makes this very enjoyable reading.

For young readers, we have Catholic Saints for Children, by French author Anne-Sophie du Bouëtiez. This is an exceptional collection of the lives of both long- canonized and contemporary saints. Their dates span the centuries, beginning with Mary and Joseph and ending with Saint John Paul II.  Some may be better known than others. St.  Augustine, St. Bernadette, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Maximilian Kolbe surely sound familiar. But does anyone recall Blessed Charles de Foucauld or Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati? Maybe not.  In all, there are thirty single- page biographies. Each begins with a paraphrase of a Scriptural quote or a quote attributed to that saint; these serve to highlight each saint’s unique spiritual mission.  The biographies describe the facts of the saints’ lives and times; the external challenges they had to face; and, where applicable, the character flaws they overcame on their paths to holiness. The last paragraph of each biography focuses on what the reader can emulate from that saint, and an accompanying prayer- on a separate page- asks the saint for their help in doing so.

Beyond “the fairest of them all,” there is a princess with a very special gift: her first kiss.  The Princess and the Kiss, by Jennie Bishop, gives a new spin to the Disney “happily ever after” formula.  On the day she is born, the princess receives her first kiss from God, and her parents save it for her in the castle tower until she is grown. When that time comes, suitors appear seeking her hand, but none of them is Prince Charming. Finally, the least likely candidate raps on the castle door and wins the princess’s heart. Alas, we won’t reveal how.  The book’s pastel illustrations are visual delights that enhance the text. And the symbolism so skillfully embedded within the story takes it to a whole new level, opening a path for discussion with girls and boys.

Holy Crocodile, by Caroline Cory, is a book for animal lovers. Otters rescue a man numbed in cold waters. Spiders hide a Christian boy from Roman soldiers by weaving thick webs.  A bear carries wood for a hermit baker’s oven in exchange for bread. Sound far- fetched? Well, this is a book based on legends- not necessarily the true lives- of saints from Roman Catholic, Coptic, and Orthodox traditions.  According to the introduction, “The creatures in these stories come to the saint’s aid because they recognize that person’s goodness. A few saints offer help first, and are helped in return, but in most of these stories the saints are aided in answer to prayer. In most cases, the creatures act outside their instincts, or above and beyond their natural inclinations, to aid the saints.”  This is a fun read with beautiful illustrations by the author.

After 35 years as an elementary school teacher, Carol Gordon Ekster knows how to write for children. In Before I Sleep I Say Thank You, she shows her readers two important bedtime habits: reflection and gratitude. After brushing his teeth and trying a minor bedtime stalling tactic, the boy hops into bed.  “ ‘ L e t ’ s take a moment to think about our day,’ ” his m o t h e r says, and she tells h i m something that she wishes she had done differently. He follows her lead and tells her, “‘Tomorrow I promise I’ll cooperate all day long.’” Enough said.Mommy hugs him and asks, “‘What five things do you thank God for?’” He offers his little- boy examples. Ekster deftly introduces a child –friendly, bedtime examination of conscience, balanced with the concept of gratitude for God’s many gifts. At the book’s end, she invites her readers (students?) to take part in the process she’s developed. Her skill, as well as the book’s lively illustrations, engages both readers and listeners.

Though he was never ordained a priest his life of holiness has led millions of men to the priesthood and women to the religious life. The Life of St. Francis by St Bonaventure shows us how this came to be.This biography written only 30 years after St. Francis’s death describes the many miracles attributed to St. Francis during his life. More importantly the biography  shows the operation of the Spirit of God , both in the subject and in the writer. It offers the reader a depth of the Love of God by both Francis and Bonaventure. It is easy to comprehend how men and women through the centuries sought the Franciscan religious life to capture this understanding.

The Miracle of the Dancing Sun at Fatima is a companion book to the film The Day the Sun Danced, the True Story of Fatima. It relates the importance and meaning of Mary’s apparitions to three shepherd children at Fatima, in terms that young people can comprehend. It describes what happened during each of the apparitions, beginning with the three visits from the angel in the spring of 1916. The apparitions of the “beautiful Lady” began May 13th, 1017, and continued on the 13th of each month through October, when the wondrous miracle occurred.  The book gives an honest account of the difficulties the children endured as a result of the visions, but it also shows how they offered those sufferings to God for sinners. The inclusion of the children’s photographs takes readers back to the life and times of 1917. And accounts of the children’s lives following the apparitions are effective. This is history.  So many elements are included in this book: the definition of doctrine; the introduction of prayers- especially the Rosary; interaction with activity pages; and questions. Everything combines to highlight the importance and meaning of these important apparitions.

All that we know about those mysterious beings called angels comes to us from Revelation, Scripture, and Church teachings. In Angels on High, Celina Therrien Sareh shares that knowledge with children, referencing all of those sources in clear, succinct language.  And her illustrations are heavenly, in the vivid colors and style of stained glass windows. What an engaging way to learn about these special protectors, guides, and companions of ours.  In addition to her own text, Sarweh draws on quotes from the Old and New Testaments, the saints, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Each page is supplemented with these original sources for the benefit of older children and adults.

The first is a board book designed for small hands, soft laps, and curious minds. Battle of Jericho, by Connie Morgan Wade, tells the Old Testament story of how Joshua and his men circled Jericho, bringing down its walls with their shouts and horn blasts. The action naturally leads to “Why?” So here’s an opportunity for children to begin learning about salvation history, and the concept of God’s promise that Israel inherit the Promised Land.  For the musically inclined, the words of this book can also be sung to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell!”

Though he was never ordained a priest, his life of holiness has led millions of men to the priesthood and women to the religious life. The Life of St. Francis by St Bonaventure shows us how this came to be. This biography written only 30 years after St. Francis’s death describes the many miracles attributed to St. Francis during his life. More importantly the biography shows the operation of the Spirit of God, both in the subject and in the writer. It offers the reader a depth of the Love of God by both Francis and Bonaventure. It is easy to comprehend how men and women through the centuries sought the Franciscan religious life to capture this understanding.

If we read the newspaper, listen to radio or watch television we can not help but realize religion is under attack. Mary Eberstadt in her book, It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies carefully and systematically explains how and why this is happening. It is not only in the Asia and the near east but also the western world that Christians are being persecuted for their faith.. Cardinal Sean O’Malley says” I recommend Mary Eberstadt’s book as an important resource for all who hold religious freedom to be a priority for the Church and society”.

The Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide to the Daily Acts that Make Up a Catholic Life is just what its title says it is. It is divided into three major sections: Smells and Bells; Seasons of the Church Year; and the very unique but very apropos title: Seasons of Life. In two of the twelve chapters in Smells and Bells we learn about Making and Blessing our Homes and How to do Eucharistic Adoration.  Section two explains the significance of not only the Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter but Ordinary time with emphasis on autumn and summer and winter.  Section three addresses childhood; adolescence; young adulthood and adulthood.  Here the authors discuss such things as First Communion, finding a spiritual director, sickness and suffering.  Along with the Bible and the Catechism this would be a good practical book for every Catholic household.  It would be a perfect wedding or anniversary gift.

May and June are typically months for weddings.  It is the time older married guests rejoice with the newlyweds and stop and review their own marriage. Karen and Manuel Santos have written a beautiful book that discusses “how your Catholic marriage can bring you joy for a lifetime”  In Four Keys to Everlasting Love ,they discuss four needs  they believe are necessary for a good marriage. They say the couple must realize they are called to be faithful, free, fruitful, and love totally and forever. They use their own sixteen years of marriage, examples from other marriages they have observed, and their work in marriage preparation courses to show how the teaching of the scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and papal and the USCCB’s instructions help build good marriages.  This book which might seem to be for marriage prep, is a good refresher course for couples married two to seventy years.

Catholic priests have two mothers: the mother who gave them life and Mary, the Mother of the Church who watches over their temporal and spiritual life. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen had a particular love for Mary, and he constantly called on her protection. In his book, World’s First Love: Mary the Mother of God, he writes how Mary has a place in the lives of the laity, but especially the religious. He first uses scripture to establish the role of Mary in God’s plan for salvation and then describes her place in the life of the church. He shows how love of and trust in Mary give honor to God. Understanding her tender motherly love, her humility, her faith and her witness to Christ at the Cross are examples for priests in the challenges and joys they find in serving the laity. They know they can call on Mary in all their needs, both in good times and in difficult times.

We have all heard it said that the Catholic Church condoned slavery; persecuted the Jews; murdered millions of Protestants during the Inquisition; and started the Crusades as a war against Muslims.  Rodney Stark, one of the most respected authors and professors of early Christian history decided to discover the truth of these and other “known faults” of Church. In his book, Bearing False Witness : Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History, he methodically presents the fallacy of these and other statements about the church. What is particularly interesting is Professor Stark is not a Catholic.In this book he purposely supports his research by citing from the best historians in each of the areas he discusses.  The book, while thorough in the presentation of facts not hearsay, is easy to read. No doubt  many non-Catholics, and especially scholars, will read this because of Professor Stark’s reputation. As Catholics, we should read it for his great defense of our faith.

Julian was an anchoress who lived in Norwich, England in the fourteen century. She greatly desired to understand the sufferings of Christ.  She wrote in what she titled “Showings” how, through her meditations, God explained the depth of His love for mankind through the life of Christ and the role of the Holy Spirit. Through the centuries many persons have been attracted to Julian’s spirituality which is based on a strong personal love of God.  She is renowned for having been the first known person to speak of God as feminine. “ As truly  as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother.  What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning…Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal to you? Why does he reveal it to you? For Love.” Julian of Norwich’s voice is strong. Her thoughts are clear. Her love for God and His love for us are beautifully expressed.

Perhaps you have never asked the question,” Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead”?. Carl Olson, who read his way into the Catholic church observed this question so frequently by agnostic authors of popular books and TV programs he decided to answer it from a Catholic perspective. These doubters I believe the resurrection of Jesus should not be accepted by any reasonable person. They say, ”Wasn’t this just a spiritual happening or just a myth?” In an engaging questions and answer format, Olson first asks “Why is it important whether Jesus rose from the dead—especially since it is all a matter of faith?” He gives his answer in a simple systematic way.  You will get not just an answer to this and other questions but a deeper insight into God’s plan for our salvation and Christ’s role in it when you read Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?.

If you were Pope Francis and children wrote questions to you, would you have time to respond and just how would you answer?  Children from all over the world did ask some of the following questions of the Pope.“Why do parents argue with each other? How can God hear us?   Do bad persons have guardian angels?” You’ll find his answers in the beautiful book Dear Pope Francis.  Included are drawings the children sent with their letters.  A very lovely book for children but an inspiring one for all of us. A wonderful gift for the children in you life.

Many parents bemoan the fact that their children, after high school, find life in the world more exciting without the Church. These young people don’t really leave the Church, they just seem to have more exciting things to do. Such is the story of Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City. Archbishop Coakley never really abandoned God in his life, but the last thing he thought of was becoming a priest. God had other plans. You will be entertained, edified and encouraged by the Archbishop’s story. You will also want to delve even deeper into your own prayer life after listening to his inspiring words in the CD, Prayer. Parents will be heartened to learn how God’s love and appeal can become a greater attraction than all earthly pleasures. Who knows, they may be pleasantly surprised one day to find that they too might be the parents of a priest.

Making the Stations of the Cross is a pious practice anytime but e s p e c i a l l y me a n i n g f u l during the holy season of Lent. Mother Angelica offers us some beautiful me d i t a t i o n s for praying at each station. These are included in her book, Praying with Mother Angelica. Also included are meditations on the Rosary and her short conversations with God. In one of her conversations with God she asks, ”What secret must I find that will enable me to love You alone and above all things, to see you in my neighbor, in the suffering of my life and in the joys that are sprinkled here and there to give me a peek into Heaven?”This is book you will read and return to for consolation and spiritual growth

33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself-Retreat in Preparing for Consecration to Divine Mercy  is Fr. Michael Gaitley’s latest book. Matthew Kelly says” I didn’t think Fr. Gaitley could outdo his 33 Days to Morning Glory but his is a rare case where the sequel surpasses the original.” This is a book for anyone who wants to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. It is the answer to those who want to practice and live the New Evangelization.  Fr. Gaitley shows us a way to grow in our spiritual life in the culture in which we live.  Good reading during Lent.

Jean Jugan was the sixth of eight children. Her father, a fisherman on the coast of France, died when Jean was four. Her mother raised the children to be strong in their faith. As a peasant girl, Jean worked for families in her village. She nursed the sick; did laundry; took care of children of the poor; and was a loving companion for wealthy families who needed her. She always prayed to do God’s will in all things and believed He had a special mission for her. When she was 47, she encountered a sick elderly blind woman freezing in the street. Jean took her in and nursed her until she died. From this experience, she established a ministry to the poor and elderly which we now know as the Little Sisters of the Poor. Jean Jugan’s life is told in the DVD, Work Which Is Still Unknown.

40 Days 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent by  Marcellino D’Ambrosia is not your typical Lenten book. It is not the “give up chocolate” for Lent approach. Some of his ideas can be accomplished on the day they are suggested and others might be a practice you do all throughout Lent.  For example, on day nineteen, the suggestion is,read a biography of St. Joseph and pray for all the fathers in your life, your own, your pastor your bishop and the Pope. Here you will read 40 unique strategies for making this time before Easter a true time for spiritual growth. This is book you will want to read before Lent so you can decide what practices you want to incorporate during the next 40 days.

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a well known Catholic author, speaker, radio and TV personality.  She is particularly respected because of her correspondence with Saint Mother Teresa. She also has a great devotion to the Blessed Mother through the promotion of the Miraculous Medal.  What was not known until the release of her autobiography, The Kiss of Jesus, were her many harrowing experiences throughout her adult life. It was her faith that gave her strength to persevere when there seemed to be little hope for her survival and those of her five children.  This is an edifying read for anyone but especially for anyone, who has personally experienced divorce, or whose family members and friends have.

In, the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia: On the Love in the Family, Pope Francis, encourages all families to live to their fullest potential in their journey to heaven.  He offers wisdom and practical advise for meeting the challenges the modern families meet today. He calls the Church to be a sign of mercy and encouragement. The library’s copy has questions at the end that make it a good resource for study and discussion.

Pope Benedict came into his papacy when the priests’ scandal was shocking most of the world. In the early years of his papacy, he gave an interview to a leading journalist, Peter Seewald. In the CD of this interview, the Pope focuses on many topics concerning the Church and the world, but his discussion of the priesthood is the most stirring of all. He deeply regrets the suffering borne by individuals due to the priests’ scandal. At the same time, he explains the dignity of vocations to priesthood: the role of priests as Persona Christi; the many positive contributions priests make to the church and the world; and lastly, the world’s great need for priests’ example of self sacrifice. Pope Benedict’s life and his understanding of the priesthood are good for both clergy and laity to ponder.

Bishop Robert Barron (Catholicism Series) posed a question to Brandt Pitre, a young biblical scholar whose CDs many of us have appreciated.  Bishop Barron asked “Who really were the authors of the New Testament?” He stated some current writers believe the apostles did not write the Gospels and even teach Jesus is just an interesting historical figure.  The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ, is Pitre’s answer. In his five years of preparation he read and studied all available first century Coptic, Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek evidence to discover the answers to this challenging question.  In his clearly written easy to read style he presents his findings in a logical sequence. The most important aspect of his work is it provides us a deeper love of Christ and the faith of His first followers.

The veneration of relics has always been important in the Jewish and Christian faiths. In past centuries, Elisha’s bones and the clothing of the apostles were associated with miraculous healings. Joan Cruz in her book, Relics: What They Are and Why They Matter discusses their significance for us today. She tells of the intense scrutiny and the scientific testing that the relics of Jesus and Mary have undergone. She describes the details behind the relics of some of our favorite saints such as Francis of Assisi, St. Bernadette, St Therese of Lisieux .There is much to learn about certain saints and of Jesus’ Shroud and Mary’s veil. Much of Cruz’s research into these topics reads like a detective story.  This is a book you can read from cover to cover or a single chapter at a time. It makes for good reading or as a useful research source.

The book, Will Wilder: the Relic of Perilous Falls is television commentator Raymond Arroyo’s first publication for young adults.  Mary Higgins Clark, NewYork Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” says:“Will Wilder is a brand-new, refreshing, entertaining, intrepid young hero who magically combines humor and genuine suspense. And I love his aunt Lucille!”  It is the story of one stolen relic, one ancient evil and one wilde adventure.   Dean Koonz calls it “great fun and great fright.” This is a real page turner for persons of all ages.

The CD, Making of a Jewish Nun, is the story of Rosalind Moss’s journey into Christianity, Catholicism and, finally, the religious life. Rosalind was a very successful business woman and pious Jew. In California, she encountered evangelical Christians who showed her how Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Testament. She became not only a good Protestant, but one who felt the Catholic Church was wrong in all its teachings. Through God’s grace, she read her way into the Catholic Church. Five years ago, she founded a religious order for older women. This order’s ministry is to strengthen families experiencing crisis by serving their ordinary needs. They practice the Beatitudes and are a living example of God’s mercy.

Want a good fast reading novel for these usually quieter days of winter? The Book Thief is a good choice. I call this a “bittersweet” novel.  Reading about war is never pleasant but seeing the goodness of the human spirit that war can sometimes manifest in people is beautiful. The setting is a small town in Germany in 1939.The main character is a twelve year old orphan, Liesel. Her parents were murdered by the Germans because they were communists. She is placed with a middle age couple who in their kindness hide a Jew from the Nazi authorities. There was sadness, humor, cruelty, terror, and fear during the war years. There was, also, hope, endurance and perseverance. The book’s title is very significant, but you will have to check it out from the library to learn what it is. A good book for the long nights of January.

Sacred Heart Library is blessed with wonderful patrons who have wide reaching and viewing interests. We are also blessed with generous donors. Because of these factors, we were able to purchase a magnificent art book, The Adoration of the Mystical Lamb. This is a detailed description of the altarpiece, The Mystical Lamb, painted in the 15th Century by Han and Hubert Van Eyck. It is the second most viewed painting next to the Mona Lisa.  In this volume the author, Fabric Hadjadj, explains the mystery behind the various reasons and places the painting has been stored, hidden or displayed for over more than the past 500 years. What is most interesting is the depth of religious symbolism Hadjadj so clearly shows us. This provides beautiful meditations, especially on the Eucharist. This work would be a lovely gift for a special person in your life, even if he or she is not an art authority.

Will Wilder: the Relic of Perilous Falls is TV commentator Raymond Arroyo’s first book for young adults. Mary Higgins Clark, New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense,” says: “Will Wilder is a brand-new, refreshing, entertaining, intrepid young hero who magically combines humor and genuine suspense. And I love his Aunt Lucille!” It is the story of one stolen relic, one ancient evil and one wilder adventure.  Dean Koonz calls it “great fun and great fright.”

Would you like to surprise your family with Pope Francis’ favorite meal? Or what about Pope Benedict’s or St. John Paul’s favorites? What do you think the Swiss Guards eat? What about the nuns and cooks who prepare these meals? Is there such a thing as “fast, simple” cooking in the Vatican? If so, what are some of the favorite “go to recipes”? Answers to these questions can be found in the beautiful, impressive Vatican Cookbook: 500 Years of Classic Recipes, Papal Tributes and Exclusive Images of the Life and Art at the Vatican presented by the Pontifical Swiss Guard. And lest you forget, prayer is part of every meal, and some of the favorites are included here. They might become some of your favorites too. Only by looking through this book can you fully appreciate its beauty, love and wealth of helpful information.  If you think this would be a great Christmas gift, I’m sure Mattingly’s can easily get it for you.

Matrimony and Holy Orders are the two vocations most frequently chosen by the majority of people. The Symbolon DVD, Matrimony and Holy Orders, explores the meaning of these sacraments and the graces they confer. Dr. Edward Sri and his guests show how marriage and strong family life can foster clerical vocations. They show the beauty of celibacy in the clerical state and the example holy priests give to the world. They discuss the questions each individual must ask before entering either of these vocations, with the main one being: how best can I serve God and do His will? This DVD is a good overview of these beautiful sacraments.

Most of us know of the great zeal Susan Tassone has for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Her books are very popular with our library patrons. Her latest, St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, is very important in this year of Mercy. It is a treasure trove of meditations from St. Faustina’s Diary. Tessone organizes the material into five categories: The Essence of Divine Mercy; Praying in the Presence of Our Lord with St. Faustina; Supplications to Our Lady of Mercy; Novenas, Litanies and Selected Prayers; and Devotions for the Suffering and Dying: The Promise of God’s Mercy. The second category is of particular interest to those of us who make a Holy Hour in the chapel. Any of the prayers in this section can provide much thoughtful meditation. You are welcome to check this out in the library on the Sunday before your Holy Hour.

Did you know “When St. Jane Frances de Chantal encouraged St. Francis de Sales to be angrier over opposition in starting their religious order, he replied, ‘would you have me lose in a quarter hour what has taken me twenty years‘ hard work to acquire?”  So even saints had to battle anger.  Father T.G. Morrow offers us a straight forward, insightful and inspiring solutions on this subject in his book, Overcoming Sinful Anger. In my opinion, this is one the best short books on this subject to come to the library in many years.

Some of us have the idea that our holy saints never had to confront personal evil.  Paul Thigpen, in his book Saints Who Battled Satan,  shows how seventeen saints engaged in heroic combat to defeat the Enemy. While their escapades are chilling at times, we are inspired by their complete surrender to God in fighting their battle  Their example gives us courage in the small challenges of out lives. You will love these saints even more and will want to share the story of their strength and faith in Christ.

God calls men from many different backgrounds to shepherd his flock. St. Camillus of Lellis was a soldier and hard core gambler who never saw himself as a priest. Today he is known as the patron saints of doctors, nurses and the sick. In 1654, after witnessing the deplorable condition of Rome’s poor, he established a religious community of men to care for these less fortunate. Eventually, he was ordained a priest. He has been praised for ridding Rome of bubonic plague and hailed as the Saint of Rome. In the 21st Century, the Order of Camillians still carries out his good work with the poor. Watch the DVD of his life to learn about this holy man.

Our Father by Maite Roche is a delightful little children’s board book. The colorful pictures explain each segment of the prayer. There are people and activity on each page that hold a child’s interest and even provoke questions. This small book lets a child see what the words to the prayer mean. It can even help with memorizing the prayer.

Can you answer any of the following questions? Who is the patron saint of travelers? How old must a man be to be elected pope? How do we define Catholic dogma?  According to Karl Keating, these are just three of 100 questions most Catholics CAN’T answer.  Keating should know. He has over 36 years of experience answering questions for Catholics and non Catholics. He is the founder of Catholic Answers Live, author of numerous books, and publisher of a magazine and various religious pamphlets. His new book, The Ultimate Catholic Quiz, is both instructive and entertaining. As you tackle these questions, you will be challenged; you will laugh; and you will be both shocked and surprised by what you know and don’t know. Best of all, you will come away from the experience feeling a greater appreciation for the depth and reasonableness of our faith. Asking the questions at a family dinner would be a fun way to engage in conversation because the book provides the explanation to four possible answers to each question.

The bases of the Catholic Church’s social teaching are found in Christ’s statement: “You did it to me.” The Symbolon DVD: Episodes 19 and 20 explains how the church has interpreted this.  In the DVD, a panel of clergy and lay persons discuss the care the Church has given to the poor and the most vulnerable in society.  They show how it has consoled the grieving and aided in lessening the suffering of many.  They explain how the Gospel must be applied in economics, politics and the culture. They describe the good work done by religious organizations and dioceses in hospitals, schools, universities and care centers world- wide. This DVD is not only informative; it shows how strongly the Church has obeyed Jesus’ command.  It teaches us how, in the Church, “You did it TO me” translates into “You did it FOR me.”

A Holy Year in Rome: The Complete Pilgrim’s Guide for the Jubilee of Mercy by Joan Lewis is both inspiring and practical. Lewis has lived and worked in Rome as a correspondent for nearly forty years so she knows much of the unique beauty and history of this Eternal City. She takes us on a tour of the seven pilgrim basilica; she explains what a jubilee year is; what indulgences.are But she,also, offers practical advise for the travelers such as the timetable of the museums. How do you get St Peter’s Dome? How much do I tip?  Where is the best pasta? Even if you don’t get to Rome this year, you can still experience the excitement, vicariously, through the pages of this book.

Even before his conversion to Catholicism, G.K. Chesterton had a great appreciation for two very different saints: Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi. Many theologians and philosophers, as well as ordinary readers think his biographies of these two giants of the Catholic faith are some of the best ever written. In the DVD, Thomas and Francis, Chuck Chalberg impersonates these two saints using Chesterton’s description of them. Listening to this is a delightful and easy way to understand not only the theology but also the depth of the spirituality of Thomas and Francis. This is good background information for anyone considering a vocation to the clergy.

Johnnet Benkovic is familiar to many persons who watch EWTN. She is host of the program “Women of Grace.” She is also the founder of a study program of the same name which many of us attended years ago. In her book, Experience Grace in Abundance: Ten Strategies for Your Spiritual Life, she shares what she understands as the best way to develop our relationship with God and others.  All ten chapters are significant, but her one on Prayer is perhaps the very best. Obviously Mrs Benkovic is a woman of prayer. Her insights into how prayer informs, reforms and transform into comfort  are profound and easily understood and put into practice by any of us. This chapter is worth the price o the book

Robert R. Reilly is a much respected Catholic writer on today’s culture and the Church’s role and understanding of it. One of today’s leading topics is Islamism. There is much information in the media and the blogosphere concerning this faith. Reilly in his book The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis offers a well documented and clear presentation of this religion. He gives straight answers to serious questions  The National Review says of it “Brilliant and groundbreaking.”

Several weeks ago we reviewed Peter Kraft’s book, How to Be Holy. We have also shared several book on Mercy, one of them, Matthew Kelly’s Beautiful Mercy.  Kelly now has a CD Faith at Work and the Holy Moment. In this CD he shows how living our Catholic faith prompts us to act on the works of mercy and aim for holiness at the same time. He gives us examples of doing this in our everyday lives of work, home and recreation. An inspiring CD.

Have you ever thought how much “cradle” Catholics learn about the Faith from converts? Think of Scott Hahn or Rosalind Moss (now Sr. Miriam).  Evangelical Exodus, edited by Douglas M. Beaumont, describes the journey of nine Protestant Evangelical seminarians to the Catholic Church. Their journey was not easy. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and their personal determination to search for truth, they conquered all the major stumbling blocks: Mary; Sola Fide; and the disbelief of family, teachers and friends. All say it was the Eucharist and the beauty of the liturgy that carried them forward and helped them overcome discouragement. Through their experiences, explanations and obvious love of Catholicism, we recognize the treasures and gift of our faith. Their witness spurs us to learn more.

Beautiful Mercy is the perfect reading companion during this Year of Mercy.  Matthew Kelly has enlisted the thoughts of twenty-six Catholic priests, religious,and laity concerning their insights on this topic.  The basis of their ideas are the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In their three page essays, we learn how mercy has been manifested in their lives and how we can apply this to our own. A good read when you want or need a quick inspiring thought to begin or end your day.

We know that we are all called to holiness but how?  We are told: imitate the saints and love your neighbor. That’s easier said than done. Pray more. But some of us ask, just how?.  Peter Kreeft tackles all these concerns in his new book How to Be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint. In his typical personal, conversational style, he begins his first paragraph: “ The cover of this book is joke.  You’re going to read How to Be Holy by whom?”  Mother Teresa, Saint John Paul II Saint Francis? No, by Peter Kreeft  That’s like reading  How to Be Honest by Pinocchio.” He then gives 10 practical answers which he bases on the timeless work of Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence. Like de Caussade, Kreeft shows that God reveals Himself in the daily events our lives. When we pay attention to these, God helps us in holiness.

How do we evangelize in today’s culture?  That is the question posed by Catholic convert, scripture scholar, author and travel guide Stephen Ray, in his hour long CD, Swimming Upstream.  He uses the era of the first Christians whose work at spreading the gospel, was much more perilous than ours today but is every bit as important.  Ray offers practical suggestions for us today based on the example of these early Christians. Their approach made the Gospel personal and inviting and therefore pertinent and relevant to the citizens of Rome and Greece. Ray believes we can emulate this and have success as they did.  This is well worth the listening to.  You’ll be encouraged and inspired by these ideas and the challenges they offer us.

The musical world has a new tenor.  He is praised for the richness of his voice and the depth of his presentation.  He is Friar Alessandro and is acclaimed as the “Voice from Assisi”. At a young age he was interested in music but also felt that God was calling him to be a Franciscan Friar. In college he was proficient in organ but also had to take voice lessons.  When he realized he was not going to pass his final exams because of low marks in voice he asked to be accepted into the monastery immediately instead of waiting until graduation as it had been planned.  Since his spiritual advisor would not accept him until he passed this exam he studied and passed and then entered the Monastery. Friar Alexandro’s obedience to his superior gave this new tenor a beautiful and unique way to praise God and to help others do the same. Come listen and enjoy his gift on the CD, Alessandro, the Voice from Assisi.

If you appreciate good detective stories based on historical evidence then Iota by T.M. Doran is for you. The story begins in November ; two months after Russia took over Poland. The main character, a publisher during the Nazi occupation is arrested and jailed for unknown reasons. His survival and moral dilemmas revolve around his and his cell mates lives prior to their incarceration. The question all of them have to address is “does the end justify the means?“ Read how they live with this problem and also save their lives. A real page turner.

Now who doesn’t like a story about a dog and a boy?  Or,better still, a boy and a cute, shaggy puppy.  Anthony Destefano’s The Puppy That No One Wanted is such a tale. Here the “kind-hearted” puppy is the one who scavenges food for the strays in his “alley.” When he gathers many bones, the hungry dogs devour them so quickly, he has none.  In his search for more and a warm place out of the rain, he stumbles into a home where a young boy gives him the crumbs from under the dinner table. The family adopts the puppy. Then, the carpenter father and the young boy make houses for all the other stray dogs and find places where they can have food.  Can you guess the name of the boy and those of his mother and father? Beautifully illustrated and loving told.

Several library patrons have asked for more information on the church’s understanding of Divine Mercy as revealed to St Faustina.  Fr. Chris Alar in his CD, The Necessity of Divine Mercy, offers a clear, concise explanation of the Divine Mercy chaplet and Divine Mercy Sunday. He shows why they are important to us today. He then explains the significance of the image, the novena and hour of mercy .Through this talk you will discover more fully the transforming message of God’s Divine Mercy.

Vinny Flynn, the writer of 7 Secrets of the Eucharist and 7 Secrets of Confession, is one of the library’s patrons favorite authors  His new book 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy is bound to, also, be a favorite.  In this small volume Flynn goes deeper into the beauty of God’s Divine Mercy.  He explains St. Faustina’s role in spreading this devotion He shows how Christ requested this of her and why it is so important today. You can not help but have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the great gift God has given to all sinners who ask for his mercy.  A consoling ,little book you will want to read many times.

The musical world has a new tenor.  He is praised for the richness of his voice and the depth of his presentation.  He is Friar Alessandro and is acclaimed as the “Voice from Assisi”. At a young age he was interested in music but also felt that God was calling him to be a Franciscan Friar. In college he was proficient in organ but also had to take voice lessons.  When he realized he was not going to pass his final exams because of low marks in voice he asked to be accepted into the monastery immediately instead of waiting until graduation as it had been planned.  Since his spiritual advisor would not accept him until he passed this exam he studied and passed and then entered the Monastery. Friar Alexandro’s obedience to his superior gave this new tenor a beautiful and unique way to praise God and to help others do the same. Come listen and enjoy his gift on the CD, Friar Alessandro, the Voice from Assisi.

Elijah In Jerusalem, is the long awaited sequel to Father Elijah :An Apocalypse by Michael D. O’Brien. So as not to give away the plot or ending I will quote from one of the reviewers of this novel. David Jeffrey, Professor of Literature at Baylor University. HeJune writes: “this is one of O’Brien’s best-crafted book, a fast-moving suspenseful page-turner adorned with lyrical grace and moments of joy which alternate with the stark terror and evocations of a powerful presence of evil so palpable that it will prompt sober reflection on our troubles times.” Don’t miss this short(282 pages) engrossing novel

The Sign of the Carved Cross is the second time travel book by Lisa M Hendey for pre-teen youth. In this story, Katie joined with her friends in being mean to the new girl Lily. Then suddenly Katie finds herself as the new girl in a Native American village in 1675. Her hope is she isn’t treated as she did Lily.  Discover the lessons she learns when a Native American girl with a severely scared face become her best friend and mentor. Can you guess the name of this Native American saint?

Are you looking for some good reading for the nine to eleven year olds in your life? The library has two new books by Lisa Hendey that answer that search.  One is the Secret of the Shamrock and the other is The Sign of the Carved Cross.  Both are time travel books.  In the Secret of the Shamrock, Patrick reluctantly volunteers to be on the team to clean the church bells when he suddenly finds himself in Ireland during the time of his name sake, St. Patrick.  Come read what adventures he has before returning the church tower.  Look for the review of The Sign of the Carved Cross in next week’s bulletin..

St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus is a beautiful example for our human fathers and our parish father. In Fr. Gary Caster’s book, Joseph the Man Who Raised Jesus, we see the perfect model for all men.  In many ways St. Joseph is a mystery but his influence upon Jesus the child he raised and the Church he protect is immeasurable. As we read and ponder his patience, his purity and his courage we cannot help but gain a greater love and respect for this holy man.  While he spoke few words in Scripture his example speaks many words.  Those who already have a devotion to St. Joseph will love this book. It would be a meaningful gift to both our beloved parish fathers, seminarians, our fathers and grandfathers.

A genera donor has given the library C. S Lewis’s Screwtape Letters which is a classic that has been enjoyed for many years by millions of people.  It is the tale of a young devil who has to earn his “promotion” to the Lowerarchy of Hell.  He is coached by his uncle in his “works and plots” to snare believers to follow a downward decent to Hell. The library has a book, an audio book and a dramatized version and study guide of this humorous and satirical story of serious theological truths.

“It is often said that behind every great man there is a great woman”. And this could not be truer than of Frances Blogg Chesterton, the wife of G.K Chesterton. Nancy Carpenter Brown’s The Woman Who Was Chesterton is the first biography of this woman.  Because Frances insisted in staying in the background of her famous husband, Brown had to do some very challenging sleuthing to discover the strength of this woman and the important part she played in G.K.’s life. In learning about Frances we discover move about G. K.  No doubt because of Brown’s work others will uncover more about the depth of character of France and beauty and holiness of her life with G. K. One can appreciate this book as not only a well researched biography but also a detective story and beautiful romantic love story.All our patrons who read have Chesterton will find this a good companion to appreciating G.K even more.

Lisa Mladinich’s True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life is for women who are in, are approaching or have travelled past middle age. The author is a former actress, convert to Catholicism and well known speaker and writer-in the area of catechetics.  Her antidotes and wisdom will help you redefine your perception of aging.  She will help dispel any negative feelings you might have had about the onset of middle age with its array of physical and psychological challenges You will be reaffirmed that ”prayerful, faith-filled women become more beautiful as they age not less”.

George Weigel’s City of Saints: A Pilgrimage to John Paul II’s Krakow might seem an unusual selection for Vocation Sunday. You might reason, yes, this Pope, is a great role model to remember and emulate..Yes, the city where he grew up and the spiritual effects they had on him could be of interest to our spirituality. Krakow is an ancient city with a rich Catholic heritage. Its people suffered greatly during German and Russian occupations.  But,then, maybe you are like me, and enjoys vicariously visiting places we may never get to see.  While these are all worthwhile reasons to enjoy this book, there are several more important ones for reviewing it on this Vocation Sunday.  World Youth Day 2016 will be held in Krakow in June. This would be a perfect practical and spiritual travel guide for anyone attending. Even more importantly, we know that many religious vocations have come from World Youth Day celebrations.  Those of us who stay at home can pray that the youth who hear God’s call to religious life during this event in Krakow will answer affirmatively.

What better month than May to ponder closely the words of Mary’s prayer, The Hail Mary. Sarah Reinhard, a blogger and writer has done just that in her book, Word by Word. In this short (fits easily into a purse or pocket) volume she and some of the friends from her blog take each word of the Hail Mary and meditate on its significance with in the prayer and the life of Mary. Then they apply its meaning for us today and last ask how we can apply these thoughts to our own lives. You will be amazed at what wonderful images can come from the usually insignificant little word “the”. If you haven’t gotten a gift for your mother or grandmother for Mother Day this is another good suggestion. It would also be great for dad and grandfathers for Father’s Day in June

Lisa Hendy’s A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms would be a beautiful gift this year for your mom on Mother’s day, May 8. Mrs. Hendey offers 52 saintly companions to nourish our heart, mind, body and soul. She first describes the life of the saint, relates any traditions that have developed about this person and the wisdom each has imparted. Next she gives a scripture passage for each day of the week that pertains to the charisms of the saint. She offers activities moms and the children can do in honor of the saint. Then she shares a family prayer and finally a reflection to ponder in our lives. A lovely practical way to grow in holiness.

In our lives, most of us want sincerely to say yes to God but realize this is not always easy. Lisa Hendey, a daughter, sister, cancer survivor, wife, mom, and successful blogger and writer has experienced the same thing. In her book, the Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living she offers us practical suggestions for recognizing and acting on eight graces we all have and need to strengthen our yeses . She does this using personal situations and examples of saints and other holy people. Her thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter guide us in making decisions that encourage us in our saying yes.

I would wager that most of us sitting in the pews here at Sacred Heart find it difficult to understand people who say there is no God. Michael Augros, a teacher of philosophy, has studied the arguments by scholars, students and the ordinary people who dispute the existence of God. In his book Who Designed the Designer: A Rediscovered Path to God’s Existence he counters their assertions. What makes his book unique is his humor and personal stories to prove his points. Fr. Robert Spitzer writes, Augros’s “explanations make a heavy subject engaging and easy to read.” Peter Kreeft, another of our patron’s favor authors says, “This is quite simply, the single best book I have ever read on what most of us would regard as the most important question of philosophy: Does God  exist. It will inevitable become a classic” So come, check this out and enjoy a delightful read on a profound subject.

Susie Lloyd’s in, Yes God!, presents the stories of five priests, five nuns and the parents who raised them to be open to God’s call. She relates the parent’s joys and setbacks revealing their principles and rallying cries and passes along tips from these “master” parents.  The author, a mother of seven, tells some of her own and often humorous parenting tales. She helps readers understand the many dynamics of Catholic family life and the diverse factors that influence a child’s decision to say “yes” to God. A fun and encouraging read.

If you like good, solid spy stories, Church of Spies : The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler is one of the best you can read.  Mark Riebling takes us into the seldom explored mysterious world of Vatican espionage. He provides a groundbreaking and riveting account of Pope Pius XII secret war against Hitler and the Holocaust. While the narrative is well documented, the facts reads with the dynamism of fiction. There is already talk of movie. But don’t wait for that come.  Enjoy now.

Christ’s life is always one of mystery but also based in reality. In No Longer a Stray by Fr. Terry Deffenbaugh, OSA takes the reader on the journey of Christ’s life as experienced through the eyes of a one of his unusual companions,  Pup Pup, a stray but faithful dog.  With loving tenderness we hear Jesus muse over and explain the everyday happenings they encounter—the sadness Jesus at the death of Lazarus, His mercy for the woman caught in adultery  His agony before  the Crucifixion. A beautiful, consoling, exciting way to get to know both the gentleness and profundity of Jesus. You can not but be touched by Fr Deffenbaugh’s deep, personal love of Jesus..  A very good read for all ages.

On October 7, 1571, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, the Catholic Holy League with a very undermanned naval force defeated the powerful Turks in the gulf of Lepanto.  Although the battle decided the future of Europe, few know how close Western Europe came to suffering an Islamic Conquest. (We, today, could be part of the Islamic culture.) In the CD Lepanto: The Battle that Saved the West Christopher Check, tells the exhilarating story of one of the most significant historical naval battle ever fought. Don’t miss out on this fascinating and vital piece of our Catholic history, told with energy and wit.

In the DVD, The Courage to Love Vanessa Williams portrays a beautiful African-American woman who lived in pre-Civil War New Orleans.She was the daughter of a wealthy white plantation owner and his kept African mistress.  Fighting her family’s wishes, society’s rules and rampant racism, she rejects the traditions of an arranged marriage and sets out on a journey fraught with danger and forbidden desires.  This inspiring true story of heroism and love illustrates the extraordinary life of Henriette Dalille,( 1813-62) the first African-American Saint. In 1836 she drew up rules for devout Christian women who wanted to minister to the needs of the slaves. This group eventually became the Sisters of the Holy Family.  They took into their convent elderly women who needed more than visitations, and thereby opened America’a first Catholic home for the elderly of its kind.  Henriette’s obituary read “Henriette devoted herself untiringly for any years, without reserve, to the religious instruction of the people of New Orleans, principally slaves…For the love of Jesus Christ she had become the humble and devout servant of the slaves.”  Today her congregation of nuns still thrives in the South where they are teachers and givers to the elder and sick. After watching this inspiring story you will understand why the title The Courage to Love is so appropriate.

We are all familiar with Mathew Kelly’s Rediscovering Catholicism which was given to all of us several years ago.  Mr. Kelly has a delightful new children’s book Why Am I Here: A Story about Becoming the Best Version of Yourself. Here we meet a young boy Max and his grandfather who answers Max’s question of, why he is here, with the  answer, to become the best version of yourself. Grandpa shows him how all creatures have to be what God intended them to be so they can be their best. Max comes to understand that his decisions and choices are what help to make him his own best version. We see him questioning all his decisions such as which is better to eat a candy bar and chips for lunch OR a sandwich an apple; should he watch TV OR do the next day’s homework.  We experience the satisfaction he has from choosing the one that makes him a better person.  This book and its delightful illustrations are good for people of all ages.  Young people’s literature when well written is one of our best teaching tools. This is certainly true of this small volume.

Around the Table with the Catholic Foodie or a better title for Jeff Young’s book could be “Food Meets Faith in the Holy Land”.  Jeff Young of New Orleans is the founder of The Catholic Foodie blog and podcast.  He hosts a TV show and speaks about how faith can grow through  cooking and sharing recipes and ideas on social media. In this book he explores the cuisine of the Holy Land.  He shares his own family experiences of sharing and preparing meals together and the bond these creates. In his recipes he uses fresh seasonal ingredients. There is something for both the novice cook and the experienced culinary expert can try. As Chef John Besh writes, “This book is delicious culmination of Young’s exploration of his passions for both food and faith.  I share his same enthusiasm for faith Holy Land and table and he bridges all three through approachable recipes and insightful anecdotes.” If you are looking for some new creative ways to prepare healthy meals this is a good book for you. Persons who enjoy lamb will find some new recipes too.

What better way to prepare for Lent than to watch a DVD exploring the beauty, depth and mystical aspects of Christ’s life. Nicholas Zachairiadis, a Byzantine Catholic Abbot located in northern Wisconsin has given series of interviews describing the need for growing  in an understanding of the mystical aspects of Jesus’s life.  He goes beyond just the historical facts to the love Christ showed and taught through the three years of His public ministry. The Abbot asks us to dwell on the great love Jesus teaches and how He wants His union with the Father to be our goal.  He shows how prayer units us with Christ and how to grow in this through simple daily prayer. There is much to meditate and learn about spirituality and personal holiness in these short DVDs.

The Benedictines Nuns of Mary, Queen of Apostles have a new music album, Lent at Ephesus.  It is their third album.  Like their other two albums they sing both traditional and contemporary Catholic songs and chants. This one focuses mainly on Lenten and Easter music. You won’t be disappointed in the beautiful melodies. They will help in deepening your experience of this holy season.

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? is one of the library’s newest items. And please don’t laugh at the title, after all we try to please the interests of all our patrons.  The authors, Brother Guy Consolmagna and Fr. Paul Mueller, are the scientists at  the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church. With disarming humor  they explore this and other questions such as, How do we reconcile the Big Bang with Genesis ? Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical event? What really happened between Galileo and the Church and why do we still discuss it today? This book will make you laugh, think and reflect more deeply on science, faith and the nature of the universe.  Enjoy.

To the Heights: A Novel Based on the Life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. is an inspiring fictional biography for a  cold rainy day.  Author Brian Kennelly (you’ll remember him as the author of our popular novel Two Statues) introduces us to the life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. Blessed Pier was a young man who came from an important Italian family.  He was good looking, loved the outdoors, athletics and was popular among his friends. He fought  against the evil of the Fascism of Mussolini and the thugs of Turin.  His greatest concern was for the poor and much of his free time and money went for their care.This was not what his wealthy father preferred. It is said Pier’s great love for Christ brushed off on all he met—his college friends,  lepers, orphans and diplomats.  When he died at age of twenty-four his high-society parents were astonished at how not only the well to do of Turin but thousands of poor persons came to pay homage to their young friend. Pier truly practiced the act of Mercy. A good role model for all of us in this Year of Mercy.

Many of us are familiar with Dale Ahlquist and his writings on G.K. Chesterton. In All Roads: Roamin’ Catholic Apologetics,  Ahlquist offers a series of short chapters where he defends the Catholic faith against a wide variety of attacks that come at it from all sides. Here he shows he can be as witty and entertaining as G.K. and also as knowledgeable about the truths of the faith.  You won’t be disappointed in any of these 56 essays. They can be read in five and ten minutes and leave you with a positive outlook on life and a great appreciation of the Church.  Just what we need on the dreary days of winter.

In 2008 Rick Santorum’s family faced the prospects of their eighth child being born with the rare genetic condition, Trisomy 18. If the child was born her chances of living more than a few months were rare.   Today Bella thrives and is the joy of the Santorum family.  Read in Bella’s Gift how this special needs child has enriched the family through her many illnesses and struggles. Her story and that of the family is an inspiration to all of us.  Her life shows how every person is valuable and a true gift from God. Bella has given much love to her family and in turn taught them an even deeper love. This is a heartwarming story of courage and perseverance even against unthinkable odds.  A good read during pro-life month.

Father Gregor Mendel is considered the father of modern genetics, a science that changed the world. Fr. Mendel was a dedicated priest and visionary scientist who is an important witness for contemporary society on how faith and science are not in conflict with each other. From the beginning Fr.Mendel realized his discovery could be used the wrong way.  In the DVD, The Gardner of God, we witness how Fr. Mendel’s passion for the truth made him seek help from a benefactor to assist him in spreading the knowledge of his discovery around the world.This movie is both informative and entertaining.

Just as we need a good movie at Christmas we also need a good novel, Treason, by Dena Hunt is good choice. The setting is England during the time of Shakespeare and Elizabeth the First. Persecution of Catholics was very real. The very wealthy Catholics paid an enormous tax to keep their land but still could not practice their faith. Stephen Long steps ashore in England one day in May of 1581.  He is the young clandestine priest who has come to minister to the many underground Catholics. Elizabeth’s spies are everywhere and no one is safe to even mention their Catholic faith.  Those who are caught can to hung and if a prominent villager or clergy will be drawn and quartered. I concur with the British researcher and author, Joseph Peace, who writes, “Treason is one to the most powerful historical novel I’ve read in a long time.  It brings to vivd and shocking life the age in which Shakespeare lived and in which the English martyrs died.” This is solid historical fiction at its best.

Little Lamb Finds Christmas by Cathy Gilmore is a lovely  book for young children. Lemi,a lamb, is in the habit of getting lost but thanks to the kindly shepherd boy Sha-Baa is always retrieved. He tells the story of how he almost missed greeting the Baby Jesus the night He is born. On that night he also encounters a lion who has come to welcome the new born child. Read how these usual natural enemies behave in the presence of the new born King.  This is a great book to give to those favorite young friends in your life or to have on hand when they come to visit. The author, Cathy Gilmore is a catechist in the Good Shepherd catechetical program for the diocese of St. Louis,

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.

The Advent of Christ: Scriptural Reflections to Prepare for Christmas by Edward Sri  is a good way to begin this holy season of Advent. In this book Dr. Sri gives us meditations for the four weeks of advent and also Christmas week. The first week is “Setting the Stage: The Prophets and the Hope”  The second week is “Serving God’s Plan: St. Joseph, Zechariah, and John the Baptist”.  On the third week follow “Mary’s Footsteps: Her Call and Her Journey of Faith”. In week four we journey “ From Nazareth to Bethlehem: the Joys and Sorrows of the Holy Family”. In the week of Christmas we “Witness to the Mystery: The Shepherd, the Magi and Simeon”. In each of these very brief mediations we read an appropriate  scripture passage and comment and then a reflection.

Pope Francis says, “In every age the Church has called upon the arts to give expressions to the beauty of her faith”. No more better place to experience this than in Fr. Mark Haydu’s, book Mediations on Vatican Art: Angels. Fr. Mark is the International coordinator of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums and the spiritual director to many clergy, religious and laity in Rome. The pictures of art works on angels are worth the cost of this fairly inexpensive book. In here Fr. Mark does more than give a biography of each artist of the work he shows, some explanation of its significance and what and who we see in it.  He provides relevant scriptural passages and meditations on the piece as basis for a  thirty day retreat on the meaning of angels in our lives. What a beautiful way to experience in depth some of the great pieces of art from the Vatican Museum and without even leaving the comfort of our home.  Hint.  This would make a great Christmas gift to give or receive which Mattingly’s would be happy to order for you.

It is not by accident that our new Holy Father choose to be called Pope Francis. His great devotion and emulation of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint of the poor, is well known. The significance of the Pope’s choice was not lost on Gina Loehr and Al Giambone. Taking the main mission and the themes in the lives of these two persons they offer, Saint Francis, Pope Francis: A Common Vision. In this short book they explore how the saint and the Pope spoke, wrote and exemplify many similar virtues. The authors state “St. Francis, like all the saints before and since, loved Christ and lived the Gospel, but he did so in a way that got people’s attention.  And while it would be absurd to claim that Pope Francis is a mirror image of St. Francis, these men do share some significant things, not the least of which is the ability to remind people of the basic Gospel message.” The authors explore, too, how these men understand humility, charity, the Church, peace, and  joy. This volume offers us a fresh look at the spirituality of St. Francis and why Pope Francis chose him as his example.

Christ taught us to care for the sick and the dying. In this month of November when we honor in a special way the souls who have died it is good to remember ways of comforting  those who are ill and those who are near death as well as those who care for them. Msgr. David L. Greenstock’s, little book Comfort for the Sick and Dying is a store house of wisdom for people facing the most vulnerable and desperate times of their lives: the onset of serious illness or the approach of death.  Here is essential reading for caregivers and for wise souls who want to show care for those in illness or near death.  With clarity and fidelity to Scripture, Msgr. shows us how to let Jesus Himself bring comfort and strength.  He helps us discover how we can to let suffering help transform us into closer communion with Christ. He shows us how to pray with the ill or/and we ourselves face these challenges.  A small but powerful book.

Do not be turned off by the 1959 copyright date of Meditation on Christ Model of Holiness by Romano Guardini. Guardini was an Italian German priest whose popular classes and readable books won him worldwide acclaim. His works combine a keen thirst for God with a profound depth of thought and delightful perfection of expression. As Catholic convert and teacher, Thomas Howard ,says “No writer of the twenties century has probed more acutely and profoundly the mystery of Jesus Christ than has Romano Guardini.. There are unfathomable riches” in Meditations on Christ. Here you will be taken into the mind and heart of the Son of God in a way you may not have thought possible. You’ll come to understand the inner logic of Jesus’s ministry: why He did what He did including puzzling aspect of His life—ones that may trouble your mind and faith. This is a book you will want to read over and over again as you learn of the depth of its insights into the life of Christ. It truly is a guide to holiness.

“God makes Himself felt in the heart of each person. He also respects the culture of all people…God is open to all people. He calls everyone. He moves everyone to seek Him and to discover Him through creation.” Such are the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis in his book On Heaven and Earth which he wrote with Rabbi Abraham Skorka. In this volume, the two share their thoughts on religion, reason, and the challenges the world faces in the twenty-first century. Both men have been strong promoters of inter religious dialogue. They have sought to build bridges among Catholicism, Judaism and the world at large. This book includes conversations where the two talked on such subjects as fundamentalism, atheism, marriage, capitalism and globalization. From these talks we get a first hand view of Pope Francis on these very important issues for the world in general and Catholics in particular.

In this month of the Rosary what better way to celebrate it than to watch the DVD Our Lady of the Rosary at Pompeii. The power of the Our Lady’s rosary is nowhere more stunningly seen than in the historic Battle of Lepanto. The Ottoman Turks were decisively defeated in1571 when Italians took up the rosary and prayed for their Christian naval forces. This one hour documentary presents the unlikely victory with a narration of the founding of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary at Pompeii, by the lay person, Blessed Bartolo Longo. This is a beautiful reminder and testimony to the power to this beautiful prayer. You will be inspired and enlightened with this DVD.

Did you know that a Bishop in Illinois is also a semi-professional Hockey player?  In his book, Holy Goals for Body and Soul, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki outlines eight steps connecting the principles in sports with God and Faith. He shows how athletics and fitness training are a daily way to connect with God and the faith. He weaves his unique personal story with eight aspects commonly associated with participation in athletics: fear; frustration; failure; fortitude; faith; family; friendship; and fun. Along with an understanding of team play he connects these with a path to wholeness and holiness.Even is you are not an avid Hockey fan you will enjoy the Bishop’s personal experiences and challenges as a person who loves the lessons one learns in sports.

For many, the Inquisition stands as history’s blackest mark against the Catholic church. In the CDs The Real Story of the Inquisition, Steve Weidenkopf presents historic data to show that far from being a religious reign of terror, the Inquisition was actually a noble institution that was aimed primarily at repentance and reconciliation of wayward Catholics. It utilized well regulated and temperate punishment. It protected the accused from harsher treatment from the state. It is known that prisoners in state prisons often lied so they could be incarcerated in Church prisons where treatment was both fair and conditions good. It, also, fostered both religious and national unity. After listening to Weidenkopf you will never view the Inquisition in the negative it is so often presented. You will be better able to provide the truth about this time in Catholic history.

Understanding Miracles by Zsolt Aradi presents a comprehensive study of this very important and often confusing subject for many people. In this book Zsolt explains which particular miracles we are required to accept and the ones we are free to doubt.He describes the five kinds of miracles. He tells of the benefits that miracles always bring, the strict criteria by which the Church evaluates supernatural events, and the painstakingly slow, methodical way in which it deliberately proceeds with such investigations. It is hoped that this knowledge will deepen our understanding of miracles and draw us closer to the Christ, the Author, of them all.

By the Sea is the latest in the Jamie and Bella adventures written for 7 – 11 year olds. In this book Jamie and Bella’s seaside vacation takes an unexpended turn when they cross paths again with Popov, the orphan Jamie met in An Extraordinary Friend. Popov is searching for the parents he never knew. The twins little sister, Lily, join in the adventure. This story deals with the basic questions of life. Where do I come from? Why am I here? An easy way to disgust these important topics with children.

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.

In the movie In the Footsteps of St. Peter, David Suchet( PBS’s Poirot) takes us on St Peter’s journey as a humble fisherman to his life as the Church’s first Pope. We visit his home area, his time in Jerusalem where he denied Christ and his post Resurrection transformation. We discover the role Peter played in keeping the early church from splintering. You come away from this movie with a deeper love and admiration for our first Pope and also realize the important role of the Holy Spirit in his life as he guided followers of Christ in the first days of the Church. This is a wonderful visual way to experience this time in the early Church.

Napkin Notes by Garth Callaghan is a book about creating connections with those we love. Callaghan crafted lunches and added napkins with his pithy and meaningful notes written on them for his daughter since she was a small child. As she became older the notes became a legacy. After his diagnosis of kidney cancer it became important to him that his daughter receive these until her graduation from high school even if Callaghan did not live to see this. Because he realized how very important it is for all of us to value our relationships with friends and family he wrote this little book. He calls it a call to wakeup to connect— to share our feelings, to make that phone call, write that note because life is fragile. This book will spur you to do those things we so often postpone. It is important to both us and those we love.

Do you know what happened to the cross on which Jesus died to save us? In this new children’s book by Cornelia Mary Bilinsky, join Queen Helen, the mother of Constantine, the first Holy Roman Emperor as she goes to Jerusalem to search for this precious item. After finding the True Cross the Queen had a beautiful church, the Church of the Resurrection, built on the site. She took pieces of the cross to Rome and where they can still be seen in the Basilica of the Holy Cross. St. Helen’s feast day is August 18 and the feast of the Holy Cross is celebrated on September 14.

The Catholic Church is known for its promotion of good art, especially in the realm of sacred art. In the eight, thirty minute DVDs Sacred Art, Spiritual Principles for Faithful Interpretation Jem Sullivan first introduces us to the major components in understanding the relationship of art and spirituality. Realizing that we are encompassed with a highly visually oriented society she explains how we must learn to distinguish between the “art” of the TV, movies, commercials, and advertising and art that leads us to a higher reality, that is God. Showing us examples of paintings, sculpture and architecture she further explains the difference between religious and sacred art. This is a good introduction to art in general and sacred art in particular. Even if you an art major you can learn something new from Dr. Sullivan.

Serra is a docu-drama filmed on location in Spain, Mexico and California that presents the life and heroic missionary activity of Blessed Juniper Serra.  It combines insightful commentary from noted historians and experts. It uses dramatized recreations of scenes from the life of this Catholic blessed who played such a foundational role in the evangelization of the Americas.  This priest was part of a famous expedition of Spanish conquerors trekking from Mexico to California. It was filled with untold trials and hardships. Suffering, hunger, thirst, warring Native Americans and unexplored territory this courageous priest was determined to go ever forward. His goal was to bring Christ message to the unbaptized.  What a beautiful example of a holy self-sacrificing priest.

Saint John Paul II called him, “The man of the Eight Beatitudes” and his friends called him “an explosion of joy”. We know him today as Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. In the DVD, Sanctity Within Reach Christina Wohar Executive Director of Frassati USA and Wanda Gawronska, niece Pier Giorgio, describe the life of this fun loving, mountain climbing young man whose great love of the poor of Turin is an example for both the young and old. Our studying how he showed compassion and mercy to the poorest of the poor is a good preparation for The Year of Mercy Pope Francis announced and that we enter in December.

It matters not if you are a new mother or a seasoned grand mother you will appreciate Holly Pierlot’s, A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul. This is not just another self help book to let you make a schedule and feel good about yourself. Holly Pierlot’s purpose for herself was holiness. It took her time to see how God was working in her life and how her vocation as a wife and mother determined her path to holiness. She shares what she has learned and explains how her experience is not unique but any woman could follow in her journey to God. Her “Rule of Life” is inspiring, practical, and attainable.

The library has a new 4 DVD set that explains the origin and deep spiritual meaning of the devotion to the Sacred Heart Jesus. Fr. Bernard McGuckian, SJ has done extensive research into this fairly old and beautiful church devotion. Father explains its history and the major saints who were instructed to introduce it to the church. He visits many sites in Europe where the practice was first begun and still continues. He shows how it evolved and is practiced here in the States. Since our parish has the Sacred Heart as our title this DVD is of special interest to all of us.

The Knights of Columbus have given us a wonderful, inspiring view into the life of our new Pope. In the DVD, Pope Francis: the Pope from the New World we see the   cities school and monastery where the pope spent his early years. We learn information about his family and his discovery that God was calling him to be a priest. We hear the comments and praise of priests and parishioners who served under him and whom he served.  We witness his deep love for the poor and their love for him. We watch the reaction of politicians who did not agree with his pro-life stand and a Jewish rabbi who considers him his best friend.  A very inspiring viewing for the entire family. Non-Catholic would enjoy this too.

Sadly many of us have relatives or friends who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Remembering Jesus: A Catholic Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease is a four disc DVD set in which Dr. Vincent Frotanasce, a world authority on this disease, and Fr.Roger Landry, a priest from Falls River MA who holds a degree in biology from Harvard and advanced work in John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, discuss the stages, care, causes, and possible ways of preventing or slowing dementia and Alzheimer in particular. This is a much needed Catholic perspective in which today’s culture often disregards the sanctity of life in all stages. This information helps us see the person behind the disease. A must see program even if you are not familiar with persons or families suffering from this disease.

Everyone loves Anthony De St fano’s adult books (A Travel Guide to Heaven) but he is equally loved for his beautifully illustrated children’s books. His latest is The Sheep that No One Could Find. It is the story of the sheep who goes off on his own because he doesn’t want to follow the rules of his shepherd. He is pursued by a wolf in sheep clothing, a fierce lion and a slithering snake. After he falls into a dark cave he is very happy when he hears the voice of his shepherd calling his name. This is a beautiful children’s rendition and interpretation of Luke 15:3-7 and John 19:11.

Dr. Bill Theirfelder was an Olympian, sports agent and is currently president of a small Catholic college. In his book, Less Than A Minute to Go, Dr Theirfelder compares the challenges of sports to Christian life. “Theirfelder puts in words and descriptions what we leaders try to do every day—to challenge ourselves and our teams to be at our best, all the time.” say, Mike Krzyzewski, Head Basketball Coach, Duke University and Team USA. “Bill is a great leader and motivator.” He believes in striving for perfection even in impossible situations both as an athlete and Christian. His writing is as fast paced as his descriptions of games. It is a book you’ll read from cover to cover and wonder where the time went. Hint: A good Father’s Day present to the sport loving men in our lives.

The DVD, Father Placido Cortese The Courage of Silence tells the story of a 37 year old Franciscan monk from Padua,Italy. During the second world war thanks to a strong network of friends, and at the request to the Vatican, he managed to save hundreds of Jews, Slovenian, Croatian and American prisoners. As editor of the publication, Messenger of Saint Anthony he gathered a network of persons who could secretly take much needed personal supplies and information to these prisoners.  On October 8, 1944, he was picked up by the Nazi Gustapo as he exited the Basilica of St. Antonio never to be seen again in Padua. Through extraordinary and direct evidence we now know he was tortured and died in Trieste never having revealed the names of his collaborators. A beautiful example of a priest who quietly but profoundly like Christ gave his life for others.

When we made our First Holy Communion many of us were given a Miraculous Medal and enrolled in a Society of the same name. But what do we remember or know about this custom? Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s book, Miraculous Medal: Stories, Prayers and Devotion answers these questions. The book is short and the explanations clear and helpful. She explains when, how and why this Catholic practice came into existence and why it is still revered. Using personal stories we learn how devotees to the Miraculous Medal have received many blessings. From O’Boyle’s writing you will have a greater appreciation and better understanding of Miraculous Medal’s significance to our Catholic life.

Mike Aquilina who gave us the wonderful book on The Fathers of the Church now gives us Mothers of the Church: The Witness of Early Christian Women. In drastic contrast to their menial role in pagan Rome he demonstrates how Christianity empowered women. Using the actual writings of these Christian women or biographies of their close acquaintances he describes how they contributed to the spread and understanding of Christianity in its early centuries. He writes of the lives of not only consecrated virgins, heroic martyrs, and poor widows, but also worldly business women, rich ladies of the upper crust and an indomitable adventurer on a world tour. You’ll be inspired and encouraged by the example of these women. Their lives are part of Church history which we need to rejoice in and remember.

A n d r e a Tornielli, a highly regarded Vatican observer, offers an in depth look at Pope Francis in his biography Jorge Mario Bergoglio: Francis: Pope of a New World. Using the  words, ideas and personal recollections of Pope Francis, he answers the questions: How does the Pope see the world? How does he understand his call to serve Christ, his Church and the world? In short what is the mind and heart of this new pope of a new world–of the Americas and the rest of the world in the 21st Century? In this biography we read the story of a humble pastor of one of the world’s largest archdioceses; a cardinal who took the bus, talks with common folk and lives simply. From his life we can understand why the world has so warmly embraced our new Holy Father.

Pope St. Pius X said “in just one year, a man can derive more profit from the works os St. Thomas Aquinas than from a lifetime studying the works of others.”

you have the desire but not the time or a year to devote to St. Thomas than Kevin Vost’s, The One-Minute Aquinas The Doctor’s Quick Answer to Fundamental Questions, is an excellent substitute. In this volume, Vost gives you small, easy portions of the saints’ wisdom that you can enjoy one minute at a time. You can finds explanations for such questions as Why does God permit evil? What is the soul, free will, sin and damnation? What are the qualities of resurrected bodies? Those with limited time will learn and enjoy the simple explanations of the truths of this great saint.

Whether or not you have had the opportunity to go to the Holy Land and walk along the road to Calvary you still can appreciate the DVD, The Via Dolorosa Experience. Here you will join the Franciscan friars on their annual Good Friday walk that follows the exact steps Jesus took to his death. You begin on the site of his trial proceed through the streets and venues of Jerusalem to Golgotha and finally His tomb. You will hear and can pray the prayers of the Friars and pilgrims as they make their slow and somber journey. What a beautiful and prayerful way to participate in the Way of the Cross!

If you, you children or grandchildren haven’t been introduced to the delightful instructive DVDs of Brother Francis you are missing out on an entertaining way to learn more about our beautiful faith. The library’s latest Brother Francis DVD is Following in His Footsteps. Here Brother shows us what it means to be a true follower of Christ. We experience how the Parable of the Sheep shows us what it means to serve Jesus by our service to others. The Story of the Wise and Unwise Builders teaches us the benefits of living life as God intends. The final episode shows us the effects our faith can have on others. This lively presentation is perfect company for any day but especially the rainy days of spring. It will gladden your heart and encourage you to sing the praises of Jesus’s teachings.

Saint Joseph passes through the gospels without saying a word. But think how important he is in the lives of the Blessed Mother and Jesus. Fr. Federico Suarez in his book, Joseph of Nazareth, using Scriptural references, reflects on this significant fact. For example, in reflecting on St. Joseph at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the role of priests of the Old Testament, Fr. Suarez writes, ”While [St. Joseph] was not a priest he was the first to offer to God a holy and perfect sacrifice, the word become incarnate …an offering of infinite value such as the world had never seen.” Using this and many other places and times in Jesus’s life Fr. Suarez shows while St. Joseph is a silent figure he is a strong role model for husbands, fathers, workers. His steadfastness is an example of a saint we can call on when we feel weary of daily tasks or life seems just very ordinary. St. Joseph must have experienced the same concerns. Because of his care and devotion to the everyday needs of the blessed Mother and Jesus we have assurance he understands our needs, too, and will be willing to ask Jesus to hear our petitions.

Thomas Caughwell in his book, Pope Francis: The Pope from the End of the Earth offers a beautifully illustrated volume of the life of our new Pope. He explores his life including his birth and early years in Argentina; his mystical experience as a teenager that drew him to religious life; his years as a priest and bishop with a heart for the poor and the marginalized; his unflagging courage to teach and defend the Catholic faith. Through 60 full-colored illustration we not only read but see Francis’s as a youth and priest, but his years as a bishop, and his journey to the Holy See. You will want not only a copy for yourself but one to give as a gift.

Many of us at Lent resolve to make more time for prayer. One of the most popular prayers of the church is the Liturgy of the Hours, commonly called the Divine Office. It is one of the oldest prayer of the Church. It consists of readings from the Old and New Testament, Church Fathers and papal documents prayed at designated times of the day. Its four large volumes parallels the liturgical seasons of the year, Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter and two volumes for Ordinary Time which occurs between Christmas and Easter and Easter and Christmas. Priests and deacons are required to pray it daily. Many lay persons pray a shorter version of it. Truth be told, it can be complicated and not easy to master. Dara Sockey in her book The Everyday Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours gives a clear explanation of just what it is, its significance and how to pray it. Even if you are not considering this for your daily prayer, you will appreciate Sockey’s clear explanations and her love of this time honored prayer.

Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches written and researched by Catholic theologian George Weigel and artist Elizabeth Lev with photographs by Stephen Weigel describes an ancient Lenten pilgrimage to dozens of Rome’s most striking churches. For nearly 2000 years it was the custom of Christians during lent to visit a different Church each day. Weigel and his co-authors record a similar journey during lent of 2013.In his book he provides meditations for each day and at each Church. Lev describes the interior of the churches and young Weigel photographs them. Many of the churches are only open during this season so it is a privilege to see them and their beautiful art. This is a spiritual pilgrimage of viewing the beautiful religious art in the churches and also meditating on the liturgy of each day. It would be lovely to make this pilgrimage, but if you can’t do it in Rome then this is the next best thing.

It is a given we all want and need friends. Christ highly prized his friends. Today many people have more “friends” than they can count because of social media sites.We are sad when we lose a friend either through death or serious disagreement. But have you ever thought what it mean be a friend? What is true friendship? How does friendship lead to happiness? Is there any virtue in friendship? These are some of the topics John Cuddeback discusses in his 4 CDs set True Friendship. Listening to these CDs will prepare you to be a better friend and help you cultivate stronger friendships. Cuddeback concludes by explaining how our deepest desire is relationship with God who is our truest most lasting friend. It is the perfect friendship.

St. Gerard Majella: A Saint for Our Times tells the story of Saint Gerard, a Redemptist brother from southern Italy whose purity, faith, love of God, and obedience to our Lord and his superiors are models for us today. During his brief life as a religious it is reported he performed so many miracle that he became known as the “Wonder Worker”. After viewing this DVD you will understand why he may soon become the Patron Saint of the unborn.

If you are looking for a good novel to warm your heart during these last days of winter then Two Statues by Brian Kennelly is a great choice. The settings are on an island in North Carolin, Worcester, Massachusetts and Jamestown, Rhode Island. The story revolves around the lives of two retired men who seek nothing more than the quite of ricky island cabins, a good fishing spot and a violin and two priests, one of whom is having a crisis of faith. The lives of these four come together when the priests are sent to investigate the strange happening of a statue of the Virgin Mary in a parish in Jamestown. The statue gives off so much heat firemen must wear protective gear to enter the church. What causes this heat? Why can the humble, simple care taker still sweep the church aisles and not feel or be effected by the scorching heat? How does the past of one of the retired men play a part in the solution to this conundrum? Why is the title of the book not One Statue?

The Rising, by Robert Ovies is one of latest novels of Ignatius Press. The question it poses is “Don’t you believe in Miracles?” The author, T. M Doran says the answer is mesmerizing and provocative. The characters are vivid and the story elegantly told. It will make you think, wonder, and then ponder what death, life, and love really mean. A good January read.

St. Pope John Paul II often spoke that the Church must breathe with both lungs meaning the power of the Eastern and Western Churches. Most of us, especially in the Midwest, are more familiar with the Western or Latin Rite Churches. To familiarize us with the practices of the Eastern Churches, which are in union with Rome, the library has accessioned a fifteen DVD series called The Light of the East. In the first part of this series two priests of the Eastern Byzantine Rite explain the Eastern Patriarchates and their daughter Churches. They show the Byzantine Liturgy and describe the Sacramental life of this rite. In the second part they focus on Byzantine Spirituality. Additional material includes and overview of Plain Chant and the Byzantine Liturgical Year. If you have never known about this other aspect of the Roman Catholic Church this is beautiful way to experience it.

If you are looking for a good positive, inspiring novel during the long dreary days of January, Tobit’s Dog would be an excellent choice. This is a modern day version of the Old Testament’s book of Tobit. The setting is the deep south when Jim Crow laws were the law. Against these odds, and with honest hard work Tobit Messager had achieved success only to have personal and financial tragedy strike. With the unexpected arrival of a long forgotten family member a journey that uncovers corruption, deceit and crimes begins. Taking Tobit’s faithful dog, Okra, the family discovers the hidden sources of the evils. This discovery not only forms a strong community it brings many unexpected blessings to it. This is a beautiful story of hope, love, faithfulness and spirituality.

In his book, Pope Francis Our Brother, Our Friend, Alejandro Bermudez offers a unique, fascinating new look at Pope Francis. Here he presents the personal insights of twenty people well acquainted with the Pope. Among them are twenty Jesuits who knew him since his first days as a Jesuit. Some were his professors, some his peers, some his students. Among the non-Jesuits are an Argentine senator, a prominent rabbi, and a priest who works in the slums of Buenos Aires that the Pope often visited as Bishop and Cardinal. These interview reveal little-known insights of the pontiff’s personality, of his interior world, his human abilities, his work habits, his devotions, his concerns and his friendship. Written in clear questions and responses style, this work gives us a better understanding of our new Holy Father.

Watching the DVD, The Small Miracle is a delightful way to spend an afternoon or evening with family and friends. It is the story of Pepino a young Italian boy in Assisi who believes his dying donkey can be cured by taking the animal to the tomb of St. Francis. Refused permission by the rector, Pepino decides to travel all the way to Rome to ask the Pope’s permission to let his donkey be taken into the shrine of St. Francis. Filmed on location in Assisi and the Vatican in Rome, this film combines stunning scenery outstanding acting and a moving ending. Trust me you’ll love it.

Inside the Sacraments is a new DVD series the library is accessing for young persons, ages 5-12. The goal of the producers is to provide videos that are fun and faithful to the Catholic Faith. The first of the series is The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This DVD, “by kids-for kids”, goes behind the scenes, into the Bible, and back in time, to help children better understand and appreciate the Most Holy Eucharist. Children will love the humor and adults the rich clearly presented facts. A very rewarding DVD for anyone who wants to learn more about the Eucharist or who wants an explicit and exciting way to explain this pivotal sacrament of our faith. It would make a wonderful Christmas or First Communion Gift.

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, 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.

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

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