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Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart: 101 Stories of Faith, Hope, Inspiration & Humor
will help you celebrate your Catholic faith like no other book you have ever
read. This book is commonly referred to as a Catholic "Chicken Soup
for the Soul". It will take your heart and soul on a joyous spiritual
retreat from the challenges and struggles of everyday life. This
collection of 101 stories of faith, inspiration, hope and humor attest to
the power and beauty of God's amazing grace.
will also experience the lighter side of grace through more than two dozen
smile-inducing stories, jokes and illustrations.
CatholicMom.com Readers from Author, Allan Wright
often have we heard the old adage, “actions speak louder than words!”
St. Francis put a different spin on it when he said, “preach always and
when necessary use words.” Both of these relate to us the message of
Silent Witnesses in the Gospels. Most of us are familiar with the Gospel
stories and miracles; we have heard them from our youth. After teaching
these stories to my students at Union Catholic High
School over the years I became more and more impressed by those characters
that were present during the ministry of Jesus and made a difference without
saying a word. The early Christian community remembered these characters
30-40 years after the event took place and mention them in the Gospels. The
servers at Cana, the four friends of the paralytic, Mary at the Cross, the
man with the withered hand and many more made a difference by their actions.
it’s difficult to express our faith with words, other times we may say to
ourselves, “How can I be like Jesus, I can’t turn water into wine or heal a
paralytic.” As I read the stories in the Gospels I’ve noticed that Jesus
often uses others in his ministry. At Cana, he asked some nameless and
silent servers to draw some water and bring it to the headwaiter in charge
of the feast. The servers followed the last recorded words of Mary in the
Gospels, “Do whatever he tells you”, and had the opportunity to assist Jesus
during his first miracle. I try to ask the question in light of these
servers’ actions, “What may God be calling you to do?” It may not be as
dramatic as turning water into wine but when we do as God says, even if it
seems ridiculous, we may see the miraculous!
my own life I’ve heard some wonderful sermons and speakers and I know that
when I left the Mass or the lecture I’ve said to myself, “Wow, that was good
stuff.” But as days go by and weeks go by I tend to forget exactly what was
said. I do however remember actions. I think of Father Kent Weidie who, on
his day off, dropped everything and came to the hospital to pray with a
family whose son, my friend, was dying. His demeanor and compassion will
never be forgotten. I think of Sister Gail Lambert of the Father Judge
Center in Stirling, NJ, who offered housing to a beautiful young woman named
Desiree who wanted to stay in the area but couldn’t afford it. I remember
that act of kindness because that woman, Desiree, is now my wife and we are
expecting our first child in September. I think of Sister Percylee Hart RSM
who has encouraged me in writing this book since I first mentioned it. I
forget her exact words but I knew she was with me and behind me 100%, that
a high school teacher and more recently as an Adjunct Professor I know words
are powerful and can make a difference. Actions, however, leave a much
deeper imprint. I hope that by reading and discussing the characters in
Silent Witnesses in the Gospels people can see themselves as an apostle
with a mission to their families, neighbors and community. Lazarus, before
he was raised by Jesus after three days in the tomb, had some nameless,
wordless people move a stone so he could come out of darkness to light, from
death to life. What has moved stones for you on your journey? What stones
have you moved for others?
It is my desire that your
faith in Christ and reading of the scriptures become refreshed and that you
become invigorated by the Word of God that has the power to transform and
renew all things.
The story opens in Medjugorje where the Blessed
Virgin Mary has been appearing to several visionaries since 1981. Sister
Regina Francis who has traveled from Dorsetville is invited to attend a
visitation where she witnesses a rosary mysteriously “appear” as the
visionaries converse with the Blessed Mother. When this rosary later makes
its way back to Dorsetville, a host of unexplained and miraculous events
suddenly occur whenever they are present.
As with much of the Dorsetville series, this storyline was based on a real
In 1994, we lost our beloved three
year old granddaughter, Marissa in a horrible accident when she ran behind
a truck which my son was backing up in his yard. You can imagine the
devastation we all suffered over both the lost and the horrific
circumstances surrounding her death. Our son was overcome with guilt and
anger and lashed out at God whom He blamed for the accident. Since I was
a devoted Christian, I was suddenly not welcomed in his home and for three
years my husband and I were banned from having any contact with Marissa’s
siblings. I felt an emptiness which knew no boundaries. I had lost not
one, but all four of these precious children in one sweeping blow.
During those difficult years, I continued to pray the rosary. Knowing that
my son had completed abandoned his faith, I asked the Blessed Mother to
intercede and send someone to my grandchildren who would tell them about
Then in early September, 1997, my friend Pat Barber, presented me with a
lovely rosary that had been given to her from a nun in a convent near
Medjugorje. She, in turn, had received it from one of the visionaries.
Pat passed them on to me.
Marissa’s death date is October 2nd and on that night at two
o’clock in the morning, I was awakened by my husband, Paul.
“Where is that light coming from,” he asked, pointing to a bright light in
the corner of the room. There were no street lights outside our home or
any other source of illumination which could account for this brilliant
ray of light.
I sat up in bed and followed the light to its source. It was emanating
from the rosaries which I had draped over a statue of Madonna and Child.
I could barely contain my joy, knowing in my heart that this was a sign
from Our Lady that she had heard my prayers. I was now confident that my
grandchildren had come to know Jesus.
The first week in December, I received a letter from our son. My hands
trembled as I read the first line…
…“Please forgive me for the selfishness that I have shown and you have had
to endure. I am starting now to put my life in prospective and realize
how selfish I have been…through prayer and faith I will continue to
As I read on, I discovered that in answer to my prayer, Our Lady had led
my grandchildren to a family who loved the Lord and were able to help our
son find his way back.
The gift of that special rosary and the miracle we witnessed that night
have only reinforced what I have always believed about this powerful form
of prayer. It is my hope that through “A Gathering of Angels”,
others will find it as well.
About the Book (from
Stress threatens to overwhelm all of us from time to time, and Greg Popcak
comes to the rescue with a practical book of tips and tools for lessening
anxiety. Using a mix of religion and psychology with a good dose of humor,
Popcak guides readers to understand how not to let the “stress sirens” take
He helps distinguish between true and false (healthy and unhealthy)
responses to feelings and events and suggests ways to deal with feelings of
anxiety in a positive light. Personal and professional stories of how people
have faced various stressful situations round out Popcak’s practical advice
of prayer, playfulness, and reflection.
Rather than hiding from the things that cause stress, Popcak suggests
methods for confronting situations and moving forward to a more balanced
About the Author Gregory Popcak is founder and
director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute. He contributes to a variety of
publications and has hosted radio/television programs on the topics of
psychology and spirituality. He holds a master’s degree in clinical social
work and is the author of seven books. He lives in Steubenville, Ohio, with
his wife, Lisa, and their children.
About the Book (from
Based on the Parable of the Mustard Seed and divided into nature’s four
seasons, Seeds of Faith includes 4 sets of 12 personal essays,
recipes, poetry and stewardship tips intended to motivate others to plant
their own “seeds of faith.” Through their true-to-life experiences that
range from infertility, addiction, heartbreak, love and joy, the authors
encourage readers to live a life that is joyous and free and to help others
remember to follow God’s will through the good times as well as the
bad. “The seasons indicate that there's some reason for every
experience--circumstances change, people change, faith dies then grows, like
the seasons--cycles of life,” says Ledbetter. “Right now, someone is
questioning their faith, someone is without faith, someone wants to deepen
their faith and someone wants to put their faith into action. This book is
Letter to CatholicMom.com Readers from
are honored to have Seeds of Faith: An Inspirational Almanac
appear on yourwonderful site as June's selection of the month. Our
mission with this book is to glorify and thank God for the riches He has
given us; to help readers learn how to become extraordinary gardeners of
hope, faith, and love; to share how we have deepened our own faith lives
through prayer and faith in action; and to show others how to reap the
benefits promised in the Parable of the Mustard Seed.
This book has been three years in the making, and has been a wonderful
project -- full of pitfalls, detours, answered prayers, and joy. In other
words, it has mirrored life! The four authors have forged a closer
relationship through God's grace and the help of prayer warriors via the
Internet. We strive to show readers how to strengthen their own "4 F" roots:
Faith, Family, Friends, and Food.
Seeds of Faith: An Inspirational Almanac
follows the lessons given in several of Scripture's parables and is divided
into the four seasons. Each of us has written 3 personal stories for each
season -- stories about overcoming trials, true life experiences, and loss
of faith most women face in today's society. We have also included a section
at the end, written with the help of Fr. Jeff Bayhi, which more fully
explains the beauty offered us through the holy Sacraments.
Prayers are said daily for all who read our book, and we also hope for
prayer in return, so that those who read of our experiences will be touched
and moved closer to the Father's heart. No
matter what adversity life puts in your path,
Seeds of Faith: An Inspirational Almanacwill help you see it as a blessed chance for growth and change. All
paths in life--divorce, addiction, infertility, abuse, and special needs
children-- can and do lead to His Love when we walk in faith.
May God bless you all, as He has generously blessed us, as you become an
extraordinary planter and harvester in your ordinary lives. And may every
seed you plant grow strong in the fertile ground of your hearts, your
families, your church, and your communities.
Keep the Faith! YSIC,
Carol, Angie, Deb, and Alaine
About the Book (from Sophia Institute
Press) This unique spiritual guide will help you grow
holier and more prayerful as you perform the most menial household chores —
not in spite of those chores, but in the midst of them. Written
especially for women in charge of households, Holiness for Housewives will
help you better understand and respect your vocation as a housewife — and
discover in it your own God-given path to sanctity.
This handy guide will show you how to:
Find meaning in even the most boring work
Pray in the midst of a bustling household
Bear the stress of those long days in which the work never seems to
Develop a greater awareness of God’s presence — even amid the diapers
and the dirty dishes
Learn to rely more on your will and less on emotions, when life seems
to be an endless round of drudgery
Handle your burdens and sorrows with prayers that are especially
fashioned for housewives
About the Book (from
Pope John Paul II, who has been seen by
more people than any other pope in history thanks to his frequent travels, is
arguably the most important, influential, and recognizable person of the last
few decades. In the twenty-fifth year of his papacy, he leads a church with a
2,000 year-old spiritual tradition and over one billion believers worldwide. He
speaks with rare moral clarity to all people of the world. Now, a new book
collects his words on the enduring themes of his papacy.
Go in Peace (Loyola Press, April 2003) presents the Pope’s intimate
voice, speaking from his pastoral heart directly to the reader. Drawn from
the millions of words the Pope has spoken and written during his
Pontificate, the twelve chapters distill the heart and soul of his teachings
and reflect the coherence and seamless integrity of his thought.
“John Paul II articulates an astonishingly powerful vision
of what it means to be a Christian in our modern world,” says Joseph Durepos,
senior acquisitions editor at Loyola Press, who edited the book.
Go in Peace is an effort to answer two questions important to the lay
believer: “What does it mean to be a Catholic and a Christian today?” and
“Why do we believe as we do?”
Each chapter is framed with Scripture passages combined
with John Paul II quotations and prayers. The selections show clearly the
compassion, the intellect, and the poetry of a great spiritual soul, and his
keen insights into human life:
• On forgiveness:
“Forgiveness, in its truest and highest form, is a free act of love. But
precisely because it is an act of love, it has its own intrinsic demands:
the first of which is respect for the truth.”
• On suffering: “The sick,
the elderly, the handicapped, and the dying teach us that weakness is a
creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no
loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in our midst we might
be tempted to think of health, strength, and power as the only important
values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of
Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share his suffering.”
• On prayer: “Prayer is not
simply one occupation among many, but is at the center of our life in
Christ. It turns our attention away from ourselves and directs it to the
Lord. Prayer fills the mind with truth and gives hope to the heart. Without
a deep experience of prayer, growth in the moral life will be shallow.”
• On living in the world:
“What kinds of brothers and sisters are we who only tolerate one another? .
. . But again, we cannot be content even with mutual acceptance. A great
hour is striking. Our reply should be equal to the great moment of this
special kairos of God.”
About the Book
In Kathryn Lively's acclaimed first novel, a teenager
raised in a devout Catholic family must decide the fate of her unborn,
unplanned child, while a family friend - rendered barren from a past illness
- fights her feelings for a handsome reporter. A popular pro-life activist,
the celebrated Rosary Lady of Williamsburg, seeks to mend fences with her
estranged niece, the widow of a recently-murdered abortion practitioner.
A Personal Letter to
CatholicMom.com Readers from Author Kathryn Lively
Thank you very much for making Little Flowers your choice
for March, 2003. I find it especially appropriate since not only does the
book take place during the Lenten season, but the first draft was written
as part of a Lenten exercise (five to ten pages a day over 40 days). My
intention when writing this story was not to preach, but inform. Abortion
is a very delicate subject, and as you read the book you will know that no
character is demonized on the basis of their beliefs; only God has the
right to judge, and this is a recurring theme in the book. I strove to
tell all sides of the pro-life/pro-choice debate, hopefully pointing out
that one solution is better than others. Enjoy.
A Personal Letter to
CatholicMom.com Readers from Author Michael Dubruiel
you first of all for choosing The How-To Book of the Mass
to discuss this month. As a parent of a nineteen-month-old I know the
special challenge that parents face in not only "getting" something out of
Mass himself or herself but also passing on the faith to a child. My son is
at the age where he points out everything that he sees and asks, "What is
that?" and in many ways this book is an answer to the endless questions that
he asks while at Mass and some that he doesn't ask but you might have.
Including "Why do we go to Mass in the first place?"
Children might say they are there because they have to be, their parents are
requiring them to go. Adults might mimic the same words saying it is a law
of the Church and a way of fulfilling God's command to "Keep Holy the
Sabbath." Granted all of these might be valid answers as to what gets us
within the walls of any Church gathering on any particular Sunday but none
of them is an answer to why we should be at Mass.
I remember a woman telling me once that the only reason that she went to
Mass was so that her little daughter would have the same experience that she
had when she was a child. As she talked she mentioned that for her the
whole experience was in the category of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and
the Tooth Fairy. I don't believe her response would be indicative of the
majority of mass attendees on any given Sunday but it does bare reflection.
Some of us may secretly be dreading the day when someone is going to
announce that we are now ready for the truth: God doesn't exist.
Life has changed radically for most of us regardless of our age. I turned 40
a few years ago, yet I can remember vividly the following:
with a manual typewriter
White television with snowy reception from rabbit ears.
before fast food restaurants
money out of the bank you had to speak with an actual Teller
came in 78, 45, and 33 R.P.M.'s.
less than 30 cents a gallon.
was said only in Latin with the priest doing almost everything and we all
kind of did our own thing either trying to follow along with a Missal or
praying the rosary.
While I was
teaching high school a few years ago, I was struck with the changes that my
students had experienced even during their short lives: no internet, no cell
phones, no DVD's.
Life continues to change and rapidly. And the Mass has changed a lot
too, at least in the way it is celebrated.
It is now in English or whatever language the congregation predominantly
speaks. The priest faces the people most of the time during mass. We have
parts in the mass and we even have to acknowledge those around us with a
sign of peace! The music has changed a lot over the past 30 years from Sons
of God and Blowing in the Wind in the early days of the changes to Here I Am
Lord and On Eagles Wings a little later to something that strikes me as a
little more classical today. And who knows what the future holds?
We have to deal with change if we are alive and the purpose of this book is
to help you refocus on what the Mass is all about and not lose focus of that
essential question, Why am I at Mass?
When the Apostles spied Jesus walking on the water, Peter asked Our Lord if
it were really him or a ghost. If it had been a ghost I hate to imagine what
the Apostles would have done out there in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.
But the Lord told them not to fear which led Peter to ask if he might join
Our Lord on the water.
Jesus told him to come out of the boat. And Peter did. Peter walked on the
water too. For a few moments. Then he took account of how strong the
winds were and he sunk.
We are all in the same boat and I'm afraid sometimes Our Lord seems more
like a ghost to us than a real live breathing human being who also happened
to be the Son of God. Encountering Our Lord is what Mass is all about, not
the ghost of Our Lord but the real living Jesus.
This morning when I went to Mass it was thundering outside. I wondered had I
remembered to shut the windows at home, in my car. I thought about all the
electrical appliances, the trees in our yard and I wondered if lightening
had struck anywhere near our home. All of this while the priest was
preaching his homily. Do you think I encountered the living Jesus at that
I know that too often I am caught up with the winds and not with Jesus. If
you are like me then this book will help you.
The Mass is our opportunity to meet Jesus, to listen to Him and to receive
him. There is a story in the Gospel of Luke that provides a summary of the
Mass. It is the account of how the Risen Lord Jesus made Himself known to
several of his disciples as they were making their way to a town called
Emmaus. It is found in the Gospel of Luke 24:13-36.
In The How-To Book of the Mass
I have used this account found in Luke's Gospel along with simple focusing
techniques of being mindful of what we are doing at every moment of the
Mass. I hope to help you to rediscover the Mass as a vehicle for letting go
of all that distracts you in life and to replace what seem like distractions
with the deep meaning filled events of your daily life, opening the wounds,
scars, needs that Jesus can heal, and to encounter the very Lord Himself and
to truly leave every Mass with His peace.
I have written this book with all Catholics in mind. Whether young or old,
male or female, liberal or conservative--in Christ we are one, at Mass we
are one Body--Jesus'.
I hope you will leave comments on my website:
I also welcome your comments via email: [email protected]. Thank you again for your interest in this book.
Hopefully this book will help you to refocus on the purpose of being there.
Perhaps especially on the worst of days it will help you to find the Lord
both in the Scriptures and fully in the Breaking of the Bread.
Catherine Musco Garcia-Prats and Joseph A. Garcia-Prats, M.D.
would be remarkable if only for the fact that they have ten sons )ages one
through nineteen). But what's really impressive is that they've succeeded at
raising ten "good kids" who are not only successful at both their studies
and sports-but are polite, compassionate and responsible-and active
participants in the cooperative, mutually- supportive "working together"
that helps families thrive.
Good Families Don't Just Happen is their program for creating a happy,
organized, family-despite the inevitable conflicts, crises, and sacrifices
that all families encounter. With simple advice and easy-to-follow
principles that help you make your family run as smoothly as a well-managed
organization, they provide the tools and the inspiration you need to create
your own "good family."
In the Beginning: Strong Relationships Build Strong Families
Becoming A Family
Positive Parenting Produces Positive Results
Raising Disciplined, Responsible, Caring Children
Recognizing and Fulfilling Our Parental Responsibilities
Teaching By Example
Instilling the Love of Learning
Faith and Family
Developing Support Systems
Coping with Time, Fatigue, and Life's Stresses
Traditions, Memories, and "Fun-damentals"
Whether you change tires or change diapers, it’s
easy to get so busy that you neglect the things that matter most — your
relationship with your family and your relationship with God. That’s why
Dave Durand wrote Time Management for Catholics. This handy guide combines
proven time management techniques with valuable directions on how to order
your life so that faith and family come first. Simply, clearly, and genially, Dave shows you how to find the
time you need for your family, your job, your finances, and your health. He
even helps you make time simply to relax! Best of all, he’ll teach you how
to make time for the most important thing you can possibly do in this world:
strengthen your relationship with Almighty God. And he helps you do all this
without getting overwhelmed or burnt out! Dave Durand’s time
management techniques will make you more efficient, but they will also do
something far more important: help you become more truly human, more truly
yourself, and more truly the person that God created you to be.
“Dave Durand will show you how to become a
better employee, a better spouse, a better parent, and, above all, a
— Patrick Madrid, Author, Surprised by
Truth 2 and Search and Rescue
DAVE TEACHES YOU HOW TO:
Evaluate how you use your time now • Discover how much time you can save
• Discern your own mission in life • Revise your mission in the light of
Christ • Establish priorities to fulfill your mission • Set goals for
yourself • Meet the deadlines you set • Use a good time management
system • Take charge of your time now • Create your To Do Tomorrow List
• Let priorities and goals shape your list • Decide what must be done
first • Create a calendar to anchor your system • Avoid a duplicate
entry system • Use your To Do List effectively • Keep important records
handy • Establish a planning place • Keep on hand the supplies you need
• Organize all those papers • Defuse those time bombs! • Stop putting
things off • Give the right amount of time to decisions • Not get
sidetracked • Limit that job to the time it takes • Avoid idle
conversations that waste time • Finish those projects you begin •
Eliminate unnecessary stress • Keep fatigue from crippling you • Respond
thoughtfully to problems • Choose the right time for each task • Kick
the television habit • Remain vigilant against “time bombs” • Find time
for your spiritual life • Find more time for prayer • Find time for
family prayer • Find time for spiritual reading • Find time for
meditation • Make it to daily Mass • Let God manage your time