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Seven children’s books that would make good Christmas gifts

December 2nd, 2011 Posted in Books, Featured Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

The following children’s books are suitable for Christmas giving:

“Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor,” by Larry Dane Brimner. Boyds Mill Press (Honesdale, Pa., 2011). 112 pp., $16.95.

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Tracing religious orders through church history

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“The Lord as Their Portion: The Story of the Religious Orders and How They Shaped Our World” by Elizabeth Rapley. Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (Grand Rapids, Mich., 2011). 349 pp., $24.

In “The Lord as Their Portion,” Elizabeth Rapley offers insights into the story of religious orders against the background of the Catholic Church’s history. Beginning with the desert ascetics of the fourth century, the author describes 17 centuries of monastic and convent life, ending with the missionaries of the 19th century.

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Prayer and laughs: Books offer clues to what makes priests happy

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“Why Priests are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests” by Stephen J. Rossetti. Ave Maria Press (Notre Dame, Ind., 2011). 238 pp., $18.95.“Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life” by James Martin, S.J. HarperOne (San Francisco, 2011). 247 pp., $25.99.

Two books published in October reflect on Catholic culture from quite different, unique viewpoints. Brian Welter reviews both books below.

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Looking at parish closures from different angles

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“The Grace of Everyday Saints: How a Band of Believers Lost Their Church and Found Their Faith” by Julian Guthrie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Boston, 2011). 288 pp., $25.

“No Closure: Catholic Practice and Boston’s Parish Shutdowns” by John C. Seitz. Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass., 2011). 322 pp., $39.95.

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Motivation, solace for teachers in two new books

September 30th, 2011 Posted in Books

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“A Month of Mondays: Spiritual Lessons from the Catholic Classroom” by Karen Eifler. ACTA Publications (Chicago, 2011). 135 pp., $12.95. “Will There be Faith? A New Vision for Educating and Growing Disciples” by Thomas Groome. HarperCollins (New York, 2011). 348 pp., $15.99.

Catholic News Service

After a long day of molding minds and grading papers, Catholic schoolteachers can find motivation and solace when reading two new books from Catholic educators Karen Eifler and Thomas Groome. While Eifler’s “Month of Mondays: Spiritual Lessons from the Catholic Classroom” is a quick, anecdotal read for tired teachers needing a literary boost, Groome’s “Will There be Faith? A New Vision for Education and Growing Disciples” is more for the scholarly type.
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Fast-paced, well-researched book explains mysterious topic of relics

September 30th, 2011 Posted in Books

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“Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe” by Charles Freeman. Yale University Press (New Haven, Conn., 2011). 270 pp., $35.

Catholic News Service

In the medieval world, the promise of heaven often seemed all too elusive, while hell’s imagined torments loomed large. No wonder believers venerated small physical links to the saints — bits of bone and blood, teeth, hair, clothes and even drops of the Virgin Mary’s milk. They thought that such relics would connect them to these holy men and women, who then might intercede on their behalf with God.
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Hefty, scholarly biography does not ignore Chesterton’s quirky side

September 22nd, 2011 Posted in Books

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“G.K. Chesterton: A Biography” by Ian Ker. Oxford University Press (New York, 2011). 688 pp., $65.

Catholic News Service

Any adjective denoting great size — gargantuan, titanic, huge — seems to apply aptly not only to the literary output of G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton but to his physical appearance as well. Chesterton, best known today as the author of the Father Brown stories, was 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed close to 300 pounds. He usually wore a cape and walked with a sword in his hand and a cigar in his mouth.
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