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Monday, 25 June 2018

Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston - CTS Biographies

Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers
Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860820540
ISBN 9781860826184
eISBN 9781784692612
ASIN B072BZZL8D



I have been fascinated by Father Damen now Saint Damien since encountering his story while on retreat with Michael W. Higgins, who was using hos book 'Stalking the Holy' for a series of talks about saints. Wile on the retreat we watched the movie Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, and I have been addicted to books and movies about Damien even since.   Abd this is an excellent little read on Saint Damien. This book has two different sub titles, the title of the eBook is 'Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers' and the physical booklet has 'Father Damien de Veuster Apostle to the Lepers'. But not matter which version you read it is an excellent book.

The chapters in this booklet are:
Introduction
Early Life
Work in the Leper Colonies
Towards the End
Novena to St Damien de Veuster

With everything I had read and watched about father Damien prior to this book there was still new information I learned. Some of it was about his canonization process, and some of it about his life, times, and legacy. I was unaware that Mother Teresa of Calcutta wrote to Pope John Paul II on May 7th 1984 lobbying for the canonization of Father Damien to be the patron saint to lean and protect those who serve lepers today.

Damien was a man dissuaded after in life. He was encouraged not to pursue a religious vocation. Once he was accepted he was told he would not be a priest, but a brother instead. He was denied the chance to go on missions, and then he filled his brother's shoes for the mission field when his brother was already commissioned but became ill and could not travel. He was originally discouraged from his ministry and service to the lepers. He was told not to come back to the main island, and he was told to stop asking for more. But he always asked to give to others.

The novena at the end of the book is from the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Leuven. And to be honest the book is worth owning just for this novena. If you already have a devotion to Saint Damien this book will be a great read, and if you are not familiar with him, please do your self a service and read about his inspired service.

The first edition of this book was published in 2009. A new edition of the print book was released in 2009, it was updated at this time with information on his impending canonization. And the eBook was released in 2017. Coming in at just under 75 pages this book is a quick read, but because of the content is not easy. The book would be accessible to tweens, teens and adult readers. It Can be read alone to help us understand more about this great saint, or be a jumping off point into studies about the man, his life, his work, and the service on Molokai by him and many others. This is an excellent biography and I highly recommend it!

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.

Reviews of Books and Movies about Saint Damien:
Apostle of the Exiled St. Damien of Molokai - Margaret Bunson & Matthew Bunson
Pilgrimage and Exile: Mother Marianne of Molokai by: Sister Mary Laurence Hanley, O.S.F.
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien by: Paul Cox
Molokai: The Story of Father Damien
Saint Damien of Molokai - Virginia Helen Richards and D. Thomas Halpin
Father Damien de Veuster Apostle to the Lepers - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston

Prayer of the Day - Saint Damien Prayer

Books by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston:
Biographies:
Maria Goretti Teenage Martyr
Pier Giorgio Frassati Inspiration for Students
Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers
Martin de Porres

Prayer Books:
Handbook of Novenas for Feasts and Seasons
Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
The Infant of Prague
Handbook of Novenas to the Saints: Short Prayers for Needs & Graces
Handbook of Scriptural Novenas: For Various Needs and Intentions
Devotion to St Jude: Patron of Hopeless Cases





Sunday, 24 June 2018

Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist 2018

Feast of the nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

This weekend there are two optional liturgies. On Saturday evening it can be the Vigil mass, and then on Sunday the Feast on the day of. There are two sets of readings, but they echo the same messages.

Reading for the Vigil Mass Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist:

First Reading Jeremiah 1:4-10 
Responsorial Psalm 71:1-2, 3, 5-6, 15, 17 Response 6
Second Reading 1 Peter 1:8-12
Gospel Luke 1:5-17

Reading for the mass on the Feast Day of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist:

First Reading Isaiah 49:1-6 
Responsorial Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15 Response 14
Second Reading Acts 13:22-26
Gospel Luke 1:57-66, 80

As I write this I am home with a very sick little boy. It started earlier in the week with his little sister. She was not feeling well Monday or Tuesday Evening, and Wednesday stayed home from school with a fever. Thursday I was home sick, and Friday I worked from home because I still had the fever and other symptoms. And now on Saturday morning, my little guy is home sick, and he seems to have been hit the hardest. We found out that 6 of 19 kids in our youngest’s grade 2 class were out sick this week. The beginning of summer if a terrible time for the flu. But we can comfort and support each other. Yet even with a week of illness we have much to be thankful for. And for this week's reflection I will focus on the two Responsorial Psalms. 

Vigil Mass:

R. From My mother’s womb, you have been my strength.

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In Your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
incline your ear to me and save me.

Be to me a rock for refuge,
a strong fortress, to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
from my mother’s womb you have been my strength.

My mouth will tell of your righteousness acts, 
of your deeds of salvation all day long.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.

Feast Day Mass:

R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

O Lord, you have searched me and know me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my laying down, 
and are acquainted with all my ways.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

There is a lot that can be unpacked from those15 versus. I admit I have struggled in life. Emotional struggles, monetary struggles. And some awful messy stuff in my past, from my youth into my early 30’s. But God has always been faithful. God has known me and welcomed me every time I came home. I had a grandmother who thought I would be come a priest, she prayed for me a lot. And even though she was not Catholic, she would take us to mass, or to whichever United or Anglican church she was attending at the time. This photo is of Grandma and I at my confirmation I believe in 1984. 


At the time I chose the gift of Knowledge. There are many times I have looked back on my life and wished I had chosen Wisdom instead. My oldest has started her confirmation preparation, and they must choose a saint that does not match their name. Things have changed. But God has stayed the same. God has been my deliverer, my rock, my refuge. I have been blessed so many ways in life. I will continue to trust god through this phase in life and follow his leadings.

I challenge you to go back and reread the two scripture sections above. Read them slowly, read them and let them sink into your heart, into your mind, and into your spirit. No matter how hard things are now, we have a God we can trust in. 

And next week is the Feast of Saint Peter and Paul, Apostles, again we have two sets of readings for a vigil and a day of mass. Until then know that I am praying for you my friends, family, and readers, and I ask you to be praying for my family and me. 


Related Posts:

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hangman - Jack Heath

Hangman
Jack Heath
Hanover Square Press
ISBN 9781335062918
ASIN B0783PRD7W
Allen & Unwin
ISBN 9781760297473
ASIN B075ZKRFC5



I have encountered many Australian authors who became instant favorites. My first expectations were exceeded, and I tracked down all they had available in North America to read. Authors such as Sally Murphy, Scot Gardner, Marianne de Pierres, to name nut a few. But that was not the case this time. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe the hype and waiting for the book to be available in North America inflated what I was expecting. As a huge fan of both the TV series Dexter, and the I Hunt Killers books by Barry Lyga, I was expecting something exceptional from this book. What it feels like is some Chuck Palahniuk, Tom Clancy, and Irvine Welsh tossed in a blended and slopped together.

The premise of the story is that the FBI have a n ace up their sleeve. Consultant Timothy Blake, codename Hangman. Blake is a genius, with perfect memory and recall. He solves impossible cases. But he is also a sociopath and a cannibal. His payment for every life he saves he gets to take one.

Some books you read, and you need to suspend disbelief. Some you need to toss it out the window. This one you need to jettison it into the sun or a black whole. The characters feel at times week in the writing. The story and premise if intriguing it just really fell flat on the execution. This book likely would have ended up on my 'not finished' pile but I kept expecting it to turn that corner from ok into good or even great. It just never quite made it. I do not regret finishing the read, but only just. It takes a lot to turn my stomach, not even the once chip challenge managed it, but this book came very close.

The story was good enough that I would be willing to try others by the author. But I can only think of one or two friends or acquaintances who would actually appreciate this read. But this book is going to be very acquired taste. It will definitely leave you with some thoughts to chew on. Chew right down to the bone.
 




Books by Jack Heath:
Deadly Heist
Flesh
Method Living
The Caretakers
Crossover
500 Minutes of Danger
400 Minutes of Danger
300 Minutes of Danger
Replica
Hangman
Ink, inc.

Agent Six of hearts Series:
The Lab
Remote Control
Third Transmission
Dead Man Running

Ashley Arthur Series:
Money Run
The Hit Lits

Countdown to Danger:
Shockwave
Bullet Train Disaster

The Fero Files:
The Cut Out
The Fail Safe

The Mysterious World of Cosentino:
The Missing Ace

Scream Series:
The Human Flytrap
The Spider Army
The Haunted Book
The Squid Slayer

Short Stories:
In Case Of Emergency
Rats



Friday, 22 June 2018

A Different Heroism - Jane Lebak - Father Jay Book 3

A Different Heroism
Father Jay Book 3
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133216
ASIN B01M5IS044


It is with sadness that I begin to write this review. For it is currently the final book in the Father Jay Farrell series. I have read the trilogy in the last week and a half and have loved the concept and execution of these books. I had picked up books 2 and three before even finishing books one. And because of a personal commitment to try and alternate between non-fiction and fiction I picked a shorter volume of fiction to read between book 2 and this volume. The three books in this series are: Bulletproof Vestments, The Boys Upstairs, and A Different Heroism. Each is a powerful story, all three are great Christian fiction. And a wonderful Catholic story. 

Over the last few years I have been reading more and more Catholic and Christian Fiction and less and less secular fiction. As a father with three young and growing children looking back I have read and reviewed a lot of books that I would not read today. This book and this series are examples of what I call clean fiction. Yes, there is some violence in these books, and it is more so in this volume, but it fits the story. It is not gratuitous, and it is not excessive. It is a tale of friendship, loyalty, and a story about a priest who would do anything to protect his charges. 

In this volume the three main story arcs. They are, first father Jay's health, he was severely injured in Iraq and several exemptions had to be made in order for him to be ordained. But Father Jay has been pushing too hard, he has not only been burning the candle at both ends but melted it down and lit the middle. Between housing street kids in the rectory, running a soup kitchen, normal parish duties his health has detreated. Both his doctor and his bishop are telling him to take a rest, and to lighten his workload. If he doesn't he will be dead. The second theme is his strained relationship with his bother who is a police officer. And the third is his kids, a group that call themselves the Archangels, and specifically an escalating conflict with a group of older kids at the local school.  

When there are hostages taken at the school Father jay defies logic and heads into the smoke, noise and shots. He does it because he cares, and because as a former soldier he knows that heroism can take different forms. 

This novel starts with a slower pace than the other two in the series, but it makes up for that in the end. It is a great read. I just hope that at some point we might get more stories with father and Office Farrell. Even if we get no further stories I can give this book and this series a great recommendation. So pick them up and give them a try. You will see that sometimes a hero wears a collar and sometimes a badge.

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

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Upsie-Daisy

Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis






Thursday, 21 June 2018

Edmund Arrowsmith - Father John S. Hogan - CTS Saints of the Isles Series

Edmund Arrowsmith
CTS Saints of the Isles Series
Fr. John S. Hogan
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 9781784691219
eISBN 9781784694722
ASIN B075P2RXZV


In the last month I have read 10 books and booklets from The Catholic truth Society, and this was the fourth one by father John S. Hogan. It is interesting, as a Canadian, with mixed Irish and Scottish ancestry, I have been raised with a certain animosity towards the British. And this booklet is one of the first biographies I have read about a British Saint. I encountered the Catholic Truth Society's current offerings while looking for books about Irish Saints by Irish author Alice Curtayne that were written between the 1930's and 1980's. This book really opened my eyes about how Catholics in Britain were treated, and in some ways it appears to be just as bad if not worse than in Ireland.

Being completely honest I must state that I had never heard the name Edmund Arrowsmith before researching books by John S. Hogan when I wrote my first review of one of his books. And other than a brief chapter in a Church History Course in University have not read much about the Catholic suppression in England and Wales. This book was an eye opener. And Will likely lead to me reading much more about Catholic history especially in England and Wales. The chapters in this book are:

Introduction 
Early Years 
Douai 
Mission 
Jesuit 
Betrayal 
Trial 
Witness 
Glory

The introduction begins with this passage:
"The children stand shivering in the cold. It was well into the night when they were awoken by the banging on the door. Thrown out of bed, now they huddle together disorientated, tied two by two; they watch as their home is ransacked. The priest-hunters tear through the house; swords are applied to every nook and corner, cupboards cleared, walls pounded to see if priest holes have been constructed in the fabric of the building. As usual, they find nothing. No doubt later, as they are cleaning up, certain items will be missing; perhaps they appealed to the searchers and were secreted away or just 'confiscated'. Leaving as suddenly as they came, they take mother and father with them: the children are left standing outside dressed only in their nightclothes. It was not the first time, nor, probably, the last. The eldest, Brian, takes charge of his siblings and leads them to a neighbour's house where he knows they will find refuge, warmth, and a little comfort after the ordeal. Their parents will be back in the morning after they have paid the fine to regain their liberty, and the priest-hunters' wages - they have to be compensated for their night's work and it is the victims who have to pay them. Life will resume its normal course, until another knock is heard in the middle of the night."

I was hooked from these first words. This story is powerful, as are most stories about martyr's. But Reading about a family, about generations that were devoted to the Catholic faith, no matter the person cost is incredibly encouraging. Especially in this day and age, where anger and actions against Catholics and Christians is one of the few politically correct opinions. To read about Edmund's courage, faith, and passion for his mission as a Catholic, as a priest, and as a Jesuit is very inspiring. It is a book that will challenge readers to ask what they are doing for the gospel.  

This book is an excellent read! I only have one disappointment with reading this book, I believe I have read all books currently published by father Hogan and will need to wait for more to be published or to reread this and the other three. This is a great book and I look forward to reading more by Father Hogan (Hopefully), in the CTS Saints of the Isles Series, and other books from CTS. I give this book my highest recommendation. 

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

Other Books by John S. Hogan:
Edmund Arrowsmith (Saints of the Isles)
A Book of Martyrs: Devotions to the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales






Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Boys Upstairs - Jane Lebak - Father Jay Book 2

The Boys Upstairs
Father Jay Book 2
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133025
eISBN 9781926931128
ASIN B01BN2SR1M 


I need to confess something before writing my review of this book. I enjoyed this book so much I read book three before writing the review. And currently I tend to alternate fiction and non-fiction. I chose a really short non-fiction to read between this book and book three. I really, really wanted to see where the story was going. Ok confessions aside time to review the book.

This book continues a short while after Bulletproof Vestments, Father Jay Farrell is a disabled priest. His brother is a cop. When they were younger they were both involved in gangs and lived on the edge. But After Jay joined the military and was disabled when his vehicle exploded; he came to the catholic faith. And ended up becoming a priest. And he and Kevin are estranged. He serves at a poor inner city parish. And in this volume he has turned the rectory into an unofficial home for street kids. He has rules for the boys. They need to either go to school or if old enough they need to work. Some of the boys have formed a new gang called the Archangels. 

When Father Jay's brother shows up late at night with three siblings Father Jay takes them in and trusts God to find a way to work things out. But father Jay has a lot on his plate. Supporting the buys upstairs. Running the soup kitchen in the church, called the cafeteria. Running a parish on a shoe string budget. And trying to follow God, in all he does.

The summary of the book on the jacket is:

"Three homeless children. Two estranged brothers. One last chance.

Kevin Farrell is a jaded police officer trying to save three homeless children. But it's three nights before Christmas, and the only one he can ask for help is his brother Jay, a disabled priest. 

The catch? He and his brother have been estranged because after all the evil he's seen, Kevin cannot believe in God. Only now, to save these homeless kids, with temperatures below zero and falling, Kevin knows it's going to take both him and his brother working together, but first they'll have to mend the breach between them." 

There is a lot of action in this little volume. It adds nicely to the tale of Father Jay and Officer Kevin. It is a good read and I sincerely hope this series will not end with the three books currently available. But I will warn you once you read this book you will immediately want book three to continue the story. I great read well worth picking up and giving a go.

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

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Upsie-Daisy

Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis






A Different Heroism
Father Jay Book 3
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133216
ASIN B01M5IS044


It is with sadness that I begin to write this review. For it is currently the final book in the Father Jay Farrell series. I have read the trilogy in the last week and a half and have loved the concept and execution of these books. I had picked up books 2 and three before even finishing books one. And because of a personal commitment to try and alternate between non-fiction and fiction I picked a shorter volume of fiction to read between book 2 and this volume. The three books in this series are: Bulletproof Vestments, The Boys Upstairs, and A Different Heroism. Each is a powerful story, all three are great Christian fiction. And a wonderful Catholic story. 

Over the last few years I have been reading more and more Catholic and Christian Fiction and less and less secular fiction. As a father with three young and growing children looking back I have read and reviewed a lot of books that I would not read today. This book and this series are examples of what I call clean fiction. Yes, there is some violence in these books, and it is more so in this volume, but it fits the story. It is not gratuitous, and it is not excessive. It is a tale of friendship, loyalty, and a story about a priest who would do anything to protect his charges. 

In this volume the three main story arcs. They are, first father Jay's health, he was severely injured in Iraq and several exemptions had to be made in order for him to be ordained. But Father Jay has been pushing too hard, he has not only been burning the candle at both ends but melted it down and lit the middle. Between housing street kids in the rectory, running a soup kitchen, normal parish duties his health has detreated. Both his doctor and his bishop are telling him to take a rest, and to lighten his workload. If he doesn't he will be dead. The second theme is his strained relationship with his bother who is a police officer. And the third is his kids, a group that call themselves the Archangels, and specifically an escalating conflict with a group of older kids at the local school.  

When there are hostages taken at the school Father jay defies logic and heads into the smoke, noise and shots. He does it because he cares, and because as a former soldier he knows that heroism can take different forms. 

This novel starts with a slower pace than the other two in the series, but it makes up for that in the end. It is a great read. I just hope that at some point we might get more stories with father and Office Farrell. Even if we get no further stories I can give this book and this series a great recommendation. So pick them up and give them a try. You will see that sometimes a hero wears a collar and sometimes a badge.

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

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Upsie-Daisy

Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis






Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Living Fruitfully Self-Control Learning from the Saints - Father John S. Hogan

Living Fruitfully Self-Control Learning from the Saints
Fr. John S. Hogan
Catholic Truth Society

ISBN 9781784691721
eISBN 9781784694517
ASIN B075P2HZ3P


In the last few weeks I have read three and am currently reading a fourth book by Father John S. Hogan. His writings were my introduction into modern books by the Catholic Truth Society. I came across them while trying to track down some booklets by Alice Curtayne written between the 1930's and 80's. I am so thankful I came across this series, this author and, books from the Catholic Truth Society. This booklet is an excellent read and part of a great series. Being completely honest this is one of the fruit of the spirit that I need to work on most and have been for year. 

In the introduction of this booklet in the section 'Called to Holiness' Father Hogan States:

"In the Sacrament of Confirmation each one of us experienced a personal Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on us and conferred upon us what the Church calls "the fruits of the Holy Spirit". These are not just pious-sounding attributes of God, but rather, thanks to the effects of the Sacrament, real graces offered to us to be embraced and used in our daily lives to help us advance in holiness. The Second Vatican Council reminds us that we are all called to holiness; indeed, one of the main themes of that Council is the universal call to holiness - it is one of the aims of the reforms of the Council. Our life here on earth is one in which we are meant to grow in holiness, become saints and offer to the Church and the world an example of faithful Christian living - to be, as St Elizabeth of the Trinity understood, a praise of glory for God.

This series of booklets, Living Fruitfully, is concerned with the battle for holiness in contemporary life, exploring the fruits of the Spirit, and drawing modern Christians' attention to the reality of grace, its powerful work and the fact that Christ's victory can be proclaimed in the soul even now in our earthly lives. This is the testimony of the saints who, though still struggling and suffering with their weaknesses and sins, lived their lives in Christ's and were sustained by the fruits of the Spirit in their manner of life, be they popes, bishops, priests, or religious, or laymen and women, married or unmarried. While the gifts of the Spirit are given to individuals and may differ - some are called to be apostles, some to be teachers, for example - the fruits of the Spirit are to be given to all and can be lived by all regardless of their state in life and particular vocation. That includes all of us. It is God's intention that you and I may act upon what the Spirit seeks to give us, so that we may be sustained and transformed; strong and holy; fit for mission and for the kingdom of heaven."

This book and this series are great tools. They can be used for personal study, group study. And I believe that anyone who reads these books with an open heart will experience growth. Speaking about the fruit of the spirit being multiple fruits Father Hogan states:

"Scholars are divided as to whether this was intentional on Paul's part, but whether it was or not, it serves to remind us that the life of a Christian, governed by the work of the Holy Spirit, is an integrated life, a fully human life, a life ordered and graced."

And as such the fruit are not singular but part of a whole. As we work on one, we will see progress and development in other area's. Each of us has areas where we struggle more than others. Hogan declares:

"They are given by the Holy Spirit to those who are struggling to live their lives in Christ, but who have embraced the Christian life and are practising virtue as well as they can. They are not habits, and so are not virtues; rather they are actions which reveal that the one that produces them is living a life conformed to Christ. While they are given freely as gifts, we are to co-operate with them in order to be brought to complete conformity with Christ and so to perfection. They are not given to those who have already achieved heroic sanctity, but rather they are means through which a human being is brought to heroic sanctity. They are medicinal, healing and strengthening and are intended to be given to all."

And those words are so encouraging. I really needed to hear that. In Galatians 5:24 Saint Paul names the fruit of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And Saint Jerome adds three to the list generosity, modesty and chastity; bringing the list to 12. Currently there are books for 5, I have read three of them and they are excellent reads. I recommend the book; the series; and I sincerely hope that the series continues to cover the rest of the fruit. 

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

Other Books by John S. Hogan:
Edmund Arrowsmith (Saints of the Isles)
A Book of Martyrs: Devotions to the Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales







Monday, 18 June 2018

Saint Anthony of Padua CTS Saints for Kids - Silvia Vecchini and Antonio Vincento and Simone Finaldi

Saint Anthony of Padua
CTS Saints for Kids
Silvia Vecchini
Antonio Vincento (Illustrator)
Simone Finaldi (Translator)
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860825613



Sometimes when you get what you did not expect, it is worth the disappointment.  That is what happened with this book. I was expecting a book on this saint by Alice Curtayne published in 1948. But ended up receiving this on which was published in translation in 2009, and the original Spanish in 2007. But my children loved the cover of this book. I have now read it twice, once with my son, and again with my youngest daughter who came in while I was part way through the book with my son. Both children loved it, and I will tray and track down other titles in the CTS Saints for Kids series for them to read.

This is a short volume it comes in at 23 pages. And between a quarter to a third of the book are illustrations. Some full page illustrations and many partial page illustrations. It only has a few pages that are complete pages of text. The original Spanish text is by Silvia Vecchini and the illustrations are by her husband Antonio Vincenti, the English edition is translated by Simone Finaldi. The chapters in the book are:

In the shadow of the Cathedral
Choosing a monastery
A new name
The meeting with Francis
A hidden treasure
Anthony teaches and preaches
In France
Messenger of Peace
Anthony of Padua
Anthony and the child Jesus
In the Father's house
A Picture of St. Anthony of Padua
A Prayer

The final two, the picture and prayer are designed so that they can be cut out of the book and made into a prayer card. This book is a wonderful read for children. My son in grade four can read it easily, with just help on the foreign names. And my youngest in grade 2 can read some of the text but needs more help. The illustrations are bright and colourful. I believe they are water colors or water color pencil sketches. And the book does a wonderful job of telling the story of Saint Anthony of Padua. Both my children were fascinated by some of the stories from this saints life that were in this book.

This is a great read for children and those who read to or with them. And I look forward to tracking down others in the 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 CTS Saints for Kids Series:
Saint Anthony of Padua
John Paul II
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Saint Clare of Assisi
Saint John Mary Vianney
Saint Joseph
Padre Pio: Saint Pius of Pietrelcina
Saint Francis of Assisi
Saint Martin of Tours
Saint Peter




Sunday, 17 June 2018

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018
Fathers Day in Canada

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Ezekiel 17:22-24 
Responsorial Psalm 92:1-2, 12-15 Response 71
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Gospel Mark 4:26-34

The first reading this week reminds me of God's sovereignty and his plan. For a direct reading a plan for his people Israel, through them to the Church, and through the church to the world. I must admit I often do not immediately see God's plan, and often miss his hand at work in my life, until I am looking back, sometimes even years later. But I trust in God, his plan and his timing. Currently we are praying for miracles for our son's health. And I might never on earth, know why it seems that he has the deck stacked against him in so many ways. He has neurofibromatosis, scoliosis, and now also a cyst on his brain stem. But his desire for a few years now has been to be a priest when he grows up, and for about the last year to be a military chaplain. In fact he gets quite upset if you talk about him possibly having a wife, he insists he will be a priest. 

From the refrain for the responsorial psalm:

"Lord, it is good to give thanks to you."

This is something I have been learning. I have been keeping a gratitude journal for a few years now. One of the first things I try and do each day it write things I am grateful for from the day before; for myself, my wife and each of my three children. Sometimes I just have the five items and sometimes more. Skimming back through them, the earliest entries have a lot of repetition, and even now at times. But there is a lot more variety now than there was four years ago, when I started. And so I am learning to give thanks, in all things. And it is good to give thanks to the Lord.

The second reading reminds us why we have confidence; it is because we walk by faith, and not by sight. And also that no matter where we are at, what we are doing, or what comes our way we need to strive to make pleasing God our focus. A number of years ago I was off work for almost three years, after an injury at work. I applied for over a thousand jobs. But God used those three years, the first year I did physio 5 days a week and then surgery. That year I made mass almost daily. I would go to physio, get dropped at campus by my wife, study, read, look for work, go to mass and head home. I admit my self-esteem took a real hit, my confidence, while unable to provide, we had our first and  were expecting our second child before I returned to work. It was a hard time but all I could do is trust and pray. 

The mustard seed, many sermons this weekend will be on the growth of the mustard seed. Taking the parable and applying it directly. But I want to think about the last phrases of that parable. The mustard seed is a herb, but compared to many it becomes a bush, it becomes a large plant. And it becomes a place of home and rest, for birds build nests in it, and it provides shade. Much as faith builds a home, and makes the home a place of rest and restoration. There are three main types of mustard; they are black, brown, and white. The black mustard in the proper soil can grow to 8 feet in height. But all species of mustard are annuals. They grow from seed to germination in a year. And I would say our faith, even if the size of a mustard seed which was praised by Jesus must constantly be renewed. It is renewed by family, friends, and faith. It is renewed by confession, communion and time in prayer. We need to pray to have more faith, and grow our faith in order to be able to pray more.

And as such I conclude praying for blessings upon you my friends, family, and readers. 




Related Posts:

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Prayer of the day a prayer to Saint Edith Stein

Prayer to Saint Edith Stein


Saint Edith, you’re an example to those of us who are students. From the day you asked for “school” as a birthday present to the day you graduated from the university, you were always eager and happy to learn. Help me to appreciate school. Encourage me to never give up when my studies seem difficult. Teach me to enjoy the many wonderful things I learn. They’re all gifts from God!

You also show me the importance of being a good friend, Saint Edith. You were always ready to help anyone who was struggling. Help me to be kind and generous with everyone I meet.

But the most important thing I can learn from you is how to love the cross of Jesus. You teach me that the cross is really a sign of God’s special love for me. When I have a problem, or something to suffer, remind me that God has a plan for my life and that my suffering has value. I want to follow Jesus as you did—no matter what. Pray for me, Saint Edith.

Amen.


This prayer is taken from the Encounter The Saint Series book on Edith. The above Icon I have had for many years. I have had it on my desk at work or at home for a long time.

Saint Edith Stein
Blessed by the Cross
(Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
Encounter the Saints Series
Mary Lee Hill
Mari Goering (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870360

eISBN 9780819872609
ASIN B00AEYP7Q4

Friday, 15 June 2018

Prayer of the Day Another Altar Servers Prayer

Altar Servers Prayer

Open my mouth, O Lord, to bless your Holy Name.
Cleanse my heart from all evil and distracting thoughts.
Enlighten my understanding and inflame my will
that I may serve more worthily at your holy altar.
O Mary, Mother of Christ the High Priest,
obtain for me the most important grace
of knowing my vocation in life.
Grant me a true spirit of faith and humble obedience,
so that I may ever behold the priest as a representative of God
and willingly follow him in the Way,
the Truth, and the Life of Christ.
Amen.

I came across this prayer in the documentation that was handed over when i took over altar server formation. There was a prayer booklet created at our parish for altar servers many years ago. I really like this prayer and wanted to share it. I wonder if this prayer is part of the reason our parish switched from black to red cassocks for the younger alter servers. And will share others as time goes on. With a hat tip to the Canadian Rosary Brigade. Below is a picture of another prayer we have up in the sacristy.  I posted another of the Altar Server prayers here






Thursday, 14 June 2018

St Francis of Assisi Founder of the Franciscan Order - Alice Curtayne

St Francis of Assisi
Founder of the Franciscan Order
Alice Curtayne
Australian Catholic Truth Society
April 10th 1936


It is hard to tell from the cover of the booklet if it was number 702 and number 59 of 1936. This little booklet is 36 pages including the two covers. I have become fascinated by the works of Alice Curtayne would be an understatement. In the last 6 months I have tracked down 15 of her works, read 9 and reviewed 8. Yet each time I do research on her, I find more books or booklets I was previously unaware of. I currently have a list of 32 books and booklets, so I am not even half way there yet. I have yet to start on trying to investigate reading all her articles, in magazines, periodicals, and newspapers. Her books appear to have the widest publican in Ireland, as would be expected for an Irish writer. But there are also several her books and booklets available from Australia such as this volume, and the one on Saint Philomena. The majority of her works are out of print currently. According to one of her grandsons, none of her books are in print in the UK; and based on my research only 3 are in print in North America. But with each one I track down I have a greater appreciation for the woman and her faith. For her incredible skill as a hagiographer.

This booklet begins with these words:

"The literature on Saint Francis has by now assumed the proportions of a new Tower of Babel, erected by writers of all creeds and tongues. There is no devotee of Franciscanism who cannot find within that edifice the writing of his choice.

The thirteenth century saint was, in a manner of speaking, rediscovered by the nineteenth century. It was then his fate to be hailed as an inspirer of the troubadours, a kind of romantic vagabondus, and as such he was appropriated by the most prosaic, the most staid, the most conservative, and the most un-Catholic period of the modern ers.

What, then, is the defence for adding to the Franciscan tower of literature even one pebble such as this brief presents? It is the same reason which explains the very bulk of Franciscan literature, in which all the discordant voices are unanimous in proclaiming the attraction of Francis. His is a story that is forever being told, and is never told."

Now, I am by no way a scholar of Saint Francis.  I have read a few books but never done intensive study as I have with other saints. But this little volume sparked flames hereto unknown, of an interest in Francis and Franciscan spirituality.  This book is split in half, the first half is a biographical brief on Francis and his founding of the three orders. The second half is an appendix with the following sections:

The Advantage of a Rule of Life
The History of the Third Order
The Rule of the Third Order
Compendium of the Rule
     Each Day
     Each Month
     Each year
     At All Times
Communication of Spiritual Privileges
The Soul of Catholic Action
The Popes and the Third Order
The Third Order Does Not Invade The Field of Existing Societies
Conclusion

The conclusion is basically a challenge to join the third order, if one is not already a member. It is interesting reading this book 82 years after it was published. I have tried to verify if Alice Curtayne was herself a member of the third order, from the read of this book it would appear so. Or she wrote the first half and the second half was tacked on. But I have not been able to confirm that conclusion one way or the other. 

I know that there are often comparisons made between Saint Francis and Pope Francis. I am not scholar enough to comment on them either way. But while reading this, I wondered how Alice Curtayne would write about our current Pope, and if she would add to the babel and tower of words surrounding him. In fact there are many saints I wish Curtayne had written about, Damien the Leper, Kateri Tekakwitha, and more. Or even that it was easier to track down what she did write. 

This was a wonderful little booklet to read. And to be honest everything I have read by Curtayne is excellent. If you can lay your hands on this or any of her works I give them my best of the best, and highly recommend them. My children and I love everything by Curtayne that we have read.

As an aside: It is cool to see the mission of the Australian Catholic Truth Society, and the advertisement on the pamphlet. The Australian Catholic Truth Society has been digitizing all of the only booklets. When this one becomes available it is worth tracking down. I also found copies in Libraries in Australia, Scotland, and Ireland. If you can lay your hands on this I give it my highest recommendation. And to see the advertisement on the back cover for 4 great books from 1936.





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

Books by Alice Curtayne:
St. Catherine of Siena
A Recall to Dante
Saint Brigid of Ireland
Saint Bernard Abbot Of Clairvaux And Doctor Of The Church
Saint Anthony of Padua
Saint Columcille: the Dove of the Church
St Francis of Assisi: Founder of the Franciscan Order
St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland
House of Cards
Borne of the Wind
Lough Derg: St. Patrick's Purgatory
Twenty Tales of Irish Saints
More Tales of Irish Saints
Irish Saints for Boys and Girls
Jean-Baptiste Debrabant
Patrick Sarsfield
Saint Bernard and His Friend Saint Malachy
The Trial of Oliver Plunkett
The Irish Story
Francis Ledwidge: A Life of the Poet

Booklets by Alice Curtayne:
(Catholic Truth Society and others)
Saint Philomena
Saint Brigid, The Mary of Ireland
St. Bernard Doctor of The Church 1933
Saint Catherine Of Siena A Woman Who Changed The World
The Story of Knock

The servant of God, Mother Mary Aikenhead
The Holy Man of Dublin; or, the Silence of Matt Talbot
Croagh Patrick. An account of the great national pilgrimage to Ireland's holy mount. 
The New Woman Transcript of a Talk

Books Edited by Alice Curtayne:
The Complete works of Francis Ledwidge

Books Translated by Alice Curtayne:
Labours in the Vineyard by Giovanni Papin