The Grunt Padre

Author: Fr. Daniel Mode
Synopsis: This is the story of a hero. Fr. Vincent Capodanno was a Navy Chaplain killed in Vietnam in l967 while protecting a corpsman who was administering first aid to a soldier. Despite his own serious wounds, he refused to leave the battle area but rather stayed to assist his grunts. Arguably the most recognized and respected chaplain in that war, memorials and buildings throughout the world named after him. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor, Bronze Star, and 3 Purple Hearts.
Rating: 4.7 stars
Quotes: “An excellent example of self-sacrificial love. He sanctified men more by suffering with them than by preaching.”
“Truly touched by God. A lovely story of finding what God intends for your life. Holy man of God.”
“It touched my heart. So glad we read it.”

Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know: The Divine Surprises and Chastisements That Shaped the Church and Changed the World

Author: Diane Moczar
Synopsis: Here are the saints and sinners, popes and kings that God used to shape his Church and change the world. You’ll meet Clovis and Charlemagne, Luther and Pope Leo, Suleiman and St. Francis, the Arians, the Franks, the Huguenots, and others whose sins or sacrifices altered the course of history. Here, too, are the wars and plagues, the ideas and institutions — and, yes, the miracles — that gave birth to our Christian civilization and often threatened to doom it.
Rating: 4.75 stars
Quotes: “Very interesting book! Discovered some things I didn’t know; corrected some things I thought I did know! Would recommend it.”
“I am not a student of history but this book was so informative and interesting I could not put it down.”

An Easy Way to Become a Saint

Author: Fr. Paul O’Sullivan
Synopsis: A very optimistic book showing how an “ordinary” Catholic can become a great saint without ever doing anything “extraordinary”–just by using the many opportunities for holiness that to most people lie hidden in each day. Written with an assurance of success that is totally convincing and infectious. Many easy but infallible means of reaching great sanctity.
Rating: 4.0 stars
Quotes: “A sweet book for everyone to read. It brings long time Catholics back on track. A good book to share and have in your own personal library.”
“This book is packed with practical info and felt like it was written for me.”
“Simple, yet profound…good reminders for every day spirituality.”

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection

Author: Pope Benedict XVI
Synopsis: Working from Scripture, the Church Fathers and contemporary scholarship, Benedict XVI deftly brings together the historical and theological dimensions of the gospel portraits of Jesus. This is a splendid, penetrating study of the central figure of Christian faith; a learned and spiritual illumination not only of who Jesus was, but who he is for us today. (Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Denver)
Rating: 5.0 stars
Quotes: “Challenging to read but so very worth the time. By the end, I wanted it to keep going.”
“There is so much food for prayer and thought in this book…A great pick for Lent.”

The 33 Doctors of the Church (selected chapters)

Author: Christopher Renger
Synopsis: Here are 33 chapters about the greatest minds and greatest Saints the Catholic Church has ever produced. Written in a down-to-earth style, The 33 Doctors of the Church is a book that will be loved and appreciated by everyone. Each story is completely different and shows every Doctor as the great individual and teacher that he or she was. Filled with charming anecdotes and wonderful, memorable stories, the book also describes and gives selections from the major writings of all the Doctors and frames their lives in the times during which they lived, thus giving a wonderful panorama of Church history in the process.
Rating: 4.6 stars
Quotes: “Very easy to read and very informative. A pleasure to read.”
“Loved it! Great perspective on the tradition of our church; great to get this background; highly recommend it!”

Abuse of Language Abuse of Power

Author: Josef Pieper
Synopsis: One of the great Catholic philosophers of our day reflects on the way language has been abused so that, instead of being a means of communicating the truth and entering more deeply into it, and of the acquisition of wisdom, it is being used to control people and manipulate them to achieve practical ends.
Rating: 3.25 stars
Quotes: “Not the most enjoyable to read, but great insights into the proper use of language and the corruption of its use.”
“Difficult in the beginning but interesting as it relates to today. The book club discussion made reading this book worthwhile.”

Heretics

Author: G.K. Chesterton
Synopsis: Though he was on the whole a fun loving and gregarious man, during adolescence Chesterton was troubled by thoughts of suicide. In Christianity he found answers to many of the dilemmas and paradoxes of life. Throughout Heretics he provides a very personal critique of contemporary religious notions. His consistently engaging but often wayward humor is mixed liberally with daring flights of fancy and some startling turns of thought. A highly original contribution to one of the major debates of the last century – one that continues to exercise leading thinkers in the present one.
Rating: 3.0 stars
Quotes: “Though we agreed that G.K. Chesterton is definitely a giant in Christian literature, we found this selection difficult because of its continuous references to problems and personalities of Chesterton’s times (with which we were unfamiliar). As a group we wished we had chosen a different book of his for our first reading of Chesterton.”

Transformed By Love: The Soul’s Journey to God in Teresa of Avila, Mother Aloysius of the Blessed Sacrament, and Elizabeth of the Trinity

Author: Shirley Darcus Sullivan
Synopsis: In an age when the desire for spiritual depth often eclipses the yen for material prosperity, Shirley Sullivan’s Transformed by Love is a welcome guide for the interior voyage.– Gloria Hutchinson, author of A Retreat with Teresa of Avila.
Rating: 3.35 stars
Quotes: “Teresa was challenging but Mother Aloysius was exceptional. Well-coordinated among the three views.”
“This is a book I am keeping in my library. During my travel through life I will need to constantly refer to this. I loved especially the reminders that my every day events contribute to my spiritual growth.”

Before the Dawn: Autobiographical Reflections

Author: Eugenio Zolli, Former Chief Rabbi of Rome
Synopsis: This is the remarkable and inspiring story of how the famous and revered Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, became a Christian and entered the Catholic Church after World War II. Zolli was a world renowned Jewish leader and Scripture & Talmudic scholar, and an authority on Semitic philology.
Rating: 4.4 stars
Quotes: “Loved the conversion story! A wonderful writer and so much faith and love infused in this wonderful story.”
“Thoroughly enjoyed following Mr. Zolli’s path to conversion. Very worthwhile reading.”

Jesus, The Apostles and the Early Church

Author: Pope Benedict XVI
Synopsis: Based on Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly teaching on the relationship between Christ and the Church, this book tells the drama of Jesus’ first disciples – his Apostles and their associates – and how they spread Jesus’ message throughout the ancient world.
Rating: 4.2 stars
Quotes: “A beautiful explanation of Jesus’ Way and each of the Apostles as they encountered Jesus, how they came to believe, follow, and spread the Gospel to the point of losing their lives. The Holy Father brought the early Church alive to the here and now.”
“I was surprised that the Pope was able to bring to us so much information in such simple and understandable words. What an intimate picture of the Apostles & the early Church!”