Friday, June 09, 2017

Book Review: On My Way Home

In the foreword to On My Way Home by Joyce Hutchinson (Ave Maria Press, 2017), Joyce Rupp writes, “No matter how much we know about dying, or how often we have accompanied others in their final stage of life, we do not really know what it is like until we face our own mortality.”
Hutchison was an oncology nurse who had treated many people with terminal cancer. She lived by the precept she was taught in nursing school that when she was taking care of patients, she was taking care of Jesus. She walked with many as they faced death, and then she had to face her own battle with terminal lung cancer. She hoped that in sharing her own experience in facing death she could help others who care for the dying.
She shares her own story with painful honesty.

While she believes death is a natural part of life, she nevertheless finds herself scared of the end. She feels great pain at having to share the bad news with her children, and suffers through the exhaustion of chemo, and has to face the strain on her marriage and the loss of personal dignity. Yet through it all she trusts in God and acknowledges that the painful process has brought her closer to God because there are many days when all she could do was be still with God. 

We tend not to think about death until we have to face either our own mortality or that of someone close to us. On My Way Home invites us to think about the process of dying and offers suggestions of how to better accompany someone on that journey. Hutchinson’s unique perspective as one who cared for the dying and how facing her own diagnosis changed how she would have cared for patients is extremely valuable, especially for those in the medical field or who work in hospice care. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Free Today's Catholic Homeschooling Resource Guide is Now Available

This post could as easily be titled "What I've Been Doing the Past Two Months." Ever since I started a few years ago, I've wanted to put together a print resource guide. There hasn't really been much out there for Catholic homeschoolers other than publications put out by particular curriculum providers. I wanted something that could benefit all Catholic homeschoolers, regardless of their educational philosophy.

I finally committed to the project at the end of March, set a crazy deadline of the end of May, hired a friend to sell advertising, recruited the writers (there are 40 articles), and then formatted the whole thing all in two months! Since my workday starts after my daughter goes to bed (around 8:00 pm), this has meant a lot of late nights.

I'm pleased with the finished project and hope people find it of benefit.

You can find out more and download a free pdf version (or order a print copy) at

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What Do You Want From Your Doctor?

What do you want from your doctor? In this age of managed care and exorbitant health costs, it can seem like an almost futile question. I know I’ve often had to pick a doctor at random from the list that our insurance company provides and hope for the best, or a sick visit means going to the local walk-in clinic and getting whoever happens to be on duty. In both instances, I’ve had both good and bad experiences.

Dr. Jean Golden-Tevald, D.O. invites us to consider that initial question in her new book, Hopeand Healing: Ultimately What You Need From Your Doctor. She is the older sister of one of my close friends, has been a family physician for twenty-five years, and has special training in women’s health and NaProTechnology and the Creighton Model Fertility Care System. While she is in New Jersey and I am in Massachusetts I had the occasion to seek her services due to some reproductive health issues I was having last year and due to my religious beliefs, I felt extremely frustrated with my local doctor. She was willing to see me via a video-call and coordinated my care long-distance. Truly, it was some of the best care I have ever received. I felt heard and understood. It is from that vantage point that I review her book. I can vouch for the fact that Dr. Golden-Tevald practices what she preaches.

In sharing this book, Dr. Golden-Tevald writes, “I hope that you will be encouraged to strive for optimal health and to pursue a relationship with a doctor who will help you feel the best you can.” She works from a perspective of trying to understand the whole body and to “find and fix the underlying program.”

She acknowledges that healing may not always involve a cure. She works with many couples experiencing infertility. While some couples do ultimately conceive a child, others do not. She offers examples of cases where there was an emotional healing while not a physical one.
She also emphasizes the need for patients to be honest and for women to value ourselves enough to feel that the cost is worth it to care for ourselves. We so often care for everyone else to our own physical and emotional detriment.

Hope and Healing is a book worth reading. I wish that there were more doctors who shared Dr. Golden-Tevald’s philosophy in the world.  I would recommend it especially to those in the medical profession because it offers a different example of what health care can look like.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Winners of the Association of Catholic Publishers Awards

I've been honored to be a judge for the ACP awards in the Children's category for the past few years. Here is press release on all the winners. 

The Association of Catholic Publishers (ACP) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Excellence in Publishing Awards which recognize the best in Catholic publishing.
“As we look at the 2017 winners, we cannot underestimate the hunger on the part of readers to explore the grace, mercy, and faith that Pope Francis champions,” stated Therese Brown, executive director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. “The desire is deeply rooted, and publishers are responding with works in every category, for every age, to satisfy this hunger.”
The 2017 “Book of the Year” is Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World from Loyola Press, currently #24 in Christian Children’s Books at Amazon. “The questions are both thought-provoking and interesting, and Pope Francis illustrates his respect and care for children in his answers,” commented one of the judges. The “Book of the Year” is selected from among the first-place finishers.
Ave Maria Press and Liturgical Press tied with 5 total awards each. A total of 12 different publishers received honors. Ave Maria Press received 2 first place awards, and Liturgical Press had 1. Books from 14 different publishers were represented across the 11 categories.
The reading public also recognizes the quality of these titles through their purchasing patterns as measured by Amazon. Of the 31 awardees, 17 are in the top 1000 sales of an Amazon book subcategory. Of those, 13 are in the top 500, and of those, 6 are in the top 100, led by A Single Bead from Pauline Books and Media at #9 in Teen books (Emotions & Feelings).
The following titles are the 2017 winners of the “Excellence in Publishing Awards” by category.

1.            The Lion of Münster: The Bishop Who Roared Against the Nazis by Fr. Daniel Utrecht (Saint Benedict Press)
2.            Edith Stein by Marian Maskulak, CPS (Paulist Press)
3.            Joseph Bernardin by Steven P. Millies (Liturgical Press)
Children's Books
1.            Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World by Pope Francis (Loyola Press)
2.            A Single Bead by Stephanie Engelman (Pauline Books and Media)
3.            32 Days: A Story of Faith and Courage by Ellen Lucey Prozeller (Pauline Books and Media)
General Interest
1.            One Ordinary Sunday by Paula Huston (Ave Maria Press)
2.            Walking Home Together by Michael Mercer (Twenty-Third Publications)
3.            The Root of War Is Fear by Jim Forest (Orbis Books)
1.            Remembering God's Mercy by Dawn Eden (Ave Maria Press)
2.            Little Sins Mean a Lot by Elizabeth Scalia (Our Sunday Visitor)
3.            Blessed Among Us by Robert Ellsberg (Liturgical Press)
Prayer and Spirituality
1.            Faith: Practices, Models and Sources of the Spirit by Walter Kasper (Paulist Press)
2.            Learning the Language of the Soul by Andrew D. Mayes (Liturgical Press)
3.            My Heart Is Ready by David Haas (Clear Faith Publishing)
Resources for Liturgy
1.            Three Great Days by Jeremy Helmes (Liturgical Press)
2.            One Love, A Pastoral Guide to The Order of Celebrating Matrimony by Paul Turner (Liturgical Press)
3.            Of Poets, Prophets, and Preachers by Joseph J. Juknialis (World Library Publications)
Resources for Ministry
1.            When We Visit Jesus in Prison by Chaplain Dale S. Recinella (ACTA Publications)
2.            Redeeming Conflict by Ann M. Garrido (Ave Maria Press)
3.            To Heal, Proclaim, and Teach by Jared Dees (Ave Maria Press)
Resources for Ministry (Programs)
1.            Doors of Mercy: Exploring God's Covenant with You by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, STD (Saint Benedict Press)
2.            Joined by Grace by John Bosio and Teri Bosio (Ave Maria Press)
3.            Luke: The Gospel of Mercy by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, STD and Paul Thigpen, PhD (Saint Benedict Press)
1.            Bringing the Gospel of John to Life by George Martin (Our Sunday Visitor)
1.            Querido Papa Francisco: El Papa responde a las cartas de niños de todo el mundo by Pope Francis (Loyola Press)
2.            Sean mis testigos: Formacion par la Nueva Evagelizacion by Kathia and Andres Arango (RENEW International)
3.            Nuestra Vida Catolica: El Camino Humano de la Fe (El Credo) by Bill Huebsch (Twenty-Third Publications)
1.            The Strength of Her Witness by Elizabeth A. Johnson (Orbis Books)
2.            A Commentary on Laudato Si by Kevin W. Irwin (Paulist Press)
3.            The Fellowship of the Beatific Vision: Chaucer on Overcoming Tyranny and Becoming Ourselves by Norm Klassen (Cascade Books (Wipf and Stock))

The Association of Catholic Publishers (ACP) is a membership organization of Catholic publishers, those who provide services to Catholic publishers, and individuals who work with Catholic publishers. The ACP provides opportunities for members to further the Catholic publishing industry, promote Catholic publishing and reading, and engage those they interact with, including retailers, pastoral leaders, individual customers, and staff.

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