Pope Francis is calling us to the outskirts. That’s a good thing to ponder during Lent.
We all like to stay within our “comfort zones.” We all like to hang out with people who buy the same books, watch the same movies, make roughly the same amount of money. We want people who validate us, not people who threaten, challenge or annoy us.
Julia Alvarez read new poetry to a captivated audience at the Catholic Literary Imagination Conference (CLIC), held Feb. 19-21 through the Institute of Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California.
“Adding on to what my predecessors started, I began to change what we were doing. Our mission became an interdisciplinary and open dialogue about faith, culture and the arts, all the while representing the mission of the Marymount tradition and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Over time, we were able to bring in a Nobel laureate, an artist-in-residence, and a publisher.”
Sister Rose Pacatte, a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, is the director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Los Angeles.
In her recently-released book, “Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way” (Liturgical Press), she details well-known actor Sheen’s early life: one of 10 kids, a mother who died at 48 while saying the rosary, a hard-working father who was loving but stinted on the compliments. Many of the children, including Martin, suffered from alcoholism.
Dana Gioia is a poet and critic who served as chair-man of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author, most recently, of “Pity the Beautiful,” his fourth volume of poems.
“I was raised in a Catholic family in a mostly Mexican neighborhood and attended 12 years of Catholic school. Consequently, my whole early worldview was Catholic, and it seemed consonant with the great art I encountered — Dante, Michelangelo, Mozart, Shakespeare.”
He also has a genius for connecting people. To that end, he’s spearheaded a conference called “The Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination” that will take place at the University of Southern California Feb. 19-21.
The pressures of work and ministry, unfortunately, limit the time I have available to read as widely as I would like. Still, addicted as I am to books and knowing that without the insight and stimulation that I draw from them I would forever stagnate spiritually and creatively, I scrupulously carve out some time most days to read. As well, given my ministry and personality, I like to read various genres of books: novels, biography, critical essays, and, not least, books on scripture, theology, and spirituality.
So given these particular appetites, what are the best ten books that I read in 2014?
Reading these essays, you see Skid Row, you hear Skid Row, you smell Skid Row. You remember that love is not a theory. Love is a face, love is a name.
We first meet seven-year-old Marie as she is sitting on her front stoop in Brooklyn, awaiting the arrival of her hero — her father; “my heart pinned to my father’s sleeve in those days,” she explains. Thus opens “Someone,” recently released in paperback, another brilliant piece of literature by Alice McDermott, made all the wiser by its roots in Catholicism.
Catholic victims of the Soviet Union’s cruel anti-Christian persecutions faced execution, exile and arbitrary imprisonment for their faith – and now a new website tells their stories.
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