At this time of year we may still be on the look-out for resources for
worship and prayer in the coming year. The Archdiocese of Chicago produces
Liturgy Training Publications,a series of books for use by parishes and
religious communities; they are well worth considering. The following
are the latest titles.
Paul Turner, 2004 Sourcebook for Sundays
and Seasons: An Almanac of Parish Liturgy for Sundays and Seasons. Archdiocese
of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago; US $15.00 [I-56854-426-X];
This long book is about little things. Sometimes the details are
tedious. But God is in the details (p.vii). This modest statement
by the author/editor gives a sense of the spirit of the book, which is
helpful and anything but tedious. The text follows the liturgical calendar
of the Catholic Church and attends to several other calendars. It provides
seasonal overviews (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter the Paschal
Triduum gets similar treatment, Ordinary Time). There are ideas for each
day, but the primary purpose is to assist with celebrations of Sundays
and Seasons. Bulletin inserts are also offered at no extra charge. The
mystery of each Sunday liturgy is pondered, and reflections on Scripture
are provided. The presentation is imaginative and theadvice given is flexible.
Michael Cameron et al., At Home With The
Word 2004: Sunday Scriptures and Scripture Insights. Archdiocese of Chicago:
Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago; US $8.00 [I-56854-421-9]; 2003.
Also available in a large print edition: US $10.00.
The full texts and readings of Sunday liturgies are presented, followed
by pointers to applications described as practice of virtues
(prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice), followed by Scripture
Insights. The translation of the readings is that used in the US
lectionarythe Revised Common Lectionary, which relies on The New
American Bible; the unfamiliar translation will be a drawback for many
Bryan M Cones, Daily Prayer 2004. Archdiocese
of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago; US $15.00 [I-56854-418-9];
This is a book of prayer, psalms, sacred reading and reflection in tune
with the seasons, feasts and ordinary days of the year. It is intended
for individual and group use, is appropriate for older students and teachers,
catechumens and candidates for full communionin fact for any person
or group that wants to pray in rhythm with the Church. Each day takes
one page. Highly recommended, with the same warning as above about the
unfamiliar translation of Scripture for Australians, except that it should
not be quite so distracting in this book.
Julie Lonneman, Clip Art for Sundays and
Solemnities. Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago;
US $20.00 [I-56854-489-8]; 2003.
Covers the three-year cycle of the lectionary and all the major feasts.
Strong images, with biblical feel but contemporary artistic presentation.
For parish bulletins, hand-outs, newsletters, parish websites. Can be
photocopied from the page or downloaded from the CD which comes as part
of the package.
Two books: Prayer in Times of Crisis and Prayer During the Night. These
small books, also published by the Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training
Publications, are collections of short prayers from diverse religious
traditions. I am unable to furnish the publication details as I gave them
to a person who was in great pain and seeking spiritual nourishment. They
were accepted with gratitude.
Anselm Grun, A Path Through the Desert:
40 Sayings of the Desert Fathers. St Pauls Publishing, London; [0-85439-663-2];
This is a collection of wise sayings of monks who retired to the deserts
of Egypt during the third to the sixth centuries. They were respected
as holy me n striving to live the Gospel in a radical way. The desert
was seen as a place where one could become humanone with Godby
facing oneself and ones demons with the help of God. These sayings
were given to people who flocked to them for counsel and direction for
their life journey.
Twenty of the sayings are from various monks, taken from a collection
of over a thousand sayings, or apophthegms, that have been preserved;
the other twenty are taken from The Praktikos of Evagrius Ponticus, the
most important spiritual author of the fourth century. Each chapter
of this book is headed by a short saying of one or two sentences from
the Father, followed by less than two pages from Fr Anselm (of the Benedictine
Abbey of Munsterschwarzach in Germany) who breaks open the
saying to help us discover the depth of the wisdom contained.
I was surprised to find that principles I had been attributing to the
genius of later spiritual masters are already found in the advice of these
ancient desert fathers, and that made these principles all the more reliable
since they are clearly more deeply embedded in Christian tradition than
I had previously realised. Highly recommended.