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Bookshelf

BLACK AND PRO-LIFE IN AMERICA 

BY ROBERT W. ARTIGO 
Ignatius Press 

With the skill of an investigative journalist and the talent of a screenwriter, Robert Artigo tells the true story of Walter B. Hoye II and his appeal to women entering a for-profit abortion facility in Oakland, California, to choose life for their babies. Hoye, a black minister, stood on the sidewalk holding a sign: “God loves you and your baby. We can help.”  

Hoye’s successes led the Oakland City Council to enact a “bubble law” to keep him and other pro-lifers at least eight feet from women coming to the facility. Other sidewalk counselors argued that the ordinance put a limit on free speech. The city council passed the bill in December 2007, and Walter Hoye became the prime target. 

Abortion providers use volunteers to escort clients into the building when anti-abortion protestors are present. The escorts could approach a patient, but Hoye was told he could not. Further, his plea (“Can I talk to you about alternatives to abortion?”) was deemed harassment and intimidation under the new ordinance, and therefore unlawful. Hoye was arrested and brought to trial. 

Much of Artigo’s book focuses on Hoye’s trial, incarceration, and eventual exoneration. His life is an odyssey marked by his pro-life conviction and his fight to protect freedom of speech. His story reveals the prejudices against pro-lifers, the profits abortion facilities earn by selling baby parts, the African American genocide by abortion, the culture inside the prison system, and the inconsistencies of lawmakers, judges, and enforcers. This was a good read, likely to become a great movie.

Reviewed by Father Norman Langenbrunner, of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who writes, preaches at parish missions, and teaches catechetical courses and conferences. 

 

THE FISHERMAN’S TOMB Fisherman's Tomb

BY JOHN O’NEILL 
Our Sunday Visitor 

With compelling detail, John O’Neill tells the story of the Catholic Church’s secret excavation and search for St. Peter’s tomb beneath the Vatican and all that was happening above the surface: the Vatican’s sneaky rescue of hundreds of thousands of Italian Jews during World War II. Highlighting the unlikely, historically unrecognized Catholics who not only changed the course of history through their war efforts but also empowered the finding of St. Peter’s bones, O’Neill reveals uncanny parallels.  

In focusing on the greatest archaeological discovery in Church history, O’Neill leaves readers with a portrait of the Church that is both inspiring and, at times, maddening. Inspiration is drawn from the Catholics whose faiths were marked by great humility, deep conviction, and contagious generosity. However, the maddening aspect is seen in the destruction that one ego within the male-dominated bureaucracy of the Vatican can cause, which in this case plays itself out in the marginalization of Italian archaeologist Margherita Guarducci by a man who, frankly, envied the brilliance of a woman. Guarducci ultimately decoded the inscriptions, leading to the discovery of St. Peter’s tomb, and her efforts and findings were backed by several popes.  

O’Neill’s incredible description of the story’s characters naturally ushers in introspection, making readers question what is unfolding beneath the surface of their own lives and consider what it means to leave a legacy and be a true Christian.  

Reviewed by Stephen Copeland, author of Where the Colors Blend (Morgan James Publishing). 

 

GOD, IMPROV, AND THE ART OF LIVING God, Improv and the Art of Living

BY MARYANN MCKIBBEN DANA 
Wm. B. Eerdmans 

Improvisation: The word brings up images of comedians onstage being clever. However, author, pastor, and improvisational student MaryAnn McKibben Dana puts a spin on the concept. She says that we improvise every day, especially when life throws surprises our way.  

Dana introduces seven principles of improv, including “say and” and “live more deeply,” showing how her own study of improv gave her new insight into living in God’s world and helped her grow spiritually. Using Scripture and personal experiences, she offers a well-written, approachable, and creative reflection that will provide you with tools as you improvise through your own daily challenges. 

 

CLUELESS IN GALILEE Clueless in Galilee

BY MAC BARRON 
Our Sunday Visitor 

Here is a refreshing take on the Gospels: It’s funny! Author Mac Barron presents many passages in Scripture, mainly from the Books of Matthew and John, and points out how truly human and clueless the disciples could sometimes be. What does that do for our perspective? It helps us see these Evangelists as more accessible; we can see our own weaknesses in them and gain clarity in how Jesus loves us in spite of our faults. Barron’s conversational and laugh-out-loud reflections are perfect for readers who can “handle jokes about Jesus being cranky when he gets hungry.” 

 

DEATH BY MINIVAN Death by Minivan

BY HEATHER ANDERSON RENSHAW 
Our Sunday Visitor 

For every mother who has carted kids to and fro, struggled to make the carpool work for everyone’s schedule, and lost a bit of hearing due to the yelling in the back seat—this book is for you. Mother of five and author Heather Anderson Renshaw celebrates all the challenges and joys of motherhood and shows how it is a path to holiness. She emphasizes that a mother’s sacrifices, while difficult at times, are a reflection of God’s love. There is even a GPS in the book—a God Positioning System—filled with reflective wisdom from Scripture to guide mothers on their journeys. 

 

TEEN SPOT 

BLACK BOTTLE MAN Black Bottle Man
BY CRAIG RUSSELL
 

Set in the mid-1900s and following the protagonist’s life in 2007, this work of fiction presents teens with a predicament that befalls a family due to a deal with the devil. While they face the ordeal of having to move every 12 days or face severe consequences, the characters learn the power of love.   

Book Recommendations 

from SOCIAL MEDIA 

The Silence We Keep: A Nun’s View of the  
Catholic Priest Scandal, by Karol Jackowski 

Why We’re Catholic: Our Reasons for  
Faith, Hope, and Love, by Trent Horn 

Not of This World: A Catholic Guide to  
Minimalism, by Sterling Jaquith 

Surprised by Life, by Patrick Madrid 

Go Bravely: Becoming the Woman You  
Were Created to Be, by Emily Wilson Hussem 


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