Summer is here! Last week I gave you a huge list of ideas of books for your kids to read this summer, and now here is a stack of books for you!
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***Pauline Books & Media provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
^^^Author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I only recommend things I use and love and want to share with you. All opinions are my own. :)
One can never have too many prayer books on hand, and these two make a great addition to any Catholic home. The Eucharistic Adoration prayer book is formed on Pauline Spirituality and contains reflections on Adoration as well as a collection of prayers, litanies, and hymns. The Marian Prayer Book contains an exhaustive compilation of prayers, litanies, and novenas, as well as a large section on the Rosary and its Mysteries. Resources for Marian devotions and Consecration are also included. The small size and soft covers make them perfect to tuck in a pocket or purse, and certainly would make lovely gifts. Gilded edge pages and ribbon bookmarks compliment the design, although I will honestly share that the gold embossing is rubbing off on one of my books after light use. The other is in perfect shape, so hopefully it was a fluke. Everything about their publication is otherwise high quality, and I certainly would consider these as gifts for special events like Confirmations, Graduations, Weddings, etc.
In Heaven We'll Meet Again, by Fr. Francois Rene Blot
This was a gift after the loss of my mom from a friend who recently experienced her own loss. A collection of seven letters from a priest to a grieving woman, this little book is a treasure trove. Full of wisdom from Scripture and many Saints, Fr. Blot's letters link together quote after powerful quote about suffering, redemption, heaven, and hope. I gained so much from reading it, and know that I will pick it up again and again. The beautiful cover featuring scores of Saints and choirs of angels is an accurate image to portray the beauty and hope of the content within.
This Apostolic Exportation of Saint JP2 is a power packed read on the role of St. Joseph in the Church and what we can learn from his mission and call. Shared on the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Quamquam Pluries on St. Joseph, JP2's writing pulls on Pope Leo while bringing St. Joseph's guidance into the modern world. There is so much to contemplate and pray with in these two documents, and while they are available freely on the Vatican website, I certainly like having my favorite Church documents in book form so that I can underline, reread, and reference them easily.
The Strangeness of Truth, by Fr. Damian Ference ***
Part memoir, part evangelical discourse, and part connection of faith to pop culture, this page turner was a compelling read and pulled me in. Fr. Ference weaves together major events from his life as the opening to every chapter, but then connects each to a tenet of the faith- for example, he shares about his mom's early death from cancer and then writes about the power of the Resurrection, or an encounter he had in seminary as a less-than-stellar student paired with the intellectual beauty to be found in the Church. Fr. Ference's style certainly finds a home in the New Evangelization, and I think this book would be a great resource for young adult, especially one on the fence about the relevance of faith in real life.
My Catholic Prayer Journal, by Lis Luwia ^^^
Bringing back the practice of celebrating the monthly devotions of the Church is a powerful way to recenter our homes and lives around the timeless culture of our faith. This journal revolves around just that idea, giving you plenty of space and structure to plan your month and the ways you want to develop your spiritual life. This isn't a typical planner or a blank journal, but rather is a place to set holy goals, hold yourself accountable to them, and record the beauty and rhythm of your walk with Christ. Each month begins with the theme of monthly devotion and gives you space to record things like your Spiritual Reading Log, Prayer Requests, Gratitude List, and Monthly Goals. There are also accountability pieces like a Rosary/Chaplet Trackers, Action Step Lists for Goals, and a place to record your last Confession Date. There are a couple of extra pages each month for the space you might need for a specific project or to reflect and journal. While short and seemingly simple, this pocket edition journal has everything needed to be used a powerful tool for growth in virtue no matter your vocation or state in life.
The Mass Explained Explained, by Maria Grace Dateno, FSP ***
This little booklet is a lovely publication with full color glossy pages, and would make a great resource for anyone new to the Mass or looking to learn more about the Eucharistic celebration. The first 3/4 of the book contains the Order of the Mass, and much like the children's version I reviewed here, the actual text of the Mass is on the left page with a commentary/description on the facing right page. It is a great way to offer more explanation without detracting or distracting from the actual words and gestures. Offered in the supplementary materials at the end is info on common objects used in the Mass, including names, descriptions, and photographs. There are also details on the Liturgical year, the Lectionary, the history of the Mass, guidelines for receiving Communion, and Adoration. This would be a perfect resource to share with a guest at Mass, RCIA candidate, or someone ready to go deeper rather than just go through the motions.
Beautiful Hope, Multiple Authors, from Dynamic Catholic
This compilation book was also given to me after the death of my mom, and as the word hope has been so important to my family, it was a perfect book to turn to for encouragement. The twenty stories within come from well known authors like Pope Francis, Matthew Kelly, and Fr. Jacques Philippe, as well as never before published writers. Each chapter brings a testimony and message from that person's life about the power of the virtue of hope. I underlined and wrote out quotes from many of the passages, and know that this book will be a good one to reread when things are hard. I certainly would recommend it as a gift book for a friend who is experiencing any kind of struggle, helping them redeem their suffering and unite it back to Christ.
Father Augustus Tolton, by Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers
The first African American priest Fr. Tolton and his story has captured the imagination of my students and I after we read this graphic novel (also reviewed in this post), especially since he was a resident of Quincy, IL just a few hours from us. This new book from Deacon Burke Sivers is beautifully written, full of source material from Church documents, Saints, and modern writers, about pursuing a life of holiness through the lens of Servant of God Tolton's story. I will admit that between the cover and the book description on the back, I assumed that this was a biography of Fr. Tolton, but really only the first chapter and the epilogue summarize his life and path to Sainthood. The majority of the book is a commentary on racism, strong families, prayer, the culture of life, and mercy interwoven with connection to Augustus Tolton. While a very good book, I am a bit disappointed and plan to pick up the frequently referenced "From Slave to Priest: A Biography of the Reverend Augustine Tolton, First Black American Priest of the United States" by Caroline Hemesath to deepen my knowledge of his actual life. I think that Deacon Burke-Sivers' book could certainly benefit from a subtitle like "Father Augustus Tolton: Lessons on Life from the First African American Priest." Regardless, it is a great book, with lots of guidance and wisdom for anyone looking to deepen their relationship with Christ while learning more about a man of virtue and hopefully a future American Saint.
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary, by Brant Pitre
I've already shared how much I love Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist in this review, and this next book didn't disappoint. Brant's extensive research on the typology of Marian teaching found in the Old Testament, the implication of Jewish teaching and tradition on Mariology, as well as the role she is given in the Church today is all woven together in one cohesive book. I underlined more than I didn't, and have tons of notes to transcribe in my Bible. While Fulton Sheen's The World's First Love first helped me understand Mary back in college when I had lots of questions, this book solidified and supported so many things I've learned about Mary since then. It is the most comprehensive but readable book on Mary I've studied, and the first I'll hand to someone who has questions of their own.
The Printed Letter Bookshop, by Katherine Reay
The one is my only fiction selection for you, not intentionally, but obviously I haven't been reading a lot just for pleasure lately. (I can tell you that next on my stack now that it is summer is Far from the Madding Crowd and The Memory House). Katherine Reay remains one of my favorite authors, with her first book Dear Mr. Knightley definitely in my top ten novels. The Printed Letter Bookshop is now a close second among her books. The interweaving of the three main characters and their stories is an intriguing look at change, growth, forgiveness, and purpose. Each character receives a new beginning, but not necessarily the one that they were looking for. Good books, characters, and quotes carry the story, making it a delight to read and contemplate the books that have changed your own life. It was sweet without being sappy, honest without being dark, and hopeful without being fake. If you desire true friendships, believe in forgiveness and grace, and love books, you'll thoroughly enjoy this novel!
I've got a pile of books that are next for me this summer, but I'd love to know what you are reading! Did any of these books catch your eye?