Tag Archives: Loyola Press

Q&A with Joe Paprocki

Church-on-the-Move-540bIt was a great pleasure to read and review the latest book from Joe Paprocki, A Church on the Move, 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion. Today we have a short Q&A with him, one that I hope you will enjoy.

Joe, if you are unfamiliar , is the “catechist’s catechist.” An expert in catechesis and ministry, Joe is also one of the most down to earth, humble people you will ever meet. His passion for the Church is steady and clear, he is a great evangelist in that way. Joe offers insights to us via his blog, The Catechist’s Journey, as well as through books and articles authored by him. Learn more about Joe and his work at this page. Not a catechist? Not a problem! Joe offers Continue reading

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A Church on the Move – a book review

I think that most of us would agree that St. Edward’s is a very vibrant parish, but there is always something new to learn, some way in which we can carry the Gospel further. Think of that as you read this book review!

For many people the Catholic Church is something that they left behind, like a most beloved possession, cast aside when it had worn down or lost its usefulness. It perhaps became moribund, inflexible, or just more burden or gift. There are many who left, there are many who stayed, there are many who join, yet we are not there yet. Pope Francis has been a tremendous source of inspiration, but as with any organization, what happens at the top is not always in sync with those in the trenches – even if that is the desire from both ends!

Church-on-the-Move-540bGot some ideas about how to change that? If you don’t – or even if you do, prolific Catholic author Joe Paprocki has some and they are worth sharing! He offers us his vision in “A Church on the Move, 52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion.” (176 pp, $15.95)

If you have ever read any of Joe’s books you will know that he has considerable gifts as an author, and that he writes in a manner that is both accessible and compelling. This book is no exception to that, and in fact, it takes his style up more than a few notches if you ask me.

This book communicates the author’s belief that Continue reading

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Lenten Workout for Your Soul – Book Review and Giveaway

404616_LARGEAbout six years ago, I found myself reading The Ignatian Workout by Tim Muldoon. In all honesty, I did not take to the book. At the time, I was still “working out” my relationship with Ignatius! Then I picked the same book up about a year ago, and got a lot out of it. Funny what time does, along with an open mind, right?

This is precisely why I was very interested in reading his latest offering, The Ignatian Workout for Lent, 40 Days of Prayer, Reflection, and Action, from Loyola Press. It did not disappoint!

Muldoon skillfully employs the athletic references of St. Paul, which we know are many. That kind of theme turn hackneyed and a-bit-too-clever in the hands of a lesser author, but not so with this one.

For me, another potential challenge with using the “running the race” motif is that spiritual pursuit can be turned into something that we have the power to do for ourselves, and by ourselves. Oh yes, if only we train hard enough and stay focused! Where is the room for God’s action and mercy in that?

In setting the tone for Lent in particular, but truly for our lives, Muldoon expresses some real insight about that thought in the introduction, reminding us of the “ecclesial” dimensions of lives of faith. Everything we do is not by and for ourselves, but should be ordered to the “good of the whole people of God.” It is this sort of wisdom, given at the beginning, that orients this resource towards a wide audience.

Other connections and contrasts, to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are set forth. This guide is organized around four “weeks.” For those familiar with the Exercises, this is a time frame used by St. Ignatius. My own experience with the Exercises, limited as it is, reminds me that my own need to “accomplish” this “race” in what I perceive four weeks to be, is not spiritually healthy.

The primary intent is on themed weeks, but the book is set in an Ignatian style, with 40 days of “exercises” for the holy season of our 40 days of Lent. They are not dated and do not refer to the mass readings.

So sports fans and non-sports fans alike, those who are immersed in Ignatian spirituality and those who have curiosity about how it might work in their own lives, please consider buying this book. It may just be the helpful foundation needed to get you going. And for all of us looking to deepen our Lent, this book has the potential be rich resource to turn to this year. And the next year, and the next year… It could have a very long life in your Lenten collection!

The Ignatian Workout for Lent is a little bigger that some of the other resources reviewed this week, perhaps the “largest.” It is still very portable, so the idea of taking it with you is not a problem, nor is taking up room on your nightstand. This volume is available in both paperback and several eBook formats. Visit the Loyola Press website, for more details and purchase, as well as web resources for whatever particular ebook format might be.

Today is the last review and as always, leaving a comment, however brief, puts you in the running to win. Please feel free to share this post with others, all are welcome to read and enter!

Here is to a great Lent for us, one in which we find ways to quiet down, strip down, and grow closer to God. My prayers are for one and all, and I am most thankful for your reading and journeying with me out here!

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Healing Presence – by Karen DiPalma

Parishioner and friend Karen DiPalma sent this to me a couple of weeks ago. I apologize that it did not get posted sooner. Her random musings certainly made me think. How can we all be a healing and comforting presence to others?

screen480x480Last week, my friend told me about “The 3 Minute Retreat” via Loyola Press. Today’s question is “How can I be a healing & comforting presence to others?‘”

As a practicing RN, the answer may seem very obvious. Physical pain is one thing, but emotional pain does not heal as easily. There is no “Band-aid” large enough to heal wounded emotions. No, I cannot heal in the true sense of the word, but my hope is that something I say or do will affect someone positively today or in the future.

My primary tasks are to triage, assess & report. That is thinking locally. When I think globally, the greater picture involves my life away from work. How do I interact with others? Do I set the best example possible? How can I be a better friend to those I know or have not yet met? I know that my new found retreats will give me insight. The challenge lies ahead.

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Faith and Doubt

Living+by+Faith,+Dwelling+in+DoubtThis is no doubt in my mind that Living by Faith, Dwelling in Doubt by Kyle Cupp, (Loyola Press, 120pp, #13.95) is an excellent book. This however, is not a book review – just a warning. The review will come soon.

In full disclosure, I have known Kyle online for a number of years. First from his posts at Vox Nova, which caught my eye and engaged my heart and mind. Later, we became Facebook friends and I began to follow his other blog. He’s a pretty smart guy; I can’t claim to always understand him, but I always want to read what he posts.

Back to the book. I get lots of books, which I am deeply grateful for. There are piles of them in the spare room, on tables in various other rooms of the house. Some live in my car for awhile, or I bring them to work. Publishers often send me a review copy, asking me to host a blog tour stop. This book did come to me in advance, in the form of a gift, but not as a review copy. (Most of the books I receive are never reviewed.Sorry!)

But – this is not a book review!

So what the heck is this post about? I am planning my unsolicited review of Kyle’s book, which will be pretty glowing. I just want to give you some advance warning! Plus I have not finished the book yet, so I can’t review it.

Fine, but why write this post today? Forget the advance warning, I really just want to tell you that this book about faith and doubt is, *ahem-clears throat*, no doubt one of the best books I have read about my favorite co-existing topics of faith and doubt.

It’s a slim volume, why haven’t you finished it yet? Good question! I am reading Kyle’s book with painstaking slowness. I read a chapter or two, I pick it up a few days later, reread a bit, and then add another chapter. Short does not mean the book should be rushed through.

How do we know the rest of us will like it? There is no certainty that the rest of you will like this book. In fact, there are elements that are going to make some people uncomfortable. It could be because Kyle speaks freely about the depth of his faith, the elements of doubt, and questions of certainty that will cause some to challenge what he writes about faith itself. Others will shrink back from some of the personal stories that Kyle shares, because they have the potential to make one uncomfortable.

Why would we read a book about faith that makes us uncomfortable? Aren’t books about faith, the Bible included, have the potential for discomfort? They should make us uncomfortable; if not, we might have a problem. Shouldn’t our faith journeys cause us discomfort?

Enough questions for today. The only thing that I can add – without a doubt – is that this is a compelling little volume and I hope that you read it.

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31 Days with Saint Ignatius

9388_10151703982151450_1218080999_nJuly 31 is the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. If you were not familiar with the Jesuits before, the election of Pope Francis, who is a Jesuit, may have raised your consciousness about them.

The Society of Jesus, the full name of the Jesuit order, have a long and important history in the Church, but that is not what I am here to share today. As the image above points to, July brings us 31 Days with Saint Ignatius from Loyola Press.

Today’s post is about the Examen, and I highly recommend it. And while I am a day late, don’t take that as a signal to miss the post that kicked off the series. Andy Otto, of Finding God in All Things, wrote about – well, Five Ways to Find God in All Things! Finding God in all things is a foundational element of Ignatian spirituality.

So join in, follow along, read away, and share as the Spirit moves you! AMDG!

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Random Moments of Grace – The Blog Tour

BlogTour_RandomMoments_540As I told you on Thursday, I don’t really feel like writing. *sigh* I’ll get there, when I get there. Reading however, that’s another story. And reading I have been doing – so let me tell you about it right now.

As a direct result of reading, today I will write, as the blog tour for Random MOMents of Grace (from Loyola Press),by Ginny Kubitz Moyer stops here, which I am very excited about!

RandomMoments_Quote1When I discovered Ginny’s blog, Random Acts of Momness, I was hooked, and I’ve been a near daily visitor for a couple of years now. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s very insightful, and I think what I love best is how she reveals such small-s-sacrament moments of grace with such beauty and ease.

Anyway, let me offer this very short review… I loved the book. Rather than tell you why I loved it, I simply recommend it very highly. If you read this book, or take a look at Ginny’s blog, you will understand. While the blog, and the book flow forth from Ginny’s Catholic motherhood, I can promise you, neither the blog nor the book exclude anyone. So don’t let that keep you from this treasure.

RandomMoments_Quote4I would like you to know Ginny a bit better, so take a look right here…
You describe parenting as the “ultimate spiritual workout.” What are some “training tips” that you might offer expectant moms about to begin this journey?

Most pregnancy books give you lots of advice about what to expect, post-baby. They tell you that your body will change, your sleep patterns will change, your love life will change – but they don’t tell you that your spiritual life will change, too. Those changes can be challenging (less time for prayer/meditation, noisy plastic toys constantly underfoot), and yet parenting has deepened my faith life in ways I could not have anticipated. Since having kids, I understand the love of God better than ever before. I’ve gained an entirely new appreciation for what it means to be part of a community. Formerly fuzzy concepts like grace are much more concrete to me now.

Any time we leave our comfort zones, we grow. Motherhood is all about leaving one’s comfort zones. It puts you into situations that are not exactly enjoyable (being stuck overnight in the airport with a nine-month-old baby is not anyone’s idea of a good time – don’t ask me how I know this), but it also brings you moments of astonishing joy and beauty. I’m not sure you can prepare for all this, exactly; you can only embrace it. And so I’d tell an expectant mother that she’s in for a wild ride … but a transformative one.

In a chapter called “The Good and The Bad,” you write beautifully about how both exist in our lives. Do you typically feel aware of the necessity of both as you live through those moments? (I can’t help but think of the short span between Matthew telling you that he loves you, and his journey to the time out place that almost immediately followed, as I ask this.)

In any bad moment of life as a parent (the stomach flu, the tantrum, the cross-country-flight-with-rambunctious-kids) I think we all just want to get past it as quickly as possible. But at the end of the day, when I think back over the day’s experiences, I can often see that the bad moments fit into a larger narrative, so to speak. I can see how they are a part of life as a mom, but they are not the sum total of my parenting experiences. That makes them easier to accept, somehow.

I think this is why an evening’s moment of reflection is so useful. When we step back and look at the day, we can see not just the icky parts, but also the moments of grace that were present. And the more you identify these moments of grace after the fact, the more it trains you to become aware of them in real time, as they are happening. I can’t do that all the time, but I am getting better.

Maintaining a life of faith that includes attendance at church is one of the most difficult things for young families to do. What would you say to a mom of young kids who would love to be able to live that way, but feels too time and stress challenged to do so?

I’d say just pack up the kids and go, and let yourself be open to whatever you are able to absorb of the service, even if it doesn’t feel like much. Honestly, it’s hard to recall the last time I could focus on the entire Gospel. The moment the priest starts the homily, one of the boys invariably has to use the potty; it’s like a Pavlovian response. But even when I miss what feels like ninety percent of the service, it’s not a wasted experience. Certain words or phrases will leap out at me, even while trying to contain two squirrelly kids, and sometimes that word or phrase is just what I need.

Also, as a Catholic, I love the fact that even when I am utterly distracted by the boys and miss the readings and the Gospel and the homily and the creed, I still have the Eucharist. Walking down that aisle and tasting the body of Christ is a moment of total, pure involvement. That action breaks through all the distraction and focuses me on the relationship that is the very heart of my faith. Because of that, every Mass – even the ones where the kids are so active that I wonder why I came in the first place – is utterly worth it.

Franciscan priest and author Richard Rohr has said that faith has to be “caught and not taught.” How do you think that a life of faith is transmitted to the next generation?

Well, I’m a teacher by trade, so I can’t not teach my kids. ☺ But I do think that so much of faith is about the example you see around you, in your own family. If someone asked your child, “Does your mom like being Catholic?” (or Presbyterian, or Jewish, or Mormon, or whatever), what would your child say? And if you think your child might not be able to answer “yes,” what can you do to change that? I think this is a very useful question to ponder.

You love to garden; how is gardening a mirror of grace in your journey as a mother, a writer, a woman of faith?

Gardening is so elemental, isn’t it? – it’s about connecting with what is most basic and important in life. In our technology-driven world, I think this is more necessary than ever. I remember one summer afternoon when I was feeling foggy and edgy from being online too much. I stopped and went outside and began to deadhead the lavender bushes, and it was like instant renewal. It was fabulous.

Also, gardening is not something that most of us instinctively know how to do. There’s a learning curve of figuring out which plants can’t do well in the shade, how much watering is enough, etc. Often, we can’t do it without the advice of someone who is more experienced than we are (in my case, my garden-loving mom and grandma.)

If you ask me, that makes it a pretty good metaphor for parenting. Maybe some women take their first baby home from the hospital and feel totally confident about their new role. I was petrified. Enter my mom, who was a lifesaver during those first few confusing and exhausting weeks.

And gardening is all about nurturing new life, helping it flourish, and making the world more beautiful by your efforts. When you stop to think about it, parenting is, too. They both require creativity, faith, and perseverance … and they show us that grace is all around us, if we take a moment to look for it.

Ginny is a very talented and truly wonderful person, so I am glad that you got to know her a little. Her words really come from the heart. That to me makes this book a very special one.

If my words and that endorsement still have not influenced you, then our last stop is the excerpt.You just click on that little PDF file below and you will get a real treat – Mom does always come back after a nap and a snack, that is for certain!

random-moments-22-28

I hope that you have enjoyed what you’ve heard about here, whether or not, you don’t always feel like you “fit” into the category. Like any good journey of faith, in the end, all are truly and beautifully welcome. Love and grace are present for all if we find them in life all around us, as Ginny has so richly done in this book.

And there is nothing random about that!

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