e-mail us



More books for winter nights!

Prayers for Jubilee (Liturgy Training Publications, 46 pages, $3 paperback; lower price for multiple copies) is a beautiful collection of prayer, scripture and song with a focus on the biblical approach to Jubilee: charity, justice, redemption and peace. It is a perfect companion for the new year of Jubilee.

Giving Thanks at the Table, compiled by Elizabeth Hoffman Reed (Liturgy Training Publications, 46 pages, $3 paperback; lower price for multiple copies), has graces for feasts and seasons and every day. It has found a welcome in my dining room.

It is not too soon for gardeners to begin their plans. For inspiration, they might consult the very lovely Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 182 pages, $29.95 hardbound), by Vincenzine Krymow, illustrated by Marist Br. A. Joseph Barrish, with meditations by M. Jean Frisk.

Christian Spirituality: An Introduction to the Heritage, by Jesuit Fr. Charles J. Healey (Alba House, 432 pages, $22.95 paperback), is a helpful resource. Healey begins with the apostolic fathers and concludes with Vatican II in detailing the spiritual heritage of the church. Those who seek an introduction to the rich legacy of Christian spirituality will be well served by this former professor in Creighton University’s well-respected Christian Spirituality graduate program.

Credo: Essays on Grace, Altar Boys, Bees, Kneeling, Saints, the Mass, Priests, Strong Women, Epiphanies, a Wake, and the Haunting Thin Energetic Dusty Figure of Jesus the Christ (Saint Mary’s Press, 123 pages, $9.95 paperback) is a lively collection by Brian Doyle, and is sure to make the reader attentive to mystery and goodness.

I invited some of Caldwell College’s graduate students in pastoral ministry to jump into the box of review copies and select one on which to comment. Their reports and reviews follow.

Pamela Purdue, a mother of five grown sons, has slept in the dirt and bathed in the creeks of Honduras, lived in a truck in a poor little Mexican town in California, and lives now in a northern New Jersey garage; simplicity is her home. The Franciscan parish that she embraces “has seduced me with ministry,” she said. She chose Day by Day with Followers of Francis and Clare, by Franciscan Friar Pat McCloskey (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 170 pages, $ 8.95 paperback). She writes:

“Writing both for religious and laity, McCloskey offers the reader a calendar guide of saints who followed the rule of Francis and Clare, embracing simplicity and humility as did Jesus. Simply and briefly, he presents biographies followed by a quote from or about the Holy One, and concludes with a comment of his own.”

Dorothy Maurer Sexton is a grandmother of two who works as a pastoral minister in a Catholic parish on Long Island 45 miles from Manhattan where the parish ministerial staff works within a highly collaborative team concept. She looked at Becoming Human, by Jean Vanier (Paulist, 163 pages, $8.95 paperback), and writes:

“This book is for all people who want to become truly human, to accept ourselves and all others regardless of our physical or mental abilities or inabilities. The aim is to ‘fix more clearly the human foundations of spirituality, wholeness and holiness.’ Vanier uses examples from his experiences in the L’Arche communities that he has founded throughout the world for people with severe mental disabilities. He offers examples of loneliness -- not just being alone and lonely, but not being a part of anything -- and moves to the necessity of belonging to a family, a group, a community. He concludes with forgiveness -- of ourselves, of others and even those we consider our enemies.”

Gail Bottone lives in Fairfield, N.J., where she is head teacher at Tiny Treasures. She chose Observe, Judge and Act: An Introduction to a Christian Ecology, by Fr. Ed Eschweiler (3501 South Lake Drive, #210, St. Francis WI 53235, 224 pages, $6 paperback). She writes:

“Eschweiler explores the environment and its protection in light of the gospel message. This is a wonderful resource for teachers of ecology and earth science in Christian schools and Christian organizations dedicated to environmental education. It includes references and sources for materials to be used with different groups for actions, education, research and networking. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and discussion that will inspire dialogue between individuals and groups.”

Gregory C. Quinn works in financial services and is currently a branch manager for the largest independent brokerage house in the United States. He is an active member of Notre Dame Parish in North Caldwell, N.J. He writes:

“Introspection is an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings. A Great Cloud of Witnesses: The Stories of 16 Saints and Christian Heroes, by Leo Zanchettin and Patricia Mitchell (The Word Among Us Press, 9639 Doctor Perry Rd., Ijamsville MD 21754, 215 pages, $15.95 paperback), is a collection of introductions to people you might consider meeting if you are interested in the enrichment of spiritual life.
“With each chapter, the reader is introduced to a particular saint through a brief history, selections form his or her writings, and a chronology of important events detailing the courage and faith of the saints exemplified. Many of those profiled faced martyrdom.”

Frank J. Campione, a permanent deacon at St. Thomas More Parish in Fairfield, N.J., is superintendent at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Caldwell. He writes:

A Time for Embracing: Reclaiming Reconciliation, by Sr. of Mercy Julia Upton (Liturgical Press, 110 pages, $11.95 paperback), begins and ends with reference to 7-year hostage Terry Anderson and how the American media and public were unprepared for, and seemingly unable to accept, his forgiveness of all and reconciliation with his captors. Upton aims to provide insight into that mystery by examining the sacrament of reconciliation so that it will be better appreciated both by clergy and laity. She explores the influence that contemporary American society has on our sacramental practice, presents scriptural and historical aspects of the sacrament and, finally, she invites the reader to sacramental action.
“Upton points out that God does not need sacraments to forgive sinners, but the church needs them in order to express and effect reconciliation. Upton challenges readers to reclaim the sacrament. Her work is authoritative, accessible and instructional. It paints a realistic picture of the current situation and offers pastoral guidance for ways to expand participation in a sacrament of love and forgiveness.”

Fr. William C. Graham’s Sacred Adventure: Beginning Theological Study (University Press of America, 213 pages, $24.95 paperback) includes a chapter by Jesuit Fr. Avery Dulles titled, “The Basic Teaching of Vatican II.” Graham receives e-mail at NCRBkshelf@aol.com

National Catholic Reporter, December 24, 1999