Category: On Books

Book Review: Catholic Family Fun
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Book Review: Catholic Family Fun

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Catholic Family Fun by Sarah Reinhard is a great book—a great book. Two thoughts kept coming to me as I read it, the first was: Wow! My kids would love this! The second was: Hey! I could totally do this! And having field tested a bunch of things from the book, I’m glad to report […]

The Birds and the Bees and Children’s Literature
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The Birds and the Bees and Children’s Literature

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When my children were younger we spent a lot of time at our local public library. We went to the weekly story time and the annual fairs, joined the summer reading programs to win prizes for books read, and spent a lot of time sitting on rugs and tiny chairs reading, reading, and reading. It’s […]

Pilsen Snow: Poems
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Pilsen Snow: Poems

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In Pilsen Snow, Philip C. Kolin has written a collection of poems that share his stories of growing up as one of many Czeck immigrants in Pilsen: a neighborhood located on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois. I have had the privilege of reading Kolin’s poems over the years. His are of a standard that many, including myself, aim to achieve. It […]

What is Past is Prologue: Dietrich von Hildebrand’s “Battle”
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What is Past is Prologue: Dietrich von Hildebrand’s “Battle”

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Under pressure of opposition, Catholic doctrine has usually developed out of necessity. For example, much of the Nicene Creed (AD 325) was a response to the threat from Arianism. Similarly, the Protestant Revolution prompted the Council of Trent to reform Catholicism. Likewise the pressures associated with a powerful regime of political oppression and overt evil […]

What Do Twilight, Fifty Shades, and Leviticus Have in Common?
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What Do Twilight, Fifty Shades, and Leviticus Have in Common?

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Most who discuss them agree that the Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey fiction series are the same basic story line with different characters. What seems to differ among those discussing the two, however, is why they are so popular that they developed a cult following. I have a suggestion along that line: What if the wild fascination […]

Book Review: The Catholic Guide to Dating After Divorce
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Book Review: The Catholic Guide to Dating After Divorce

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Lisa Duffy, an author and speaker for the CatholicMatch institute, overcame a painful divorce and annulment, remarried in the Church, and has spent the past twenty years ministering to those who have been wounded by divorce. In The Catholic Guide to Dating after Divorce (Ave Maria Press, 2015), Duffy provides authentic Church teaching on divorce, […]

Life Lessons in the Dear God Series
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Life Lessons in the Dear God Series

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There’s nothing like reading a good book before bedtime, especially for kids. Too often, the busyness of life leaves parents feeling that we have not done enough of one thing or another. Reading with our children rectifies much of that that. I found that reading the “Dear God Series” (Liguori Publications) by Patti Maguire Armstrong […]

Flannery's Existentialist Stamp
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Flannery’s Existentialist Stamp

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In one of his last works before his masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky wrote The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. In this story, the narrator goes to another solar system and lands on a planet where the inhabitants are people just like us, but untainted by the Fall in the Garden. They live, the narrator tells us, […]

Two Takes on Chastity
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Two Takes on Chastity

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Ave Maria Press recently published two books on chastity. While the books come to the same conclusions, the authors do so from very different viewpoints. The first, Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, by Arleen Spenceley, is by a twenty-nine year old woman who is still looking for Mr. Right. She […]

Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert
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Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert

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Gifts of the Visitation: Nine Spiritual Encounters with Mary and Elizabeth (Ave Maria Press, 2015) is a story of grace, conversion and surrender. Denise Bossert beckons us to go deeper than ever before into the world of Our Blessed Mother and of St. Elizabeth as they joyously await the birth of our Lord and of St. John the Baptist. […]

The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
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The Second Greatest Story Ever Told

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As one might expect, the first greatest story ever told is that of God creating the world and then sending His son to save us from our sins. Throughout human history, God has wanted His people to know Him, to love Him, and to Trust Him, but due to sin, this has not been an […]

Book Review: Gifts of the Visitation
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Book Review: Gifts of the Visitation

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The Visitation refers to the time when Mary, receiving the news from the angel Gabriel that she was going to become the mother of Jesus as well as that her cousin Elizabeth was going to have a baby, rushed to her elder cousin’s side. Gifts of the Visitation by Denise Bossert (Ave Maria Press, 2015) […]

Book Review: Fly While You Still Have Wings
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Book Review: Fly While You Still Have Wings

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Sr. Joyce Rupp, a member of the Servants of Mary, is well-known for her spiritual writings as well as for her work as a retreat director and conference speaker. In her latest offering, Fly While You Still Have Wings (Sorin Books, 2015), she focuses on her mother, both the example of her life and the […]

Book Review: The Prodigal You Love
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Book Review: The Prodigal You Love

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Before I moved to Ohio and began my conversion process, I knew more fallen away Catholics than active, adherent ones. Catholicism in New York City and the surrounding suburbs appeared to be strictly a childhood religion that people abandoned as soon as they left the restaurant after their Confirmation party. A good number of Catholics I […]

Help Mary in Her Mission -- Offer Your Communion
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Help Mary in Her Mission — Offer Your Communion

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Fr. Emil Neubert, SM, one of my favorite Mariologists, wrote many books on Mary including Mary and the Priestly Ministry and My Ideal, Jesus, Son of Mary. Recently, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, through their publishing house, Academy of the Immaculata, have renewed interest in Father Emil Neubert by translating his French works from the 1950’s into English. […]

Book Review: The Power of Daily Mass
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Book Review: The Power of Daily Mass

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In The Power of Daily Mass: How Frequent Participation in the Eucharist Can Transform Your Life (Ave Maria Press, 2015), popular Catholic author and speaker Bert Ghezzi shares how attending daily Mass has enriched his life. He also offers quotes from other daily communicants on the value this practice has for them. He reflects on […]

Book Review: Practical Theology, Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas
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Book Review: Practical Theology, Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas

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Sometimes new parents will half jokingly complain that their precious new charge did not “come with an instruction manual”. They may be overlooking something. They don’t even have an instruction manual for their own selves. Think about it. Even the simplest utensil or small appliance nowadays comes with pages of instructions, often in multiple languages. […]

Book Review: I Thirst for Your Love
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Book Review: I Thirst for Your Love

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All of us need reminders of how much God loves us and how much He desires that we give Him our hearts. Our weak and distracted human nature all too often is pulled in many different directions at once and we forget that the invisible, immortal God took on flesh, suffered in all the ways […]

A Preachable Message: The Dynamics of Preaching NFP
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A Preachable Message: The Dynamics of Preaching NFP

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When was the last time you heard a priest give a homily that mentioned Natural Family Planning? If you are like me, the answer is never. Admittedly, it isn’t necessarily a topic that I would want discussed at a Mass where younger children are present, but there are many times when it would be appropriate, […]

Fr. Don Calloway on the Power of Mary
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Fr. Don Calloway on the Power of Mary

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Twelve years ago, a brief article in the Marian Helper magazine caught my attention. “My mother never gave up on me,” I read. “Even though I dropped out of high school, she never gave up on me, and now I’m becoming a priest.” That simple little story spoke volumes. I was on the lookout for inspirational […]

Loved as I Am - A Powerful Conversion Story
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Loved as I Am – A Powerful Conversion Story

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Loved as I Am: An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus (Ave Maria Press, 2014) is written by a religious sister who has experienced conversion in a very dramatic fashion, but this book is for anyone who is wounded, suffers from addiction, or feels unloved and/or unlovable. Sr. Miriam James Heidland, a member […]

Book Review: Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women
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Book Review: Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women

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Before reading Anne Costa’s book Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women from St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, I knew who Edith Stein was but did not really know a lot about her. She had figured into other things I have read and I had connected with some of the passages quoted from her writings. […]

Chastity and Love: Please Don't Let Them Be Misunderstood
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Chastity and Love: Please Don’t Let Them Be Misunderstood

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Chastity and love are two of the most misunderstood concepts in our culture today. In her new book Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, Arleen Spenceley does a masterful job clearing up the confusion. About chastity and how it differs from abstinence, she says: Chastity neither pretends sexuality doesn’t exist nor […]

Review:  The Grace of Yes
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Review: The Grace of Yes

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Lisa Hendey—Mrs. Catholic Mom herself—wants to be on Survivor. And ride a Harley. And after reading this book, darned if I don’t think she’ll do both. The Grace of Yes is a wonderful mix of stardust and Crisco—a blending of the mystical with getting dinner on the table. For example, Hendey notes: “I’m continually challenged […]

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