Category Archives: Books

Avery Dulles’ NEW book due: Evangelization for the Third Millennium

Evangelization for the 3rd Millennium.jpgCardinal Avery Dulles is still producing intellectual stimulation. Due to be released next week is Evangelization for the Third Millennium (Paulist Press), the final work that he had already in progress during what became the Cardinal’s final months.

In her Preface to this anthology, Cardinal Dulles’ longtime colleague, administrative & research assistant and former student, Sister Ann-Marie Kirmse, says that Dulles’ work explores the theme of evangelization based on the seminal work of Pope Paul VI and later on the work Pope John Paul II on the same topic.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, died on December 12, 2008. 

The Pastoral Companion 4th edition, revised & updated

Past Comp 2009.jpg

Canon law isn’t the most scintillating subject for most
Catholics, even for priests, but it’s a necessary science in our ecclesial existence. I am happy to let you
know that the fourth edition, revised and updated, of Dr. John Huels’ The
Pastoral Companion
, has been published by Wilson & Lafleur of Montreal in
the Gratianus Series.

A link to the Table of Contents at the above link will demonstrate the topics covered. It seems to me that all pastoral ministers need this book.

It’s on the website,, on the link
for “new releases” or just follow the link above which may be easier.

The author was a professor mine at the University of Notre Dame and is quite good in his scholarship and pastoral insight. 

Funny, my 1000th post is on a book on canon law. 

Visiting the Sick and Homebound: a Catholic handbook

The Catholic Handbook for Visiting the Sick and Homebound

Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2009 [an annual
publication]; 245 pages. $5.00.

VSH 2009.jpg

Since 2006 Liturgy Training Publications has been publishing
this annual publication to assist the lay ministers called by the pastor to
help him in his ministry of visiting the sick and homebound. At the time I was
an editor at LTP and The Catholic Handbook for Visiting the Sick and Homebound
was one of my responsibilities but since then there’s been some slight improvements to the original manuscript. This resource is based on experience; I had knowledge that many
people neither had the proper formation nor the familiarity with the ritual
books enough to know which were the appropriate rites for the laity to exercise
their ministry. Not infrequently did I hear the horror stories of liturgical
abuse in the hospitals, prisons, healthcare centers and in homes. Gross
ignorance of what the Church expected and a lack of pastoral skill caused more
harm to the faith. Three years after the initiating this publication, but no
longer in the employ of LTP but now in pastoral life, I continue to hear about and
witness the spiritual malpractice of lay ministers when it comes to these
matters. I believe God’s people need to hear the Gospel proclaimed and the
rites respected; all the more for those who are ill or weak due to age. This
publication is not a panacea but it does ably assist in allowing Christ to be
present to those in need.

This Handbook has all the tools necessary to make a proper pastoral visit to those who request the ministrations of the Church. The book has an excellent
introduction, the nine rites available to the laity for such pastoral visits, the
Gospel and holy day readings, a brief explanation of the readings and the list
of patron saints. The Handbook shows the user how to make room for prayer in
special circumstances.

Benedictine Sister Genevieve Glen’s introduction is
essential reading. It’s not an overstatement to say that if you skip her
introduction then you will miss some very essential theological and pastoral
insights for effective ministry of care. For example, the introduction covers
elements “using the book,” being pastorally present, what needs to be done
prior to a visit, carrying the Blessed Sacrament, prayer, use of music, and the
like. Moreover, Sister Genevieve leads the user through what the rites mean,
what needs special attention and the basics for good interpersonal skills. Remember, the
Church’s ministry is always personal. The ministry is directed toward the
patient, the family and at times the healthcare professionals. As Sister
Genevieve reminds the user: you bring a word of God to those in need, those
visited also witness Christ to us –ministry is a two-way street.

The rites are taken from the Book of Blessings and the
Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum. The Scripture
readings are taken from the Lectionary. The Handbook carries the imprimatur of
the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Visit the Sick.jpg

Recent additions to this volume are the “Order of Blessing
of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse,” “Order for the
Blessing of a Victim of Crime or Oppression and the “Order of Blessing of
Parents after a Miscarriage.” These new orders are very welcomed today since we
often neglect the spiritual needs of those suffering from addiction, substance
abuse, and the after-effects of crime, oppression and miscarriage. How often do
we pray with and for those living with these experiences in their hearts? As
ministers of Jesus Christ, priests and laity always need to keep in mind those
who suffer.

Often overlooked is idea that it is Christ under the power
of the Holy Spirit who works through the rites, not the personality of the
minister. Let’s be clear: Christ uses us to do His work; Christ does not do our
work. Our responsibility is to act as Christ would act because it is He who
heals and saves through ministry. The Church has beautifully responded to this
human need with the appropriate rites. In doing so, the Church closes off the
possibility for those who would want to do their own thing and doing it

Personal preparation by making the rites and Gospel message through
prayer and study will help the user of this book more effective. The
encouragement is that you enter prayerfully and deliberately into the heart of
the Church through the Church’s rites. Every lay person bringing Holy Communion
to those not present at the Sunday celebration of Mass ought to get The
Catholic Handbook for Visiting the Sick and Homebound
annually. This book is also available in Spanish.

A Century of Prayer for Christian Unity

A Century of
Prayer for Christian Unity
is a celebration of the 100-year history of the Week
of Prayer.  It is a useful resource for understanding the theology and practice of  prayer in common for the intention of the reconciliation of Christians.

Contributors are
among the best informed Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Reformed
theologians. Each essayist offers significant insights into the history,
theology, and spirituality of the Week of Prayer in particular, and of
ecumenical prayer in general.

The book is
available through the Graymoor Book & Gift Center: 845-424-3671, ext. 3155

Elizabeth of the Trinity: Always Believe in Love

We are made for others. The human heart naturally reaches out, even craves and depends on friendship. The truest desire of communion of heart, mind and body happens in the with God (or at least it ought to begin with God) and then there ought to be a communion with another human being as is found in marriage, friendship or religious life. From experience, we understand that man and woman are incomplete without some fulfilling relationship but the fulfillment comes not from any relationship; it comes from a place deep in the human experience, the correspondence of the heart. Christians exist in a companionship that has divine and human coordinates. Analogically, we say the same of God. Catholics are not Unitarians (though you would not know by the way they act and speak about God sometimes); Catholics believe in and relate to God who is a trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We pray to God the Father through Jesus Christ under the power of the Holy Spirit. Further, Catholics say that the Trinity decided, because of their love, that the second person of the Trinity, would become man and open the gates of heaven so that humanity might know, love and serve God.

When it comes to the concrete, our faith in Christ as the Word made flesh indicates to us that we engage in reality precisely because the Lord entered into human history. But there are obstacles for a solid engagement of culture in an era that holds fast to a variety conflicting epistemologies that are contrary to the Gospel and orthodox theological reflection. Moreover, it may be difficult for some people to believe in and experience the reality of love: do we know that we fight to love and to receive love? Do we really accept that humanity is impoverished when love is absent or dysfunctional? Then there is the issue of believing that the intentions of a lover toward his (her) beloved are pure and oriented toward the good. Sadly, the idea that we ought to have affection for ourselves is often perceived as new news and met with no small amount of skepticism. One way of engaging life is having affection for ourselves -NOT egotism– but a genuine affinity for the self which opens the door to see life differently. Affinity for self and others can be another way of speaking about love, but the use of the word “affinity” gives us a new set of eyes and legs for engaging reality that is before us. Having affection for oneself means that we lean toward our destiny more seriously, intentionally and with wholesomeness so as to live a companionship desired for us by God.

Elizabeth Trinity cover.jpg

A recently published book puts our view of reality, love and God on end. Elizabeth of the Trinity: Always Believe in Love, edited by Marian T. Murphy, OCD (New City Press, 2009) is a wonderful collection of writings of this relatively unknown saint-to-be, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. Elizabeth was a Carmelite nun who spent five years in a Carmelite monastery before dying at the age of 26. She is revered as a mystic with a profound understanding of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, and that’s not only because her religious name in the convent acknowledges a fact after a spiritual experience. The book includes extracts from Elizabeth’s diary, letters, poems, retreat notes, a prayer, a chronology and a select bibliography among other things. This volume is my first introduction to the person and thought of Blessed Elizabeth save for Father Henry dropping her name in a homily or two. The holy and human attractiveness of Blessed Elizabeth confirms my suspicion that we want, need men and women to point the way to a deeper union with God: with Elizabeth (and countless others) there is no reason why Catholics have to search for mystical experiences in other faith traditions. What I came to realize is how profoundly centered on the love of the Trinity this young woman was, and how her mission to lead others directly to Christ was keen. What the Second Vatican Council asked us to do, that is, to reclaim to claim a personal holiness centered on the Incarnation, Elizabeth promoted in the 19th century by telling us: “Look at every suffering and every joy as coming directly from Him, and then your life will be a continual communion, since everything will be like a sacrament that will give you God.” There’s no separation from between life and God.  Do we live our lives with this conviction? Can we see this belief in our daily actions? One learns among many things in this volume that Pope John Paul II was influenced by Blessed Elizabeth and so made it his mission to make her known to the Church. At the foot of Elizabeth we realize ever more deeply that in being loved we can love.

As the editor Sister Marian said so very well in her excellent introduction: “The saints are God’s glorious palette, and without them, as Chesterton said: ‘we could lose the humanity of Christ'; for in them, we experience his rootedness in our ordinary lives. Their passionate, single-minded following of Christ fascinates us as we recognize the source of their, and our, true greatness.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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