Friar’s New Book Explores Spirituality

HNP Communications Friar News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joseph Nangle, OFM, has written a fourth book, Engaged Spirituality: Faith Life in the Heart of the Empire.

Published by Orbis Books, Engaged Spirituality shares lessons from Joe’s 15 years ministering in South America, where he witnessed a re-awakening of the church. While his first book about building a church in Lima, Peru, Birth of a Church, focused on his outward journey there, Engaged Spirituality is about his inner life.

After strongly weighing whether the world needed another book about his experiences, or what he calls “me-centered treatises,” he decided to write Engaged Spirituality. He wanted the chance to offer follow-up to his experiences, especially since he was often asked to do days of recollection, retreats, homilies and conferences after he returned home.

He also wanted to contribute “to the vast amount of work that is continually going on in the field of spirituality,” he writes in the preface to the book, published this spring.

“So I decided to take a crack at writing something between a personal journal and a text on spirituality as I had come to understand it. The first-person account will be one of two threads — two story lines — woven through the pages of this book. I do hope it does not come across as all about me.”

Joe explains that he tried, in this book, to provide his perspective on the traditional categories of Catholic-Christian spirituality — prayer, Eucharist, spiritual reading and so on — in the context of our contemporary world.  He says that spirituality has to be engaged in our disorganized, messy world.  “In this view, spirituality has to be engaged with reality, or it is not life in the Spirit.

Joe is currently associate pastor for Hispanic ministry at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, Va., “among several other jobs,” he writes. He is a co-author of St. Francis and the Foolishness of God and Say to This Mountain, and author of Birth of a Church, a Catholic Press Association Award winner.

On May 25, he had a book signing at his church.  An essay by Joe appears in the summer 2008 issue of The Anthonian; it is titled “A Franciscan Washington Presence.”

—Wendy Healy, a freelance writer based on Connecticut, contributes frequently to HNP Today.