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Online Edition - Vol. VIII, No. 5: July-August 2002

Reviews

My Catholic Prayer Book -- The Little Catechism on Confession and The Little Catechism on the Holy Eucharist -- Adoration: Eucharistic Texts and Prayers Throughout Church History -- I the Lord Am With You Always: Prayers and Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration -- Reflections on the Mysteries of the Rosary

Reviewed by Matt Grantham

My Catholic Prayer Book Edited by The Rev. Victor Hoagland, CP: Regina Press, 2001, (Paper. Illustrated in color. 220 pp. $8.95):

It is always refreshing to find a Catholic prayer book that offers a selection of the best of both traditional and contemporary prayers. Although one might find some of the prayers in this collection to be a bit sentimental, most of the contemporary prayers mirror timeless classics in the simplicity, reverence and deep faith that they bestow upon prayerful Catholics.

The artwork -- again a mixture of classical and contemporary in a "holy-card" style -- is conducive to devotion.

Although the book is obviously geared toward adults and teenagers, younger children could also benefit from the "Everyday Prayers" near the middle of the book.

One drawback to this book is that it relies on the revised Psalms and New Testament (1991, 1986) of the New American Bible. These translations employ inclusive language and had to undergo thorough revision, because the Holy See found these translations unsuitable for liturgical use.

My Catholic Prayer Book is available through Malhame (the parent company of Regina Press). For more information, call (800) 625-4263.

***

The Little Catechism on Confession and The Little Catechism on the Holy Eucharist. Compiled and published by Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska: 1996. (Small booklet format, paper. Illustrated. 72 / 70 pp. $1 each.)

Thoroughly grounded in the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these booklets offer an introduction to these sacraments that even First Communicants could read and understand.

The Little Catechism on the Holy Eucharist not only provides classic prayers and sound explanations of the Church's Eucharistic doctrine but also gives practical instructions, such as how one ought to process up to Communion and what one ought to wear to Mass.

The Little Catechism on Confession includes a detailed examination of conscience that takes the penitent through all of the Ten Commandments and Precepts of the Church.

Although both mention indulgences, The Little Catechism on Confession contains a detailed explanation of them -- which very few Catholic books do satisfactorily.

A reader should not expect to find deep meditations on the Eucharist and Confession; and the cartoon-like line-drawings that illustrate the booklets are contemporary cliché.

The material these small booklets offer, however, is first-rate. We recommend them highly, and think they would be especially useful for classroom use and home-schools, and for parish study groups.

Copies are available through the Diocese of Lincoln, PO Box 80328, Lincoln, NE 68501-0328. Call (402) 488-0921 for more details.

***

Adoration: Eucharistic Texts and Prayers Throughout Church History. Compiled by Daniel P. Guernsey. Ignatius Press: 1999 (Paper. 250 pp. $14.95)

The most distinguishing feature of this book is its first chapter, which traces the history of Eucharistic doctrine and devotion by quoting both famous and not-so-famous Catholics (including many saints) who mention the Eucharist in their writings.

For anyone wanting to learn more about the ancient origins of the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist (e.g. non-Catholics or Catholics wanting to learn more about their faith), the first chapter would be a useful resource.

The second part of the book includes many of the most beloved Eucharistic prayers, a guide to Eucharistic exposition and benediction, and other "classic" Catholic prayers.

Translations of these prayers employ traditional sacred language. The biggest drawback of this book is its size: it is too large to fit easily into a pocket or purse as one walks out the door on the way to adoration.

Adoration is highly recommended and would be a useful source for meditation and devotions during Holy Hours and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

For more information, or to order, write to Ignatius Press, PO Box 1339, Ft. Collins, CO 80522, or call 1-800-322-1531. Internet orders, www.ignatius.com

***

I the Lord Am With You Always: Prayers and Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration Compiled by Christine McCarthy: McPhersons Printing Group, 1999. (Paper. Illustrated. 268 pp.)

This book will take its place as one of the best resources for devotions during Eucharistic Adoration.

Drawing material from devoted Catholics of every age, I the Lord Am With You Always weaves a tapestry of the most profound and timeless expressions of devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This book includes traditional Catholic prayers, including the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross, reflections on the Church's teaching about the Eucharist from both the Eastern and Western traditions, and many short meditations on the significance of the Eucharist in the life of a Catholic.

Translations attempt to preserve the sacred dimension of liturgical language and eschew "gender-inclusive" renderings of the original texts.

Readers will recognize most of the many saints (and others) quoted in this book. The illustrations are thoughtfully chosen from old Missals and devotional books.

For many, this conveniently sized and nicely printed book will become "required reading" during Adoration.

This book is published in Australia. Contact Adoremus for more information, or contact Christine McCarthy via e-mail or fax 011 61 2 9797 2273.

***

Reviewed by Helen Hull Hitchcock

Reflections on the Mysteries of the Rosary, by Msgr. Adrian I. Dwyer. Dorrance, 2000. (Paper. 64 pp. $8.)

This slim book contains a thoughtful and concise discussion of each of the fifteen Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious "Mysteries" of the Rosary. It focuses especially on the biblical events and the Jewish culture and morés of Jesus' time. The author's historical approach adds dimension to the familiar accounts recorded in Scripture, and depth to personal prayer.

Monsignor Dwyer addresses sometimes controversial theological topics in a clear and accessible way. Each chapter or "mystery" opens with a quote from Holy Scripture (Revised Standard Version), followed by the author's reflections.

The book cover aptly describes the book as "insightful" in its reflections on "some of the most poetic, beautiful and thought-provoking passages of the Bible", and predicts readers will find Monsignor Dwyer's reflections "fresh and intelligent".

Reflections would be a useful guide for personal study, especially of the Gospel events recalled in the Mysteries. It would also be ideal for Rosary groups in parishes, providing a fruitful source for reflection that should accompany a thoughtful recitation of this ancient form of Christian prayer.

The author is a Saint Louis priest who has degrees in theology and canon law, and continues his lively scholarly interest in perennial Catholic questions.

Order from Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., 643 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

***

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