Monday 31 July 2023

Galen's Way - Richard Paolinelli - Starguest 4th Age Book 1

Galen's Way
Starguest 4th Age Book 1
ISBN 9798807164551
eISBN 9798201562595

Galen's Blade Richard Paolinelli

Prior to reading this I have read one  story by Richard in the anthology Cracked and have picked up several anthologies he has contributed to, that I have not got around to reading yet. After reading this and doing some research on all his books, several have jumped way up in my ‘to be read pile’. Richard is not only an author but the driving force behind Tuscany Bay Books, I have read many volumes from the Bay by a number of authors and all have been well worth the read. And this one is no less so. In fact it is one of my favourite book I have read so far this year from the 268 I have read during the first half of 2023.  I have been aware of Richard and his works for a few years now. It is my loss that I did not dig into his works earlier. The description of this Dragon Award finalist is:

“The Princess Rhiannon of Salacia has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom on the fortress planet Nammu. Galen Dwyn, the most feared mercenary in the Andromeda Galaxy has been hired to rescue her and bring her home.

He will soon find himself on the run with the Princess and right in the middle of a web of political intrigue even as he begins to fall for the Princess. For her love, he will stand alone against the forces looking to establish a new, and very evil, empire.

Galen will look to keep her safe and bring the budding empire to a halt before it can gain a foothold in the galaxy. He will choose to do so the only way he knows how.

Galen’s Way.”

This is a high octane tale from beginning to end. It reminds me of some of Heinlien’s Lazarus Long stories, Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series, the Dex books by Karina Fabian, and even Han Solo, a lot of action, a lot of guns, a great adventure. The plot is well crafted. The characters well crafted, including the hero, the princess, the mentor and even the bad guys. Galen is one of those characters that will just stay with you. He has morals, integrity and a strong sense of right and wrong. He is willing to make the big plays, even if it means potentially sacrificing himself. He will do what must to do the right and just. Princess Rhiannon is strong and determined to not let what done to her or planned against her determine her choices and her future. She will face struggles but does so bravely and with a grit and determination. 

If you have not read anything by Paolinelli don’t make my mistake. Pick some up and give them a read now. There is a lot to choose from and I am sure you will be entertained. This was a great read. It is a book that leaves you desperate for book 2 and hoping that the series will extend beyond the two currently available. A great read I can easily recommend. It is a fantastic story in a classic Science Fiction style a great space opera. A great story written large. I can easily recommend this volume to fans of science fiction and adventure stories. A great read and the first of many Paolinelli novels I will be reading!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!
For reviews of all books from Tuscany Bay click here.

Books by Richard Paolinelli:
When the Gods Fell
The Calling
The Last Lonely Trail
A Zombie Christmas Carol

Infinity Series:
Escaping Infinity
Exploring Infinity

Starguest 4th Age Series:

Timeless Series:
The Timeless
Secret of the Sphinx

Jack Del Rio Series:
Del Rio Omnibus Edition

Divine Trolls Comedies:
The Fall Of The House Of 770 Vile Aromas 
The Corvo

SeaDragon 1 May 1986
SeaDragon 2 June 1996

Non Fiction:
Perfection’s Arbiter
From The Fields
The Space Shuttle: 1981–2011 

Contributed to:
To Be Men 
Places Beyond The Wild
Space Force Building The Legacy
Secret Stairs 
A Tribute To H.G. Wells (2019 Edition)
Beyond Watson 
Holmes Away From Home, Vol. 2 
Sherlock Holmes Adventures In The Realms Of H.G. Wells 
Sherlock Holmes Aventures In The Realms Of Edgar Allan Poe
The Art Of Sherlock Holmes 
The Mx Book Of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part Xxii

Planetary Anthology Series:
Best Of Planetary Anthology Series
Galen's Way Richard Paolinelli

Galen's Blade Richard Paolinelli

Sunday 30 July 2023

Prayer of the Day Another Saint David of Wales Prayer

Saint David of Wales Prayer 

Dear God,

Help us to turn away from the busy things of
this world and to think more about your love
and goodness.

Help us to work hard and to live simply so we
are able to help others.

Help us to remember to serve
one another, and to do the
little things that make such
a difference.

Saint David of Wales.
Pray for us.

Note: This prayer is from:
Lois Rock
Finola Stack (Illustrator)
A Lion’s Children Book
ISBN 9780745948096
ISBN 074594809X

Books about Saint David of Wales:

Relates posts and links:
For other "Prayer of the Day" posts.

Saturday 29 July 2023

A Tower for the Coming World And Other Stories - ML Clark

A Tower for the Coming World
And Other Stories
ML Clark 
ISBN 9798366015554

I have waited for a collection like this to come from Clark for several years. I have obtained copies of most of the volumes she contributed to, but to have all the works in one place, is truly a blessing. This collection contains pieces that have all been published in more traditional magazines and collections. Which is a pity for a few stories I am aware of, I consider missing from this collection, particularly Fat of the Land. It was amazing to finally read these stories as a collection.

The description of this volume is:

“Who said restorative justice would be easy?

In these 18 speculative stories, novelettes, and novellas, M L Clark explores near and far-flung futures where the struggle to do better is messy, incomplete, and no less urgent than our own today.

Some of these pieces were first published in Analog, Clarkesworld, and F&SF, among other SF magazines. All have been refined, and are paired with reflections on the author's growth over more than a decade of publication, along with questions about how speculative fiction can help us to imagine better worlds.”

The sections and the stories in the volume are:

     Saying The Names
     A Plague Of Zhe
     Hydroponics 101
     Seven Ways Of Looking At The Sun-Worshippers Of Yul-Katan
     Belly Up

     We Who Are About To Watch You Die Salute You
     The Stars, Their Faces Uplifted In Song
     Mercy And The Mollusc
     Love Unflinching, At Low- To Zero-G

     To Catch All Sorts Of Flying Things
     Nine Words For Loneliness In The Language Of The Uma’u
     Lost And Found

     And You Will Know Us By Our Monsters
     Seeding The Mountain
     The Pool Noodle Alien Posse

     A Tower For The Coming World
     Proximity Games

Prior to each story is a piece by Clark on the context of that story. These pieces are well worth reading and I encourage you not to skip over them. I greatly enjoyed reading these stories. I had only read about half of them prior to reading this collection. Some were still very familiar and others less so. Seeding The Mountain brought to mind Frank Herbert’s The Green Brain. A few of the stories brought to mind Alfred Bester’s works. There is not a story in the collection I did not appreciate. I plan to go back and reread the stories but this time in chronological order, to read them and see the progress in Clark’s writing. That order is:

Saying The Names
          Lightspeed Magazine, March 2011
A Plague Of Zhe
          Lightspeed Magazine, June 2012
Hydroponics 101
          Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine, June 2013
We Who Are About To Watch You Die Salute You
          Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine, March 2014
The Stars, Their Faces Uplifted In Song
          GigaNotoSaurus, November 2015
Seven Ways Of Looking At The Sun-Worshippers Of Yul-Katan
          Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine, February 2016
A Tower For The Coming World
          Clarkesworld Magazine, December 2016
Belly Up
          Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine, July/August 2017
To Catch All Sorts Of Flying Things
          Clarkesworld Magazine, September 2019
And You Will Know Us By Our Monsters
           The Future Fire, 2019
          Clarkesworld Magazine, March 2020
Nine Words For Loneliness In The Language Of The Uma’u
           Clarkesworld Magazine, June 2020
Seeding The Mountain
          Analog Science Fiction & Fact Magazine, September 2020
Mercy And The Mollusc
          Clarkesworld Magazine, February 2021
Love Unflinching, At Low- To Zero-G
          Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2021
Lost And Found
           Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2022
Proximity Games
          Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, Jan/Feb 2023
The Pool Noodle Alien Posse
          The Future Fire, April 2023

In the introduction Clark states:

“My stories also routinely involve a mystery of some sort: a puzzle that the protagonist must work out, even if the solution gives rise to a whole new set of much more difficult problems. (Open-ended closers, inviting the meatier work of social change beyond the page, are common.) 

And these tales consistently reflect my own struggle, too: to find a way through personal setback and insufficient agency, towards a vocabulary that at the very least speaks to what keeps so many of us from dreaming better worlds.”

Those elements of mystery and of struggle are clear through these stories. And sometimes the mystery is the character understanding themselves. Further in the introduction, in fact, the concluding words of it, she states:

“They’re the ones that highlight how much we need each other—to keep from losing ourselves, our time, and our ever-fleeting agency to self-recrimination, shame, and fear. 

On and off the page, the path to a healed world is never easy. We will mess up. We will always make mistakes. 

And if we’re lucky, we will also grow: into a better understanding of our worlds—and also, of ourselves. 

That’s where the real activism begins.”

These are stories of grappling with who we are, and finding our place. They are stories with mystery, and strife, and yet a continued will to push on. They are stories that will entertain, and also challenge the reader. And as the end words of the title story states:

“And from those roots the rest of us move up, somehow, and on.”

And so these stories and the stories or context behind them will inspire us to do so. So ML Clark, we who have read your stories salute you, and look forward to future offerings from your pen in both short and long form fiction.

p.s. I preferred the original concept cover art seen below.

Books by M.L. Clark:
The Bitter Sweet Here and After - Short Story
Uncle Remy's Whizz-Bang Circus
Game of Primes
Fat of the Land
The Shape of Things to Come
The Stars, Their Faces Uplifted in Song

Then Raise the Dead Man High
The Shadow & The Shadow

The Menagerie Mysteries:
The Stars, At Last Count
Wildly Runs The Dying Sun

K-City Kink Sisters:
Lacing Up To Reality - Short Story
One For The Team - Short Story

Contributed to:
Bastion Issue #6 September 2014
Lightspeed: Year One
Lightspeed Magazine, March 2011
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2017

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2013
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 2014
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September 2015

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 199
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 193
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 181
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 173
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 165
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 162
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 156
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 123
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 92
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 86
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 80
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 74

Works translated by M.L. Clark:
The Marquise of Yolombo - Tomás Carrasquilla

Friday 28 July 2023

Collared - Juliana Weber

Juliana Weber
ISBN 9781953610119

As a debut novel this was very impressive. It is an intense thriller nearly from the beginning. And the plot races through to the end. In many ways it reminds me of Tom Clancy’s earlier works. The difference is the heroes in this story are a young priest, a few Knights of Columbus, and detective willing to lose his job by doing the right thing. The description of the story is:

“Father Paul is assigned to heal a parish scandalized by the former pastor’s involvement in underage sex trafficking. A gifted yet new priest, Father Paul gains the survivors’ trust and hears their stories, bringing healing and fatherly love. As he listens, he inadvertently puts together the clues to bring down the trafficking ring, one so lucrative that even the police are afraid to touch it. Or are some of the police in on the take?

Like every church, this one is full of suspicious characters, and someone nearby is clearly trying to harm Father Paul. The pastor endures all the usual church politics and ministry mayhem, while he races to bring down the crime ring. Can he stop the traffickers before they collar their next round of victims? Or will the traffickers be the ones to stop him?”

This story is a suspenseful page turner. It is a thriller with great depths. And it is a story that is both hard to read and yet provides hope. A priest called to a parish after the former priest died in jail, a sex trafficking ring that seems to span the state, a small town, and four faithful men Knight of Columbus trying to crack a case no one seems interested in actually solving. Somewhat like Andrew M. Greeley’s fictional Blackie Ryan, Father Paul seems to depend upon the gifts God has given him in all aspects of his life and ministry. His ability to read people and guide conversations is proving invaluable in his new assignment helping the small town of Limekiln heal, especially the four girls who has become victims of a trafficking ring, and even been visited by their former priest in that ring. There is healing to be done at Sacred Heart Prep, at Sacred Heart Parish and in the wider community. But not everything or everyone is as they first appear to Father Paul. And soon he realizes who he can actually trust, and depend on. And he is discerning who needs his help and how best to help. In some ways this story reads like a fictional version of Sound of Freedom starring Jim Caviezel. But with a priest leading the charge and tying the pieces together so they can try and finally stop the ring.

The story is intense. And at times it was hard to read. Knowing it was fiction only helped so much knowing that these sorts of things happen and happen far more often than we would want. You will find yourself drawn in and greatly appreciating Father Paul, Deloris, Luke and many others. The characters in this story are masterfully written. The pace is excellent. And the action at times very intense.

There is no bio of the author at the end of the book, and I could not find any social media accounts. I can only state again as a debut novel it was very impressive. It is well written. The writing is clean and crisp. The plat is clean and tight. And the characters as mentioned are excellent. This is a volume I can easily recommend. It is a great read and I will be keeping my eye out for future works from the pen of Weber. 

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

Thursday 27 July 2023

Towards a Full Presence - Dicastery for Communication - CTS Books

Towards a Full Presence: 
A Pastoral Reflection on Engagement with Social Media
Dicastery for Communication
ISBN 9781784697679
CTS Booklet DO966

This book is a fascinating read. And yes, I know, you can read Vatican documents on the website. But the booklet version with a table of contents and formatting are worth the small price. This is a powerful little volume. There are 82 points for reflection in this work.  

The description of this volume is:

“"Towards a Full Presence" is a thought-provoking guide that explores the impact of social media on our relationships with others. The Vatican's Dicastery for Communication offers practical strategies for cultivating neighbourliness on social media and building community in a fragmented world.

With an emphasis on self-reflection and pastoral care, Catholics are encouraged to examine their social media habits and consider the effects on those they encounter. From fostering meaningful connections to pausing to tend to the wounds of others like the Good Samaritan, this document provides valuable insights and actionable steps for finding harmony in the digital age.

For priests, for those working in ministry, and for all who use social media, this reflection offers a refreshing and much-needed perspective on social media engagement.

"The following pages are the result of a reflection involving experts, teachers, young professionals and leaders, lay persons, clergy, and religious. The aim is to address some of the main questions involving how Christians should engage social media. They are not meant to be precise “guidelines” for pastoral ministry in this area. The hope, instead, is to promote a common reflection about our digital experiences… How much of our digital relationships is the fruit of deep and truthful communication, and how much is merely shaped by unquestioned opinions and passionate reactions? How much of our faith finds living and refreshing digital expressions? And who is my “neighbour” on social media?””

The chapters and sections in this work are:

I. Watching Out For Pitfalls On The Digital 
     A promised land to rediscover? 
     Pitfalls to avoid
     Weaving relationships
II. From Awareness To True Encounter 
     Intentional listeners 
     Stealing our attention 
     With the ear of the heart 
     Discerning our social media presence 
III. From Encounter To Community 
     Face to face 
     On the road to Jericho 
     "Go and do likewise" 
     Sharing a meal 
IV A Distinctive Style 
     The what and the how: the creativity of love 
     Tell it with a story 
     Building community in a fragmented world 
     The mark of witness

This is a little volume packed with a lot of wisdom for our day and age. It is to be honest a work any Christian would benefit from reading, but especially Catholics, and Catholics that are active on social media and the internet. I once heard a speak at a conference say “All of our lives witness to something, but what are they witnessing to?” And this volume speaks to that:

“14) Increasing emphasis on the distribution and trade of knowledge, data, and information has generated a paradox: in a society where information plays such an essential role, it is increasingly difficult to verify sources and the accuracy of the information that circulates digitally. Content overload is solved by artificial intelligence algorithms that constantly determine what to show us based on factors that we hardly perceive or realize: not only our previous choices, likes, reactions or preferences, but also our absences and distractions, pauses, and attention spans. The digital environment that each person sees – and even the results of an online search – is never the same as that of someone else. By searching for information on browsers, or receiving it in our feed for different platforms and applications, we are usually not aware of the filters that condition the results. The consequence of this increasingly sophisticated personalization of results is a forced exposure to partial information, which corroborates our own ideas, reinforces our beliefs, and thus leads us into an isolation of “filter bubbles”.”

“77) Our social media presence usually focuses on spreading information. Along these lines, presenting ideas, teachings, thoughts, spiritual reflections, and the like on social media needs to be faithful to the Christian tradition. But that is not enough. In addition to our ability to reach others with interesting religious content, we Christians should be known for our availability to listen, to discern before acting, to treat all people with respect, to respond with a question rather than a judgment, to remain silent rather than trigger a controversy and to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (Jas 1:19). In other words, all that we do, in word and deed, should bear the mark of witness. We are not present in social media to “sell a product.” We are not advertising, but communicating life, the life that was given to us in Christ. Therefore, every Christian must be careful not to proselytize, but give witness.”

“65) First of all, we should remember that whatever we share in our posts, comments, and likes, in spoken or written words, in film or animated images, should align with the style that we learn from Christ who transmitted his message not only in speech but in the whole manner of his life, revealing that communication, at its most profound level, is the giving of self in love.

Therefore, how we say something is just as important as what we say. All creativity lies in ensuring that the how corresponds to the what. In other words, we can only communicate well if we “love well”.”

Some of the other points that really got my attention are:

“1) Great strides have been made in the digital age, but one of the pressing issues yet to be addressed is how we, as individuals and as an ecclesial community, are to live in the digital world as “loving neighbours” who are genuinely present and attentive to each other on our common journey along the “digital highways”.”

“3) The universal Church has also addressed the digital reality. Since 1967, for example, the yearly World Communications Day messages have offered an ongoing reflection on the topic. Beginning in the 1990s, these messages addressed the use of the computer and since the early 2000s, they have consistently reflected on aspects of digital culture and social communication. Raising fundamental questions for digital culture, Pope Benedict XVI, in 2009, addressed the shifts in patterns of communication, saying that media should not only foster connections between people but also encourage them to commit themselves to relationships that promote “a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship.””

“7) Social media is only one branch of the much broader and more complex phenomenon of digitization, which is the process of transferring many tasks and dimensions of human life to digital platforms. Digital technologies can increase our efficiency, boost our economy, and help us solve previously insurmountable problems. The digital revolution extended our access to information and our ability to connect with one another beyond the limitations of physical space. A process that was already taking place over the past three decades was accelerated by the pandemic. Activities, such as education and work, that were normally carried out in person can now be done at a distance. Countries also made significant changes in their legal and legislative systems, adopting online sessions and voting as an alternative to meeting in person. The rapid pace with which information spreads is also changing how politics operate.”

“19) In a time when we are increasingly divided, when each person retreats into his or her own filtered bubble, social media is becoming a path leading many towards indifference, polarization, and extremism. When individuals do not treat each other as human beings but as mere expressions of a certain point of view that they do not share, we witness another expression of the “throw-away culture” that proliferates the “globalization” – and normalization – “of indifference.” Retreating into the isolation of one’s own interests cannot be the way to restore hope. Rather, the way forward is the cultivation of a “culture of encounter”, which promotes friendship and peace among different people.”

“24) Everyone can participate in bringing about this change by engaging with others, and by challenging themselves in their encounters with others. As believers, we are called to be communicators who move intentionally towards encounter. In this way, we can seek encounters that are meaningful and lasting, rather than superficial and ephemeral. Indeed, by orienting digital connections towards encountering real persons, forming real relationships and building real community, we are actually nourishing our relationship with God. That said, our relationship with God must also be nourished through prayer and the sacramental life of the Church, which because of their essence can never be reduced simply to the “digital” realm.”

I hope those few quotes that really hit me will give you a feel for this volume. It is an excellent read. And to be honest one I know I not to return to again. It is one of those pieces that with each reading I hope to try and grasp more, and live it out more. This is a booklet I believe we should all read, and would benefit from reading. Another excellent volume from the CTS, I highly recommend it. 

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.

Wednesday 26 July 2023

A Miracle for David Patron Saint of Wales - Steffan Lloyd and Brett Breckon

A Miracle for David - Patron Saint of Wales
Steffan Lloyd
Brett Breckon (Illustrator)
Pont Books
Gomer Press Limited
ISBN 1848511655
ISBN 9781848511651

This is one of a number of books I have read about Saint David of Wales, or Dewi Sant. Most of the books I was able to find were for young readers. This is one of two by Steffan Lloyd written about this saint, the other is A Boy Called Dewi. And it actually precedes this volume. I was unaware of that until after finishing this volume and reading the back cover.

This is a short picture book on Saint David of Wales, or Sant David Dewi, it was originally published in 2011. A few years ago I read Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales, by J.B. Midgley which started my interest in this saint. And my son found out this is the patron saint of his school Saint David’s in Waterloo, Ontario so I decided to look for more books about him. This one was harder to track down and as such is the fifth volume about David I have read this year to that further study.

Description on the back of the book:

“Llanddewi Brefi may only be a small village, but for Welsh people all over the world, it has a special importance. It was at Llanddewi Brefi that Saint David performed his most famous miracle. In this companion volume to A Boy Called Dewi, glowingly illustrated by Brett Breckon, author Steffan Lloyd weaves fact and fable in telling of our patron saint's most famous exploit.”

Even though this was a short picture book I highlighted a few passages while reading it. Some of them are:

“This story begins when Dewi was still a young monk. He travelled all over the country, just as his teacher Paulinus did before him, taking the word of God to remote villages and settlements. He loved to see the faces of the children as they heard about Jesus for the very first time.”

“People would come from far and near to listen to Dewi. At that time not everyone had heard about Jesus'. Monks like Dewi were eager that everybody should understand his message of love.”

“This is a holy place,' said Dewi when he had chosen the site for the new monastery. 'I believe that there will always be a church on this spot.'

Saint David's cathedral still stands where Dewi set up his original monastery.”

“For others the synod was important business. At that time there were no newspapers, televisions or computers, and there was certainly no internet. Chieftains and princes needed to find out about any changes which were likely to affect the way they lived. They came to the synod on horseback, riding long distances to reach such an important meeting.”

“And even today, whenever people talk about Dewi Sant, they remember the miracle at Llanddewi Brefi.”

“Do the little things in Life.
Gwnewch y petau bychain.”

This is another wonderful little volume about this saint. Great for the home, school or church library. It was great to track it down and give it a read, and I look forward to the volume that precedes it. I encourage you to give it a try, I am certain it will inspire and challenge readers of all ages.

Tuesday 25 July 2023

40 Days Freedom Walk Journal: Volume 1 St. Matthew - Father Mark Goring CC

40 Days Freedom Walk Journal: 
Volume 1 - St. Matthew
ISBN 9781090489593

40 Days Freedom Walk Journal:  Volume 1 - St. Matthew Fr. Mark Goring CC

This is the seventh volume I have read by Father Mark Going, and I have read at twice that number from his Saint Mark’s School or Reading. This is a brand new volume and from the title obviously one in a series. I am assuming there will be future volumes on Mark, Luke, and John. With each volume I have read by Father Mark, I have been blessed and this is an excellent offering well worth picking up. In fact my youngest two children liked the idea so much I picked up copies for them and they are about a week behind me in working through the 40 day.

The description of the book is:

“Congratulations on taking up the 40 Day Freedom Walk Challenge! This challenge is for people who want to be free—free from a bad habit, a stubborn sin, or unwanted attitude.

There are seven keys that will make this program effective.

The first key on this path to freedom is walking every day. Your daily walk can be done in whatever way suits you.

The second key is daily journaling. Journaling every day for 40 days will help you maintain your resolve.”

The sections in the book are:

Seven Keys to Freedom 
Other Points
Days 1-41

Each of the days is designed with the same sections and on sets days an extra section for Celebration of milestones. Those sections are:

"Day XX 
Do Not Worry About Tomorrow! 
Bible Verse 
Did I send my daily report? 
Good Deed?  
Pre-walk Notes: 
Post-Walk Notes:

Did I pour out my heart to the Lord? 
Did I Listen to the intuition of my heart? 
Did I reflect on today's scripture? 
What did God say? 
Walk highlights: 
Destination ideas: 
Celebration ideas: " 

With checkboxes next to several them or space to write your notes. I admit I struggled with destination ideas and celebration ideas. And repeated them often, some repeat destinations were Knock, Fatima, Compostela, and the Oratory in Montreal. I also made a digital version of the daily template and did my journaling in OneNote. 

What I loved most was that this book was life changing for me both spiritually and physically. I really did not expect to make it through the 40 days of walking.  A few years back I sprained both my knees a few times over an 18-month period doing Karate with my kids. I had given up on exercising other than weights because they kept swelling up randomly. Doctors said I was too young for replacements so just wait 10 years and take it easy. 

Each of the first four weeks I doubled my steps over the starting week. I was 2000 steps week 1, 4000 week 2, 6000 week 3, and 8000 week 4 and am now between 8500 and 12000 a day. I want to thank Father Mark so much, for the challenge and the inspiration.  As mentioned, I bought extra copies of the book and my 12 year old and my 14 year old are doing their own challenge as well. I have gone from under 2000 steps a day to over 8k on average. And it all starts with the prayer walk. My brother who lives in Kingston has also started walking again even dealing with a back injury from his time in the military. I checked in with my brother and my youngest two each day after my first walk. 

Because of my past injuries and work and life schedule some days I have to do 2-4 shorter walks, but I have had walks over 100 minutes in a sitting for the first time in years. And the prayer benefits have been even more rewarding.

I often pray a rosary and divine mercy chaplet along with an audio. And often when doing yard work or cleaning listen to a book. Using this book from Father Mark my first walk or first 30 minutes of a walk is quiet prayer time. No distractions. Just praying and listening. 
This book took a good prayer life and made it even better. It helped me get more active for the first time in a few years. And that is having benefits in all other areas of my life. I can easily recommend this book, and guarantee that you will not be the same after the 40 days. It is an amazing resource so pick up a copy or pick up a few and give them to friends and family. I believe this is a book any Catholic, any Christian would benefit from praying through over 40 days! 

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

Books by Father Mark Goring:
72 Crew: Manual 1st Edition

Journal's by Father Mark:
40 Days Freedom Walk Journal: Volume II St. Mark
40 Days Freedom Walk Journal: Volume III St. Luke Workman Edition
40 Days Freedom Walk Journal: Volume IV St. John Life is Good Edition
I Love Journal

Notebooks by Father Mark:
Disciple Notebook: Discipleship. Living in the Spirit. Evangelization 2018
Disciple Notebook: Discipleship. Living in the Spirit. Evangelization 2019
Sparkly Star Notebook

Non-English Editions:
San Jose el Protector: Una Preparacion de Nueve Dias para Consagrarse a San Jose
Duc Thanh Giuse Dang Bao Tro: Chin Ngay Chuan Bi de Dang Minh Cho Duc Thanh Giuse

40 Days Freedom Walk Journal:  Volume 1 - St. Matthew Fr. Mark Goring CC

Monday 24 July 2023

Shepherd’s Pie Soup Redux

Shepherd’s Pie Soup Redux

1.5 lbs Lean ground Beef
1 Cup Frozen Corn 
     or 1 can of Niblets
3 large potatoes’ diced, red, white and yellow.
     or 1 cup each of mini potatoes 
3 small onions diced, 1 white, yellow and red.
2 tsp Minced Garlic
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Turmeric 
1tsp ground chili pepper
1 can Red Kidney Beans
1 can White Kidney Beans
2 cups chopped carrots, either diced or ½ medallions
2 cups Beef broth
2 cups Chicken Broth
 (Rue or Water and flower to thicken to taste)

In large stockpot, fry ground beef, with onions, and garlic, towards end of browning add all spices. Then add broth and bring to boil. Add cooked and chopped potatoes. If using mini potatoes quarter them, if large potatoes diced. 

Bring to a boil and add rue if desired. Then reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes.
For variety use 2 or more meats. I prefer bear, venison and lamb. You can also vary with different beans and or vegetables. 

Total prep and cook time is 30 to 45 minutes. I bake the potatoes while browning the meats.  
(Serves 6)

Original Shepherd’s Pie Soup

1lb Lean ground Beef
2 Cups Frozen Corn
1 Can Cream Corn
1 Package Onion soup base
3 small onions diced, 1 white, yellow and red.
2 tsp Minced Garlic
3 tbsp each oregano, parsley, basil
Pinch salt
Pepper to taste
Pinch crushed chili pepper
3 large potatoes’s diced, red, white and yellow.
1L Chicken broth
(Rue or Water and flower to thicken to taste)

In large stockpot, fry ground beef, with onions, and garlic, towards end of browning add all spices. Then add broth and bring to boil. Add potatoes and reduce heat, simmer till potatoes are just about done, add corn. Cook till potato’s done, add French onion soup mix package. Thicken to taste and serve.

For Variety use ½ lb each of 2 or more meats. I prefer bear, venison and lamb.)

(Serves 6)

Recipe scales well I have used this on retreat to feed over 60 people. This was created when I worked in Campus Ministry.

You can see all the recipes I have created and collected here on OneNote.

Sunday 23 July 2023

Prayer of the day Saint George of England

Saint George Prayer 

Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, St George, inflamed with a burning love of Christ, you fought against the dragon of pride, falsehood and deceit. Neither pain nor torture, nor the sword nor death could part you from the love of Christ. 

I implore you for the sake of this love to help me by your intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry my cross and let neither distress nor difficulty separate me from the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 


This prayer came on the prayer card when I ordered this icon of Saint George from Holy Art.