Tuesday, August 22

Amy Welborn in Living Faith

Amy Welborn is a contributor - five devotions per issue -  to the Living Faith daily devotional quarterly.


For example, today, August 22

Dreams are odd things: comforting, frightening, puzzling, revealing. Just as odd to me as their content is the way in which dreams reside within my memory. More often than I can say, I am stopped short mid-morning by a vivid and complete recollection of a dream I had forgotten until that moment.



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 July 3:

I live in a part of the country in which college football is...big! During the fall, entering and exiting stores, people who are strangers recognize their common bond and really do say, in passing, "Roll, Tide!" At the grocery checkout, class, ethnic and gender divisions disappear as deeply felt and informed predictions are made about next week or postmortems are offered on last week's matchups. I've experienced this surrounding college football. You may know of it from soccer or baseball in your community.

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June 25:

The little girl in the after-school tutoring program was confounded by the crossword puzzle. And so were the two adults trying to help.
None of us could make any sense of it. After almost a half an hour of frustration, I told the very patient child that she could do something else. She asked to play a game with me. The program's rule was that a book should be read first, but considering the torture of the previous half-hour, I bent that rule.





 June 2:

My youngest son is an animal fanatic, so we watch a lot of nature documentaries. It is amazing because it seems as if there is no end to the mysteries and fascinating, quirky elements of nature.
For example, the other day, we learned about the California ground squirrel. It protects itself and its family against rattlesnake predators by chewing snake skins to shreds and rubbing them on its fur. Presto! It no longer smells like breakfast, but instead like a fellow snake.
I watch this and I'm amazed, once again, by the mystery and wonder of God's creation.
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, May 7:

In the heat of summer, we headed to a large swimming hole. One of the ways you could reach the water was by jumping off a steep, cliff like bank.

For a time, we watched as one young woman stood on the edge, contemplating a jump. Her friends floated in the water below, encouraging her to follow. She vacillated, moving to the edge, then backing away. Again and again, they called her name.



April 27:

I have hauled my children to art museums and historic churches since they were small. As a result, they have become adept at recognizing saints since, traditionally, saints are depicted with easily recognized symbols: their attributes.

It becomes a game of sorts, a game that they also enjoy turning around on me--not allowing me to see the title of a painting and then seeing if I can identify the saint; Catherine of Alexandria and her wheel, Jerome with his lion, Anthony and the Christ Child and, of course, Peter with his keys and the rooster nearby.


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October 2

There's nothing unusual there--it's part of the early vocabulary of most toddlers, isn't it? But what strikes me is that he doesn't just say it when something "bad" happens. Any time there is any transition, it's what comes out: "Uh-oh!" It's cute, but I wonder, do I react the same way to potential or real change? Do I reflexively react with hesitation or even outright fear, or do I react with confidence that, with the help of God's power and love, I can move forward?




September 18:


Once a week, I volunteer in an after-school reading program. The children arrive at the parish following a day in a struggling school in a struggling neighborhood. The early readers may have a few words they are sure about, but when they hit an unfamiliar word, their reaction is always the same--their eyes move from the letters and start darting about the page. There must be a hint. They're looking for a sign.




 September 4:

But there is someone, and the psalmist guides me to him. The God who created me out of love knows me. I listen as he teaches, I understand as my heart opens to his wisdom. In the stillness, he sketches the flaws, he captures the truth, and I see.




For example, May 31:

To see Mary is no distraction. For when I welcome her, something else happens too; like Elizabeth, I welcome the Christ she bears. In greeting her, I offer God praise, as her cousin does, for it is God who has done this, graciously entering creation in this ordinary, extraordinary way.



 April 27


Vowed religious life, the bishop said, is also a radical sign of grace and mercy. He said that the heart of a religious is bound in love to "the poor Christ, the chaste Christ, the obedient Christ."

 April 22:


We've been in the present place for a couple of years now. When I bought it, I proclaimed, "This is it. No more!" But even though I said I wasn't looking, I still looked. Just to see, of course. Just to see.
Then one day I was moved--by grace--to make a decision. Stop looking and pretending you're not. Stop feeding dissatisfaction in this earthly home. Accept where you are, now. It's enough.
And there it was. In standing still, I was free.



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Monday, August 21

Queenship of Mary - August 22

Tomorrow, August 22, is the feast of the Queenship of Mary

How about a free e-book about Mary?



My book Mary and the Christian Life, has been out of print for a couple of years, so I am offering a .pdf file of the text at no cost to anyone interested.


Mary and the Christian Life by Amy Welborn

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Friday, August 18

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

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Note:This is another of those 540-word Liguorian pieces. Obviously, lots more could and should be said. Someday I'll do something a bit longer for OSV. For more Waugh information, see the links at the end.
Very few authors made the Modern Library's 1998 "100 Best Novels of All Time" more than twice: James Joyce, William Faulkner, Henry James, D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad and -- Evelyn Waugh.
Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) is usually remembered for brutally satirical novels that lay bare subjects as diverse as the shallow, rootless generation of wealthy young people drifting through English society between the two world wars (most notably in Vile Bodies); the American funeral industry, portrayed in The Loved One,; and journalism, featured in Scoop and A Handful of Dust,both featured on the "100 Best" list.
In Waugh's third title on the Modern Library list, Brideshead Revisited,all of his considerable literary gifts are on display: his satirical eye, a superb prose style, perfect dialogue. In addition, Brideshead reveals another element of Waugh's vision: his
Catholic faith, which he embraced as a convert in 1930.
Brideshead Revisited is the story of narrator Charles Ryder's long and complicated relationship with the Marchmains, and aristocratic Roman Catholic family. Their home, Brideshead, a sprawling estate built over centuries in a riot of styles, stands at the center of the tale. It symbolizes not only the diverse, conflicted family it houses, but also the family's Catholicism and their varied of ways of living it out.
While a student at Oxford, Charles meets Sebastian, the family's youngest son. Charles' intense friendship with Sebastian, an eccentric, charming, but obviously deeply pained yougn man, opens Charles' eyes to a world infinitely mroe itneresting and stimulating than anything his own family had ever offered.
Meeting Sebastian's family affects Charles even further. The time he spends at Brideshead helps him discern his vocation as an architectural artist, and his continuing exposure to the Marchmains' faith begins to challenge his closely held secular view of life.
But this faith turns out to be as complicated as the varied responses of the Marchmains to their Chruch and their God. Lad Marchmain's piety will not allow her to divorce her husband, even though Lord Marchmain never returned from the Continent after World War I, remaining in Italy, living with a mistress. Younger sister Cordelia's enthusiastic religiosity gifts her with an expansive, loving heart,unconstrained even toward her elder sister Julia, who marries a divorced man outside the Church.
Charles' increased intimacy with the Marchmains in turns affects the friendship between the two young men. There is something about his family that drives Sebastian to despair and a need to flee, from himself more than anything else. And flee Sebastian does -- into alcoholism and then to North Africa, where he spends the rest of his life.
But the intimacy Charles had with one member of the Marchmains is continued with another. Years after his initial acquaintance with the family, the married Charles begins an affair with Julia. It's in the context of this affair of Lord Marchmain's return to Brideshead to die that the crucial issues of the novel and of life itself are brought to painful climax. We may run from God with all our strength, it seems, but in the end, God patiently waits nonethless.
Amy Welborn
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Thursday, August 17

Catholic Adult Education for the Fall

Are you planning for fall?

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Matthew 26-28: Jesus' life-giving death by Amy Welborn offers a close look at the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in Matthew's Gospel. 


It is a part of Loyola Press' Six Weeks With the Bible series, which provides individuals or groups plans for concise but thorough 90-minute sessions to learn about and discuss the pertinent Scriptural passages.  General guides for how to effectively lead an adult education session are also included.  The series is available in paperback and also in Kindle version

Wednesday, August 16

First Communion Class Textbook

Are you teaching First Communion class this year?

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Friendship With Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion by Amy Welborn is based on a dialogue in St. Peter's Square that took place in 2006




Artist Ann Engelhart thought the dialogue would make a wonderful children's book and asked me to help edit it and get it published. It was first published in England by the Catholic Truth Society in 2010 and then picked up by Ignatius Press in 2011.







Tuesday, August 15

Assumption of Mary: Free Catholic Book

Mary and the Christian Life by Amy Welborn  was published by Word Among Press in 2008.
The small, simple book has been out of print for a couple of years, and as I did with The Power of the Cross - am tossing it up on the ‘net for free download.
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It’s just a .pdf – no specific e-book format or anything.  But you can probably find some device on which to read it, if you like!
(There are some new and used print copies left on Amazon  - priced higher than the original.  But, as I said, you can download it for free at the link above, or read it on Scribd here.)

Monday, August 14

St. Maximilian Kolbe - August 14


Over 40 saints’ lives,written at a middle-school reading level.
I. Saints are People Who Love Children
St. Nicholas,St. John Bosco, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla
amy welbornSaints Are People Who Love Their Families
St. Monica,St. Cyril and St. Methodius, St. Therese of Lisieux,Blessed Frederic Ozanam,
Saints Are People Who Surprise OthersSt. Simeon Stylites,St. Celestine V,St. Joan of Arc,St. Catherine of Siena
Saints Are People Who Create
St. Hildegard of Bingen,Blessed Fra Angelico,St. John of the Cross,Blessed Miguel Pro
Saints Are People Who Teach Us New Ways to Pray
St. Benedict,St. Dominic de Guzman,St. Teresa of Avila,St. Louis de Monfort
Saints Are People Who See Beyond the Everyday
St. Juan Diego, St. Frances of Rome, St. Bernadette Soubirous, Blessed Padre Pio
Saints Are People Who Travel From Home
St. Boniface, St. Peter Claver, St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis Solano, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini
Saints Are People Who Are Strong Leaders
St. Helena, St. Leo the Great, St. Wenceslaus, St. John Neumann
Saints Are People Who Tell The Truth
St. Polycarp, St. Thomas Becket, St. Thomas More, Blessed Titus Brandsma
Saints Are People Who Help Us Understand God
St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Jerome, St. Patrick, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Edith Stein
Saints Are People Who Change Their Lives for God
St. Ambrose, St. Gregory the Great, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Camillus de Lellis, St. Katharine Drexel
Saints Are People Who Are Brave
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, St. George, St. Margaret Clitherow, St. Isaac Jogues, The Carmelite Nuns of Compiegne, St. Maximilian Kolbe
Saints Are People Who Help the Poor and Sick
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Martin de Porres, Blessed Joseph de Veuster
Saints Are People Who Help In Ordinary Ways
St. Christopher, St. Blaise, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bernard of Montjoux
Saints Are People Who Come From All Over the World
Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Paul Miki, Blessed Peter To Rot, Blessed Maria Clementine Anuarite Nengapeta

Saturday, August 12

St. Jane de Chantal - August 12

St. Jane de Chantal is featured in The Loyola Kids' Book of Heroes by Amy Welborn


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 More saints' lives, organized according to the virtues they expressed through their lives.amy welborn

I. Faith
  1. Introduction: Jesus is Born
  2. John the Baptist: A Hero Prepares the Way
  3. Early Christian Martyrs: Heroes are Faithful Friends
  4. Medieval Mystery Plays: Heroes Make the Bible Come to Life
  5. St. Albert the Great: Heroes Study God’s Creation
  6. Sister Blandina Segale: Heroes Work in Faith
II. Hope
  1. Introduction: Jesus Teaches
  2. Pentecost: Heroes on Fire with Hope
  3. Paul: A Hero Changes and Finds Hope
  4. St. Patrick and St. Columba: Heroes Bring Hope into Darkness
  5. St. Jane de Chantal: Heroes Hope through Loss
  6. St. Mary Faustina Kowalska: A Hero Finds Hope in Mercy
Charity
  1. Introduction: Jesus Works Miracles
  2. Peter and John: Heroes are Known by their Love
  3. St. Genevieve: A City is Saved by a Hero’s Charity
  4. St. Meinrad and St. Edmund Campion: Heroes love their Enemies
  5. Venerable Pierre Toussaint: A Hero Lives a Life of Charity
  6. Rose Hawthorne Lathrop: A Hero Cares for Those Who Need it Most
  7. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: A Hero Lives Charity with the Dying
Temperance
  1. Introduction: Jesus Strikes a Balance
  2. Peter and Cornelius: Heroes Love Their Neighbors
  3. Charlemagne and Alcuin: Heroes Use their Talents for Good
  4. St. Francis: A Hero Appreciates Creation
  5. Venerable Matt Talbot: Heroes Can Let Go
  6. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: A Hero Enjoys the Gift of Life
Prudence
    1. Introduction: Jesus Gives Us Leaders to Help us Make Good Choices
    2. Paul and Barnabas at Lystra: Heroes See the Good in All Things
    3. St. Jean de Brebeuf: A Hero Respects Others
    4. Catherine Doherty and Jean Vanier: Heroes Bring New Ideas
    5. Venerable Solanus Casey: A Hero Accepts His Life
    6. Blessed John XXIII: A Hero Finds a New Way

Friday, August 11

St. Clare of Assisi - August 11

Adventures in Assisi is the fruit of my interest in St. Francis as well as trips both Ann and I have taken to the town.  Ann has been twice, and I traveled there two years ago with my two youngest, on our epic 3-month stay in Europe.
  
There are, of course, many books on St. Francis for children, but ours is different in several ways:
(Click for full size)
1) It's set in the present. There are regular allusions to and illustrations from St. Francis' life, but the children at the center of the story are contemporary children, interacting with St. Francis, his life and his message, in the context of their own lives.
2) It's not about the wolf of Gubbio or the creche or St. Francis and creation - as great as those are, those stories are the subjects of most of the books about Francis out there, and really, do we need one more?
3) The children, we hope, are physically more representative of most children you see in picture books in general, and in picture books for Catholic in general, who tend to be pretty much all Caucasian.  This was quite important to me.  Given the makeup of the Catholic Church, even just in the US, it's ridiculous that the demographics of children's book illustrations don't reflect that.  The models for these children, incidentally, are Ann's family members.
More tomorrow!
More info here - with some inside views.

Adventures in Assisi by Amy Welborn

Wednesday, August 9

Catholic Bible Study Fall 2017

Looking for church Bible studies for the coming year? Here are two written by Amy Welborn
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  • The Word on Fire ministry is more than the Catholicism or Pivotal Players series – as great as they are! There are also some really great lecture series/group discussion offerings.  I wrote the study guide for the series on Conversion – a good Lenten topic. 

Monday, August 7

RCIA Classes in Catholic Parishes

The How To Book of the Mass by  Michael Dubruiel is a great resource for inquirers and RCIA sessions, which will be starting in many parishes soon.

You can find more information at this page. 

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In this complete guide you get:
  • step-by-step guidelines to walk you through the Mass
  • the Biblical roots of the various parts of the Mass and the very prayers themselves
  • helpful hints and insights from the Tradition of the Church
  • aids in overcoming distractions at Mass
  • ways to make every Mass a way to grow in your relationship with Jesus
If you want to learn what the Mass means to a truly Catholic life—and share this practice with others—you can’t be without The How-To Book of the Mass.
Discover how to:
  • Bless yourself
  • Make the Sign of the Cross
  • Genuflect
  • Pray before Mass
  • Join in Singing the Opening Hymn
  • Be penitential
  • Listen to the Scriptures
  • Hear a Great Homily Everytime
  • Intercede for others
  • Be a Good Steward
  • Give Thanks to God
  • Give the Sign of Peace
  • Receive the Eucharist
  • Receive a Blessing
  • Evangelize Others
  • Get something Out of Every Mass You Attend


“Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table ‘he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.”
1347, Catechism of the Catholic Church

Sunday, August 6

Praying with the Pivotal Players

Praying with the Pivotal Players is the most recent video and study series from Bishop Robert Barron.

Amy Welborn wrote the prayer  book accompanying the series:  Praying with the Pivotal Players. 
Each figure gets five segments. Each segment begins with a quote from their writings, even Michelangelo who left many letters and wrote poetry. This is followed up with some reflections and then some prayer and reflection prompts. The sections are thematically aligned with whatever is emphasized in the episodes. I wrote the book last fall, and really enjoyed the process. It gave me an opportunity to immerse myself in the writings of these figures and I learned quite a bit. The table of contents is on the website. 
The book is included as part of the parish program packet, but judging from what I see on Amazon, you should be able to purchase it by itself eventually.


"pivotal players"

Saturday, August 5

Catholic Parish Bible Study

Amy Welborn

Looking for a parish Bible study for this fall...or perhaps even this summer?


Through the Bible parables, Jesus reveals who he is and how we are to follow him. Learn how to relate the parables of Jesus to life today in Parables: Stories of the Kingdom.

It is a part of Loyola Press' Six Weeks With the Bible series, which provides individuals or groups plans for concise but thorough 90-minute sessions to learn about and discuss the pertinent Scriptural passages.  

Friday, August 4

St. John Vianney - August 4

St. John Vianney - August 4. 

Diary of a Country Priest was inspired by his life and ministry.

Note:This piece is one of a series on great Catholic fiction writers that I penned for Ligourian Magazine several years ago. My word count limit was - get this - 540 words. Unbelievable. Well, it was good money for the number of words,I'll say that. So if you're annoyed by the brevity of this piece, at least you know why it's so short now. Of course, there is much more to say on this book, as well as the very interesting life of Bernanos himself.

In the late 19th and early 20th century a philosophical perspective called positivism ruled the intellectual climate in France. Positivists like Emile Durkheim and Auguste Comte claimed that all one can know about human life is what can be observed and that the laws of behavior and society discerned from these observations should be used to organize human life.
Into this scientifically-based and utterly materialistic mileu stepped, one by one over the decades before and just after the First World War, a group of writers who formed what we now call the French Catholic Literary Revival. Francois Mauriac, Charles Peguy, Julien Green and Leon Bloy rejected positivism and reclaimed a vision of human beings essentially defined, not by scientific law, but rather by our relation to God and struggle with evil. One of the finest writers of this group was George Bernanos, author of Diary of a Country Priest.

Diary of a Country Priest, first published in 1936, is just what the title suggests: the fictional journal of a young curate in rural France. The premise may seem simple, but in Bernanos’ hands it emerges as a rich work in which the reader encounters the injustices of French society, the emptiness of an intellectual system that rejects God, the failure of the Church to fully embody Christ’s love for the poor, and above all, the power of a life dedicated to God.

The young priest whose life absorbs us in this novel has come from a background of poverty through seminary into this, his first parish experience, to which he is utterly dedicated. Besides conducting his sacramental duties, he commits himself to visit every family in his parish. He teaches catechism classes and attempts to organize a club for young men. He visits the sick, buries the dead, lives at a substistence level and is bedeviled by a serious illness that is ultimately diagnosed as stomach cancer, but not before it is mistaken for alchoholism by gossipy villagers.

Aside from these daily ministrations and struggles, Bernanos offers us his view of French church and society through the conversations the priest has with a variety of people, ranging from the atheist physician Delbende, the troubled child Seraphita who spreads rumors about the young priest at every opportunity, the more relaxed older priest de Torcy and most powerfully the deeply wounded local countess, who harbors bitter anger at God for death of her son.

What makes Diary of a Country Priest a novel that is read just as much for its spiritual value as well as its literary quality lies in the complex, realistic life of faith Bernanos constructs for his main character, a faith which stumbles in darkness at times, but is on the whole fervent, selfless and Christlike, even in the hostile reactions it sometimes evokes.



The final touch that heightens the personal drama in the priest’s soul is that he believes himself, if not a total failure, at the very least a terribly poor instrument of God’s grace. But what the reader discerns through the unaffected words is that even as he cannot see it himself, the effect of his witness and suffering on others is profound and powerfully embodies the words he speaks on his own deathbed: “Grace is everywhere…” - Amy Welborn

Thursday, August 3

Flannery O'Connor - died August 3 1964


August 3 (today) is the anniversary of American writer Flannery O'Connor's death in 1964.


Flannery O'Connor photo


Here's a link to an article Amy Welborn wrote about her.

An excerpt:

You could be forgiven if you begin to suspect at some point during your search for Flannery O’Connor’s grave that, at an incautious moment, you have somehow slipped right into the middle of a Flannery O’Connor story. 

After all, so far in this small town of Milledgeville, Georgia, about 35 miles east of Macon, you have passed a youth prison and a state mental hospital, homes to hundreds of troubled, unusual characters. You are surrounded by the plain fact of the south, from the ghostly, castle-like remains of the first state capital to the sight of an African-American UPS man emerging from the “Strictly Southern Heritage Gallery and Gift Shop,” a downtown business packed with Confederate memorabilia, including flags and bikinis made from flags. The store, a sign notes, is closed "Sundays and Southern holidays."

And when you finally reach it – kindly hauled in the caretaker’s rundown pickup truck on the suffocating summer day from one end of the cemetery, where you thought she might be, to the other end, where she is – you stand there, next to a stranger. "They still don’t want to claim her, do they," he comments wryly, reflecting on the complete lack of any directions to the grave of one of the 20th century’s most revered and intensely discussed writers, laid ot rest here 35 years ago last August. You nod in agreement and wonder who placed the broken plastic olive-colored Madonna above the name on the flat marble slab. And if you are finally conscious now of your place in the O’Connor universe, you will know to brace yourself; for any moment, grace may strike –and, no question, it will hurt. 


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