Recommended Reading

Jocelyn Thomas Features

HNP Today occasionally provides recommendations of publications that are relevant to friars and partners-in-ministry. Three are suggested this month, offering information about the Gospels, St. Francis and spirituality.

Francis the Leper: Faith, Medicine, Theology and Science by Joanne Schatzlein, OSF, and Daniel Sulmasy, a former member of the Province (Tau Publishing, 2014) is recommended by Weekly re:Cap, the newsletter of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph. “Twenty-six years ago, Lake Franciscan Joanne Schatzlein and then friar Daniel Sulmasy published a controversial paper in Franciscan Studies titled ‘The Illness of St. Francis, Evidence for Leprosy.’ They argued that no definitive diagnosis of Francis’ illnesses at the time of death is possible, but that he likely died with a then little-known form of leprosy today called borderline-tuberculoid leprosy,” according to the Sept. 5 newsletter. “Despite its potential for controversy, the article was largely greeted with silence, as if franciscanologists didn’t know how to respond,” said Fr. William Hugo, OFM Cap., vocation director. “The article is now reproduced in a slender volume with only two chapters and it concludes with a review of the sparse responding literature from Franciscan popularizers, those doing subsequent biomedical studies, more recent modern biographers and critical researchers.”

Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation by Paul Farren (Paraclete Press, 2014) is recommended by Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor of St. Francis Parish, New York City. The chapters are written with Fr. Farren’s approach to the following topics: “Who is God?” “Who am I?” sin, forgiveness and celebrating the sacrament. “It’s a small book, but offers much to think about and put into practice,” said Andrew in an Aug. 3 bulletin.

Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin, SJ, (HarperOne, 2014) is recommended by the bible study group of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla. “The book moves through Jesus’ life as seen in the Gospels,” according to a description in the Oct. 19 bulletin. “But to each Gospel narrative in the life of Jesus, Fr. Martin shares stories of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, travel narrative, some scripture study and spiritual reflections. This is a great book, a fun and easy way to enter the Gospels.”

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 affiliated with Holy Name Province committees and directorates: evangelization, vocations, justice and peace, wellness, African-American and Hispanic ministries, and young adults.

The previous “Recommended Reading” story featured books that explore the struggle to live an authentic, full life in a chaotic world filled with uncertainty.

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas