November 2013, it turns out, has been the busiest month, in terms of visitors and views, in this blog’s almost-two-year history. That’s exciting to me, and much appreciated. So thank you for coming by, and come back often, if you like what you’ve found here.
Something else to consider, if you like what you’ve found here, is grabbing a book of mine. I think you’ll find that they provide engaging and accessible presentations of some pretty important and exciting aspects of Catholic faith and life. They’d make a great gift for yourself or for a loved one who’s itching to get to know these topics better. I’ve heard from Catholic reading groups who have enjoyed discussing them with one another. And teachers find them to be good classroom resources because they offer very reliable content presented in an accessible way.
There’s The Eucharistic Prayer: A User’s Guide, which Fr. John Thomas Lane, editor of Emmanuel magazine, called “scholarly, easy to read, pastoral, witty, very historical, practical, and helpful to a wide audience … on a very important topic.” This book explains why the eucharistic prayers we pray at Mass (yes, that’s “we pray” — not just the priest; we are not spectators for these prayers) are so central to Catholic living, what’s in them, and what they mean. Pope Benedict, on several occasions, emphasized how important it is for Catholics to understand better the eucharistic prayers. This is just the book to help you do that.
And there’s the still new Faith Meets World: The Gift and Challenge of Catholic Social Teaching, which was, to my delight, chosen as this month’s U.S. Catholic Book Club selection. The president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the United States has called it “a great book,” and a gracious Amazon reviewer wrote, “I have never found a book about the great tradition and wealth of Catholic social teaching that is as practical and as easy to read as this.” At a time when our remarkable Pope is emphasizing Catholic social teaching in some exciting ways and when it is becoming a crucially important aspect of living one’s faith in society (as if it ever wasn’t!), this book is a timely resource.
Finally, I’ve recently translated a more scholarly work — Andrea Grillo’s Beyond Pius V: Conflicting Interpretations of the Liturgical Reform — from Italian into English for publication. Grillo is a theologian at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome. (I was a student of his there almost 20 years ago.) His book offers a look back at the origins of the reform of the liturgy that came out of Vatican II, notes its successes, and suggests important explanations for some of its failures. He also explores what the broadened access to the “Extraordinary Form” of the Roman rite provided by Pope Benedict means to the Church today. I enjoyed working on the book because Grillo’s approach is at the same time thoughtful, respectful, and critical.
You’ll find plenty more about each of these books here. I recommend purchasing them either directly from the publishers’ websites or from an independent bookstore. (In either case the purchase supports a small business; in the case of the publishers, or Catholic bookstores, you’re also supporting some wonderful Catholic ministries.) Such a purchase would also help support the family Hudock — nine of us strong and making our way by conviction as a one-income household — so thank you for considering a purchase.
(There’s more to come, by the way. I’m busy wrapping up another translation project these days, and then my next priority will be to finish researching and writing a biographical work I’ve had in the works for a while on the absolutely fascinating Fr. John Courtney Murray. I hope to finish the Murray book by mid-2014 in order to see it published in time to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s historic Declaration on Religious Freedom, upon which he had enormous influence; that anniversary is coming in late 2015.)