Wednesday 31 October 2018

Pamphlets, Booklets, and Books What’s the Difference?

Pamphlets, Booklets, and Books What’s the Difference?

This year I have read and reviewed numerous pamphlets and booklets. I was asked by a read about the formats and functions of the three. It started with the discovery of two Catholic Authors; Alice Curtyane, and Daniel A. Lord. Both were prolific writers in the last century. Both wrote books, booklets and pamphlets. And unfortunately, most of their works are currently out of print. While doing research on these two authors I encountered booklets by The Catholic Truth Society, and have since read 40 books and booklets from CTS. In response to the honest inquiry of non-Catholic, non-Christian reader he is my attempt to add some clarification.

If I were to compare the three formats to fiction to provide some background. If we take the three:

Pamphlet – Short Story
Booklet - Novella
Book – Novel

So, the first distinction is simply length. I cannot give a specific length difference between pamphlets and booklets; but can give some antidotal. Pamphlets art typically printed on thinner paper, and the cover is often the same style of paper, or occasionally a same weight but with color copy. Pamphlets are like tracks or brochures you would pick up at a medical office, or governmental office. Booklets have a heavier card stock cover and are often much longer. I would say most pamphlets are under 50 pages, booklets are between 75-175 pages. Both Pamphlets and booklets have a staple binding.

So that would be the big distinction between booklets and books. Booklets are staple bound, are always ‘paperback’. And are on the shorter side. Books have a glued, glued and stitched binding.

A second factor is the actual process of publishing. Both Blessed James Alberione (1884-1971) and Cardinal Vaughan (1832-1903), were visionaries in using printing presses, and media in evangelization. Cardinal Vaughan founded the Catholic Truth Society, and James Alberione founded the Pauline Family of ministries, including Pauline Books and Media. Both organizations are known to have historically owned their own printing presses. From what I have seen of physical copies of the CTS booklets You can tell when I book was published based on the style, size and format. Again, aligning to the presses, they owned.

For example, older CTS Booklets are printed on a size that matches standard trade paperback. Where the newer CTS booklets are smaller in format. Also, for the newer size you can tell the rough time of printing based on cover designs as they have changed over times, or for some series the color changes every few years.

Now I have been clear in the past that I much prefer electronic books. But the photos below are of physical copies of booklets and books from CTS that I have, that are not available electronically. But with finding authors that I love, and their stuff being out of print I have been ordering scanned copies of old books and booklets from libraries around the world.

And finally, for the purpose. Pamphlets are usually to give a quick introduction, or overview of a topic. The difference between pamphlets and booklets are just length. I have read booklets on single topics, or related topics.  For example I read these three booklets: Saints of North America, Saints of South Asia, and Saints of Africa. Each of these represented numerous saints who were from or served in a specific geographic region. But I have also read booklets of the exact same size and length on specific saints.   

To move from the fiction analogy to a food one; a pamphlet is a taste, a booklet a snack and a book is the whole meal. And what I have loved this year is having so many great snacks from CTS to read. I hope that provides some clarity for the reader who asked the question, and that other readers find it interesting and informative.

My current collection of physical booklets and books from CTS.

A Simple Prayer Book in English and Spanish are booklets bound by staples. The Marian Prayer Book is roughly same size but twice the length and bound by glue with a much heavier cover.

The top two are much older out of print CTS Booklets, the bottom two are more recent booklets.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Lights on the Sea - Miquel Reina and Catherine E. Nelson

Lights on the Sea
Miquel Reina
Catherine E. Nelson (Translator)
ISBN 9781503903203

Reading this book, I could not help but think about the works of Jose Saramago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Paulo Coelho. When I was reading I kept thinking about Saramago's The Tale of an Unknown Island. There is always a different feel when reading a book in translation. This is one of those books that causes a reader to really reflect. Reflect on where they are, how they got there and where they are going. The book is currently available in 4 languages and could become a classic along the lines of Paulo Coelho's Alchemist.

When I was reading this at times it was surreal. As in part the story is. And part of it is the penetrating insights that the book opens up to the readers. This is the story of the Grapes, Mary Rose and Harold Grapes are a retired couple. But in reality, they separated themselves from the world and from each other many year ago. Now on the eve of their eviction from their home because of new governmental safety regulations. Their house is packed. Except for Harold's shop in the basement. As they sleep that night a terrifying storm rages outside. Before bed it reminded Herold of a storm years earlier when their son was lost at sea. The storm dislodges the cliff top they live on, and the Grapes, house and all plunges into the sea. But because of the composition of the rock, the house stays afloat and drifts out to see.

Lost on the ocean with little food, and little hope of survival The Grapes slowly remember their life together. And both have many regrets. They float through storms, through a sea of icebergs, and finally become locked in an ice jam. Soon they must find out of their desire to live outweighs their pain from the past and willingness to give up hope.

This is a story about encounters. Encountering ourselves, encountering tragedy, encountering others, and encountering change. It is a moving story. It is a book that readers will find themselves reflecting upon, and thinking back on, long after they have finished reading it.

This book was a great surprise. It was imaginative, creating, and deeply moving. It is a wonderful read that has the possibility of deeply touching any reader! So give it a read and journey with the Grapes yourself.

Books by Miquel Reina:
Lights on the Sea
Luces en el Mar
La casa in mezzo al mare
Lichter auf dem Meer

Monday 29 October 2018

Marcus A Novel Depicting the Lives of the Early Christians in Rome - Father Michael E. Giesler

A Novel Depicting the Lives of the Early Christians in Rome 
Father Michael E. Giesler
Scepter Publishers

First let me be very clear, this book is an incredible read! But it is also hard to put it in place. This is the middle book of a trilogy, but until reading the back of this book I did not realize it was a trilogy. I was just under the impression that it was just one of several books by the author. I stated in my review of book 1, Junia The Fictional Life and Death of an Early Christian, "It is hard to find the books by Father Giesler, for they are published under many different variations on his names. For example, this book on the cover has the name Michael E. Giesler, book 2 Marcus has the name Michael Edward Giesler, and book 3 Grain Of Wheat does not even have a name on the cover.  From what I have found his books are published under the following names: Michael E. Giesler, Rev. Michael Giesler, Father Michael Giesler, Michael Edward Giesler and just Michael Giesler. Based on how wonderful this book was I have already picked up his three historical fiction novels and look forward to reading them. One other strange thing about this series before I get to the review, Books 1 and 3 have eBook, kindle and print editions, where book 2 only has a print edition. But back to this specific book." And I stand by that his books are published under many variations on his name, and as a trilogy it is not clearly indicated. So, to provide come clarity on the series, the Christian Historical Fiction Trilogy books are:

Junia (2002)
Marcus (2004)
Grain Of Wheat (2008)

The two books I have read are amazing. But let's focus on book two, the purpose for this review. This specific book, Marcus, was originally printed in 2004, and has been reprinted in 2006, 2009, and 2011 based on the copy that I read. It begins with a prelude that is a 2 page synopsis of Junia, I believe this book could be read on its own but reading it second makes a lot more sense. This book comes in at 127 pages, and 38 short chapters. This book begins with the statement that Marcus did not want to attend the execution of his sister and at first buried himself in his studies of philosophy. And the book covers a little over two years of time in the life of Marcus. 

Marcus is the son of Gaius Metellus, Consel of Rome, and Aurelia. He is the brother of Junia who died for her faith in Christ, for being a Christian against Roman law. He was saved from almost certain death by Dedicus. Soon he encounters Dedicus at the study and they become quick friends. When Marcus realizes that Dedicus and the others he has been introduced to are Christians at first, he pulls back. But soon finds in Christianity the answers he has been seeking in other philosophies. He finds the truth. And yet he knows that if he becomes a Christian and it becomes public, it will not only mean his death, but also the ruin of his father and mother. 

This book is a deeply moving read. It follows Marcus's journey from a philosopher, who pursued pleasure and knowledge, to a deeply devoted and sincere Christian. It is fictional but is historically accurate about the persecutions of Christians at that time, and they we might see again in our life time. This book goes a lot deeper into theological and philosophical reasons for becoming a Christian than the first book. 

An excellent read in what is shaping up to me an incredible trilogy! 

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

Books by Rev. Michael Giesler:
You See Me, You Hear Me
Guidebook for Confessors
Family Grace: A Story of Conversion Through Friendship

Called by Name: Twelve Guideline Meditations for Diocesan Priests
Christ the Rejected Stone
How Christ Saves Souls―with Us: The Mystery of Co-Redemption

Spanish Editions:
Dios te ve y te oye


Christian Historical Fiction Trilogy:
Grain Of Wheat


Author Profile and Interview with Father Michael E. Giesler.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Jeremiah 31:7-9
Responsorial Psalm 126: 1-6 Response 3
Second Reading Hebrews 5:1-6
Gospel Mark 10:46-52

This week’s readings can be unpacked in several ways. From the first reading we are reminded to sing and shout to the Lord. We are told about God calling in his flock, gathering them from where they were dispersed. God states that he will become again a Father to Israel. And he is a father to us. The response is:

“The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”

and it is easy to rejoice when things are going well, and it is easy to praise when blessings are forthcoming. But life is not all rainbows and sunshine. But like the character Rocky says:

“What is it you said to the kid? The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very rough, mean place... and no matter how tough you think you are, it'll always bring you to your knees and keep you there, permanently... if you let it. You or nobody ain't never gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit... it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward... how much you can take, and keep moving forward. If you know what you're worth, go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit.”
          - Rocky in Rocky Balboa (Rocky VI)

It is much harder, but to be honest even more important to be praising God when things are hard. Many times, we need to get back up, put our trust back in God, and rely on Him and his will. Life does throw hits our way, and the best way to get back up is to give it all back to god. From the second reading:

“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”

We have all been called to serve. And we are all called to love out our divine sonship. In the gospel this week Jesus asks the blind min what he wants. It would seem an obvious answer, but the blind man replies:

“My teacher, let me see again.”

This should be our request also. We need our eyes open to the spiritual realities around us. We need our eyes opened so we can see where and when to serve. We need our eyes opened so we can see ourselves as we truly are, and give all we are back to God.

Jesus, I pray for my readers that they will be blessed. And I pray that you will open my eyes. Let me see and let me serve.

Related Posts:

Saturday 27 October 2018

Unlikely Witnesses - Leslea Wahl

Unlikely Witnesses
Leslea Wahl
eLectio Publishing

eISBN 9781732903708

Sometimes great things come in small packages. That was my first thought upon finishing this novella. This story continues sometime after the short story that was part of the anthology Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories from Catholic Teen Books. That story combines the main characters from the novels The Perfect Blindside and An Unexpected Role. But this story is strong enough to be read on its own. It is a great story to be read as a stand alone, as an introduction to the characters from the other stories, or if you have already read the other novels. I loved not only the story but how it was told. 

The family vacation to a dude ranch in the Colorado Rockies, ends us throwing another mystery at the 4 teens. But first the story is told as FBI Agent Martinez is interviewing 4 teen witnesses. The story begins with these words:

“Sometimes fifteen minutes can make all the difference. Fifteen minutes later and he would’ve been gone for the day. A mere quarter of an hour…and this would’ve been someone else’s problem.”

But sometimes God has a plan even when we do not see it, and occasionally when we are trying to avoid it. Each of the four teens were witness to something, but at the beginning we do not know what. We have from The Perfect Blindside Jake and Sophie. And from An Unexpected Role we have Josie and Ryan. Martinez separates the witness into 4 interrogation rooms. He just wants to get their statements and get away for the weekend to his solitude at his cabin fishing. He begins by interviewing Josie DelRio, then he continues the story with Ryan, next is Sophie Metcalf. At that point it is getting late and he gathers the three he has interviewed with Jake to hear the end of the tale. 

It was really fun reading as each of the teens told part of the events of the last few days that lead to them being witnesses and giving their statements to the FBI. The story has the family fun of a vacation with three generations together. The continuing story of the two couples. The extreme competitiveness of Jake and Ryan, that seem to be able to turn anything into a competition. And the mystery, first a missing calf, and other missing items from farms and ranches around the one they are staying at. Seeing a guy who seems out of place in the woods. And spotting a campsite with 4 guys who appear to be up to something. An encounter with a pawn broker that does not seem completely forthcoming. And four young adults who are just trying to do the right thing.

It is a great read. It was hard to put down and we are left wanting more adventures with the young adults and their families. It is clean Christian fiction. With great characters, and a wonderful story, and format for delivering the story. Another great read by Leslea Wahl!

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

Books by Leslea Wahl:
The Perfect Blindside
An Unexpected Role
Where You Lead
Unlikely Witness

eXtreme Blindside
Christmas Angel 
Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books

Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
Treasures: Visible & Invisible 8 Stories for Teens
The Christmas Lights
The Gift of the Angel Tree 

Friday 26 October 2018

Inspiration from the Saints Stories from the Lives of Catholic Holy Men and Women - Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh

Inspiration from the Saints:
Stories from the Lives of Catholic Holy Men and Women
Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh
Angelico Press
ISBN 9781621383369
ISBN 9781621383352
eISBN 9781621383376

First I must state this book was an excellent read. In fact, it was so good that I have now read it twice before attempting this review. Second, I do not really believe I can do the book justice, in a review. This book is unlike any other book I have read about saints. It is not a biography. It is not a highlight or keep features or a selection of saints. No, it is the examination of 17 topics through the eyes and lives of a wide range of saints. The short description of this book is:

“The tales told in Inspiration from the Saints cover a variety of themes in the lives of these holy men and women: their childhoods, inspirations, and deaths; their boldness and humility; their love of prayer, mortification, and the Eucharist; their urge to spread the Gospel; their family life; the impression they made upon others; and much more.”

This is a book I have already read twice and will likely re again and again. It is already in the pile beside my bed again. And I do not typically read physical books. The chapters in this book are:

 1. Childhood
 2. Sinners
 3. Inspirations
 4. Boldness
 5. In Other People’s Eyes
 6. Mortification
 7. Marriage
 8. Family
 9. Chastity
10. Losers
11. Humility
12. Catechetics
13. Evangelization
14. The Eucharist
15. Prayer
16. Mirth
17. Death
18. Afterward

And each chapter begins with a list of the saints that will be drawn upon in that section of the book. Here are a list if saints by chapter:

1. Childhood:  The visionaries of Fatima * St. Aloysius Gonzaga * Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich *St. John Berchmans * St. Miguel Pro * St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
2. Sinners: St. Paul of Tarsus * St. Augustine of Hippo * St. Philip Howard * St. Bernard of Corleone * Blessed Bartolo Longo * Blessed Charles de Foucauld
3. Inspirations: St. Augstine of Hippo * St. Anthony of Egypt * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. John of God * St. Raphaela Mary of the Sacred Heart * St. Mary of the Incarnation
4. Boldness: St. Josemaria Escriva * St. John Paul II * St. Theresa of Lisieux * St. Maximilian Kolbe
5. In Other People’s Eyes:  St. Charles of Mount Argus * St. Damian of Molokai * St. Bernadette of Lourdes * St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta * St. Gemma Galgani * Blessed John Sullivan S.J.
6. Mortification: St. Junipero Serra * St. Rose of Lima * St. Paul of Tarsus * St. Catherine Ricci * St. John Paul II * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. Mary of the Incarnation * St. John Berchmans * St. Jean Vianney * St. Francis Assisi
7. Marriage:  St. Louis and St. Marie Azalie Martin * Blessed Luigi Beltarme and Blessed Maria Quattrocchi * St. Elizabeth of Hungary * St. Jane Frances de Chantal * St. Joaquina of Spain * St. Elizabeth Ann Seton * St. Louis of France * St. Margart D’Youville * Blessed Paola Gambera-Costa
8. Family: St. Pappin of Ballymum * St. Benedict and St. Scholastica * St. Francis of Assisi * St. Thomas Aquinas * St. Rose of Lima * St. Germaine de Pibrac * Blessed Laura Vicuna * St. Thomas More
9. Chastity:  Blessed John Henry Newman * St. Aloysius Gonzaga * St. Elizabeth of the Trinity * St. Alphonsa of India * St. Maria de las Maravillas Pidal Chico de Guzman * St. Maria Goretti * Blessed Antonia Messina * St. Charles Lwanga * St. Bernard of Clairvaux * St. Frances Xzavier Cabrini * St. Padre Pio * Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
10. Losers:  St. Joseph of Cupertino * St. Jean Vianney * St. Bernadette Soubirous * St. Charles of Mount Argus * Blessed Mariano da Roccacasale * St. Benedict Joseph Labre * Blessed Margaret of Castello * Blessed Solanus Casey
11. Humility:  St. Gemma Galgani * St. Clement Hofbauer * St. Maximilian Kolbe * St. Catherine Laboure * Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich * St. John Berchmans * St. Raphaela Mary of the Sacred Heart * St. Nimatullah Hardini * St. Crispin of Viterbo * St. Peter of Alcantara * St. Francis of Borgia * St. Charles Borromeo
12. Catechetics:  St. Marcellin Champagnat * Blessed Josefa Naval Girbes * St. John Bosco * St. John Neumann * St. Louise de Marillac * Blessed Edmund Rice * Blessed Cesar de Bus * St. John Paul II * St. George Preca
13. Evangelization:  St. Louis Bertrand * St. Joseph Freinademetz * St. Jean Vianney * St. Rose of Lima * St. Paul of Tarsus * St. Philip Neri * Blessed John Henry Newman * Blessed Giacomo Alberione
14. The Eucharist:  Blessed John Henry Newman * St. Peter Julian Eymard * St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier * St. Rose of Lima * St. Alphonsus Liguori * St. John Berchmans * St. Pius X * St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle * St. Bernadette Soubirous * St. Gemma Galgani * Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Cost * St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
15. Prayer:  St. Therese of Lisieux * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta * St. Peter of Alcantara * St. Jean Vianney * St. Elizabeth Ann Seton * St. Andre Besette * Blessed John Sullivan * St. Teresa of Avila * St. John Paul II * St. John XXIII * St. Padre Pio * St. Joseph Cottolengo * Blessed Ceferino Gimenez Malla
16. Mirth:  St. Philip Neri * St. Miguel Pro * St. Bernadette Soubirous * St. Teresa of Avila * Blessed John Henry Newman * St. John XXIII * St. Maria Mazzerrello
17. Death:  St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort * St. Louise de Marillac * St. Robert Southwell * St. Joseph Pignatelli * St. John Berchmans * St. Oliver Plunkett * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. Gemma Galgani * St. John Paul II * St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Across the 17 chapters 147 saints are examined. Some I have a particular devotion to, some I was familiar with, and a few were completely new to me. Maolsheachlann made sure that he stuck with only recognized saints and blesseds. Even if you remove saints or blessed that appear more than once we have a list of 108. And some of the saints appear up to five times.

This book is written from a place of a great deal of research. But also, a deep devotion. It is an excellent read. There are only really two things that I think would make it even better. First, I would love to see an index in a future edition of the book. Based on the numbers above it would be great to be able quickly find sections about specific saints. Second inside the cover of the book there is an ISBN for an eBook edition, but at the writing of this review it is unpublished and no response from the publisher when I inquired about it. I know a few people I would give the eBook to as soon as it came available. But even with that being said this is an amazing read.

The afterword of this book states:

“Let us again contemplate the passage from the book of the Apocalypse with which I began this book, which is read from the altar on All Saints Day:

‘After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice;
“Salvation comes from our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.’

The history of the Catholic Church is the greatest love story ever told. The saints were lovers, consumed by the love of Christ. They beckon us to emulate the love. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

“I have come to bring fire to the earth,” said Jesus. Such a fire burned in the hearts of saints, and in their lives, and in their words. My hope is that some of this fire emanates from the pages of this book, too.
Viva Cristo Rey! Long reign Jesus Christ the King!”

It should be noted that the appendix mentions a number of people whose cause has begun but do not yet have the title servant of God. And the majority of that appendix is dedicated to G.K. Chesterton.  One of the best books about saints I have read. It is a book I will give away frequently as gifts and reread again and again. An excellent read well worth pursuing.

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

Thursday 25 October 2018

A Boy and His Satellite - David Vining - A Collection of Short Stories

A Boy and His Satellite
A Collection of Short Stories
David Vining


My introduction to the works of David Vining was the collection of short stories, A Light in the Darkness. I picked it up after his novel, The Battle of Lake Erie: One Young American's Adventure in the War of 1812, was recommended by and author I greatly enjoy. I loved the short stories in that first collection and before I had finished it and the novel I had purchased all 5 collections of short stories that had been published up until that date. This was the third collection of Vining’s stories I have read and by far I consider it the best. It is a great collection of science fiction short stories.

The stories in this volume are:

A Trip to Bohn-96 
You Load 16 Bits, and What Do You Get? 

A Boy and His Satellite

Usually when you read a collection of short stories there is a favorite and a least favorite. This collection was a little different. Yes, there was a favorite story, A Boy and his Satellite, but there was no least favorite. Vining tackles some interesting themes in this collection. From the evolution of a religion on an isolated generational ship carved into giant meteors, to a man who has a cockroach teleported under his skin leading to some serious psychological issues. There is also the intriguing story, that takes place mostly in queue to prepare for a faster than light transport. But as mentioned the story that fascinated me most was A Boy and his Satellite, in many ways it reads like some of the shorter work of Frank Herbert or even Robert A. Heinlein. This collection is worth the price for just this one story. And to be honest I would love to see this story developed into a novel about the main character. The hints that are given in this story could be elements in an epic story.

As mentioned this is the third collection of short stories by Vining I have read. I have thoroughly enjoyed each of them. This was a fantastic read and I look forward to more from the pen of David Vining!

Books by David Vining:
A Quest Through Winter Sleep
The Battle of Lake Erie: One Young American's Adventure in the War of 1812
Crystal Embers

The Sharp Kid

Collections of Short Stories:
Shoes for Two Soldier Sons
Old Magic in a New World
A Light in the Darkness
A Boy and His Satellit


Author profile and interview with David Vining.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Charlotte's Honor - Ellen Gable - Great War Great Love Book 2

Charlotte's Honor
Great War Great Love #2
Ellen Gable
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9781987970043

Over the last few years I have read a number of non-fiction books about Military Chaplains, and this book is not about a chaplain but about the same times and circumstances. This historical fiction book, and the other available in the series are both excellent reads. Once I heard that this book was coming out, it was immediately added to my to be read list. And it did not disappoint.

I stated in my review of book one of this series: “I must admit as a middle-aged man this book would not be my normal reading. I do read a lot of YA, but hardly any romance. And this book is really so much more than that.” But as a father of daughters who is trying to install a life long reading habit in them I find I read a lot of books with my kids that I would not pick up for myself. But as much as I look forward to reading this book with my girls when they are a little older, I was eager to read this book because of how much I enjoyed book one.

This story overlaps a little with book one and has a few cross over characters. But it can be read on its own. It is a complete story and what a story at that. The main characters in this novel are Charlotte Zielinski, a medical volunteer. She enlisted for service after her father had passed away and she received notice that he brother had been killed in the war. She had no family left and wishes to server helping other men like her brother. She has a special skill with men who are dying, and she ends up volunteering to serve in the death ward. Spending most of her time reading to, singing for, and just being present for those who are terminal. The other is Dr. Paul Kilgallen, a Canadian surgeon serving in the field hospital. Paul who has experienced loss, is determined not to be mired in a relationship. But after the two remain behind with the critically wounded, when the rest of the hospital is evacuated. The three days allows each to see the other in a new light. But in love and in war things do not always go as planned and as hoped. 

To find out what happens to these two you will need to read the book. Give it a try I am sure you will not be disappointed. I have yet to read a book from Full Quiver Publishing, that I did not really enjoy. The tag line for Full Quiver on their website is "Theology of the Body Fiction”. And I am following this author and all Full Quiver publications closely. Another great read by Ellen Gable and from FQ publishing. A great book for readers of all ages!

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

Books by Ellen Gable:
O'Donovan Family Series:

On Name Only
A Subtle Grace


Great War Great Love Series:
Julia's Gifts
Charlotte's Honor

Ella's Promise

Other Books:
Emily's Hope
Stealing Jenny


Contributed to:

Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship

Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body

Ashes Visible & Invisible 10 Stories for Teens

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Force For Good - Brian Engelland - The Catholic Guide to Business Integrity

Force For Good:
The Catholic Guide to Business Integrity
Brian Engelland
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781622824786
eISBN 9781622824793


While reading this book, I could not help but think how the world would be transformed if all people who call themselves Christian, or even just Catholic lived the principals in this book. The world of business would be transformed and through that the world would be transformed. The main focus of the book is that if a business is ethical it will have a better chance for success. That success will come from better relationships between employees and with customers. The principals in this book is written for Catholics to help them live out their faith in business. But the principals could be applied by any Christian, and even non-Christians. Though the impetus to live and work in such a way would be different.

This year I have read three different books about work and faith. The other two were:

Working well, working for love: On the sanctification of work in the teachings of St Josemaría Escrivá by Javier López Díaz
Invest Yourself: Daring to Be Catholic in Today's Business World by John M. Abbate

But there are some very different focuses on the three books. The first focuses on the worker sanctifying what they do. The second on Catholic leadership and focusing on what is best for your people. This one focuses on Character and Integrity. The chapters in this volume are:

Doing Business the Right Way
A Firm Foundation for Right and Wrong
Finding Clarity in the Big Picture
Character Counts
Integrity-Infused Employee Relationships
Integrity-Infused Customer Relationships
Integrity, Regulation, and Society
Conditions that Lead to Good Decisions
Creating an Integrity-Infused Organization
This book is written from a place of personal experience. Brian shares in the introduction a venture he joined and was excited about but left because of ethical issues. He states:

“A Force for Good arises out of a career-long interest in doing the right thing and doing it in the right way.”

And this bookbuilds on that experience to share how we, no matter where we are in our career or at what level in a company can live out that same guiding principal. He also states in the introduction:

“I’ve written this book with both business practitioners and business students in mind, and I’ve tried to structure the writing so that I explain not only what works but why it works. Further, I’ve tried to keep the writing crisp and to the point, and I’ve added examples to illustrate the ideas presented. I hope you’ll agree that this makes the book readable and interesting.”

And I would say he roundly succeeds in that goal. I believe this book would be an excellent edition to a business ethics course in university. For a general business course in High School. Or like me, for the casual reader who just wants to be better at being. And considering we spend so much of our life at work, it is the place we need to focus on living integrity, honesty, and learning to be a force for good. Engelland declares:

“There’s a great need for integrity in business these days. Business leaders, employees, consumers, and the general public are tired of the old “business as usual” formula that pushes mediocre products to consumers at outlandish prices. Everyone is reaching the same conclusion. Trust is the glue that holds business together, and where there is no trust, there can be no business. Operating with integrity is the only way to develop and maintain trusting relationships over the long haul.”

This book is a how to guide. It is not just theory but practical Engelland states:

 “In this book, I explain how integrity is established so that every aspect of the business is conducted consistently using one set of standards. The first chapter sets forth necessary terminology. The second provides the natural law foundation that is required for establishing trusting relationships in business. Chapter 3 explains the four core principles from Catholic Social Doctrine (CSD) that allow human interaction in business to achieve its full potential. The fourth chapter describes the importance of virtue and in creating the proper environment for integrity. Chapters 5 through 7 provide guidance on achieving integrity-infused relationships with employees, customers, and the rest of society. Finally, chapters 8 and 9 provide a step-by-step approach for implementing integrity in one’s business.”

My personal email for years has had a tag line of ‘learning to be’ when asked about it, I state that I am working at being and being better at being. The principals in this book are written for business but can be applied on the personal level also. As such this is a great read and I highly recommend it.

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 22 October 2018

Call Him Father How to Experience the Fatherhood of God - Edward G. Maristany - Revised and Expanded Edition

Call Him Father
How to Experience the Fatherhood of God
Revised and Expanded Edition
Edward G. Maristany
Scepter Publishers
ISBN 9781594173318
eISBN 9781594173325

This book was first published in 1999, I read and reviewed the first edition of this book back in 2006. And I loved it. It was a little volume that I have read a number of times over. When I found out that a new revised and expanded edition came out in the spring of 2018 I had to read it. When I reviewed the first edition of this book I stated: “Fr. Maristany has written another great book. My only regret is that this, and Loving the Holy Mass, are the only two books I can find by Fr. Maristany.”. That sentiment remains after reading this revised and expanded edition.

In this expanded edition the book has been broken into three key sections, and has 19 numbered chapters in those sections. It follows a similar order for the material as the original volume. The contents of this new edition are:

We Are Children of God

 1. God’s Original Plan
 2. Baptism
 3. The Good News
 4. A Unique Love
 5. What the World Needs Now

Experiencing Our Divine Filiation

 1. The Role of Parents
 2. The Role of the Holy Spirit
 3. The Role of Jesus
 4. The Role of Mary
 5. Developing the Habit of Piety
 6. Addressing the Father in Our Prayer
 7. Trusting God in Times of Difficulty
 8. Worshipping the Father in the Mass
 9. Awareness of the Father’s Presence
10. Becoming Like a Little Child
11. Contrition
12. Working with a Right Intention

Keeping the Experience Alive

 1. The Danger of Activism
 2. The Danger of Routine

It is still not a large volume and is easily read over a long afternoon or if read in sections over a few days. Fr. Maristany draws from a few key source materials for his work, the Catechism, scriptures and the writings of Saint Josemaria Escriva. The focus of the teaching is that of sonship, or the concept of 'divine filiation' or, in simpler terms, we are God's children. Drawing from the Popes he states:

“See how beautifully Pope St. John Paul II put it while addressing a vast throng of young people: “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son Jesus.”

And Pope Francis completed the idea: “Our condition as children of God is the fruit of the love of the Father’s heart; it does not depend on our merits or on our actions, and thus no one can take it away, not even the devil! No one can take this dignity away.””

One of the greatest reminders for me in the book was:

“Every now and then throughout the day, exert yourself to take note—and advantage!—of the fact that your heavenly Father is keeping you company. Never fail to do this at night, when you go to bed. Put the burdens of the day aside—tomorrow will be another day—and go to your heavenly Father for refuge, comfort, and love.”

This is an amazing little book. The new revised edition is available as both a physical volume and an eBook. It is one of those books I have read many times and will read many times more. Even though Father Maristany has not published a large volume of work, his books are little treasures that will help you grow in your spiritual life!

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

Books by Father Edward G. Maristany:
Call Him Father: How to Experience the Fatherhood of God
Call Him Father: How to Experience the Fatherhood of God Revised Edition
Loving the Holy Mass

Spanish Editions:
Amar la Santa Misa
Llámale Padre

Sunday 21 October 2018

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Isaiah 53:10-11
Responsorial Psalm 33:2-4, 18-19, 20, 22 Response 22
Second Reading Hebrews 4:14-16
Gospel Mark 10:35-45

The response this week is:

“Let your love be upon us, Lord, even as we hope in you.”

That is the piece from all the readings this week that has stuck with me most. In the spring we had seen a surgeon because our son had developed scoliosis. This is on top of or because of his neurofibromatosis. In the spring it looked like surgery was immanent. He expected surgery to be within the next 8-12 months. As a preventative measure our son was given a back brace to wear 23 hours a day. After reading a book this summer about Lourdes, Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes by Anne Eileen Heffernan, Elizabeth Tebo and Mari Goering Encounter the Saints Series Book 2, he wanted to know if we could go so he could bathe in the waters there. As much as I would have loved to have done that it was just not an option. But a priest, Father Edward Looney sent us some Holy Water from there, and we have been praying asking the intercession of Emil Kapaun, and blessing his neck and spine with the water from Lourdes. This is what my wife shared before coming home from the hospital in Hamilton on Thursday:

“Sometimes you don't know you've been holding your breath until you exhale. That's how today felt - another trip to McMaster to check in on Liam's scoliosis. The curve was at 52 degrees in the spring and surgery seemed imminent. He got his brace 3 months ago and today they checked him without the brace and the curve was at 46 degrees....and...with the brace ON it was at 36 degrees!! Such good news! Surgery is no longer necessary right now. We will keep up with the brace and begin some physio to help improve his flexibility and gain some strength in his core and check back again in 3 months. Feeling relieved. Thank-you for all of your prayers and support - God is so good!”

The interesting things is the brace was not going to make anything better, it was only to help it from getting worse. God’s goodness is the unifying theme in this week’s readings. From the prophecy in Isaiah about Jesus bearing our inequities. To the end of the second reading:

“Let us therefore approach the throne of Grace with boldness, do that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

When I pray with him before bed I pray “If it is god’s will that his spine will heal and he not need surgery, but if he needs surgery that God would guide the surgeon’s hands and strengthen us as a family to get through it.” And He loved praying with the special holy water. A few times he has even asked for it and blessed my eyes for healing. And that brings us to the end of the gospel passage:

“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

That is our hope, and in whom we hope. Jesus, we trust in you!

Related Posts:

Saturday 20 October 2018

Armed with Faith The Life of Father Vincent R. Capodanno - Stephen M. Digiovanni

Armed with Faith: 
The Life of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM
Capodanno Guild
Stephen M. Digiovanni
ISBN 9781983237171

Over the last few years I have read several books about military chaplains. This is the second on father Vincent Capodanno that I have read. And it is an incredible read. It goes into a lot of details. Especially about his early years as a missionary priest. It gives us a very clear picture of the man, the priest and his life, that has now opened the cause for his canonization. Father Capodanno is currently classified as a Servant of God, he was priest, missionary, and chaplain to the United States Marine Corps. But he was also a brother, son, and friend. The author of this book has written a biography. He does not shy away from some of Vincent’s rougher edges or present just a super holy hagiography. 

In the introduction it is stated that: 

“Several years ago I asked Msgr. DiGiovanni to serve as the chairman of the Historical Commission in the Cause for the recognition of the sanctity of this hero.  He carefully studied the documentation available and spoke to those who knew Father Capodanno during his life.  This book offers the results of that study and is being published to help others learn about the priest who gave his life to minister to “his Marines.” 

While you will certainly appreciate the careful research and the literary talents of the pastor of the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist in Stamford, CT, my hope is that you are also captured by the virtues of the pilgrim whose example has inspired so many.”

That theme of pilgrimage is expressed in the introduction and throughout the book. Part of what we see in this life is a man, an average man, who spent his like seeking for God, seeking God’s will, seeking to serve God, and through that to serve others. In the tradition of all Spiritual Quester’s he life was a journey, but not just spiritually, for Vincent, it ended up being a physical journey, half way around the world.

The chapters in this volume are:

Vincent Robert 
Formosa and Language School 
The Missions in Tunglo and Miaoli 
Hong Kong and Hawaii 
Training and Vietnam, 1966 
Vietnam, 1967 
September 4, 1967 
Epilogue Mission Diaries, 1958-1959 
Some Reflections on Adaptation to the Orient, Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM, November 
Biographical Timeline of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM  1929-1967 Bibliography

I stated earlier that Vincent was average, he was of average build, maybe leaning towards stocky. He was an average student. And according to parts of this text was average as a missionary, at least to one of his superiors. But that is what is so incredible about this story. Vincent was an average man, and he became a chaplain at an older age. He was a little older than many of the soldiers he served with. But with his age, and his maturity he brought a calm to the soldiers around him. Especially in battle. 

From the accounts in this book and other works about Capodanno, we see a man who excelled in courage, who excelled under pressure. A man who was committed to serving the best he could. In some ways this is an easier military biography to read. Vincent did not suffer in the concentration camps as others tried to strip his humanity. Or he was not a prisoner in China, and forced on a death march, beaten, and abused. What he did was live heroically. He had many medals for valor and courage. And in the end, he used his own body to shield an injured corpsman. That battle, and Vincent’s final hours has been pieced together from the testimony of the men he served and served with. I do not know how you could read this book and not be inspired and challenged in your own faith. 

One of the great things in this book is the publication of excerpts of Vincent’s missionary diaries. And also, a copy of his piece ‘Some Reflections on Adaptation to the Orient’. 

I am sure that as time goes on, and prayerfully the cause of Vincent moves forward to the stages of blessed and saint, that other books and future scholarship into the life and impact of Father Vincent Capodanno will take place. But this most recent book about his life is masterfully done and written with impeccable research and dedication to seeking the facts.

This is truly a book about a man whose life appeared average but was truly a great man. And this book is a great read about him. 

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

Reviews of other books about Military Chaplains:
The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier and Korean War Hero - Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying
A Shepherd in Combat Boots: Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division - William Maher
The Grunt Padre: Father Vincent Robert Capodanno Vietnam 1966-1967 - Daniel L. Mode
The Priest Barracks Dachau 1938-1945 - Guillaume Zeller
Blessings from the Battlefield - Edited by Thomas R. O'Brien

Heroic Catholic Chaplains: Stories of the Brave and Holy Men Who Dodged Bullets While Saving Souls
Fr Willie Doyle & World War I: A Chaplain's Story - K.V. Turley
Armed with Faith The Life of Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM - Stephen M. Digiovanni

For all reviews and articles about Military Chaplains click here.