Refreshing new reads for spring

Spring is a time of newness, of being able to stretch out of our wintry confines and enjoy the refreshing warmth and light of our world. It’s a time of cleaning house and organizing. It’s also a time to open ourselves up to the refreshing newness of a good book, especially those new reads that speak to an aspect of our faith and relationship with God and neighbor.

This section provides a roundup of some new titles that might interest the faith-filled reader looking for a bright new reading experience this season.

“A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail”

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Author: Charles A. Coulombe
Publisher: Tan
Price: $22.95
Summary: The Holy Grail long has been a subject of folklore and legends — involving everything from crusaders and secret societies to Nazis. Author Charles A. Coulombe explores the mysterious vessel’s literary and historical connections, and in doing so, he uncovers how it is actually at the heart of many relics and miraculous phenomena, spanning from the time of Jesus to the present day — and every time a believer encounters Jesus in the sacraments. The author is a writer, lecturer and media consultant on all things Catholic, also having written on topics ranging from monarchy to rock and roll.

“Fulton J. Sheen”

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Author: Compiled by Alexis Walkenstein
Publisher: Pauline Books & Media
Price: $12.95
Summary: Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was must-watch TV during the 1950s and ’60s. His substance and style were so commanding that videos of his talks are still available, and his books — such as “Life of Christ” (1954) — are still available. This new book by Emmy Award-winning journalist Alexis Walkenstein, inspired as a way to help promote Archbishop Sheen’s sainthood cause, is concise, organized thematically and an excellent gateway to a deeper understanding of his “joyful, fervent, full of common sense, and at times even hauntingly prophetic” peaching. It is a must-read for both Sheen fans and those new to his legacy.

“Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic”

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Author: Teresa Tomeo
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Price: $14.95
Summary: Author, radio host, speaker and OSV writer Teresa Tomeo says she is looking to make her new book “Beyond Sunday” into a movement that sets the hearts of lukewarm Catholics ablaze and inspires them to live their faiths in their daily lives — not just on Sundays. The key to living a fully integrated Catholic life — one that moves you into action — is to form an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Tomeo offers a step-by-step plan for the faithful to embrace their call to discipleship — no matter where they are in their faith lives.

“A Pope Francis Lexicon”

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Author: Edited by Joshua J. McElwee and Cindy Wooden
Publisher: Liturgical Press
Price: $24.95
Summary: This collection of more than 50 essays brings together some of the most noteworthy figures in the Church today to discuss Pope Francis’ contribution to a range of issues in the life of the Church and the world. These include baptism (Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C.), careerism (Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, CSsR, of Newark), the Second Vatican Council (Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin), tears (Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila) and periphery (Carolyn Woo). Authors who might be familiar to OSV readers, such as Bill Dodds, Simcha Fisher, Austen Ivereigh and Jordan Denari Duffner, also are included.

“One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them

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Author: Jennifer Fulwiler
Publisher: Zondervan, Catholic Edition by Ignatius Press
Price: $24.99
Summary: Jennifer Fulwiler — author, speaker, radio host, wife, mom, former atheist, Catholic convert — writes about (of all things) “having it all” in her new book. It’s the story of her life in sometimes hilarious, sometimes serious, always moving chapters. You’ll get to know Jen; her brainiac husband, Joe; her lively, entertaining, home-schooled brood of six children; and family, best friends and Texans of all stripes. You’ll follow along her journey as she combines a writing career with motherhood, money problems, unexpected solutions, vomit and, most of all, faith and love.

“Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential God”

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Author: Father Donald Haggerty
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Price: $17.95
Summary: In a series of short essays spanning some 240 pages, Father Donald Haggerty lays out the basis for serious growth in Jesus Christ. This book discusses the aspects of a soul’s return to God, the consequences of sin, the role of mercy and the importance of responding to God’s will. The author identifies love for the poor, simplicity of lifestyle and devotion to the Eucharist as three particular graces associated with conversion, distinguishing a holy life from a mediocre relationship with God.

“God’s Plan for You: Life, Love, Marriage

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Author: David Hajduk
Publisher: Pauline Books & Media
Price: $16.95
Summary: The deepest desire of the human heart is authentic love, and this updated edition of David Hajduk’s exploration of Catholic teaching on human sexuality encourages the reader not to give up on that desire. Weaving together Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this is a book for anyone who ponders the meaning of life, struggles with love of self, or finds relationships and sex a source of confusion and hurt. The author also uses examples of contemporary film, culture and other stories to get at the vision he lifts up.

“Gratefulness: The Habit of a Grace-Filled

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Author: Susan Muto
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Price: $15.95
Summary: Susan Muto, executive director of the Epiphany Association, shows that expressing gratefulness is not a new fad, but instead has been the way of saints for centuries. It can be easy to be discouraged in a world where bad news is always a mouse-click away, and when burdens seem too heavy to bear. The book offers “Companions of Gratefulness” in every chapter, from St. Julian of Norwich to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, as well as questions for reflection and short prayers. The tone is set in Chapter 1, “Being Grateful Despite the Circumstances,” and continues to the final chapter, “Thankful Acceptance of the Mission God Entrusts to Us.”

“Grit & Glory: Cross-Training Your Body and Soul”

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Author: Kaiser Johnson
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Price: $16.95
Summary: In his new book, author Kaiser Johnson acts as part fitness trainer and part spiritual director as he integrates faith and fitness for those looking to build a stronger body and more faithful soul. In the book’s introduction, Kaiser explains that there is a natural connection between a more robust faith life and improved health. You need the same virtues to accomplish both — namely, willpower, discipline and a strong desire to live your best life. Through his 90-day plan that includes workouts, nutrition guide and prayer, Johnson gives readers the road map to a stronger faith and stronger body.

“Into His Likeness: Be Transformed as a Disciple of Christ”

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Author: Edward Sri
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Price: $16.95
Summary: In his latest book, Edward Sri tackles what seems like a simple topic: how to become a more devout follower of Christ. In his short, digestible book (150 pages), Sri expertly explains in three parts how we can better find Christ, know Christ and, finally, walk with Christ with our hearts on fire. Sri shows the readers how Catholics have been given invaluable gifts in the sacraments — gifts that will help us know and follow Jesus in our everyday lives. Only when we form and nurture a relationship with Christ, Sri writes, will we be able to answer “yes” to the question he asked of Peter: “Do you love me?”

“Our Father: Reflections on the Lord’s Prayer”

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Author: Pope Francis
Publisher: Image
Price: $21
Summary: Taken from Pope Francis’ conversation with Italian Father Marco Pozza, “Our Father” is a deep dive into the depth and power of the Lord’s Prayer, offering a line-by-line meditation from the pope as well as personal asides meant to deepen the reader’s understanding of Francis’ priorities. Regarding the line, “Give us this day our daily bread,” Pope Francis says, “The power of God’s presence in the world today is precisely at table, in the Eucharist with Jesus. Feed us with that spiritual food that strengthens us ... but also feed everyone, in this world in which the reign of hunger is so cruel.”

“Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth”

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Author: Mary Haseltine
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Price: $17.95
Summary: Mary Haseltine is a theology graduate, certified doula and childbirth instructor, writer and mom, who’s written a book that not only supports mothers with answers to pregnancy questions, but more importantly supports them with grace as they prepare for the birth of their babies. The author draws deeply on Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and other Church writings to show that giving birth is not only physically beautiful, but also deeply theological and symbolic. Divided into four parts, spanning the time from preparing for birth to postpartum, the book is filled with personal stories and experiences, and integrates pregnancy with faith, showing how birth is a holy and grace-filled experience.

“Can We be Friends?”

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Author: Rebecca Frech
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Price: $16.95
Summary: Finding good friends can be difficult today. And making the time to invest in and nurture the healthy friendships we do have also is often a daunting challenge. This book tackles why we need friends, where we find them and even when we let friends go. Drawing on personal anecdotes, author Rebecca Frech catalogues the different kinds of friends, ways to grow intentionally in friendship and how to discern which friends really ought to be in our inner circle.

“On Hope”

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Author: Pope Francis
Publisher: Loyola Press
Price: $12.95
Summary: This sixth book on a Jesuit pope from a Jesuit publishing company compiles Pope Francis’ reflections on hope, originally given as a series of general audience talks in 2016-17. This message of hope, the pope notes, is needed in dark times when people feel surrounded by violence and evil, and it offers a simple, life-changing message. In just under 100 pages, the pope covers the comfort, reasons, journey and reality of hope, as well as other topics including Lent, the Holy Spirit, tears and rejoicing.

“Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God”

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Author: Father Roger J. Landry
Publishers: Pauline Books & Media
Price:
$13.95
Summary:
Father Landry is a priest of Fall River, Massachusetts, and it is his experiences as a pastor that inspired this book. As Father Landry spoke to children on Sunday mornings, he would emphasize the need to make good choices in using their time, in what they read and in how they treated others. The subtitle, “Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God,” emphasizes that the goal only can come from cultivating the right habits, practiced on a daily basis. Each chapter offers help on how to create your own “plan of life.”

“The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Secret Search”

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Author: John O’Neill
Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor
Price: $21.95
Summary: It took more than five years for New York Times best-selling author John O’Neill to fully uncover this incredible real-life (but little-known) story about the search for the tomb and remains of St. Peter deep below the Vatican. The book chronicles wealthy philanthropist and Texas oilman George Strake’s funding of the exploration by pioneering archeologist Margherita Guarducci, who decodes inscriptions on an ancient wall underneath St. Peter’s Basilica, including one that says, “Peter is here.” The story of the discovery is full of intrigue, determination and faith.

“What Matters Most: Empowering Young Catholics for Life’s Big Decisions”

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Author: Leonard J. DeLorenzo
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Price: $16.95
Summary: Leonard DeLorenzo, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame, dives into one of the most important topics in today’s culture: How do we get overscheduled, overstimulated young people (and, frankly, adults as well) to quiet their minds long enough to listen for God’s voice in their lives? DeLorenzo’s book serves as an excellent primer for the upcoming Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October that will focus on youth, vocations and discernment as he takes a critical look at the problems today’s young people face, and how the Church can help them find what is truly important.

“Target Africa: Ideological Neo-colonialism of the Twenty-first Century”

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Author: Obianuju Ekeocha
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Price: $16.95
Summary: In her new book “Target Africa,” author Obianuju Ekeocha, a Nigerian human-rights activist, takes on a little-recognized fact of Africa today: the story of foreign-aid gifts that come with strings attached. In the post-colonial era, Africa has struggled with social, economic and political problems, and Ekeocha, while acknowledging that while many wealthy Western donors have good intentions, others want their funds used to push their agendas of radical feminism, population control, sexualization of children and homosexuality.

“The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross”

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Author: Scott Hahn
Publisher: Image
Price: $23
Summary: Author, theologian and Catholic convert Dr. Scott Hahn brings us along on a journey that combines biblical study, history, mystery and faith. Functioning as both a prequel and a continuation of his book “The Lamb’s Supper,” “The Fourth Cup” tracks the author’s conversion from evangelicalism to Catholicism. Along the way, he shares his investigation into the rituals of Passover and their importance in salvation in Jesus Christ. You’ll discover how the “fourth cup” of wine used in the Passover ritual explains Christ’s Pascal sacrifice, “whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it” (Mk 8:35).

“The Twelve Steps and the Sacraments: A Catholic Journey Through Recovery”

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Author: Scott Weeman
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Price: $15.95
Summary: Scott Weeman uses his own journey to recovery as the starting point for this book, which integrates the Twelve Steps with the sacramental practice of the Catholic Church. He takes on the gap between the Higher Power of 12-step programs and the merciful God at the heart of Catholic belief and practice, allowing those struggling with addiction and entering recovery to see how their Catholic faith can and should be an integral part of their journey. It links sobriety on earth with the holiness of heaven, all the while recounting a painful struggle to find and encounter God.

“God Isn’t Finished with Me Yet: Discovering the Spiritual Graces of Later Life”

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Author: Barbara Lee
Publisher: Loyola Press
Price: $12.95
Summary: In sharing the personal story of her transition from lawyer and U.S. magistrate to retired life, Barbara Lee offers a look at how retirement offers us an opportunity to grow closer to Christ. While we find value in our careers during our working lives, retirement allows us to give back and work toward a deeper purpose. Lee, a long-serving member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, roots her advice in Ignatian spirituality. “This book is for Christians,” she writes, “who want to grow in a God-centered life by exploring the graces specific to the later stages of life.”
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