Wednesday 21 August 2019

Nicholas Gilroy: Viva Christo Rey - Father Stephen Gemme and Deacon George O’Connor

Nicholas Gilroy: Viva Christo Rey
Father Stephen Gemme
Deacon George O’Connor
ISBN 9781080005857

I must admit I have mixed feelings about this book. After waiting over 2 years for the next installment in the story of Nicholas Gilroy maybe my anticipation and expectations were too high. I absolutely loved the first story, Nicholas Gilroy: Our Lady and the Guardian, and have been eager to read this next book. But I honestly feel it falls a little flat. The first story was a book I could hardly put down. This one feels like it was forced, and to some extent stuffed to get to a certain page count. There are several instances where prayers are typed out in full, or even parts of the mass, and another section a large piece of the Catechism are quoted. Some of it feels like filler. And parts of this feel like preaching at us, rather than a story with a message. My final complaint is the cover, it does not fit the feel of the story, or the cover of the first volume at all. And yet even with those criticisms I am not saying it is a bad book, it is just not as great as the first one. It was a good read, and I do hope for a third installment in the series. 

In this story Nicholas and his close friend Jose will spend a year in exchange studying in Mexico at the Saint Juan Diego High School Seminary. They meet Javier a youth about their own age. They volunteer at an orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity. They visit many shrines and sites in and around Mexico. They have a large impact on a few people. They coach soccer/football. And they inspire lives. It is interesting to watch Nicholas’s interaction with Javier and Pablo. 

This book has inspired me to learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Jose and the Viva Christo Rey movement in Mexico. It really opened my eyes to how deficient my knowledge of Catholicism in Mexico had evolved and been through trials. And for that I am thankful. 

I really feel if the authors focused more on writing and less on asking for reviews and promotion of the first book, then this volume might have been as good as the first. It is an interesting series, and I do look forward to what will happen with Nicholas next. I am planning on rereading this book with my son. If you enjoyed the first, you will appreciate a lot in this story. It is a good read in a great series. And if you have not read book 1 it is an excellent read. And I hope that book three will not take as long as book 2 to release. I cannot help but wonder what will happen to Nicholas next as her peruses his seminary studies. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Father Stephen and Deacon George:
Nicholas Gilroy Series:

Nicholas Gilroy: Our Lady and the Guardian
Nicholas Gilroy: Viva Christo Rey

Other books about Catholic Mexican History:
The Mexican Crisis Its Causes and Consequences - Rev. Michael Kenny, S.J., Ph.D.
Blood-Drenched Altars: A Catholic Commentary on the History of Mexico - Francis Kelley
Saints and Sinners in the Cristero War: Stories of Martyrdom from Mexico - James Murphy 

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