Sunday, August 18

Books for Catholic Schools






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.​




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Saturday, August 17

Gift for Catholic College Student



Here's a book that might be helpful to a young Catholic heading off to college - or just trying to figure out how to be an adult disciple of Jesus.

Here, Now. A Catholic Guide to the Good life by Amy Welborn. 

It's a book, quite simply, about discipleship, written for young adult Catholics.

From the Introduction:
Forget everything you thought you knew about Jesus. Now, listen.
It’s a bright clear day in Galilee, and this man, this friendly, intense and in ways mysterious Jesus gets off a boat in a place called Gerasene, right on the lake.
As usual, he’s got his friends with him, friends who sometimes get him, but more often, don’t. But they stick with him anyway, because this whole thing seems to be about something other than achieving untouchable intellectual precision and understanding. Something.
The group comes ashore, and a man meets them. The man is crazy, they say. Or worse, possessed. So deeply taken up by evil, death and pain that he lives in the most appropriate place: among the tombs. The dead, because he might as well be.
Jesus takes a look. Asks a question.
(“What is your name?” “Legion!” is the answer. Many. An army of evil, killing the soul, draining it of life and hope.)
And Jesus drives the demons out – into a herd of pigs. They run off a cliff.
They’re gone, those demons. The man is free. He puts his clothes on, he’s at peace, he’s ready to live again, to climb out of the tombs, his prison and his chains. He meets his fellow villagers.
They are petrified.
The villagers, the witnesses to this transformation, turn to Jesus and beg him – to help them?
No.
They beg him to get out. Leave, they say. Go back across the lake. Please.
So he does, but only after taking the formerly dead, now fully alive man, eyes wide open, aside and telling him – you go, too. Leave these tombs and go back home. Go tell what God has done for you. Do it now. (Mk 5:1-20)
What’s wrong with these people? They saw death turn to life, evil to joy and promise, and they respond - with fear? They beg the one who brought that life, who drew this poor guy out of the tombs into the sunlight and freedom to leave them?
Given the choice between pain and joy, they choose …pain?
Why?
Why. Good question. Great question.
Why do we do this? Because, you know, we do – all the time. We say we want to be happy and at peace, we really, really do…but when the hand reaches out to us…we turn away, close the door, and tell him to go back across the lake. Please.
This book is about Jesus. It’s also about the man living in the tombs, the villagers, and us.
You want to be happy, and so do I. Is it possible? Or, more importantly, is it possible to find a happiness that lasts, that we can’t lose?
Is it possible to climb out of the tombs and stay out?
Jesus, obviously, says yes.
Why are we so afraid of that yes?
A lot of the time we think of our relationship with God as something that’s just about the future. We’ll be more serious about it when we’re a bit older, or when we’re settled in careers, or married and have kids. In the future.
We’ll have plenty of time, we say.
Time for what?

Friday, August 16

Assumption of Mary - E-book on Mary

Mary and the Christian Life by Amy Welborn  was published by Word Among Press in 2008.

"amy welborn"




Review from Sarah Reinhard : 

In less than 150 pages, Welborn shares relevant history, devotions, and thoughts on the Blessed Virgin. Her language is so accessible, so real, that I almost feel like she was sitting across the table from me as I drank coffee and devoured the book.

If you're unsure about devotion to Mary and why it's important, this is a great book to introduce you to it without hitting you over the head with it. If you're grounded in your Marian approach, pick up this book and find yourself reminded of the beauty of the simple, of the richness of the history, and of the thoughts of great minds before us about Mary.





Thursday, August 15

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 15:

Sometimes I try to imagine my Christian faith without Mary, and I can't. She provides the answer to the question of how to respond to Jesus--which is the central question of the spiritual life. She teaches me how to welcome Jesus into my life, how to be taught by him, how to say yes, how to live in hope.



MORE



 July 18:

I don't have as many anxiety dreams as I used to. But when they occur, they share the same setting as they always have: I'm in the classroom, either as a student or a teacher, unprepared to either take or give an exam. Or I have to get to school and I just can't.

What a relief it is to realize--either in the midst of it or upon awaking--that it was, indeed, just a dream.



 July 3


A long time ago, my oldest son stumbled in the kitchen. A knife in the cutlery rack of the open dishwasher door stabbed his leg and he had to get stitches. Now, 20 years later, you can still see the scar. I glance at my forearm and a darkened crescent shape reminds me of the time I burned myself with an iron.

Whether we are children or adults, we relish battle scars. We compare them, check to see if they are still visible. They are evidence of adventures, mistakes, and they are signs of surprising strength. We recognize ourselves, in part, through our scars.



MORE

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 June 22:

When I was a child, I used to frustrate my parents--so they told me later--because when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I would shrug and say that I couldn't think of anything. I told them that whatever they gave would be all right.

I don't share this so you can file it away in my canonization file: "Even as a child, she eschewed the false glitter of the world..." Far from it! 


MORE


 May 14:


I'm taking a stand in defense of paint. Specifically, paint drying. What is it we say when we want to express deadly dullness? "It's like watching paint dry."


MORE



 April 30

I was in a boat on a lake in Central America and feeling guilty about it. My youngest son, asked where he'd like to go on a summer trip, had answered "Mayan ruins in Guatemala." So here we were. Who does that? "Ridiculous," I thought. What an overprivileged pair!



MORE



 April 15:

The garage doors had been inoperable for months, mostly because I was convinced it would be an expensive repair. A handyman, here on another job, snapped a part into place, pushed a button--done.
I was both joyful and shamed because of the easy fix. I was elated at the simplicity and zero cost, but a little embarrassed that I'd not understood that the situation wasn't really that complicated after all.\

MORE

 March 31:

I don't remember my baptism. There aren't even any photographs of the event. But it happened. And, indeed, as a tiny baby there in Bloomington, Indiana, I died and rose with Christ, and here I am.



MORE

 February 25:



When my children see a wasp outside the house, I ask them to please not race away in fear. Do themselves, and the rest of us, a favor, I say, and follow it, at least with their eyes. For if there is a wasp floating about, it's likely because it has a home--one that's probably attached to our home somehow, under an eave or in a doorframe. If we follow it to its source instead of just running in fear, we might eliminate a lot of future problems.

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February 22 - the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

When I think about each of the important older people in my life (all deceased because I'm one of the older ones now), all are associated with a chair.
My father's preferred spot was his desk chair in his study. My mother spent her days in her comfortable chair in the corner, surrounded by books. My great-aunt was not to be disturbed as she watched afternoon soap operas from her wingback chair. My grandfather had his leather-covered lounger, its arms dotted with holes burned by cigars.



More



 January 29:

Inside this church, it is warm and dry. Light filters through stained glass and shines on friendly, familiar faces. Led by the choir, we chant praise, joining our voices to the saints. The Lord comes among us.

As I pause at the church door on my way out, I'm met by the chill that lies outside. I know that I'll encounter strangers and much that's unfamiliar out there. It's far more comfortable inside.

MORE

 January 7:

I would have just driven on by. But my son, always alert to the mysteries that nature holds, had been paying attention, so he was able to see. And so Magi, wise and observant of God's ways in the world, were led by the light to his son.

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.




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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.


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 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.


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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.



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.






"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.

Wednesday, August 14

August 14 - St. Maximilian Kolbe


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

Tuesday, August 13

Amy Welborn's Books

Books by Amy Welborn





Here's a list of books I've written over the past few years.

The links take you to Amazon or another bookseller or the publisher.



The Catholic Woman's Book of Days is a 365-day devotional for Catholic women. It is loosely tied to the liturgical year, is a very handy size, and features special devotions for several saints. It is not structured to be tied to any particular year. So it's sort of perennial. And no, I don't know about the crosses on the cover. People always ask me about them, thinking they're mine. You can take a look inside the devotional, including several entries for January and June here. Mary and the Christian Life is a simple book introducing the reader to Mary: what Scripture says about her, what Tradition teaches, and how all of that relates to our lives as disciples of Jesus. I pull in devotions, prayers and even plants. (This is now out of print. But I see several new and used copies still available at Amazon.)

Come Meet Jesus: An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI is a book that I hope will serve as a simple, popular introduction to the theological and pastoral mind of the Holy Father. You can see the table of contents and read excerpts here.  Sticking with the Pope Benedict theme - 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. Here's an interview with Ann about the book on the Ignatius Press site. Another interview with her at the Patheos site. The Catholic Truth Society has just (January 2011) published another book illustrated by Ann and edited by me, based on another dialogue - the Holy Father's "Big Assembly" with schoolchildren in England in September 2010. It's called Be Saints! An Invitation from pope Benedict XVI

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 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 The Loyola Kids Book of Heroes More saints' lives, organized according to the virtues they expressed through their lives. 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

The Prove It series - apologetics for teens and young adults.

Prove It: God

I Don't Believe in God Because....
  • ...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

Prove It: Church

  1. What Church Do You Go To?
  2. Why Isn’t Your Church a ‘Bible Only’ Church?
  3. Why Don’t You Read the Bible Literally?
  4. Why Aren’t Some of Your Beliefs in the Bible?
  5. Why Doesn’t Your Church Let You Interpret Scripture?
  6. Why Has Your Church Added Books to the Bible?
  7. Why Were You Baptized as a Baby?
  8. Why Aren’t You Saved?
  9. Why Does Your Church Say You’re Saved by Works, Not by Faith?
  10. Why Do You Pray to Saints?
  11. Why Do You Honor Mary So Much?
  12. Why Does Your Church Have Statues?
  13. Why Do you Believe That the Pope is Infallible?
  14. Why Do You Confess to a Priest?
  15. Why Do You Call Priests, “Father?”
  16. Why Do You Believe In Purgatory?

Prove It: Jesus

I’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

Prove It; Prayer

Section 1 I Don’t Pray Because….
  1. …God’s In My Heart All the Time
  2. …God Already Knows Everything I Feel: I Don’t Have to Tell Him
  3. …God’s In Control: My Prayer Doesn’t Influence Him
Section II I Want to Pray, But It’s Difficult Because…
  1. …I’m Too Busy
  2. …I Don’t Know Where to Start
  3. …Meditation is Weird
  4. …I Can’t Concentrate
  5. …The Bible is Too Hard to Read
  6. …Memorized Prayers Are Meaningless
  7. …I don’t Know Whether It’s God I’m Hearing, or Just Me
Epilogue: Prayer and the Rest of Your Life
Excerpt from Prove It: Prayer.

Prove It: You

The final book in the series isn't apologetics, but a guide to discipleship. How can a teen live joyfully and faithfully? 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 Jesus Christ; in this way, and through your love above all, the world will be able to disvoer the star that we follow as believers. - Pope Benedict XVI, homily, World Youth Day, Cologne, Germany, 8/21/2005

Here. Now. A Catholic Guide to the Good Life was written for young adults. In it, I'm trying to help young adults see how the needs and desires and yearnings they experience are answered in Christ, and that Christ is found in His Church. I wrote it after, in the space of a week, visiting my two young adult sons and then spending time at the enormous Christian Booksellers' Association trade show, then pondering the myriad of resources and energies that evangelical Christians dedicate to young adults and comparing that to what Catholic resources and support are out there.
***crickets*** So I wrote this book. "Good" has a double meaning. It means a life that's experienced as good - as joyful and peace-filled. It also means a life that is, well, good , as in virtuous. The latter leading to the former, of course. It's also a shout-out to Augustine, of De Beata Vita fame. And a few other things. You can read the introduction here. The Words We Pray is a collection of essays on the prayers listed below - traditional Catholic prayers. In the book, I make the case for praying these prayers, suggesting that there is great value in joining our own hearts to the prayers of the Scriptures and of the saints. They're a little bit of history and a little bit personal reflection. It's probably my favorite of all the books I've written. More information
  • The Sign of the Cross
  • The Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Credo
  • The Morning Offering
  • Salve Regina
  • The Act of Contrition
  • The Jesus Prayer
  • Anima Christi
  • Angel Prayers
  • Prayers of St. Francis
  • St. Patrick's Breastplate
  • Memorare
  • Suscipe
  • Veni Creator Spiritus
  • Grace at Meals
  • The Liturgy of the Hours
  • Glory Be
  • Amen
  • Where Do My Prayers Go?
  • Using Vocal Prayer
There's a great deal of material out there on Mary Magdalene, it's true. Some of the scholarly material is really fine, but too many of the books for popular audiences are informed by one ideology or another, or fall completely into fantasy. In De-coding Mary Magdalene I stick to the facts - what we know about Mary Magdalene from the Gospels, and then how Christian tradition in both East and West continued to meditate on the figure of Mary Magdalene, seeing in her the model disciple - and weaving all kinds of fascinating legends around her as well. Here's the bottom line: The Da Vinci Code propogates the lie that Christianity through the ages marginalized and demonized Mary Magdalene as a "whore" in order to minimize her impact. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Mary Magdalene was the second most popular saint of the Middle Ages. And do catch that word - saint - Honoring someone as a saint (feastday July 22) is a truly odd way of "demonizing" a person. Don't you think? So - come meet Mary Magdalene - as she comes to us in the Gospels, as Christians imagined her through the ages as they contemplated her fidelity and discipleship, and how some contemporary interpreters get her so completely wrong. Table of Contents
  • Mary of Magdala
  • "Why Are You Weeping?
  • The Real Mary?
  • Apostle to the Apostles
  • Which Mary?
  • The Golden Legend
  • Touching the Magdalene
  • To the East
  • The Penitent
  • Mary and the Mystics
  • The Magdalene in Art
  • Rediscovery
amy welbornMy paen to Dan Brown:
  • "Only a Novel?"
  • Secrets and Lies
  • Who picked the Gospels?
  • Divine Election
  • Toppled Kings?
  • Mary, Called Magdalene
  • The Age of the Goddess?
  • Stolen Gods? Christianity and the Mystery Religions
  • Surely, He Got Leonardo Da Vinci Right?
  • The Grail, the Priory and the Knights Templar
  • The Catholic Code
More information.

Other books: From Loyola Press' 6 Weeks With the Bible series (for group and individual study)Matthew: Jesus' Life-Giving Death. Chapters 26-28

Monday, August 12

Prove It God by Amy Welborn

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

More information here.

Prove It Books by Amy Welborn

Sunday, August 11

Clare of Assisi - August 11

Adventures in Assisi by Amy Welborn 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!

Saturday, August 10

Prove It: Jesus by Amy Welborn




Prove It: Jesus

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of 
 

Prove It: Jesus by Amy Welborn


I've Always Wondered...
What Are the Basic Facts About Jesus?


If you’re like a lot of young people I’ve known, there are a couple of aspects to this Jesus story that drive you absolutely batty.
Actually, it’s not what’s said, but what’s unsaid.
*What did Jesus look like?
And…
*What in the world was he doing up until his public ministry?
That last question has a lot of subheadings, by the way. What was Jesus like as a child? What were his teen years like? Did Jesus ever fall in love? Did he ever have conflicts with Mary and Joseph? Did he like to have fun with his friends, or did he just sit around all day building stuff and studying the Scriptures?
(Oh yeah – about that studying stuff. If Jesus was fully God, would he have had to study and learn at all? But doesn’t the Bible say that “Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man?” (Luke 2:52). How does all that fit together? I know, I know – but you’ll just have to wait until Section II for that knotty discussion).
In fact, some kids even get irritated at the Gospel writers for not including that kind of information.
“Didn’t they know that we’d be interested in that stuff?” they wonder.
The fact is – no. They didn’t.
Remember what a Gospel is. It’s not a modern biography, reflecting modern interests in the everyday details of a person’s life. If it were a biography, that’s exactly what we’d call it.
But we don’t. We call it a Gospel – a written account of the Good News of God become human in Jesus of Nazareth. The evangelists were interested in conveying the information that was most pertinent to that cause, not just heaping all kinds of detail that really didn’t relate. Not that they didn’t know more about Jesus than they wrote, mind you. Listen to what John says at the end of his gospel:

There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. (John 21: 25)
So this is what it all comes down to: the evangelists were doing some very focused work as they listened to the stories about Jesus that had been passed down by reliable sources. They were focused because, from a very practical standpoint, their physical resources were limited: they couldn't just run down to the office supply store to pick up another ream of paper to accommodate all that they knew about Jesus. For that very practical reason, they had to make choices about what was most important to communicate.
But there was also a theological reason for the evangelists’ selectivity.
Think about the times you’ve had to relate a story – perhaps you had to tell your parents about a rather unpleasant occurrence at school, one that you wished had never occurred, but did nonetheless, right in the middle of English class, right in front of the very surprised teacher who had no idea you felt so strongly about Geoffrey Chaucer, one way or the other.
How do you tell the story of what happened? Even if you’re committed to an absolutely honest retelling, you know that you wouldn’t have the time to go over every little detail of the scene, nor would you be able to go into an extensive account of even your own, admittedly murky motivation for saying what you said.
Just like the Gospel writers, you’re limited. They didn’t have a lot of papyrus to spare, and your Mom’s face tells you don’t have much time to waste in explaining this mess. The Gospel writers had a very specific purpose – to give the world the evidence that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and your purpose, while much different, is very focused and precise, too – to tell the truth about your actions, with a minimum of fallout.
That’s all just a very long way of saying this: the Gospel writers, as much as we might wish they were, simply weren’t interested in what they saw as marginally important details about Jesus’ childhood and appearance. In other words, they didn’t care. They cared about the essence of what Jesus was all about: the loving, forgiving, saving Presence of God among us who’d preached, healed, died, and risen. So perhaps we should take it as a hint: if that’s what they were interested in, that’s what we should be up to exploring as well!




Back to main Prove It page

Friday, August 9

Edith Stein - August 9

amy-welborn2edith-stein



Today: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - Edith Stein. 
She's in 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

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

Thursday, August 8

August 8 St. Dominic

EPSON MFP imageamy_welborn


He's in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints by Amy Welborn
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

  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

Wednesday, August 7

Prove It Church by Amy Welborn


Is Prove It Church required for your Catholic school theology class?

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

Prove It: Churchamy welborn

  1. What Church Do You Go To?
  2. Why Isn’t Your Church a ‘Bible Only’ Church?
  3. Why Don’t You Read the Bible Literally?
  4. Why Aren’t Some of Your Beliefs in the Bible?
  5. Why Doesn’t Your Church Let You Interpret Scripture?
  6. Why Has Your Church Added Books to the Bible?
  7. Why Were You Baptized as a Baby?
  8. Why Aren’t You Saved?
  9. Why Does Your Church Say You’re Saved by Works, Not by Faith?
  10. Why Do You Pray to Saints?
  11. Why Do You Honor Mary So Much?
  12. Why Does Your Church Have Statues?
  13. Why Do you Believe That the Pope is Infallible?
  14. Why Do You Confess to a Priest?
  15. Why Do You Call Priests, “Father?”
  16. Why Do You Believe In Purgatory?

A resource for teen catechesis and Catholic youth ministry

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