Book Whisperer: Favorite Books on Prayer

Book WhispererThis week in Confirmation class we talked about the Rosary, and about how prayer is an important part of Christian life.

Here are some of my favorite books on prayer and the saints….

33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael Gaitley. This “do-it-yourself” retreat is a wonderful introduction to Marian devotion (including the Rosary) and Christian contemplative prayer. We used this little book last year at Ascension, and it was a wonderful experience.

groeschelI Am With You Always: A Study of the History and Meaning of Personal Devotion to Jesus Christ by Father Benedict Groeschel. This massive work is surprisingly accessible, and represents a decade in the life of one of the most beloved and respected Catholic teachers alive today. I am grateful to Ignatius Press for publishing it, and keep it on my “fire shelf” of important books for easy reference.

The New Rosary in Scripture: Biblical Insights for Praying the 20 Mysteries by Edward Sri. Dr. Ted Sri is a popular speaker and theology professor at the Augustine Institute. This book, published by Servant Press, is an especially thoughtful gift for Christians who are curious about this classic Catholic prayer tradition.

What are YOUR favorites?

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Faith-Building Books for Teens (The Book Whisperer)

Book WhispererThis week I started teaching a class to prepare a small group of teens to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil this year at St. Basil the Great Parish in Kimberton, PA. So for the next few months — through Lent — I’ve decided that “A Mother on the Road Less Traveled” will be taking a spiritual journey along with them. And what’s a journey without a few good books?

This post will include a few titles that I’m recommending for my students.

The YouCat is a resource for teenagers that will provide reliable answers to any questions about the Catholic faith that you might have. I gave my students a copy at our first meeting. If you want to learn more, you can always read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on which the YouCat is based.

The New American Bible, which is the version read at Mass. On this website you will find daily Scripture readings, which you can follow to learn  more about what God has revealed to us, the “salvation story” that covers more than four thousand years of human history, and culminates in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason for our hope; he created the Church while he was here on earth, and instituted the sacraments that strengthen us for the journey to heaven. The story of Jesus is found in the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). If you’ve never read the Bible on your own before, you may want to start there. It is also a good idea to follow the daily readings, which will help you to understand how to read the Old Testament in relationship to the New Testament — that’s important when you are studying the Catholic faith.

my-big-bookIf you would like to read more about the heroes of the faith in Scripture, pick up a copy of My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories. I compiled this book several years ago for Thomas Nelson Publishers. In addition to the beautiful pictures and stories, it also has Catechism references and other helpful information, and little prayers to help you apply the text to your life.

If you want to learn more about the saints, there are lots of books to help you! One I especially like is Mystics and Miracles: True Stories of Lives Touched by God, by Bert Ghezzi. You’ll find some of the better-known saints like Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, and Teresa of Avila as well as some lesser-known like Francis of Paola (who “defied gravity to move huge boulders … passed through fire and handled glowing coals unharmed”) and Gertrude the Great (to whom Jesus appeared as a sixteen-year-old boy and captured her heart).

Next week, I’ll share some of the books that helped me when I was journeying toward the Church in the winter of 1993.

Who’s Who in Catholic Publishing: CWCO Begins!

cwco_topicMonday morning at 9 am, the second annual Catholic Writers Conference Online kicks off with a little talk I’m giving about how to pitch a book idea to a publisher.

In preparation for this, I gathered information from the publishers who will be represented for the conference, to give attendees an idea of the distinctive “voices” of each house. This information was gathered from editors, publishing websites and the  CPA website

Why do publishing houses need mission statements? Here’s one excellent explanation from Michael Hyatt, President of Thomas Nelson Publishing. Someday when I grow up, I’d like to work for this guy. Bottom line: We need them to give us the “light at the end of the tunnel,” so we know how we fit in the great cosmos of the publishing world … and when we are accomplishing our corporate goals, individually and as a team.

Christian publishers distinguish themselves from other kinds of publishing in their desire to contribute meaningfully to the spiritual lives of others. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are our primary customers, service providers, and (not to put too fine a point on it) the reason we’re around in the first place. This year, an extraordinary number of editors and other writing professionals have stepped forward to donate their expertise. With your indulgence, I’d like to take a few minutes to recognize them here.

Ami McConnell (Thomas Nelson Publishing)
Arthur Powers
Andrew McNabb
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Cynthia Cavnar (Servant/Saint Anthony Messenger Press)
Danielle Bean, (“Faith and Family” Magazine)
David Dziena (Our Sunday Visitor Parish Services)
Devon Ellington
Elena-Maria Vidal
Frank Creed
Heather King
Helen Gallagher
Brian Saint Paul, Margaret Cabaniss, and Christina Jopson (“InsideCatholic.Com” e-zine)
Jaquelyn (Jackie) Lindsey (Our Sunday Visitor, trade books division)
Jeff Gardener (Catholic Radio International)
Joann Alberts, Trinity Direct Marketing
Judith Costello
Karina Fabian (President, Catholic Writers’ Guild)
Kristen Johnson
Kyle Eller (“Northern Cross” newspaper)
Lea Schizas
Lisa Wheeler (Maximus Group)
Maria Rivera
Mark Brumley (Ignatius Press)
Mark Shea
Matt Pinto (Ascension Press)
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Melanie Rigney
Michelle Buckman
Mike Manno
Miki Tracy
Patricia Punt
Paul Pennick (Twenty-Third Publications)
Sr. Maria Grace Dateno, Sr. Christina Wegendt, and Diane Lynch (Pauline Books and Media)
Pete Vere
Ron Berry
Sally Stuart (Christian Writers’ Market Guide)
Sue Brinkmann, OCSD (“Canticle” Magazine)
Sue Lick
Sylvia Dorham
Terri Main
Terry Whalin (Intermedia Publishing)
Tom Grace
VS Grenier
Vinita Wright (Loyola Press)

On behalf of co-chair Karina Fabian and myself, thank you for making this week possible, and for doing your part to cultivate the next crop of bestselling Catholic authors!