Recommended Reading

Jocelyn Thomas Features

As part of an occasional series, HNP Today suggests publications that are relevant to friars and their partners-in-ministry. A novel and a book on the Franciscans’ patron saint are described below.

Gilead (Macmillan, 2004) by Marilynne Robinson is suggested by the St. Francis Reading Group of St. Francis Parish in New York City. Members discussed the novel at their Feb. 17 meeting. The novel is written from the perspective of the Rev. John Ames for his son, who is also a minister, said Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, who leads the group. “It is an aging father’s reflections on family, friendship, adversity, suffering, prayer, compassion, appreciation, openness and conversion. He is every inch steeped in John Calvin, but has also read John Donne and George Herbert. The mystery of a sovereign grace hovers over the people of Gilead, Iowa, just as it hovers over all our lives, and the Rev. Ames articulates that grace on almost every page.” Information about the book group can be obtained from Kevin, who says “we encourage new members to join the group.” Members meet for an hour at midday, according to a recent issue of the parish bulletin. “The group reads broadly and Gilead was chosen in part because it brought national fame to the author,” said Kevin.

Looking to St. Francis: The Man from Assisi and His Message of Hope for Today (Word Among Us Press, 2014) by John Bohrer and Joseph Stoutznberger is recommended by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, who included a review in their Feb. 9 newsletter. Sr. Vicki Masterpaul, OSF, said, “the text engages the reader from the first chapter, ‘The Allure of St. Francis,’ using a style of lively back-and-forth exchange between the message of this medieval saint and the questions facing our Church today.”

The HNP Communications Office welcomes emails from readers who would like to suggest a book or periodical. Themes that are relevant to friars and partners-in-ministry — in addition to spirituality and news of the Catholic Church — include topics related to the Province’s committees and directorates: vocations, justice and peace, wellness, African-American and Hispanic ministries, and young adults. The last “Recommended Reading” was published Jan. 5.

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas