Want a good book to read? To give as a gift? Clergy offer ideas

| December 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

“My favorite book of the year is ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ by the pope who gives me hope.”

That’s the word from Father Greg Esty, and he’s not alone in enjoying Pope Francis’ work; it appears on the top 10 list of book sales at St. Patrick’s Guild, then St. Paul merchant of religious goods. Father Esty, who is pastor of St. Genevieve in Centerville, was one of several clergy who responded to a Catholic Spirit email survey that asked what books they either were giving as Christmas gifts or recommending to others.

Here are those recommendations:


Jesus A Pilgrimage“Jesus: A Pilgrimage”
By Father James Martin, S.J.

Father Tom Krenik, pastor of Risen Savior, Burnsville, “highly recommends” the book by an editor of America magazine. “He wonderfully weaves together Scripture study, theological insights, archaeological findings in the Holy Land and his own personal faith journey,” Father Krenik noted. “This book is providing many new windows for me into the historical person of Jesus and the experience of the Risen Christ today.”

Introduction to the Devouot Life“Introduction to the Devout Life”
By St. Francis de Sales

“This is one of the spiritual classics that was written primarily for lay people,” reported Father Eugene Theisen, a priest of the archdiocese who is an  air force chaplain.

“The broad spectrum of topics that St. Francis covers and the relative briefness of the individual chapters (just a few pages each) makes it a very easy book to read, and, though old, it still speaks to the issues and topics for today’s Catholics and their spiritual growth.”


Into Your Hands, Father“Into Your Hands, Father”
By Father Wilfrid Stinissen

“This book helps any person learn the great value of surrender in the Christian life,” suggested Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens.



Journal of a Soul“Journal of a Soul”
The Autobiography of Pope John XXIII

Although he is not planning to give any books as presents this year, Father Michael Rudolph said he has been reading and recommending the newly sainted pope’s book, originally published in 1965.

Father Rudolph, who is pastor of St. Matthew in St. Paul, St. Michael in West St. Paul and moderator of Community of Saints Regional Catholic School, pointed out, “It consists of a diary that this saint began in his years in seminary and chronicles his struggles, resolutions, frustrations and joys as he humbly walks with the path that leads to that holiness we are all called to. It is very helpful to me on my own spiritual journey.”

Lord of the World“Lord of the World”
By Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson

Pope Francis has commented that this is one of his favorite books, said Deacon Michael Nevin, who serves Sts. Peter and Paul in Loretto and St. Thomas the Apostle in Corcoran. “In order to better understand our Holy Father, I read the book and have recommended it to others,” Deacon Nevin said. “It was written in 1907, and is a dystopian vision of a world that has exalted man over God. The novel is an enjoyable read and a thought-provoking insight into our current culture.”


Autobiography of a Hunted Priest“Autobiography of a Hunted Priest”
By John Gerard, S.J.

Also recommended by Bishop Cozzens. “I love the heroic stories of priests willing to suffer for their faith,” he noted.






In Conversation with God“In Conversation with God”
By Father Francis Fernandez

Deacon Ron Smisek of Holy Trinity in South St. Paul suggested this seven-volume series. Each volume is appropriate to a particular time of the Church year. “Each volume is divided into marvelous daily meditations on the readings of the particular day,” Deacon Smisek said. “I highly recommend it, and have the volumes I do not have on my ‘wish-list.’ ”


Jesus Calling“Jesus Calling — Enjoying Peace in His Presence — A 365 Day Devotional”
By Sarah Young

“Very beneficial both personally and pastorally” is how Deacon Jim Bauhs at Guardian Angels in Chaska described “Jesus Calling.” “We read from this book daily at work during our time of prayer,” Deacon Bauhs said. “I also give this book as a wedding gift to couples whose wedding I witness, encouraging and equipping them to deepen their prayer life as a couple.”

 Best selling books at St. Patrick’s Guild:“Through The Year With Pope Francis”

“Catholic Youth Bible”
St Mary’s Press

“Joy of the Gospel”
Pope Francis

Paperback NAB Bible

“That Great Heart”
Doug Hennes

“The Pieta Prayer Book”

“Catechism of the Catholic Church”

“Time For God”
Jacques Phillipe

You Cat
Youth Catechism

St. Nicholas Board Book
(children’s book)

 Archbishop Nienstedt’s gifts this Christmas

The Gospel of Mark“The Gospel of Mark”
By Mary Healy
(Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Publishing Group 2008)

Everybody needs to forgive somebody“Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody: 11 Stories of Real People Who Discovered the Underrated Power of Grace”
By Allen R. Hunt (Dynamic Catholic.com)

Archbishop John Nienstedt gave two books to all the priests of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for Christmas. The first is a commentary on sacred Scripture titled, “The Gospel of Mark,” by Mary Healy.

“I did so because this new liturgical year uses sacred Scriptures from Cycle B, which include the Gospel of St. Mark,” the archbishop noted. “I felt that having a well recommended commentary on the Gospel would assist the priests in their preaching and teaching during the liturgical year.”

Archbishop Nienstedt gave a second book not only to the priests, but also to deacons and seminarians: “Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody: 11 Stories of Real People Who Discovered the Underrated Power of Grace” by Allen R. Hunt. The archbishop explained, “It is a very moving book about several real persons, including St. John Paul II, who were able to overcome the hostile actions of others, offering them the forgiveness of their heart.”

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