Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Saints and Feasts of the Catholic Church by Father Michael Black

I don't know how I stumbled across this series. Sometimes browsing from one link to another does turn up just what you want, even when you don't know that's what you want. This is a very good book looking at the saints approved for the universal  Church's calendar and for the USA. It's one of a four volume series which cover the year.  It is a really good complement to my all-time favorite saint book Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi as each shows the saints with emphasis on different parts of their lives.

The author does a podcast which is uses this series for the source material. I like the podcast description, which is from the introduction to one of the books.

"Catholic Saints & Feasts" offers a dramatic reflection on each saint and feast day of the General Calendar of the Catholic Church.

These reflections profile the theological bone breakers, the verbal flame throwers, the ocean crossers, the heart-melters, and the sweet-chanting virgin-martyrs who populate the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church.

One of the things I especially like is that this covers what I think of as oddball feasts, such as for the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (November 9), which isn't included in any books which only cover saints. Father Black's description made me truly appreciate this feast day for the first time. Here's just a tiny sample.

A church's walls do not make one a Christian, of course. But a church has walls nonetheless. Walls, borders, and lines delimit the sacred from the profane. A house makes a family feel like one, a sacred place where parents and children merge into a household. A church structurally embodies supernatural mysteries. A church is a sacred space where sacred actions make Christians unite as God's family. Walls matter. Churches matter. Sacred spaces matter. Today the Church commemorates a uniquely sacred space, the oldest of the four major basilicas in the city of Rome. The Lateran Basilica is the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Rome and thus the seat of the Pope as Bishop of Rome.

A basilica is like a church which has been made a monsignor. Basilicas have certain spiritual, historical or architectural features by which they earn their special designation. ...

The Kindle version of each book is really cheap so you aren't risking much to give it a try.

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