Sunday, June 30

Free Catholic Book

If you would like an simple introduction to this thought written for a popular audience, try my Come Meet Jesus: An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI.   by Amy Welborn
This book is centered on Christ as the center of Pope Benedict’s thought and work as theologian and vocation as Pope.   It seemed to me that he is “proposing pope benedict XVIJesus Christ” both to the world and to the Church.  He was about reweaving a tapestry that has been sorely frayed and tattered:
  • Offering the Good News to a broken humanity and a suffering world that in Jesus Christ, all of our yearnings and hopes are fulfilled and all of our sins forgiven.  We don’t know who we are or why we are here. In Christ, we discover why.  But it is more than an intellectual discovery. In Christ – in Christ – we are joined to him, and his love dwells within us, his presence lives and binds us.
  • Re-presenting Jesus Christ even to those of us who are members of the Body already.  This wise, experienced man has seen how Christians fall. How we forget what the point is. How we unconsciously adopt the call of the world to see our faith has nothing more than a worthy choice of an appealing story that gives us a vague hope because it is meaningful.   He is calling us to re-examine our own faith and see how we have been seduced by a view of faith that puts it in the category of “lifestyle choice.”
  • Challenging the modern ethos that separates “faith”  and “spirituality” from “religion” – an appeal that is made not only to non-believers, but to believers as well, believers who stay away from Church, who neglect or scorn religious devotions and practices, who reject the wisdom of the Church –  one cannot have Christ without Church.

Saturday, June 29

St. Peter and Paul - June 29

The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is June 29.  Introduce your children to more saints....

The Loyola Kids Book of Heroes by Amy Welborn

 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 WayThe Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is June 29.  Introduce your children to more saints....
    The Loyola Kids Book of Heroes

     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, June 28

June 28 - Feast of the Sacred Heart

June is dedicated in a special way to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

June 28 is the feast of the Sacred Heart.



Here are the pages on the Sacred Heart from The Loyola Kids Book of Catholic Signs and Symbols by Amy Welborn. 
Click on each image for a larger version.

As you can see, the structure of the book is: for every entry, the left-hand page features a beautiful illustration and a brief definition. On the facing page, you will find a longer explanation, suitable for older children.










More about the book - and the others in the series - here. 





Thursday, June 27

Catholic Bible Study

Parables: Stories of the Kingdom by Amy Welborn


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.
For busy adults who want to study the Bible but don’t know where to begin, Six Weeks with the Bible provides an inviting starting point. Each guide is divided into six concise, 90-minute segments that introduce one book of the Bible. All biblical text is printed in the guides, which means no additional study aids are required.

Wednesday, June 26

Bible Stories for Catholic Kids

The Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories by Amy Welborn





Written by popular Catholic children's author Amy Welborn, this beautifully illustrated collection of warm and engaging Bible stories for children and their families is arranged in a uniquely Catholic way—based on the liturgical year and the order in which they are proclaimed during Mass. Divided into five sections—Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, and Easter—each section is subdivided into Old and New Testament stories.
From the Creation to St. Paul, the charming illustrations in Loyola Kids Book of Bible Storiesand Welborn’s friendly writing style turn reading the Bible into an experience that draws families closer together and deeper into the heart of the Church.

Tuesday, June 25

The Lord's Prayer

A bit more, on a slightly different angle on the Lord's Prayer, from The Words We Pray by Amy Welborn. 






Traditional prayer, often considered rote, tends to be neglected by people who claim to take their faith seriously. In The Words We Pray, author Amy Welborn offers an insightful exploration into 18 traditional prayers and the vital spiritual role each one can play.
This enchanting prayer book includes the history and traditional use of each prayer as well as personal anecdotes to show why the body of Catholic traditional prayers is “a treasure worth rediscovering.” From the Psalms to traditional Marian prayers to the Lord’s Prayer to Amen, the prayers explored in The Words We Pray are gifts from the past that can greatly benefit our spiritual life today.

Monday, June 24

Nativity of St. John the Baptist - June 24

Today is the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
Nativity of John the Baptist
You probably already know that there are only three birthdays celebrated during the liturgical year: Jesus (December 25), Mary (September 8) and John - today.
The feast coincides with the summer solstice, so of course it's a time of celebration of the season as well, as ancient European traditions, many involving fire on the eve of the feast. This article from Dappled Things  is excellent:
Before it was the title of a Nikolai Gogol short story, St. John’s Eve was one of the most festive days of the year, and also one of the strangest. Much like All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, St. John’s Eve (June 23) was a night of revelry, bonfires, treat-begging, and terrifying incursions from the spirit world. The cultural weight of St. John’s Eve has faded in the West, aside from the occasional bonfire party.
A few nights ago I participated in a group reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a play set on this same night. The mythical Theseus is cast as the newlywed skeptic who disbelieves in fairies, trying to force an unwanted marriage on the poor Hermia. Meanwhile, the fairy-king Oberon is dealing with his own marital difficulties in questionable ways, particularly by making his queen Titania fall in love with a donkey-headed mortal actor. Many romantic hijinks later, and all the lovers have finally settled with the beloveds they desired. It’s not exactly a St. John’s Eve festival, but the feast’s customary ties to nuptial ceremonies are evident throughout.
Why has Halloween found purchase in popular culture, even to the point of absurd excess, while the spooky June holy day has fallen into disuse? Maybe because our increasingly irreligious society can only bear one annual celebration of preternatural invasions. Maybe the autumn weather has something to do with it—there is something romantically melancholy about the chill air and falling leaves. Maybe its questionable ties to a pagan Celtic festival has given Halloween the aspect of forbidden, and therefore desirable, fruit.
St. John’s birth (his beheading has its own feast day) was heralded by one such fantastical invasion, when St. Gabriel frightened the prophet’s poor father dumb. The closing “Night on Bald Mountain” sequence of Disney’s Fantasia is a St. John’s Eve story, and one could truly imagine the Devil retreating in cowardice at the birth of the Forerunner of Christ. Who knows what temptations the adult John had to face in the desert, but surely they could have competed with St. Anthony’s. The bonfires too are a reminder of the Gospel description of John: “He was a burning and a shining light, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.”
And although the Gospel of the day is, of course, the narrative of the announcement of John's birth to his father in the Temple, the feast nonetheless puts us in mind of what John, as an adult,  said of his role in salvation history:
He must increase; I must decrease.
(John 3:30)
In various other places (can't remember where - sorry) I have read the observation which I'll share with you - we celebrate the coming of John, the Forerunner, on days after  the longest days in which time and seasons turn and after which, the light of day begins to fade, ever so gradually.
I must decrease...
The birth of Christ is celebrated in the days when, finally, after weeks of growing darkness, light gains the upper hand again..
He must increase...


 

Sunday, June 23

Feast of Corpus Christi

Eucharist means..."thanksgiving"

Michael Dubruiel wrote a book to help people deepen their experience of the Mass.  He titled it, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist.  You can read about it here. 



How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist gives you nine concrete steps to help you join your own sacrifice to the sacrifice of Christ as you:
  • Serve: Obey the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the first Eucharist.
  • Adore: Put aside anything that seems to rival God in importance.
  • Confess: Believe in God’s power to make up for your weaknesses.
  • Respond" Answer in gesture, word, and song in unity with the Body of Christ.
  • Incline: Listen with your whole being to the Word of God.
  • Fast: Bring your appetites and desires to the Eucharist.
  • Invite: Open yourself to an encounter with Jesus.
  • Commune: Accept the gift of Christ in the Eucharist.
  • Evangelize :Take him and share the Lord with others.


Filled with true examples, solid prayer-helps, and sound advice, How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist shows you how to properly balance the Mass as a holy banquet with the Mass as a holy sacrifice. With its references to Scripture, quotations from the writings and prayers of the saints, and practical aids for overcoming distractions one can encounter at Mass, this book guides readers to embrace the Mass as if they were attending the Last Supper itself.

Saturday, June 22

St. Thomas More for Kids - June 22

June 22 is the feast day of St. Thomas More.  

He is featured in the children's book, Be Saints! by Amy Welborn

amy welborn



His story is in this book:

The Loyola Kids' Book of Saints

 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

-Be Saints! and The Loyola Kids' Book of Catholic Saints by Amy Welborn

Friday, June 21

All About Catholic Prayers

The Words We Pray by Amy Welborn is a collection of short essays that reflect on the meaning of traditional Catholic prayers, tying together history, theology, spirituality, and personal devotion.

Read more about it here.
The monks raised their voices in hope at the end of each phrase, and then paused a great pause in between, letting the hope rise and then settle back into their hearts. My own heart rushed, unbidden by me, uncontrolled, right into those pauses and joined the prayer. A prayer written by a eleventh-century bedridden brother, chanted by monks in the middle of Georgia, and joined by me and the silent folk scattered in the pews around me, each with his or her own reasons to beg the Virgin for her prayers.
And we weren’t the only ones joined in that prayer. With us was a great throng of other Christians who had prayed it over the centuries, and who are praying it at this very moment.
My days as a prayer snob were over.

It would be a great resource for inquirers into the Catholic faith.  

Thursday, June 20

Feast of Corpus Christi with the Pope


"amy welborn"


Friendship With Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion 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.







Wednesday, June 19

Amy Welborn in Living Faith

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

Today, June 19:

Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.

- 2 Corinthians 9:8

This time of year is one of transition, isn't it? Sacraments are celebrated, graduations dot the calendar. Everyone, it seems, is moving from one stage to the next. For us, it's about my second-to-last son graduating from high school this month and starting college in the fall. Since he is the fourth of five, in one sense, it's all old hat to me. But of course, because he's different, this is different.



MORE


June 4:

My hairdresser shared, out of the blue, that the guy she's dating is a widower with a child and what a struggle that is--something I can directly relate to. Then she started talking about her mother's family tussling over their grandparents' estate. I've experienced the estate part, if not the tussling, and I think what I had to offer might have helped the situation.


Connections are everywhere, and as we discover those connections and share our experiences, we work with the Lord, sharing each other's burdens.

MORE

 February 13:

Just about my least favorite thing about raising children is anything having to do with new drivers. I don't want them to be hurt, and just as deeply, I don't want them to hurt others. Of course, the new driver in question invariably dismisses my fretting, confident as young people tend to be.

MORE


 January 28:

My son had complained of aching knees for a while until finally he said he thought it merited a trip to the doctor. So X-rays were taken, the doctor twisted and turned my son's limbs and finally announced, "Hypermobility." His very flexible tissues, tendons and muscles ached from the strain of doing their job. There was no fix. He'd just have to live with it.

MORE

December 26

 December 19:

During Advent, in these days leading to Christmas, my days and evenings are marked by familiar rituals of all kinds.

I pray at Mass, of course. And in the Scriptures, prayers and music, I am eased into the journey of waiting and hope. Candles glimmer from my mother's Advent wreath. We hang the wooden "O Antiphon" crafts my sons made years ago. The lights, the recipes, the scents of these days create a place that I know.




MORE



November 17

Last Thanksgiving, a local restaurant offered a free meal. If you could pay, fine, and any money would go to a shelter. If you were unable to pay, that didn't matter. The doors were open, the table was set, and you were welcome to the feast.

MORE

 November 5:

I am surrounded by people just trying to do the right thing. Sometimes we make the right decisions, sometimes the wrong ones. We correct our mistakes, try to do better and bear it all patiently, never forgetting our own limitations and our own missed calls.


MORE

October 4:

He was called Il Poverello--the little poor one--and we very strongly and rightly associate St. Francis of Assisi with poverty. We love him because in him we see that it is, indeed, possible to live the call of Jesus, to follow in a radical way, with nowhere to rest our head, trusting in God alone on the journey.


MORE




 September 24

As a word person, I have always loved word games, especially Scrabble. I was recently introduced to another game that is similar but different.




 August 23:

What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?- Matthew 20:14-15I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a local park, preparing for a run. My door was open, and stuffed in the side pocket were some packs of children's religious materials I'd been sent as samples. I was going to leave them at church.


MORE

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.



MORE 



 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.

More 

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.
More

, 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.







"amy welborn"

Recently:



The webpage for Living Faith is here.

Living Faith is a print publication - available in Spanish and English - but a digital edition is available as well.

More information on the digital edition is here. 

Follow Living Faith on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 18

Summer Reading for Catholic Teens

Prove It: You

The final book in the series by Amy Welborn
isn't apologetics, but a guide to discipleship. How can a teen live joyfully and amy welbornfaithfully? What does it mean to do that? What's right and what's wrong? What's my life for?
  • Who Am I
  • Sure, I Want to Be a Good Person, But...How?
  • What's Jesus Got To Do With It?
  • It Was Only a Little Lie. So?
  • I've Got All The Time In The World...Don't I?
  • Love Who? Everyone? Really?
  • It's My Body. All Mine.
  • How Far Can I Go?
  • Whose Life Is Worth Living?
  • It's A Big World With Too Many Problems.  Can't I Just Live My Life?
  • "Be Not Afraid"
I know that you as young people have great aspirations, that you want to pledge yourselves to build a better world . Let others see this, let the world see it, since this is exactly the witness that the world expects from the disciples of 

Monday, June 17

Saints for Catholic Kids

St. George is in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints by Amy Welborn.  In the first part of the chapter I try to strike the balance between what we think we know about George and the legendary material. But I also always try to respect the legendary material as an expression of a truth - here, the courage required to follow Christ. He's in the section, "Saints are people who are brave."


"amy Welborn"
EPSON MFP image
"amy Welborn"



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Sunday, June 16

Catholic Education for Children

EPSON MFP image

Then, the first page of the entry on "Shepherd" from The Loyola Kids Book of Signs and Symbols. Remember how the book is organized - this first page has a basic explanation, and then the facing page has a more in-depth exploration of the symbol.

The Loyola Kids Book of Signs and Symbols by Amy Welborn. 



For centuries people learned about the Christian faith through paintings, sculptures, objects, and gestures. Simple images still convey deep messages if we learn how to see and understand them. Award-winning children’s author Amy Welborn has created a friendly and fascinating sourcebook on the signs and symbols of the Catholic faith. The exquisite illustrations throughout will inspire conversation and prayerful reflection for readers of all ages. Each image appears with a brief, child-friendly explanation coupled with a more detailed description on the opposite page.
From the sign of the fish to the Stations of the Cross, from the palm branch to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Loyola Kids Book of Catholic Signs and Symbols will enable children and adults to experience faith with curiosity and wonder.​

Saturday, June 15

Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor photo


Here's a link to an article I wrote about my literary hero years ago. 

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.  - Amy Welborn

Friday, June 14

St. Joan of Arc for Kids

St. Joan of Arc.  Here’s the entry on her  from The Loyola Kids Book of Saints.  Her feastday was May 30, but it's always worth reading about her. More in the book.






The Loyola Kids' Book of Saints

 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 Mollaamy welborn

Saints 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

Thursday, June 13

St. Anthony of Padua for Kids

June 13 is the feastday of St. Anthony of Padua.  Here is an excerpt about him from The Loyola Kids Book of Saints:

Then one day something happened that was almost as strange as the ship wandering off course. There was a large meeting of Franciscans and Dominicans, but oddly enough, the plans for who would give the sermon at the meeting fell through. There were plenty of fine preachers present, but none of them were prepared.
Those in charge of the meeting went down the line of friars. “Would you care to give the sermon, Brother? No? What about you, Father? No? Well, what about you, Fr. Anthony—is that your name?”
Slowly, Anthony rose, and just as slowly, he began to speak. The other friars sat up to listen. There was something very special about Anthony. He didn't use complicated language, but his holiness and love for God shone through his words. He was one of the best preachers they had ever heard!
From that point on, Anthony's quiet life in the hospital kitchen was over. For the rest of his life, he traveled around Italy and France, preaching sermons in churches and town squares to people who came from miles around.
His listeners heard Anthony speak about how important it is for us to live every day in God's presence. As a result of his words, hundreds of people changed their lives and bad habits, bringing Jesus back into their hearts.


The Loyola Kids' Book of Saints by Amy Welborn

 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

Buy this at Aquinas and More Catholic Goods
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Wednesday, June 12

Amy Welborn Interview


Q.  As I wrote in my review, “If you’ve been through the loss of someone dear, Wish You Were Here will just make sense….Your’re fine, and then you’re not.  You’re overwhelmed with sadness, and then you have hope.  You cling to your faith, but you have doubts and questions and what-ifs.”  Did you realize how much you were writing for so many other people when you wrote about your own experience of grief?
A.  I didn't realize, but I hoped I was. That was the only reason to write it: to help other people.  I don't mean that to be pretentious. It's just true. I was helped by other people's writing about their own experiences - everyone from the well-known like C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed) and Kathleen Norris (Acedie) to simply bloggers sharing their own experiences of grief - that I hoped I could contribute a helpful voice to that never-ending conversation.
Q.  I wrote down so many quotes from the book it slowed me down!  Your writing is so “quotable” and looks effortless.  Do you find writing easy, or is it a hard process for you? 
A. Thank you.  It's both.  Journaling is effortless, but shaping it is far more difficult. But I actually enjoy the editing process quite a bit.  That is when the real writing actually happens.
Q.  Very recently, you lost your father as well.  Do you mind if I ask if this grieving is different, or if it is hard to be discussing this book when going through another loss?
A.  It's a different experience, to be sure.  My father was older and quite ill - and had beaten a lot of odds to even get to the point that he was.  But the other thing - and this is quite important - is that Mike's death really changed me and my own stance toward death.  I have really committed myself to living what I profess in the Creed every Sunday about life, death and resurrection. 

Tuesday, June 11

Gifts for Catholic Graduates

This series of apologetics works for Catholic teens and young adults encompasses the diverse questions Catholic teens have in their own hearts about faith, and those they are asked by others.

Prove It: God I Don't Believe in God Because....
amy welborn
  • ...No One Can Prove He Exists
  • ...Science Shows That the Universe Exists Without a God
  • ...People Could Have Just Made the Stuff in the Bible up
  • ...It’s So Difficult to Find Him
  • ...People Have So Many Different Ideas About Him
  • ...There are So Many Hypocrites in Churches
  • ...People Do Such Horrible Things in the Name of Religion
  • ...It’s What I Believe and I Don’t Need Anyone Else to Tell Me What to Believe!
  • ...I Want to Be Free to Be Myself
  • ...I Don’t Need Him
  • ...Innocent People Suffer

Monday, June 10

Catholic Bible Study by Amy Welborn

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.  

Sunday, June 9

Pentecost - a Glorious Mystery of the Rosary

May is Mary's month, a month we pay special attention to the rosary.  Check out this small hardbound book,  Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.

"Michael Dubruiel"


The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].


As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.


Saturday, June 8

Pentecost for Kids

Pentecost is one of the events in The Loyola Kids Book of Heroes.  by Amy Welborn.
(The book is structured around the virtues. Each section begins with an event from Scripture that illustrates one of those virtues, followed by stories of people and events from church history that do so as well)
amy-welborn-books

Friday, June 7

Summer Reading for Catholic Teens

Prove It: Jesus by Amy Welborn

amy welbornI’ve Always Wondered….
  1. …Is What the Gospels Say About Jesus True?
  2. …What Are the Basic Facts About Jesus?
  3. …What Did Jesus Really Teach?
  4. …Did Jesus Really Perform Miracles?
  5. …Why Was Jesus Executed?
  6. …Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?
  7. …When Is Jesus Going to Come Again?
  8. …Was Jesus Really God?
  9. …How Could Jesus Be Both God and Human?
  10. …Why Did Jesus Come at All, and What Does It Mean for Me Today?
Excerpt from Prove It: Jesus

A resource for teen catechesis and Catholic youth ministry

Thursday, June 6

Summer Reading for Catholic Kids

The Loyola Kids Book of Heroes Amy Welborn

 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

Wednesday, June 5

St. Boniface for Kids - June 5





The Loyola Kids' Book of Saints by Amy Welborn

 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 Mollaamy welborn

Saints 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

Tuesday, June 4

Amy Welborn in Living Faith

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


today, June 4:

My hairdresser shared, out of the blue, that the guy she's dating is a widower with a child and what a struggle that is--something I can directly relate to. Then she started talking about her mother's family tussling over their grandparents' estate. I've experienced the estate part, if not the tussling, and I think what I had to offer might have helped the situation.


Connections are everywhere, and as we discover those connections and share our experiences, we work with the Lord, sharing each other's burdens.

MORE

 February 13:

Just about my least favorite thing about raising children is anything having to do with new drivers. I don't want them to be hurt, and just as deeply, I don't want them to hurt others. Of course, the new driver in question invariably dismisses my fretting, confident as young people tend to be.

MORE


 January 28:

My son had complained of aching knees for a while until finally he said he thought it merited a trip to the doctor. So X-rays were taken, the doctor twisted and turned my son's limbs and finally announced, "Hypermobility." His very flexible tissues, tendons and muscles ached from the strain of doing their job. There was no fix. He'd just have to live with it.

MORE

December 26

 December 19:

During Advent, in these days leading to Christmas, my days and evenings are marked by familiar rituals of all kinds.

I pray at Mass, of course. And in the Scriptures, prayers and music, I am eased into the journey of waiting and hope. Candles glimmer from my mother's Advent wreath. We hang the wooden "O Antiphon" crafts my sons made years ago. The lights, the recipes, the scents of these days create a place that I know.




MORE



November 17

Last Thanksgiving, a local restaurant offered a free meal. If you could pay, fine, and any money would go to a shelter. If you were unable to pay, that didn't matter. The doors were open, the table was set, and you were welcome to the feast.

MORE

 November 5:

I am surrounded by people just trying to do the right thing. Sometimes we make the right decisions, sometimes the wrong ones. We correct our mistakes, try to do better and bear it all patiently, never forgetting our own limitations and our own missed calls.


MORE

October 4:

He was called Il Poverello--the little poor one--and we very strongly and rightly associate St. Francis of Assisi with poverty. We love him because in him we see that it is, indeed, possible to live the call of Jesus, to follow in a radical way, with nowhere to rest our head, trusting in God alone on the journey.


MORE




 September 24

As a word person, I have always loved word games, especially Scrabble. I was recently introduced to another game that is similar but different.




 August 23:

What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?- Matthew 20:14-15I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a local park, preparing for a run. My door was open, and stuffed in the side pocket were some packs of children's religious materials I'd been sent as samples. I was going to leave them at church.


MORE

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.



MORE 



 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.

More 

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.
More

, 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.







"amy welborn"

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