Saturday 30 June 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Second Quarter 2018

Top Ten Fiction and Non-Fiction Books Second Quarter 2018

It was an excellent quarter. I have found an author I love, Alice Curtayne, even though her books were published between 1930 and 1980 and most never had North American printings. And a publisher the Catholic Truth Society. Between the two of them there are over 30 reads this quarter. The Quarter by the numbers:

102 books read
60 received 5/5 stars
6 of those had been read before
34 were non-Fiction
20 were fiction

Like I stated a good quarter. My problem is even with reading over a book a day my to be read pile is always growing faster than I can read. It was by no way easy to narrow these down to a top ten list for fiction and non-fiction. But this is what I managed to come up with.

Top Ten Non-Fiction Books:

1. Alice Curtayne's Books
2. Catholic Truth Society Booklets
and more.
3. Encounter the Saints Series
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight - Saint Teresa of Avila
4. The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order - Scott Hahn
5. Daniel A. Lord S.J.
6. Mary and the Christian Life: Scriptural Reflections on the First Disciple - Amy Welborn
7. Heroic Catholic Chaplains: Stories of the Brave and Holy Men Who Dodged Bullets While Saving Souls - Thomas J. Craughwell
8. Further Up & Further In: Understanding Narnia - Joseph Pearce 
9. What the Saints Never Said - Trent Horn
10. Moving in the Spirit - Richard J. Hauser

Non-Fiction Bonus Books:
The Life and Letters of Father Damien, Apostle of the Lepers Joseph Damien De Veuster Edited by Paul E. Nowak
Theology of the Body for Beginners: Rediscovering the Meaning of Life, Love, Sex and Gender Revised Edition - Christopher West
Working Well, Working For Love: On The Sanctification Of Work In The Teachings Of St Josemaría Escrivá - Javier López Díaz

Top Ten Fiction Books:

1. West Brothers Series Theresa Linden
2. Outwalkers - Fiona Shaw  
3. Secrets Visible & Invisible - Catholic Teen Books Anthology
4. Fight for Liberty - Theresa A. Linden - Chasing Liberty Book 3.0
5. Rightfully Ours - Carolyn Astfalk
6. Crimson - Arthur Slade
7. The Priest and the Peaches - Larry Peterson
8. A Battle for the Faith: Two Short Stories -  John Paul Wohlscheid and Theresa Linden
9. Stink Hamlet and Cheese - Megan McDonald and Peter H. Reynolds - Stink Moody Book 11
10. Body Swap - Sylvia McNicoll 

Fiction Bonus Books:
The Demons of Abadon - Larry Peterson - The Complete Series
No Fixed Address - Susin Nielsen 

If you give some of these a try I am sure they will be with the read!

Note: I did not include books that have been read in previous years and were reread this year in my top ten lists, they were in the bonus section. As stated it was no easy task making this quarter. But if you want more options check out my favorite books year by year list. This post is going up early because of the end of the quarter falling during holy week.

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2015
Top Ten Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2015
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2016
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2016
Top Ten Non- Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Fiction Books 2016
Top Ten Catholic Books
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2017
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2017
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Fiction Books 2017
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2018
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2018 

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year:

193 - January to June 2018
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

Friday 29 June 2018

Alvaro Del Portillo The Power of Humility - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky

Alvaro Del Portillo:
The Power of Humility
Helena Scott
Ethel Tolansky
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829024
eISBN 9781784693954

I have read extensively on Saint Josemaria Escriva but far less on Blessed Alvara del Portillo. This booklet is the start of that lack of knowledge changing. I was amazed at the life this man lived, and so much of it I was completely unaware of.  I began my research into Escriva and Opus Dei when I was a religious studies major in university. I started my research with the intent of a doing a thesis on the work. I started attending monthly recollections, and making retreats most years. The people I have known who are part of the work have inspired, challenged and encouraged me going on 30 years now. And this booklet has done the same things. I am already looking forward to rereading this book with my children over the summer holidays. My youngest two have crocheted versions of Saint Josemaria Escriva and Blessed Alvara del Portillo made by Oremus Crocheted Saints. And I know that they will love this booklet as much as I have.

But back to this book. The chapters in the booklet are:

During the War
Rome and the 'Rock'
A Quiet Servant of the Church
Prelate of Opus Dei
The Head of a Global Family
Devotion, a Great Joy, and His Last Day

There was so much in this book that I had not encountered in my readings and research to date. From his early years and switching programs so he could finish school and start working to help his family. To the works he has written. This man truly lived to serve, and gave his whole live in service to God. He was a man of great personal devotion, especially to Mary and Marian shrines. He was a man of learning. But he was also a humble servant. The amount of travel that Del Portillo did and the number of centres and works he started is staggering. At one point he was starting a new work about once a year each time in a new country and region. This booklet begins with a story:

"One day in the early 1980s a young man was praying in front of the statue of Our Lady in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. His name was Louis and he was from Cameroon. While he was there a white-haired priest came up to him and introduced himself, and they were soon deep in conversation. Louis was very struck by this fatherly-looking priest, with a gentle smile and understanding eyes, who spoke with such faith, warmth, priestly zeal and love for Jesus Christ. After they had both returned to their respective countries, they kept in touch by letter, and Louis discovered his own vocation to the priesthood. He entered the seminary and was ordained in 1989. Referring to that encounter, Father Louis said later: "This is my model, this is the priest I would like to imitate!" The priest who had inspired him, and continues to do so, along his path in the priesthood, was Alvaro del Portillo."
And that is what we will come away with after reading this book, it will be an encounter with a saintly man who will inspire us! And it is a blessing to have this book as so much that has been written about and by Alvaro del Portillo is not available in English. Making this a little treasure for us to cherish.

This book is another excellent read from The Catholic Truth Society. They currently have over 600 title in print, and just over 300 available electronically.  Every time I read a book from CTS I find 2 or 3 more I want to read. While working on this review I found out the authors Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky have co-authored three other biographies for CTS. I had not encountered Tolansky before, but have encountered Helena Scott as the translator into English of some of the works by Father Jacques Philippe. I have already added their 3 others CTS books to my wish list. This book is an excellent read and strongly encourage you give it a read.

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 Scott and Tolansky:
Pius XII
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan
Benedict XVI

Josemaria Escriva
Alvaro Del Portillo

A Pope of Surprises: The First Five Years of Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy
Sophie Scholl and The White Rose: Resistance to the Nazis
Johann Gruber and Jacques Bunel: Victims of the Nazis

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 28 June 2018

Stink Hamlet and Cheese - Megan McDonald and Peter H Reynolds - Stink Moody Book 11

Stink Hamlet and Cheese
Stink Moody Book11 
Megan McDonald (Author)
Peter H. Reynolds (Illustrator)
ISBN 9780763691639
eISBN 9780763698898

In the last 6 years I have read 40 books with the Moody’s. From the Judy moody Series, The Stink Series, The Judy and Stink books, and most recently the Judy Moody and Friend’s series. I started reading these books before I had kids, and now read them with my three children ages 11, 10 and 7. The Moody books are family favorites and we always look forward to a new book in any of the four series, and this book was another great read! I have yet to read anything by either McDonald or Reynolds that was not a great read. And tis book, these series are great for kids to read or to read with kids. We are at the point that my oldest two can read the Stink books by themselves or to the youngest. Or like this one we can take turns reading pages and worked through the book on a rainy afternoon. 

This book is a big change for Stink. He has a girl interested in him. Stink and one of his best friends Sophie are at a camp called Shakespeare Sprite during spring break. When Stink gets there the first day he is the only boy. And Riley Rottenberger has promised him that he will get a great big kiss before the end of the week at camp. For the most part camp is fun, they learn Shakespeare insults, sword play and stage fighting. By the end of the week they will each get to be in a scene and their parents and friends can come. Stink’s fear of the kiss and the shenanigans surrounding that add some fun to the story. Both his sister Judy and Sophie help his make a shield to fend off the dreaded Rottenberger. They go to a community production of the cursed play, and Stink says the ‘M’ word several times. 

Reading this book raised a lot of questions about Shakespeare. It is great to get younger children interested in the story. My kids immediately made the connection to Gnomeo and Juliette. And asked if any other movies or plays were appropriate. And living not far from Stratford Ontario and one of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the world helps draw their interest even more. 

This book would be a fun read for young fans of drama or children who like to put on performances (my girls). My son loved the stage fighting and sword play lessons in the book. For fans of the Stink books it is a great addition to the series. The book is entertaining for children and for those of us who read to or with them.

Books by Megan McDonald and Peter H Reynolds:
Judy Moody books:
1. Judy Moody
2. Judy Moody Gets Famous!
3. Judy Moody Saves the World!
4. Judy Moody Predicts the Future
5. Judy Moody, M.D. The Doctor Is In
6. Judy Moody Declares Independence
7. Judy Moody Around the World in 8½ Days
8. Judy Moody Goes to College
9. Judy Moody: Girl Detective
10. Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer
10a. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (Movie Tie-In Edition)

11. Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm
12. Judy Moody Mood Martian
13. Judy Moody and the Bucket List
14. Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party

Judy Moody Activity Books:
Judy Moody's Double Rare Way Not Boring Book of Fun Stuff to Do
Judy Moody's Way Wacky Uber Awesome Book of MORE Fun Stuff to Do
Judy Moody's Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-Sleuths

Stink Moody Books:
1. Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid
2. Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker
3. Stink and the World's Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers
4. Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express
5. Stink: Solar System Superhero'
6. Stink and The Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown
7. Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk

8. Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout
9. Stink and the Shark Sleepover
10. Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold
11. Stink hamlet and Cheese

Stink-O-Pedia Volume 1: 
Super Stink-y Stuff from A to Z
Stink-O-Pedia Volume 2: More Stink-y Stuff from A to Z

Judy and Stink Books:
Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday
Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt

Judy Moody & Stink: The Big Bad Blackout
Judy Moody & Stink: The Wishbone Wish 
Judy Moody & Stink and the Grand-Slam Book-Bowl Jam

Judy Moody and Friends:
Stink Moody in the Master of Disaster
Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble
Rocky Zang in The Amazing Mr. Magic
Frank Pearl in The Awful Waffle Kerfuffle
Amy Namey in Ace Reporter
Triple Pet Trouble
Mrs. Moody in The Birthday Jinx
April Fools', Mr. Todd!
Judy Moody, Tooth Fairy
Not-So-Lucky Lefty: Judy Moody and Friends

Stink and Judy Moody a Visual Bibliography

Books by Megan McDonald:
Sisters Club:

Sisters Club 1
Sisters Club 2 
Rule of Three 
Sisters Club 3 Cloudy With a Chance of Boys

Books by Peter H Reynolds: 
The North Star
The Dot
Rose's Garden
I'm Here

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Saints of North America - Jean Olwen Maynard - Catholic Truth Society

Saints of North America
Jean Olwen Maynard
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784691707
eISBN 9781784692353

First this is an excellent little read. I believe anyone who read this book will be inspired, encouraged and challenged. But it is not comprehensive. And therefore I want to start this review with a quote from the afterword:

"Such a short booklet can be no more than an introduction to the saints of North America. If it's caught your interest, do try to find out more. It's necessarily had to be selective, and not everyone will agree with the selection. It wasn't possible even to include all the canonised and beatified figures - among them St John Neumann's curate, Fr Francis Seelos, who was beatified in 2000, or Fr Stanley Rother, the Oklahoma farm boy martyred in Guatemala in 1981, whose beatification is expected in 2017 - or so much as look at the saints of Mexico. The full list of people who were important for the Catholic history of the US and Canada, and for whom causes have been opened or proposed, is long and fascinating: it includes Frs Eusebio Kino and Fr Frederic Baraga, who've been mentioned here, but it also includes Dorothy Day and Fulton Sheen (on whom CTS booklets are available); Fr Augustine Tolton, the first black US priest; Sr Blandina Segale, who took on Billy the Kid; Catherine de Hueck Doherty; Georges and Pauline Vanier; and many, many more."
And Jean is correct, this little volume could not possible capture all the saints, blessed and venerable of North America. To be honest no single book can, an entire encyclopedia would be needed to do just ice to all the holy men and women who are from North America or who served there. But this book does do an amazing job to give a cross section of men and women who served and of many who gave their life for service to Christ.

The chapters in this book are:
The Gospel in New France
Outposts of New Spain
The Age of Revolution
The Melting Pot that Wasn't
Two Nations under God

This book is a great little read. You will encounter so many fascinating saints, and amazing stories. I doubt you could read this book and not pick one or two or a few saints to learn more about. This book breaks using geographic and time as a way to group these saints. Living in Canada and having gone to Catholic School I was surprised by how many saints in this book I was unaware of. I was familiar with a few saints in this booklet. I had previously read books or 4 or 4 of the saints. A few I was aware of, my almost half of the saints I have not encountered before.

Jean Olwen Maynard has written a wonderful book. As soon as I had finished it I picked up a couple more by her to add to my to be read pile. It is written in a very engaging manner, I found it hard to put this book down, and yet because of the size it can easily be read in a single afternoon or over a few days. Maynard presents the saints is such an engaging manner that it is like sitting and chatting about old friend. Reading this is a way to catch up with what God was doing in North America during the early years. An excellent read I highly recommend.

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.

Published work by Jean Olwen Maynard:
Privately published by religious orders/parishes:
Greyfriars Convent, Elgin (2006)
A History of St Mary and St Michael’s Parish, Commercial Road, East London (2007)
Sisters of Mercy Bristol (2008)
150 Years of Mercy: A History of the Sisters of Mercy Commercial Road East London (2009)
The Saint of Hoxton (2011)
Saint Monica’s Church Hoxton Square (2018) 
150th anniversary history brochure for Parish of Guardian Angels, Mile End (2018)
150th anniversary history brochure for Parish of Our Lady and St Catherine of Sienna, Bow (2020) 
Immaculate Heart of Mary and St Dominic, Homerton 1873-2023 – 150 Years: A History of the Parish (2023)

CTS Booklets:
Isidore Bakanja 
Joseph Vaz

Between Christendom and Islam, The Martyr Mystic Christian de Chergé and the Atlas Cistercians in Algeria, in: Catholic in Religious Dialogue: Monasticism, Theology and Spirituality, ed Anthony O’Mahoney and Peter Bowe OSB, Gracewing, 2006
Campaign for the Catholic Workhouse Children, in: British Catholic History, Vol 31: Issue 4 Oct 2015

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Invest Yourself: Daring to Be Catholic in Today's Business World - John M. Abbate

Invest Yourself:
Daring to Be Catholic in Today's Business World
John M. Abbate

Wellspring Publishing
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635820232
eISBN 9781942611875


I need to start by saying that I enjoyed this book. But I believe that some people will give up on it, or not engage because the examples so often come from McDonald's. John Abbate is an owner operator who has spent years investing in his business, and the people who work for him. There are some incredible stories in this book. So please if you give it a change I am sure you will be challenged, and inspired by this volume.

Lately I have come across a number of books on work and faith. In the last few months I have read this book and two others on similar topics. The books I have read recently are:

Working well, working for love: On the sanctification of work in the teachings of St Josemaría Escrivá by Javier López Díaz
Force for Good: The Catholic Guide to Business Integrity by  Brian Engelland

And my favourite book on the topic is from a few years back by Kevin Lowry called: 'Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck' This book is a good read and really does approach it from a different perspective. This book was on my radar for a while. But because I had already picked up and read the two books above I hesitated investing in a third book on the same topic in such a short time. And yet I kept encountering this book, on Facebook, on twitter, and even a few friends mentioning it. So I decided to give it a chance. I am very thankful that I did.

The chapters in this volume are:
Choosing Prosperity
In the Beginning … There Was Economics
From "Me First" to "Daring to Be the First"
Pilgrimage: Who Do You Say That I Am?
Realizing Our Christian Identity
A Novel Perspective: Work as Vocation
Finding Our Strength in Humility
The Power of Christian Hope
A Journey toward Happiness
Discovering Joy in Sacrifice
Living a Legacy Today
Leadership at the Service of Life

This book is part personal story but also includes stories from many people Joh, his wife and his organization have worked with. In the first chapter on prosperity John states:

"My experiences with Catholic conferences, pilgrimages, and professional business organizations such as Legatus have opened my eyes to the abundance of talented and faithful men and women who are willing and able to carry on the mission of the Church. These heroic people are the future of this great faith. Their enthusiasm, sacrifice, and talent are infectious."
Knowing Beacon Publishing I was not worried the book would begin with a 'Health and Wealth' gospel so popular with TV Evangelists.  But even so I was not sure exactly what to expect. From this chapter the above quote and this one below both really had an impact on me:
"We have all received an abundant inheritance from our forefathers. We stand on the shoulders of so many resilient and courageous figures of our past. Today we must choose to be the link that keeps our Catholic history alive in our families, our communities, and our culture. When we choose to learn about and share our own family history and embrace the richness of the tradition of our Catholic faith, we become the instrument that continues the mission of Matthew 28. We spread the Good News to all corners of the world."
John talks about his own failings in an open, honest and vulnerable way. He takes us through his own journey from being a business man, to his encounter with God in a new way, to being a Christian in business. He shares with us stories about working with his team members through difficult times. And he shares about what being an owner does in allowing him to give more flexibility and support to his people.

Nearly every business these days talks about employee engagement. John walks us through how his faith changed his management style and how employee's became the purpose and not the process. It is a great read and I highly recommend it. And if you do enjoy it I am sure will be engaged with the others listed above.

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

Books about Faith and Work:
Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck - Kevin Lowry
Working well, working for love: On the sanctification of work in the teachings of St Josemaría Escrivá - Javier López Díaz
Force for Good: The Catholic Guide to Business Integrity -  Brian Engelland
Invest Yourself: Daring to Be Catholic in Today's Business World - John M Abbate

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

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:
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

The Life and Letters of Father Damien, Apostle of the Lepers - Edited by Pamphile De Veuster 
Father Damien's Letters

Prayer of the Day - Saint Damien Prayer

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

Rita of Cascia 
A Book of Novenas

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. 

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