Sunday, 4 June 2023

Looking Ahead A Catholic Handbook for School Students - The Association of Catholic Women and the Catholic Truth Society

Looking Ahead
A Catholic Handbook for School Students 
The Association of Catholic Women 
ISBN 9781784697471
CTS Booklet CH75

Over the last several years I have read 352 different volumes from the Catholic Truth Society, many of them more than once. I have nearly 200 others I want to read. And each year they come out with new ones that often end up on my wish list. I picked this one up shortly after it released. I picked it up for my daughter in grade 7 that is about to be confirmed. She absolutely loved it, and much to my surprise so does her older brother. I have had to order a second copy for him. I read it one afternoon over a couple of mugs of tea. It is an excellent volume. It is stunning with full page colour on every page. Each chapter has a clear colour on the edges of the pages. It is well laid out. With the information presented in a variety of formats, text boxes, asides, and main text. I was really impressed with the quality and craftsmanship. 

The description of this book is:

“Looking Ahead answers big questions about life, God, and the world. Full of useful information, quirky facts, assorted prayers, stories of saints and heroes, and beautiful illustrations, this is a book to help you make sense of your amazing calling to follow Jesus Christ.

Figuring out what it means to be a disciple of Christ as a young person today is tricky. If you think about it, you probably have a lot of questions: How am I supposed to know what’s true? Or know what to do? Who has the answers? Is it science? Is it the Bible? How does it all fit together? And what does it mean for my life? Looking Ahead answers big questions about life, God, and the world.

Full of useful information, quirky facts, assorted prayers, stories of saints and heroes, and beautiful illustrations, this is a book to help you make sense of your amazing calling to follow Jesus Christ.”

The chapters and section in this volume are:

Faith and History
     Who is Jesus Christ?
     How do we know Jesus Christ existed?
     What is the Bible?
     Can we trust the Gospels?
     When did Christianity arrive in Britain?   
     Britain’s patron Saints
     The Lord’s Prayer in Gaelic
     The Lord’s Prayer in Irish
     The Lord’s Prayer in Welsh
     The Lord’s Prayer in English
     The Reformation in Britain
     Good News across the world
Our World and Science
     Genesis: the beginning … his love
     But …
     Why is this?
     Our World
     What is the Big Bang Theory
     The Church and evolution
     Noted Catholic Scientists
          Hildegard of Bingen (c.1098-c.1179)
          Roger Bacon (c.1214-c.1294)
          Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
          Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)
          Albert Curtz (1600-1671)
          Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680)
          Jean Picard (1620-1682)
          Nicholas steno (1638-1686)
          Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706)
          Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)
          Louis Braille (1809-1852)
          Luis Pasteur (1822-1895)
          Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915)
          Georges Lamaitre (1894-1966)
          Jerome Lejeune (1926-1994)
Young Saints
     Pope Benedict XVI speaks to the young people of Britain
     Carlo Acutis
     Charles Lwanga and companions
     Dominic Savio
     Maria Goretti
     Bernadette Soubirous
Living the Christian Life
     About Prayer
     We start our prayers with the Sign of the Cross
     Our Father
     Hail Mary
     Glory Be
     Apostles Creed
     Prayer to the Holy Spirit 
     Prayer in the Morning
     Morning Offering
     Prayer at Night
     Prayer to my Guardial Angel
     Prayer to St Michael
     Grace before meals
     Grace after meals
     The Memorare
     The Hail Holy Queen
     Sub tuum
     Fatima Prayer
     Popular Devotions
          The Rosary
          The Stations of the Cross
          The Divine Mercy Chapley
     Catholic Doctrine
     The Ten Commandments
     The Seven Sacraments
     The Five Precepts of the Chuch
     The Sacrament of Penance
     Going to Confession
     An Examination of Conscience
     The Mass
     Making a Spiritual Communion
     Adoration of the blessed Sacrament
Quick Queries
     Why are there different Christian Denominations?
     Can’t al;l Christians just unite?
     Why must we go to Mass on Sundays?
     Why do Holy Days matter?
     How does the Church Calendar work?
     Are priests always holy?
     Why are all priests men?
     Are men and women different?
     What does the Church teach about LGBT people?
     Why is there suffering in the world?
     Have Catholics always behaved well?
     Are the internet and modern technology good?
     Are saints always people from long ago?
Over to YOU
     What could help you be a better Catholic?
          First things first
     What and listen: TV, video, radio, film and theatre
          Films for young people
          Radio Stations/Podcasts for young people
          The Wintershall plays
          Get involved!
          Get together with friends
          Your local church … and further afield
          Find out about going on a pilgrimage
Go deeper! (List or resources and links)
     Trust in God
     Do not be Afraid

As you can see in 111 pages it packs in a lot of information. The pages are a nonstandard size. And it stands out on the side table or bookcase. It is a great book for children from first communion to confirmation, and even beyond. I just really wish there was an eBook edition. That way they could keep it on them at all times. And my son and I could both use adaptive technology. I have a dual form of dyslexia and prefer eBooks to change the font, font and page colour, and my son has eye tracking issues and often has 1 line at a time highlighted. But other than the lack of a digital edition, this is an incredible resource. This would be a wonderful addition to any child’s library, church, home or school library as well.

An excellent resource the whole family loves. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

Praying the Stations with Saint John XXIII - Bill Huebsch

Praying the Stations with Saint John XXIII
Bill Huebsch
ISBN 9781627850049 

This is the second of the Stations of the Cross I have read from Twenty-Third Publications, I really loved Praying the Stations Mary’s Way of the Cross, by Richard G. Furey CSsR and picked up several others in this series. I enjoyed this one but did not agree with all of Huebsch’s extrapolations of Saint John XXIII’s thought, I have read much by and about the good pope John and find some of the reflections circumspect. I would rather that Bill had drawn from John’s own writings instead of his interpretations of them for the reflections. I have already picked 6 other volumes in the series including 1 other by Bill Huebsch. This was an ok stations but not one I am likely to return to.

This volume starts with a 2 page introduction and ends with a 1 page “A Final Moment with Saint John XXIII”. Each station is a two facing pages spread. With my dual form of dyslexia I struggled with the font and layout. Particularly the italics used for headings. If there was an eBook edition I could change the font, font and page colour to make it easier to read and more accessable.

Sample Station for this edition:

The Third Station
Announcement of the Station

Leader The Third Station: Jesus falls the first time

Leader We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
All Because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Leader Jesus, you stood before the Sanhedrin, a council of your own people, and faced their terrible judgment. They saw you, but rejected your word of love and your lifestyle of repentance and faith. They did not believe in your healing and teaching power. And they did not see in your face the very face of God. As you walked those first steps on the road to Calvary, this first fall did not change your loving heart or reduce your commitment to your mission. May we ourselves, here and now, show the same resolve when we stumble. May we see the face of God in the faces of all around us, even those we find it most difficult to love.

Response (Psalm 36:1–4)
All The God-rebel tunes in to sedition—
all ears, eager to sin.
He has no regard for God,
he stands insolent before him.
He has smooth-talked himself into believing
That his evil will never be noticed.
Words gutter from his mouth, dishwater dirty.
Can’t remember when he did anything decent.
Every time he goes to bed,
he fathers another evil plot.
When he’s loose on the streets, nobody’s safe.
He plays with fire
and doesn’t care who gets burned.

Leader It was one of Pope John’s dreams that Vatican II would open the windows and the doors of the Church again. For many centuries, the Church’s doors had been closed and the leaders of the Church had been in the business of judging others, of deciding who was worthy to receive God’s love and who was not. Like Jesus had been, many people were judged harshly during those years. Pope John trusted that, with the help of Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Church would not stumble and fall but be made stronger—as Christ was on his way to Calvary. Today the Church sees itself as a loving sign of the reign of God on earth. God, we know, loves all without distinction. As such, the Church now embraces all who come to join in the banquet.

A momentary, sacred pause…

Leader Help us when we stumble and fall, Jesus, Lord of life and love. When the inevitable happens and we commit that old sin again, or when we see a chance to love and reject it, or when we treat others harshly on purpose, stand beside us with your loving forgiveness, and help us get up and get back on the road to you. Amen.”

The grade school I attended was Pope John XXIII and is now Saint John XXII, I have had a devotion to this saint from a fairly young age. I can state I was disappointed with this volume. But I am impressed with the series and will give others in the series a try. This was an ok stations of the cross. It was not great but also not terrible. I have a few stations I return to again and again. I am always willing to give another version of this devotion a try. I wish the other in the series were available digitally. With my dual form of dyslexia I greatly prefer eBooks so I can change the font, font and page colour to make reading easier. I will read and review the others from the series I have tracked down and try to find the reaming few of the other volumes in the ‘Praying The Stations Series’ from Twenty-Third Publications. I try and pray a stations each Friday throughout the year, and every day during Lent. But as mentioned I will not likely return to this one.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

For all other reviews of Stations of the Cross click here.

Books in the Praying The Stations Series:
Praying the Stations with Seniors
The Mystery of the Cross
Praying the Stations of Mercy with Pope Francis
Praying the Stations with Pope Francis
Praying the Stations with Saint John xxiii
Praying the Stations with Catechists
Praying the Stations with Children
Praying the Stations for Healing
Praying the Stations with John Paul II
Praying the Stations for the Suffering, Ill, and Disabled
Meditando El Via Crucis El Viacrucis de Maria
Praying the Stations with Teenagers
Praying the Stations Today’s Disciples

Friday, 2 June 2023

Swords and Maidens Eleven Tales of Chivalry and Valor - edited by N.R. LaPoint

Swords and Maidens: Eleven Tales of Chivalry and Valor
N.R. LaPoint (Editor)
ISBN 9798387724152
eISBN 1230006254940

I picked up this volume mainly because of a contribution by Declan Finn. I have been reading about a book a week of his for almost a year now. And was now branching out to anthologies he had contributed to. I had previously read stories by Michael Gallagher and L. Jagi Lamplighter. I also have already picked up a novel by John C. Wright that because of reading his story in this collection jumped way up on my reading list. I love reading anthologies mainly to be introduced to new authors. The Authors who contributed to this volume are:

The stories in the book are:

Wings of Ether - T.J. Marquis
The Shrouded Tower - Michael Gallagher
The Winged Horse - Hawkings Austin
Three Swords - Blake Carpenter
Harem Fantasy in Another World - John C. Wright
Azrael - N.R. LaPoint
Crazy Like an Elf - Declan Finn
The Gift - Anne Clare
The Supercomputers of Rai - Alexander Hellene
Vivre Le Patriarchy! - L. Jagi Lamplighter
Judgement Sun - J.D. Cowan

The description of the volume is:

“From magic battlefields where horses fear to tread, to flying fortresses, fantastical otherworlds, a planet infested with eldritch abominations, and lands ruled by fear, heroes will fight for what is worth fighting for. Knights in gleaming armor, soldiers, Middle Earth’s most deadly Elvish assassin, hunters, and kings. All will risk their lives to defend the defenseless, to destroy monsters, to preserve the lives and honor of fair maidens.

See a soldier fight to rescue a besieged princess from marauding, magitech barbarians, an immortal knight fight for a farmstead, a husband and wife fight for the honor of a fallen comrade against a deadly dragon, a hunter seek to recover a maiden’s stolen soul, an elf defend a woman from assassins, a deposed king fight for his kingdom, and more!”

Normally when I read an anthology there is one or two standout stories. And sometimes a dud or two. This time all the stories were great. I was very impressed with the storytelling in the whole collection. I especially appreciated Finn’s piece, I was unaware it was previously published in the Planetary Anthology Series, Luna, I have picked those up but have not get to them yet. But reading his story was like jumping back and reading the Convention Killings stories, or like visiting with an old friend. The twist towards the end of Harem Fantasy in Another World by John W. Wright literally knotted up my stomach. Ahh gram. A stand out story was Three Swords by Blake Carpenter. But as mention all the stories left me wanting to read more in the world or by the author. 

I had pre-ordered this book, with the ASIN B0BVGCC2MK, a month later I noted the book was unpurchased and I picked it up again ASIN B0BZZ4FDYY. I bought the book Twice and have two different downloads. The formatting on the second was much better, especially for using adaptive technology; Text To Speech, to listen to the book, but overall still a little frustrating. However the stories in the volume were worth even double the price. 

This is an excellent collection of short stories. I really appreciated all of the pieces. I can easily recommend this anthology for anyone who loves short form fiction, fantasy, or just great writing. Pick it up I am certain there will be an author or half dozen you want to investigate further.

Note: For all reviews of Anthologies click here.
For All reviews of books by or contributed to by Declan Finn click here.

Thursday, 1 June 2023

Two Peas in a Pod - Sarah Mlynowski - Whatever After Book 11

Two Peas in a Pod
Whatever After Book 11
Sarah Mlynowski
eISBN 9781338162905
ASIN B0756HT811

This is the thirteenth title I have read a book in this series. I have been reading these stories with my girls for over 7 years now. I read a few of these stories with my oldest starting in 2016. Now my youngest is reading them to me. Last year for Christmas her older brother even bought her the next 3 titles she needed because he enjoys listening to the stories. My youngest now insists we review everything that we read together, so this review from 2023 is part of that effort. And my youngest has been writing her own reviews of the books she has finished for the last year and is planning on starting her own book blog. Between reading with my oldest and youngest this is the nineteenth time I have read a book in this series. The stories have great staying power. Even as an adult I enjoy these books, not only the first time but rereading them again and again.

Mlynowski as does a wonderful job with the story in this book, and all we have read in the series so far. The whole family loves these stories from 8-years old to 80 years old. For they have been read to grandma in the car on road trips by both the girls. This is another great read in a fantastic series. The stories are always fun and extremely entertaining, but they also have some valuable lessons and insight. 

My youngest daughter and I both give this story a solid 5/5 stars, she says this is a not as dark as the last few, but also much more interesting. She was surprised by the turn in the story during the invasion. This story had a number of twists and turns that we had not guessed and took us by surprise. She was totally taken by what happened at the end. She also always wonders what the change in the  jewellery box will be at the end of the story.

The description of this story is:

“This hilarious novel in the New York Times –bestselling series fractures the beloved fairy-tale of The Princess and the Pea . . .

I’ve landed—along with my brother, Jonah, and our dog, Prince—on the other side of the portal . . . and in the fairy tale of The Princess and the Pea! When I can’t fall asleep on top of a hundred mattresses, the kingdom decides I must be the princess they’re looking for. Talk about royal treatment—I’m suddenly being waited on hand and foot. Plus, I get unlimited ball gowns, sparkly jewellery, and ice cream. But can we find a REAL princess to run the kingdom? Now we have to:

There’s no time to snooze—may the best princess win!!”

We both enjoyed Abby’s and Jonah’s growth in this story, and the growth and changes in some of the princess candidates during the challenges and when trying to save the kingdom. They both are also continuing to be better at troubleshooting issues and problems during their adventures. I was surprised by some of the twists in this one. It is aother good read in a great series.

We always enjoy Mlynowski’s twists and takes on old tales. This is a great take on another familiar tale. The writing in these stories is excellent. My daughters and I love reading them together. The retelling of this story surprised both of us and I am certain it will surprise you. It is a great book in an excellent series.  

Books by Sarah Mlynowski:
Magic in Manhattan Series:

Bras & Broomsticks
Frogs & French Kisses
Spells & Sleeping Bags
Parties & Potions

Whatever After Special Editions:
Abby in Wonderland
Abby in Oz

Upside-Down Magic Series:
Upside-Down Magic #1
Sticks and Stones #2
Showing Off #3

Other Books by Sarah:
Monkey Business
As Seen on TV
Me Vs. Me
Gimme a Call
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
Don't Even Think About It
Think Twice
Know It All
A Nice Fling is Hard to Find
A Little Bit Broken
Party Girls
The Two-Month Itch

Books Coauthored:
See Jane Write (with Farrin Jacobs)
How to Be Bad (with E. Lockhart and Lauren Myracle)

Books Contributed To:
Girls' Night In
Girls Night Out
American Girls About Town
Vacations from Hell


Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Saint David Catholic Secondary School Waterloo A Photo Essay

Saint David Catholic Secondary School Chapel Waterloo 
A Photo Essay

This is the high school that two of my children currently attend. The former chaplain is the deacon at our parish and a friend. My son speaks often about the chapel. My son also loves the icon of Saint David of Wales of David Dewi. He took these pictures and they are shared with his permission.  These first pictures are of the chapel and the stations of the cross in the chapel:

These pictures are the stations in the chapel:

These stations of the cross are in one of the hallways at the school. 

There is a large version of this Icon in the school:

The photo's were taken on April 18th 2023.  
4 High Street,
Waterloo, Ontario
N2L 3X5

Books about Saint David of Wales:
A Miracle for David - Patron Saint of Wales - Steffan Lloyd
Dewi Sant - Saint David - E.G. Bowen
St David of Wales - Rev David Crowley - CTS Biographies 

Related Posts about Saint David of Wales:
Prayer of the Day Saint David of Wales 
Prayer of the Day Another Saint David of Wales Prayer