Monday, 16 July 2018

Pope Francis I Believe in Mercy - Regina Doman and Sean Lam

Pope Francis: 
I Believe in Mercy
Regina Doman
Sean Lam

Manga Hero
ISBN 9780983639787
ISBN 9780983639794

I need to state that a physical copy of this sat on my bedside table for a few years. The problem is not the book, it is me, with my dual form of dyslexia I really prefer reading eBooks, even for graphic novels. I had picked this book up a few times, but never got very far, and by the time I came back to it I started over again. But I recently read the eBook edition of Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI, written by Doman and illustrated by Lam. And though the style is not my favorite, it is so well done I have give both books a 5 out of 5 star ratings. This was an excellent read!

The style of the art in the two volumes is a little different. And because of the lives being portrayed the stories are very different. But both stories are told with jumping back in time and then up to the present. This one is written with underlays of excerpts from Pope Francis's writings. The book gives us great insight into the man and his journey, that ultimately lead to his becoming pope. I have read a number of books about and by Pope Francis since his election, but even with all of that reading there were a few surprises in this volume. 

Before I even finished this book, my children showed great interest in it. I have now read it with my youngest daughter and am currently reading it for a third time with my son. The story and artwork hold up over multiple readings even back to back. My children love the graphic novel format. My only wish is that it would come out in an eBook, that way they can each have it on their device without having to buy a second copy, currently they are debating who should keep it on their bookshelf and why. 

The illustrations in this volume are wonderful. I especially loved the illustrations of mass or times in prayer. There is so much to appreciate about the artwork, and the written story. This book provides excellent insight into the man, the priest, and now our Pope. 

This book is a great read for anyone who would like a glimpse into the life of Pope Francis before he ascended to the throne of Peter. It is an excellent read for teens, and even to read to younger children. It was instantly a family favorite. And we give it the McEvoy family seal of approval. I would love to see what Doman and Lam would do telling the story of other Pope's or saints, because this is an excellent read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Book by Regina Doman:
Fairy Tales Retold:
Snow White and Rose Red (1997)
Shadow Of The Bear (2002)
Black As Night (2004)
Waking Rose (2007)
Midnight Dancers (2008)
Alex O'Donnell and the 40 Cyber Thieves (2010)

Rapunzel Let Down (2013)

Other Books:
The Story of Job

Graphic Novels:
Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Francis: I Believe in Mercy

Contributed to:
Catholic Philosopher Chick Makes Her Debut
Catholic Philosopher Chick Comes on Strong
The Mystery of Harry Potter: A Catholic Family Guide
The Chestertons and the Golden Key

Picture Books:
Angels in the Water (2004)
Fairy Tale Novel Paper Dolls (2009)

Our Fairy Tale Romance - Andrew Schmiedicke (2009)

Author Profile Interview with Regina Doman

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Amos 7:12-15
Responsorial Psalm 85: 8-13 Response 7
Second Reading Ephesians 1:3-14
Gospel Mark 6:7-13

Two weeks ago, our Pastor’s mother passed away. Father had to return to Poland. As a family we have been praying for him, his family and the repose of the soul of his mother. We had visiting priests cover for mass last weekend and again this weekend. Last Saturday evening, Sunday Evening and tonight was Rev, Rafal Tomon from Our lady of Lourdes Waterloo. Last week before mass the children and I all went to the sacrament of reconciliation. It was interesting two of the children and I all noticed a significant difference in the penance given. Father Tomon also brought prayer cards from his parish, and my children love prayer cards. One was a photo of Our Lady of Lourdes and the typical Lourdes prayer. The second was a photo of a statue of saint Joseph and the prayer is, St. John XXIII’s prayer for the fathers.

St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect all the fathers who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, and their hopes.

They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor, and weariness. But amid the worries of material life your soul was full of deep peace and dang out in true joy through intimacy with God’s Son entrusted to you and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labour alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over him faithfully as you have done. 

St. John XXIII

Since we were at church last week a new statue has appeared on the altar at church. I do not know where it came from or why it is there. My son loved the statue, and said while he was serving mass he could look at Mary the whole time. 

So this week I offer prayers for you my readers, and for all priests. 

Related Posts:

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Reading the Catechism How to Discover and Appreciate its Riches - Petroc Willey

Reading the Catechism: How to Discover and Appreciate its Riches
Petroc Willey
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784691028
eISBN 9781784692476


Back in 2006 shortly after I started blogging I was involved with a project called the Catholic Catechism Dialogue Blog, it was an ambitious effort across the 10 or 12 contributors we were going to try and have a blog post nearly every day that followed the schedule or reading through the Catechism in a year. I did make it through the Catechism in a year, and then barely touched it. Late in 2016 I was challenged to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a Year, not only did I make it through the Catechism, but also:

The Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
DOCAT Catholic Social Teaching for Youth
YOUCAT: The Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church

This year I am reading through the Catechism again, but at a slower pace, usually around 10 points a day. When I saw this book from the Catholic Truth Society I had to pick it up. That being said, even with having read through the Catechism a number of times this book was an excellent little read and a great resource. The Chapters in this book are:

The Character of the Catechism:
An Annunciation
The Structure:
Four Dimensions of the Christian Life
The Presentation:
the Beautiful Way of Faith
The Centre:
A Faith about Persons
The Living Sources:
Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition

The introduction of this book begins with these words:

"This booklet has been written to help you to appreciate and to enjoy with peaceful certainty the unchanging truths of the Catholic faith, presented to us for our time in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This Catechism was approved with the authority of all of the bishops of the world in union with Pope St John Paul II and under the direction of the future Pope Benedict XVI. Not only does it represent the mind and heart of the Catholic Church at the start of the third millennium, it also provides us with the face of the Church throughout her Tradition, from the time of the apostles and their successors, with a text that draws from popes, saints, Church Councils and the liturgy.

The purpose of this work, then, is to facilitate the reading of the Catechism by drawing attention to its purpose and intended use, as well as its key features. You will find it most helpful if you have a copy of the Catechism with you when reading this short work. This will enable you to take your own journey of discovery through its pages."

This book is much more than just a guide on how and why to read the Catechism. Each chapter ends with a 'Consolidation Exercise' these exercises draw you to other church documents, the bible or specific sections in the Catechism and help you go deeper. It will help you see how central this document is to church teachings since it has come out, and how the Catechism itself is drawn from the bible, and church history.

This book was an excellent little read. I highly recommend it for both personal and or group study. I cannot wait until my children are a few years older and I can work through this booklet with them as a way to get them reading the Catechism themselves. I wish there had been a book like this available back in 2006, it would have made my own contributions and I am sure my fellow contributors to that ill-fated blog. And this is a book that I will likely end up working through a number of times on my own.

I have read numerous books from the Catholic Truth Society so far this year, and this is one of the best to date. I give it top marks.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Petroc Willey:
Reading the Catechism: How to Discover and Appreciate its Riches
A Year with the Catechism: 365 Day Reading Plan
Become What You Are: The Call and Gift of Marriage
The Pedagogy of God: Its Centrality in Catechesis and Catechist Formation
The Joy of the Gospel: A Companion Guide to Evangelii Gaudium

Friday, 13 July 2018

Saxum The Life of Alvaro del Portillo - John F. Coverdale

Saxum: The Life of Alvaro del Portillo
John F. Coverdale
Scepter Publishing
ISBN 9781594172144


This was the second book on Blessed Alvero del Portillo that I have read in the last few weeks. The other one was a short introduction and overview of the man, his life and his work. This one goes into much greater depth. Reading this book, you cannot but grow in appreciation of this man, who is now beatified and will likely be canonized in our lifetime. There are not many books about Don Alvaro in English, and even fewer of his own works are available in English. But this book is a great addition to information about this saintly man that is available to English readers. Coverdale in his note on sources states that the most important sources for this book are four Spanish biographies and extensive interviews with the now deceased Bishop Javier Echeverría. He also did extensive research in the Opus Dei Prelature archives. In reading this book and 40 Years with a Saint: Blessed Alvaro del Portillo on St. Josemara Escriva by Cesare Cavalleri, It seems impossible to look at the life of Don Alvaro outside of his friendship with saint Josemaira Escriva and his lifelong role in Opus Dei. In fact, in this volume after a brief summary of his early life and overview of the times the fourth chapter begins looking at his early involvement with the work. The chapters in this book are as follows:

Note on Sources
1. Finding the Meaning of His Life
2. Early Life
3. Political and Social Background
4. First Steps in Opus Dei
5. Fugitive and Prisoner
6. Refugee
7. Engineering Officer
8. Saxum
9. A Priest of Opus Dei
10. Winning Vatican Approval
11. Building Opus Dei in and from Rome
12. The Second Vatican Council
13. The Post-Conciliar Decade
14. Succeeding the Founder
15. A Man of Prayer and a Father
16. Serving Opus Dei and the Church
17. Reaching Out to Crowds
18. Friend of Gardeners and Popes
19. Finding a Safe Harbor
20. Beatification of the Founder
21. Final Days

Over half of the book focuses on his life with Escriva, and then the final third on his life after Escriva passed away and he became the prelate of Opus Dei. But as you read this book you will realize that his work, his service was so much more than just that single focus. He was involved greatly with preparation for and contributing to documents from Vatican II. He had close relationships with pope, many bishops and cardinals. But he was also dedicated to the members of the work. Some of the stories in this book come from ordinary laymen who had personal encounters with Alvaro that had deep and lasting impact on their lives. And reading this book you will encounter the man in a similar personal way.

His service will amaze you. His dedication and focus will inspire you. And his devotion to Our Lady will challenge you. But it was his personal touch that encouraged so many in their life and faith.

"Don Alvaro's love for the Church and his theological appreciation for the role of bishops led him to pray for them and try to support them. A few months before the assassination of Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, del Portillo wrote to him: "I assure you that I will pray for you daily at holy Mass, for you and for all the work of souls you carry out." When visiting cathedrals and shrines of Our Lady, he often sent postcards to friends in the hierarchy assuring them of his prayer and affection. Many recipients commented on how much good this simple token of friendship had done them."
He left an impact on all who met him. And most considered his as a friend. He was sought out for advice and guidance by people from all walks of life.  Don Alvaro's simple and intense piety is an inspiration. This was one of the simple prayers he learned in childhood that he prayed all his life:

Sweet Mother, never go away.
Keep watch over me both night and day. 
Accompany me wherever I go,
And never, ever leave me alone.
Since you protect me so carefully
As my true mother,
Win for me the blessing of God
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

His devotion to Our Lady is an inspiration to me and to my children. Saxum means rock in Latin, and Don Alvaro was a rock for everyone he encountered. And through this book he can continue to be a rock for us and our faith.  This book does a wonderful job of providing us with a greater glimpse into the life of Don Alvaro. It is very well written and extensively researched. I believe that anyone who read this book will be challenged in their faith, but also will be greatly inspired and encouraged!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Scepter Publishing.

Books by John F. Coverdale:
Putting Down Roots: Father Joseph Muzquiz and the Growth of Opus Dei, 1912-1983
Uncommon Faith: The Early Years of Opus Dei, 1928-1943
Saxum: The Life of Alvaro del Portillo
On the Vocation to Opus Dei

Books about Alvaro del Portillo:
Alvaro Del Portillo The Power of Humility - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
Saxum: The Life of Alvaro del Portillo - John F. Coverdale
40 Years with a Saint: Blessed Alvaro del Portillo on St. Josemara Escriva - Cesare Cavalleri

Books by Alvaro del Portillo:
Like Salt and Like Light: Anthology of texts compiled by Jose Antonio Loarte
Faithful And Laity In The Church; The Bases Of Their Legal Status
Journey with Jesus

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Living Fruitfully Chastity Learning from the Saints - Fr John McKeever

Living Fruitfully Chastity Learning from the Saints
Fr John McKeever
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784692001
eISBN 9781784694593

This is the fourth book in the Living Fruitfully series and 15th book from CTS that I have read in the last few months. These are great resources for personal, family and community use. This book, and the others in the Living Fruitful series are especially needed with all that is going on in the world today. The description of this book is:

"This latest title in the Living Fruitfully series addresses the provocative and often misunderstood subject of chastity. Too often considered an exclusively 'religious' option, the author makes the case for chastity, showing us that as a Christian virtue, we are all called to lead a chaste life in keeping with our particular state of life: whether married or single, ordained or lay, young or old.

The work draws heavily on the teaching and example of the saints, beginning with a retelling of the story of St Augustine and weaving gems from St Thomas Aquinas, St Philip Neri and many others. There is a specific chapter on tools and spiritual weapons for the fight against temptation, and a short selection of prayers to help readers striving for chastity."

And it is a fascinating little read. I have a religious studies degree with a specialization in Roman Catholic Thought. I could have used this booklet as a resource during my university years. I would have drawn from it for several essays that I wrote. The chapters in this volume are:

A Moral Miracle
Life in the Spirit
The Beauty of Chastity
In Every Walk of Life
Weapons and Remedies
     Appendix 1: Examen
     Appendix 2: Prayers

This book opens with these words:

"Chastity is a term that is rarely heard nowadays. It may seem dated or even irrelevant in an era when sexual attitudes and behaviour are liberal and very much regarded as one's own business. The idea of having a set of rules or even a virtue to regulate sexual behaviour is unthinkable to many. Moreover, chastity is sometimes confused with celibacy, which is the choice not to marry and therefore to abstain permanently from sexual relations. Chastity does not mean simply not having sex. It means living sexuality in accordance with the truth of our human nature as it was created by God. This includes avoiding sex with anyone who is not one's spouse. But it also means knowing how best to love one's spouse, regulate one's fertility in a moral manner, and to live one's sexual identity as a man or woman in a way that respects one's own dignity and the dignity of everybody else. It is a way of loving that gives joy and life. As Pope St John Paul II said, "Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love"."

And it goes from there to explore what the church teaches about this fruit, chastity. It draws extensively from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, from YOUCat the youth Catechism. And also makes reference to the church documents; Humanae vitae, Gaudium et spes, Familiaris consortio, and Deus Caritas Est

The final section of the book Weapons and Remedies begins with these words:

"In previous chapters we have already examined some ways of exercising chastity. Some ways, for example, prayer, are indispensable and are suitable for every person in every walk of life who wants to be chaste. Others might work for some but could be totally counterproductive for others. The main rule here is the rule of prudence, the mother of all virtues. St Augustine gives a very succinct definition of prudence as "love choosing wisely between the helpful and the harmful". It means applying our knowledge of moral principles to the individual situation at hand so that we can find the right means to achieve a good result."

What I love about this book is it is not a simple self-help book, do these 10 tings to be chaste. But it does provide a number of tools and tips and provides some guidance, so you can discern what methods work for you and encourages you to strive to live in that way.

Another amazing resource from CTS that I give my highest recommendation. A great book in an excellent series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan
For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley