Tag Archives: Book Review

Marketing God: Inspired Strategies for Building the Kingdom

Donna Heckler
OSV Books, 128 pages

How is evangelization like marketing? You have a message, you want to get people’s attention, and you want them to respond by buying in to the message. Donna Heckler applies her broad experience in corporate marketing to the Catholic Church in this eye-opening book by offering successful business strategies to help the Church at every level do what it is called to do – attract people to the Gospel message and save souls in the process. In the end, it’s still a matter of individuals responding to grace, but there’s nothing like a good marketing plan to give the Holy Spirit something to work with.

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The Divine Plan: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Dramatic End of the Cold War

Paul Kengor and Robert Orlando
ISI Books, 288 pages

Did the Soviet Union collapse under its own weight? No way, say the authors of The Divine Plan. It wouldn’t have happened without the vision and collaboration of two remarkable world leaders, Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan. Each survived assassination attempts in the spring of 1981, and each came away recognizing their survival had a divine purpose – the annihilation of atheistic Communism, the cause of religious and political oppression, human-rights violations, and even death for hundreds of millions of people. Read this exhaustively researched work if you want to learn how the Cold War really ended.

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Forgiveness Makes You Free: A Dramatic Story of Healing and Reconciliation from the Heart of Rwanda

Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga
Ave Maria Press, 192 pages

Fr. Ubald Rugirangoga survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Eighty of his family members and 45,000 of his parishioners did not. Shaken by the tragedy, he has dedicated his ministry to reconciliation and healing between the Tutsis and Hutus whose long-simmering ethnic animosity ignited the slaughter of some 800,000 Rwandans. In this remarkable book, Fr. Ubald tells his story and relates a message of hope as he encourages forgiveness and peace wherever wounds are to be found. His “five spiritual keys” are central to his message, and he closes with a guided meditation for those who wish to overcome hatred and fear in order to find peace.

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Santa’s Priority: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Tom Peterson
TAN Books, 24 pages

Looking for a kids’ storybook on the real meaning of Christmas, and keeping the gift of Christ as its focus? Here it is. Legate Tom Peterson, host of the EWTN series “Catholics Come Home,” has published an illustrated children’s board book – with rhyming text and engaging artwork — in which Santa Claus comes to town in order to remind children of the real reason for the season. Pick it up for your children or grandchildren, and read it aloud right alongside the Nativity story and other Christmas classics on Christmas Eve — it may just help increase their appreciation for the celebration of Christmas Mass.

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Christmas Around the Fire

Ryan N.S. Topping
TAN Books, 296 pages

Ready for a Norman Rockwell moment? Read aloud from this fine collection at Christmas as loved ones gather around the fire — or the living room, or the dining table. The author has curated 36 of the best stories, essays, and poems that evoke the spirit of Christmas. An excerpt from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is here, of course, and Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” but there also are lesser-known classics from authors including Henry Van Dyke, Willa Cather, Ruth Sawyer, and Hilaire Belloc. This book will provide seasonal reading for years to come.

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In the Beginning: A Catholic Scientist Explains How God Made Earth Our Home

Gerard Verschuuren
Sophia Institute Press, 192 pages

There is no necessary conflict between science and religious faith, and that goes also for our understanding of creation: the first chapters of Genesis are neither historical nor literal in the manner Fundamentalists claim. Some scientists go awry when they suggest the universe and its creatures developed spontaneously or randomly. Properly speaking, faith tells us God is the Creator of all, and science attempts to explain the processes by which creation develops. This volume does a good job of explaining the cosmos, creation, and evolution in a faith-friendly manner, all the while skewering scientific hubris. Well-written and enlightening.

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Sermons in Times of Crisis: Twelve Homilies to Stir Your Soul

Rev. Paul D. Scalia
TAN Books. 196 pages

The Church today is in crisis. But when has it ever not been? Roman persecutions, Christological heresies, EastWest divisions, the Crusades, the Avignon papacy, and the Reformation are only a few of the challenges that long predated the post-Vatican II controversies and sexual abuse crisis. Yet the Church survives and even thrives, as Christ had promised. Here is a collection of great homilies of history addressing troubled times, from great pastors who are now Church Doctors and saints like St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. John Henry Newman, and others like Jacques-Benigne Bossuet to more contemporary leaders like Pope St. John Paul II, Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, and then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Reading these pages buoys hope.

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The Power of Truth: The Challenges to Catholic Doctrine and Morals Today

Gerhard Cardinal Müller
Ignatius Press, 190 pages

Confused about something the pope said, or didn’t say, or what someone said he said? Or did something sound amiss from your pastor or small group leader? Cardinal Müller, former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sets the record straight here on what the Catholic Church actually teaches on contested issues – such as the indissolubility of marriage, contraception, ecumenical dialogue, the relation of faith to science, the Church’s ministry of reconciliation, the development of doctrine, and the teaching authority of the pope. Sometimes what we all need is a solid dose of clarity, and Cardinal Müller provides that here.

 

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Finding a Loving God in the Midst of Grief

Susan M. Erschen
Word Among Us Press, 176 pages

 

Suffering the loss of a loved one can shake a person’s faith. The inevitable question is ‘why did God let this happen?’ Grief counselor Susan Erschen knows that anguish. She also knows people must deal with that reaction, accept their loss, find peace, and draw closer to God through the grieving process — even though that loss will always exist, sometimes more acutely than other times. This book examines personal stories of grief and offers tools for healing and carrying on with life after losing someone close, with the help of faith.

 

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Christian Self-Mastery: How to Govern Your Thoughts, Discipline Your Will, and Achieve Balance in your Spiritual Life

 Fr. Basil W. Maturin
Sophia Institute Press, 240 pages

When the Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland in 1915, one of the 1,198 souls who perished with it was Fr. Basil Maturin, who was returning home from a preaching tour of the United States. His book provides a blueprint for practicing self-denial, which begins with honest self-knowledge and continues through the forming of virtuous habits until one achieves the true freedom won through self-discipline of the mind, body, and will. “If any man would come after me,” Jesus said, “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Fr. Basil shows readers how.

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