Wednesday 22 September 2021

Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid - Susan Helen Wallace and Charlie Craig - Encounter the Saints Series Book 28

Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Blessed John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Encounter the Saints Series Book 28
Susan Helen Wallace
Charlie Craig (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819811783
eISBN 9780819812001

Before I begin note there are two titles for this volume, the original was Blessed John Paul II, and the latest print edition is Saint John Paul II, Other than updating the title it does not appear there are any other changes in the volume. And that has happened with a previous title in the series as well. I need to state again that this series is amazing! Between my three children and I we have now read 30 of the books in this series. Either by myself, or with one or more child. My youngest 2 children ages 13, 10, still both love these books. My son wants to have the complete set in his room, so he keeps asking to buy his own set, because he loves these books so much. We have read many of them together and reread some of our favourites. We had a bit of a lull in reading these books but are back and plan on finishing the rest of those currently available. With each book we read we appreciate this series more. We also hope there will be even more books in the future. As one has been released since we started reading them. But now back to this specific book on Saint John Paul II. 

This book is very moving. I recall the election of John Paul and John Paul II from my school days. I have vivid memories of John Paul II’s papacy. Unlike many saints in the series, I have read much by and about John Paul II. There are a couple of different descriptions of this volume, who of them are:

“John Paul II, who served as Pope during the last 25 years of the 20th century and who led the Church with hope into the the third Christian millennium, was beatified six short years after his death on May 1, 2011. This book from the Encounter the Saints Series tells the story of this man whose message to the world throughout his pontificate was, "Do not be afraid!" John Paul II was born in 1920 to a devout Catholic family, and was named Karol Wojtyla. He lost his mother a month before he turned nine. As a young man he saw his world crumble when the Nazis swept into Poland and World War II broke out. Shortly thereafter, in 1941, his beloved father died.”


“Growing up in Poland just after the First World War, little Karol "Lolek" Wojtyla could hardly have imagined the amazing path his life would take. An actor, poet, philosopher, scholar, priest, and pope, Blessed John Paul II brought the Good News to people of every continent, encouraging them in the words of Jesus: "Be not afraid!" It is a message every child needs to hear as they try to be a true follower of Jesus.”

There are 8 different editions of this book, 4 each with Blessed or Saint in the title. paperbacks and eBooks of various formats. The various editions have been published between 2011 and 2019. But not matter which you lay your hands on I am certain you will be blessed by reading of the book.

The chapters in this volume are:

1. Lolek
2. Life with the Captain
3. Another Cross to Bear
4. Darkening Clouds
5. Changed Forever
6. Decision
7. Going Underground
8. In the Heart of the Church
9. Home Again
10. To Krakow
11. Uncle Karol
12. Poland’s Youngest Bishop
13. A Miracle . . . and Back to Rome
14. Surprise Reunion
15. A Shepherd’s Heart
16. From a Faraway Country
17. On the Move
18. Secret Escape!
19. All to All
20. The Father’s House

Even with all I have read by and about this saint, there was much in the book that was new to me. And in many ways it opened my eyes to his life and legacy in a new way. It instilled a greater appreciation for Saint John Paul II in my heart. There were several stories about him I had not encountered before. Some charming and some are deeply moving. This is an excellent volume no matter your age. Or devotion to John Paul II.

The prayer in this volume is:

"Saint John Paul II, you are one of the great gifts of our Church and of our century. You lived your life to the full with courage and enthusiasm. Thank you for showing us how to follow Jesus during challenging times. You never let oppression and tyranny spoil your dreams nor dampen your faith.

Because of the media and modern means of travel, you became the most well-known pope in history. You came into our families through television, radio, and the Internet. Your message came into our hearts because of who you were—a man of peace and hope. You reminded us over and over: Do not be afraid.

Sometimes, even though I don’t want to be, I am afraid. I ask you to help me to live in strong faith and unselfish love. Please ask Jesus to give me the strength I need to be and to remain his true follower. Pray that, like you, Saint John Paul, I will always keep close to the Blessed Mother, who leads us all to Jesus. Amen."

This is one of the eight books in the series that is written by Susan Helen Wallace. It the only one illustrated by Charlie Craig. This book follows the format of the series in that there are 5 illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. They appear to either be pencil drawings or sketches. My son and youngest daughter were both fascinated by the sketches and went over them each a few times. 

I have read this book twice now, first by myself, and second with my son, and now I have plan to read it with my youngest daughter. Each time I have read it I was encouraged and challenged. I loved this book, and all three children and I love this series! We have now read 30 of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. And everyone has been worth the read. An amazing read in an excellent series!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity

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