Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Catholic Home: Better Than Ever

by Meredith Gould
For many of today's Catholics, the ethnic customs that celebrate the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Christ have been lost, forgotten, or abandoned for the sake of assimilation. And while folk traditions are neither a substitute for faith nor compelling evidence for reverence, they do help to stimulate and sustain awareness. We have to start somewhere.

I believe that celebrating Catholic customs in the domestic church can serve to reenliven Catholic identity in ways that Mass attendance simply cannot, although I, for one, miss Mass when I miss Mass...
I did a brief review of this book previously at Spero News along with a few others which I find helpful in celebrating liturgical holidays through the year. Now I see that the paperback edition has come out and in looking through it I am reminded of just what a treasure it is to any family that wants to have daily devotion as part of their lives.

Even if you are well versed in reinforcement of Catholic liturgy through home traditions Gould's book serves as a good reminder of following the liturgical calendar through the year. I really appreciated having everything supported by a quote from the Catechism and the author's Jewish heritage adds nice depth to showing the customs as completion of Jewish tradition. Certainly I appreciate her breaking ordinary time into two sections so that the book's order of contents follows the year.

Gould also has a nice touch on regular daily devotions such as reminding us that simply dressing up and dashing out the door to be on time for weekly Mass just isn't enough. How about looking through the Sunday readings first so we have a bit of a frame of reference for what we will be hearing? She offers good, solid advice about such things as daily family prayer, regular Scripture reading, and much more. These things are the reason I give this book as a wedding gift to Catholic couples more than any other.

The publishers took the opportunity to revise the book while they were coming out with the paperback edition. I didn't even notice until flipping through and comparing the two just how often the liturgical colors had been gotten wrong in the first edition. The author mentions this in the forward and I feel for her humiliation.

They also took the opportunity to add an appendix with all the names of Mary ... an amazing list and I had no idea that such a thing would fill so many pages! It would provide ample material for meditation just considering those titles and how Mary, as the first Christian, is worthy of our imitation.

The layout also has been tidied up some. Not that the previous layout was bad at all, but comparing pages you can see how they fixed awkward page breaks. That is probably something only someone who has worked in graphic arts for so long would notice in the first place but it will make the book flow more smoothly in reading.

The liturgical colors information was the most necessary revision but the other changes just make the book easier to use and a more valuable resource than ever. Highly recommended.

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