The St. Raymond Book Club is an informal group of book lovers who meet on second Friday of the month at 10AM in Parish Library) to discuss a wide variety of Christian (primarily Catholic) literature.

Contact: Jim Mault at

St. Raymond of Peñafort Book Club

St. Raymond of Peñafort Book Club
September 2023 – June 2024 Book List

(meet generally on second Friday of the month at 10AM in Parish Library)

(As of 20 July 2023, v1)

September 7:
(NOTE meeting on Thursday, not Friday) Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, Ignatius Press, 1989 (452 pages)
Discussion leader: Walt S

October 13: Catechism of the Spiritual Life by Robert Cardinal Sarah, 2022 (329 pages) 5 weeks Discussion leader: Fr B (if necessary, back up: Fran T & Jim M)

November 9: (NOTE meet on Thurs, 9 Nov. Federal Holiday on 10/11 Nov) St
Mary Magdalene, Prophetess of Eucharistic Love, by Fr Sean
Davidson, 2017 (208 pages) 4 weeks Discussion leader: Taejung W

December 7: (NOTE: meet on Thurs 7 Dec, due to Holy Day on 8 Dec) Two
Patients: My Conversation from Abortion to Life-Affirming
Medicine, by Dr. John Bruchalski with Elise Daniel, 2022 Ignatius
Press (185 pages) Brunch starts at 9:30 in Parish Hall 4 weeks Discussion leader: Paula S

January 12:
Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed. 1993 (471 pages)
5 weeks Discussion leader: Alayne A

February 9: From Slave to Priest: The Inspirational Story of Father
Augustine Tolton (1854-1897) by Caroline Hemesath, S.S.F.,
Ignatius Press, 2010 (251 pages) 4 weeks Discussion leader: Jim M

March 8: The Pain of Christ and the Sorrow of God: Lenten Meditations,
by Fr. Gerald Vann. 2021 Sophia Institute Press (112 pages).
Lenten Reading. Ash Wednesday, 14 Feb. Easter, 31 March 4 weeks Discussion leader: Mary R

April 12: Scalia: Rise to Greatness, 1936-1986, by James Rosen, 2023 (500 pages) 5 weeks Discussion leader: Maureen M

May 10: How the Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc, Tan Books, 1992 (180 pages) 4 weeks Discussion leader: Deborah C

June 7: NOTE: Meeting on first Friday of June. VOTE for next year’s
books & brunch; Brunch starts at 9:30 in Parish Hall.
Celebrate our Faith & gratitude for Catholic books.


St. Raymond of Peñafort Book Club
September 2022 – June 2023 Book List

(meet on second Friday of the month at 10AM in Parish Library)

(As of 11 June 2022; v1)

September 9: The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope
Benedict XVI), 2018. (376 pages) Note: reading & discussion
includes Roman Guardini’s work by same name.
Discussion leader: Jim M

October 14: Christ vs Satan in Our Daily Lives: The Cosmic Struggle
Between Good and Evil by Fr Robert Spitzer, 2021 (425 pages)

5 weeks Discussion leader: TBD
November 10: NOTE date: Thursday, 10 Nov! Charles de Foucauld by Jean-

Jacques Antier. Ignatius Press, 2022 (365 pages)

4 weeks Discussion leader: Barbara Aldridge
December 9: The Great Heresies by Hilaire Belloc, written in 1936 (161 pages)

Brunch; start at 9:30 in Parish Hall.

4 weeks Discussion leader: TBD
January 13: Calming the Storm: Navigating the Crises Facing the Catholic
Church and Society by Fr Gerald Murray and Diane Montagna,
2022 (464 pages)
5 weeks Discussion leader: Bob L
February 10: Priest and Beggar, the Heroic Life of Venerable Aloysius

Schwartz, by Kevin Wells, 2021 (199 pages)

4 weeks Discussion leader: Fran T
March 10: The Lord (Parts 1-3) by Mgr. Romano Guardini, written in 1937;
most recently published in 1996 (629 pages). Lenten Reading; Ash
Wednesday, 22 Feb

4 weeks Discussion leader: John K & TBD
April 14: The Lord (Parts 4-7) by Mgr. Romano Guardini, written in 1937;
most recently published in 1996 (629 pages.) Easter 9 April

5 weeks Discussion leader: TBD & John K
May 12: Behold, It Is I: Scripture, Tradition and Science on the Real
Presence by Stacy Trasancos & Fr George Elliot, 2021 (232 pgs.)

4 weeks Discussion leader: TBD
June 9: VOTE for next year’s books & possible brunch; Brunch start at
9:30 in Parish Hall. Celebrate our Faith & gratitude for Catholic

September 2021 – June 2022 Book List

(As of 11 June 2020; v1)


September 10:          Consecration to St Joseph: The wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald Calloway (229 pgs.)

   Discussion leader: 

October 8:                Columbus and the Crisis of the West by Robert Royal (289 pgs.)

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:  Bob L

November 12:          Things Worth Dying for: Thought on a Life Worth Living by Archbishop (Abp) Charles Chaput (272 pgs.)

5 weeks                    Discussion leader:                    

December 10:            Forty Reasons I am a Catholic by Peter Kreeft (140 pgs.)                 Start 9:30 in Parish Hall if brunch; then discussion. Otherwise start at 10 AM.

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:  None needed


January 14:                  Saints Who Battled Satan: Seventeen Holy Warriors Who Can Teach You How to Fight the Good Fight and Vanquish Your Ancient Enemy by Paul Thigpen (264 pgs.)

5 weeks                    Discussion leader:  

February 11:            True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness by John Cudderback (150 pgs.)     

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:  Fran T        

March 11:                  Under Siege: No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic by Austin Ruse (190 pgs.) Lenten Reading; Ash Wednesday, 2 March    

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:  Jim M (?)

April 8:                      It is Right and Just: Why the Future of Civilization Depends on True Religion by Scott Hahn & Brandon McGinley (185 pgs.)  Easter 17 April   

4 weeks                    Discussion leader: 

May 13                     The Secret of the Rosary by  Louis De Montfort and Mary Barbour (152 pgs.)

5 weeks                    Discussion leader:   

June 10:                    VOTE for next year’s books & possible brunch; Start 9:30 in Parish Hall if brunch; otherwise start at 10AM.  Celebrate our Faith & gratitude for Catholic books. 

September 2020 – June 2021 Book List

(As of 12 June 2020; v1)


September 11:          The Day Is Now Far Spent by Cardinal Robert Sarah (385 pgs.)

   Discussion leader: 

October 9:                Can a Catholic be a Socialist? (The answer is no—here’s why) By Trent Horn (182 pgs.)

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:  Jim M

November 13:          Hope to Die:  The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body by Scott Hahn (192 pgs.)

5 weeks                    Discussion leader:                                

December 11:           His Angels at Our Side:  Understanding Their Power in Our Souls and in the World by Fr John Horgan (286 pgs.)                 Start 9:30 if brunch; then discussion. Otherwise start at 10 AM.

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:  


Jan 8:                        Takedown:  From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage by Paul Kengor (256 pgs.)

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:  

February 12:            Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age by Bishop Athanasius Schneider (321 pgs.) (Ash Wed 17 Feb)    

5 weeks                    Discussion leader:         

March 12:               Dangers to the Faith:  Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st-century Opponents by Al Kresta (208 pgs.) Lenten Reading; Easter 4 April    

4 weeks                    Discussion leader:   Monica B

April 9:                      From the Depths of Our Hearts by Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah (148 pgs.)  Easter 4 April   

4 weeks                    Discussion leader: 

May 14                     Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary:  Unveiling the Mother of the Messiah by Brant Pitre (240 pgs.)

5 weeks                    Discussion leader:  

June 11:                    VOTE for next year’s books & possible brunch; Start 9:30 if brunch; otherwise start at 10AM.  Celebrate our Faith & gratitude for Catholic books. 

September 2019 – June 2020 Book List (As of 27 June 2019; v1)

September 13: A Pope and a President by Paul Kengor (648 pages)
Discussion leader: Chris S

October 11: Tobit’s Dog (A Novel) by Michael Nicholas Richard (185 pages). We will also read & discuss the Book of Tobit (approx. 17 pages).
4 weeks Discussion leader: Barbara A

November 8: The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Search by John O’Neill (256 pages)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Carol Ann M

December 13: On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer by Antonin and Christopher Scalia, Clarence Thomas & Edward Whelan (256 pages) Start at 9:30 with Brunch, then Discussion
5 weeks Discussion leader: Jim M
Jan 10: From Fire by Water: My Journey to the Catholic Faith by Sohrab Ahmari (240 pages)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Taejung W

February 14: With God in America: The Spiritual Legacy of an Unlikely Jesuit by Walter Ciszek, SJ (240 pages)
5 weeks Discussion leader: Fran T

March 13: A Memory for Wonders by Mother Veronica Namoyo Le Goulard, (189 pages). Lenten Reading (Ash Wed 26 Feb; Easter 12 April)
4 weeks Discussion leader: TBD

April 17: Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre (256 pages). We meet on 17 April since 10 April is Good Friday.
5 weeks Discussion leader: Vicki F

May 8: The Last Homily – Conversations with Father Arne Panula, edited by Mary Eberstadt (152 pages)
3 weeks Discussion leader: Monica B
June 12: VOTE for next year’s books & brunch; start at 9:30. Celebrate our Faith & gratitude for Catholic books.

Previous Books

September 2018 – June 2019 Book List

September 21: Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark (280 pages)
Discussion leader: Walt Seiberling

October 19: Live Today Well: St Francis De Sales’ Approach to Holiness by Fr Thomas Dailey (211 pages)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Jackie Alexandrow

November 16: The Four Last Things: A Catechetical Guide to Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell by Fr Wade Menezes (100 pages)
4 weeks Discussion leader: John Knight

December 14: Opening to God: A Guide to Prayer by Thomas H. Green, S.J. (126 pages) Start at 9:30 with Brunch, then Discussion
4 weeks Discussion leader: Elaine Keating

Jan 17(Thurs): The Priest Barracks: Dachau, 1938-1945 by Guillaume Zeller; translated by Michael Miller (248 pages)
5 weeks Discussion leader:

February 15: Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko: Truth vs Totalitarianism by Bernard Brien (118 pages)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Teresa Donohue

March 15: The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ by Brant Pitre (202 pages) Lenten Reading (Ash Wed 6 March; Easter 21 April)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Jim Mault

April 12: Tuning In To Grace: The Quest for God by Andre Louf (148 pgs)
Lenten Reading (Ash Wed 6 March; Easter 21 April)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Taejung Welsh

May 17: The Marian Option: God’s Solution to a Civilization in Crisis by Carrie Gress (204 pages)
5 weeks Discussion leader:
June 14: VOTE for next year’s books & brunch; start at 9:30. Celebrate our Faith & gratitude for Catholic books.

September 2017 – June 2018 Book List
(As of 23 July 2017)

September 15: Out of the Ashes by Anthony Esolen (256 pgs)
Discussion leader: Bob Laird

October 20: That Nothing May be Lost by Father Paul Scalia (190 pgs)
5 weeks Discussion leader: Walt Seiberling

November 17: The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero by Roy Wenzl & Travis Heying (140 pgs)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Barbara Aldridge

December 15: The Roots of the Reformation by Karl Adam (96 pgs)
(Start at 9:30 with Brunch; followed by Discussion)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Kathy Campbell/back-up Jim Mault
January 18(Thurs): The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Cardinal Robert Sarah, 2017 (241 pgs)
5 weeks Discussion leader: Mary Hansen

February 16: Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ by Cardinal Raymond Burke (123 pgs). Lenten Reading (Ash Wed 14 February; Easter 1 April)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Jim Mault

March 16: Who Am I to Judge by Edward Sri, 2016 (175 pgs). Lenten Reading (Ash Wed 14 February; Easter 1 April)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Anne Gordon

April 20: Loved, Lost, Found: 17 Divine Mercy Conversions by Felix Carroll, 2013 (248 pgs)
5 weeks Discussion leader: Elaine Keating

May 18: Map of Life (A Simple Study of the Catholic Faith) by Frank Sheed (147 pgs)
4 weeks Discussion leader: Carol Ann McKim
June 15: VOTE for next year’s books & brunch; start at 9:30. Celebrate our Faith & gratitude for Catholic books. 

Books read since September 2009 include the following (a synopsis or description taken from the book cover is included as well as the average of club members ratings of the books from 1 – 5 stars, some member comments included). Books read most recently are at the top.

• The Life of Blessed Margaret of Castello

Author: Father William R. Bonniwell, O.P.

Summary: Margaret (1287-1320) was born of noble parents who were ashamed of her because she was born a “hunchback, midget, blind, lame and ugly.” At 6 years old her parents walled her up beside a chapel so no one would know of her. After 14 years she was released…but you have to read the rest of her story. Her story is an obvious one of the virtue of inner beauty vs. outer beauty. It is a story of God’s abundant grace shining through a receptive soul to reach out and touch the lives around her, directing them to God.

Rating: 4.8 stars

Quotes: “A wonderful, inspirational read.”
“A lovely book, well-written; it speaks to your heart; [contains] much food for thought.”
“Excellent. Should be a ‘must read’ for our teens.”
“Beautiful, inspirational, so happy I read it. Loved the story and will begin to pray to Blessed Margaret.”

• The Hidden Power of Kindness
Author: Fr. Lawrence G Lovasik
Summary: This book shows how to become more aware of even your most offhand daily actions. You’ll find simple, step-by-step, and spiritually crucial directions for how to overcome the habitual acts of unkindness that creep – undetected – into the behavior of even the most careful souls. Sr. Mary Rose McGready says: “This wonderful book increases our insights into the wonders of the message that speaks so powerfully to us: ‘Love is patient, love is kind…’.”
Rating: 4.6 stars
Quotes: “Very enlightening: it tends to make you see all of the unkindness you might inflict on others and on all of your sins.”
“A good examination of conscience.” (Many said this)
“A manual on how to become a saint.”

• The Practice of the Presence of God
Author: Brother Lawrence
Summary: Considered a classic in Catholic spirituality. Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite lay brother who lived a monastic life in 17th century Paris, shows how it is possible to meet God in day-to-day events and to turn all we do into a prayer. It is an unpretentious work, beautiful in its simplicity: to bring the soul to an awareness of the reality of the presence of God in the simplest, humblest life, and through the simplest and humblest of activities. It brings to us a humble love of God that expresses itself even in the simplest act of lifting of a piece of straw from the earth — as a token of its love for God.
Rating: 4.7 stars
Quotes: “My own personal relationship with God became enormous throughout my reading of this book.”
“Inspirational as to how we can bring God more readily into our daily lives; able to make the simplest of acts into prayers.”

• The Myth of Hitler’s Pope (How Pope Pius rescued Jews from the Nazis)

Author: Rabbi David Dalin

Summary: This book refutes the lie that Pius XII was sympathetic to the Nazis and explains how the slander of the pope came about. It has been a pet peeve of several book club members to see Pius XII unjustly vilified so we are interested in researching and reading books that exonerate him. The author is a rabbi!

Rating: 4.3 stars

Quotes: “Eye opening. It was important to document and refute the lies about Pius XII. It was a bit tedious to read, but glad I stuck with it.”
“Really enjoyed this learning experience; learned so much. An interesting and very well researched book.” (Many commented on the extent of the research and the documentation backing so much in the text).
“Surprised to read a rabbi defending Pius XII so vigorously. Well documented, including new sources.”

• How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
Author: Thomas E. Wood
Synopsis: Modern science, human rights, art, architecture, music, economics, and law are all rooted in the Catholic faith. The book shows that the history of western civilization is, indeed, Church History. Alice von Hildebrand described it as: “A superb and scholarly refutation of the widespread and deeply rooted prejudice that the supernatural outlook of the Roman Catholic Church disqualifies Her to make any valuable contribution to the ‘progress of humanity.”
Rating: 3.5 stars
Quotes: “A great book of instruction in the faith and Church, which should be required reading in CCD and Catholic colleges.”
A bit “hard to read because of the detail, but worth reading.”
“Starting this book, I was concerned it would be too intellectual, but it was ‘easy to read.’ I enjoyed it!”

• How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics

Author: Fr. Mitch Pacwa

Summary: Fr. Pacwa relates the fruits of research and prayer in a way that is readable without sacrificing spiritual depth. According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan: “Fr Pacwa challenges Catholics to embrace their fundamental vocation: to be a listener. In the best of the Ignatian tradition, he teaches us to hear God’s voice–above the noise we encounter each day–and take it to heart.” Scott Hahn says: “This book is a glimpse into a great man’s heart as he shares the lessons he’s learned from God’s word and the Church as well as from the people he’s known. To read this is to learn and grow closer to God.”

Rating: 4.2 stars

Quotes: “Great for everyone, regardless of where one is in his/her prayer life. I will recommend this to many of my friends.”
“Loved the easy and extremely informative read; learned so much!”
“I loved Father Pacwa’s homespun style.”

• The Saints in My Life: My Favorite Spiritual Companions
Author: Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Summary: Fr. Groeschel presents 19 saints, some well-known, some not so well known. For each one he gives a short biography and a short excerpt from the writing of the saint, if available. He then explains the impact the saint had on his life and thereby gives us some wonderful insights for practical application in our own lives.
Rating: 4.4 stars
Quotes: “I enjoyed learning about all these saints. Easy to read; enjoyable.”
“I have a great love of saints; I find them fascinating. I really enjoyed this book!
“I enjoyed reading one saint a day, and then thinking of them all day long.”

• Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life

Author: Archbishop Charles Chaput

Summary: For Catholics, politics — the pursuit of justice and the common good in the public square — is part of the history of salvation. No one is a minor actor in that drama. Each person is important. The “separation of Church and state” does not mean — and it can never mean — separating our Catholic faith from our public witness, our political choices and our political actions.

Rating: 4.25 stars

Quotes: “An excellent primer to read prior to the election period! Still relevant today.”
“Very relevant. A good, informative, thought-provoking book.” (Multiple similar comments)

• The Last Crusader: A Novel about Don Juan of Austria

Author: Louis de Wohl,

Summary: Don Juan of Austria, the last son of Emperor Charles V, spent his childhood in a Spanish peasant’s hut. Acknowledged by King Philip as his half-brother, the attractive youth quickly became a central figure at Court. De Wohl paints in brilliant color the vivid scenes and characters at the Court of King Philip, Juan’s campaign against rebel Muslims in Andalusia, and the amazing climatic victory at Lepanto where he saved the Christian world from Islamic dominance.

Rating: 3.3

Quotes: “Although this is historical fiction, I liked getting a ‘feel’ for the time period and events, realizing that not everything occurred [exactly] as written.”
“Understanding the context of the history and the fiction, it was a great summer read.”
“An enjoyable read. Best if the reader is somewhat familiar with the Battle of Lepanto and the history of the period, before reading this fictional account.”

  • Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West

Author:  William Kilpatrick

Synopsis: This book argues that Islam is a religion of conquest and subjugation and that in spite of 9 /11 and thousands of other terrorist attacks throughout the world, many in the West still do not know or admit this because it conflicts with their multiculturalism and their belief in the equivalence of all cultures and religions.  In addition to challenging both the multicultural and moral equivalence approaches, Kilpatrick also exposes the role played by atheists and secularists in advancing Islam.  Kilpatrick argues that only a reawakened Christianity can defend our freedoms and liberties against Islam’s advance.

Rating:  4.6 stars

Quotes: “Informative, but very disturbing.  If we want to understand Islam, it is essential that we study it.  The book was a page-turner for me.”

“Very informative on a topic that needs to be addressed.”

“Well documented, informative, and disturbing.” (multiple similar comments)

“Kilpatrick is a treasure for those seeking information on this topic; his articles appear regularly on such Catholic websites as Crisis, Crux, and Catholic World Report.”

  • How to Share Your Faith with Anyone

Author:  Terry Barber

Synopsis:  For those who might be a little timid about how to share their faith with others, this book seems to be a good start.  In this book, you will learn from a master of evangelization how to share your faith and testimony with others.  The author relates personal anecdotes showing how to (and how not to) evangelize others; he offers several lists that provide guidance for us to follow his example. Barber believes that “evangelism is an attitude.”

Rating:  3.5 stars

Quotes:  “Excellent introduction to evangelization.  A good introduction with lists and explanations.”

“Did not like the formulas, but thought the tips for spiritual growth were very valuable.”  “Basic, left me wanting more.”

  • The Rule of Our Warfare

Author:  John Henry Newman

Synopsis:  Editor John Hulsman presents brief, readable excerpts from Newman’s sermons on faith, the true Christian life, temptations, the world, doubts and the mystery of the Catholic Faith.

Rating:  3.4 stars

Quotes:  “An excellent book to read for Lent.”  “Profound thoughts.”

“Tough to read in long stretches; better to read slowly, such as 1-2 sermons each day to allow time to reflect and digest.”

  • The Prodigal You Loved

Author:  Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble

Synopsis:  This is an autobiography of a woman who grew up in a devout Catholic home; she grew away from the Church, became an atheist, and then returned to the Catholic Church, ultimately joining the Daughters of St Paul.  Along with her story, she gives helpful insights to us who are awaiting the return of “our prodigals.”  It’s a very readable book.  The appendix has nine pages of short, simple and heartfelt prayers for our beloved prodigals.

Rating:  4.5 stars

Quotes:   “A great read.  I learned so much.”

“I loved this book!  Wonderful insights.”

“So much material for personal spiritual growth as well as insights about loved ones who are distant from the Church.”

  • Something Other Than God

Author:  Jennifer Fulwiler

Synopsis:  This book details Jennifer Fulwiler’s journey from ardent atheist, to inquiring about Christianity, to becoming a devout Catholic.  It reads like a thriller: it is one of those can’t-put-down, gotta-read-it-all kind of books: but it’s all-true.   Her transformation from a supporter of abortion to a mother of six, despite personal health risks is truly remarkable.  Author is a blogger and a radio talk show host on Catholic Satellite Radio.

Rating:  4.1 stars

Quotes:  “An exceptional conversion story.  I loved it.”

“A wonderful read of a strong-willed woman’s journey toward truth in the Catholic Church.”

“This story of an atheist’s progression in converting to Catholicism was affirming [to me] in my Catholic faith.”

  • Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

Author:  Pope Benedict XVI

Synopsis:  This is the third and final volume in the Pope’s international bestselling Jesus of Nazareth series, detailing how the stories of Jesus’ infancy and childhood are as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago.  It is a story of the hope found in the birth of Jesus and the affirmations of surrender and service embodied in his parents, Joseph and Mary. It is a story of longing and seeking, as demonstrated by the Magi searching for the redemption offered by the birth of a new king. Ultimately, Jesus’ life and message is a story for today for each of us.

Rating:  4.7 stars

Quotes:  “A great Advent book” (this comment was made multiple times).

  • Joy to the World: How Christ’s Coming Changed Everything (and Still Does)

Author:  Scott Hahn

Synopsis:  What could be more familiar than the Christmas story – and yet what could be more extraordinary?  Scott Hahn brings evidence to light, dispelling some of the mystery of the story. Yet Christmas is made familiar all over again by showing it to be a family story. Christmas, as it appears in the New Testament, is the story of a father, a mother, and a child – their relationships, their interactions, their principles, their individual lives, and their common life. To see the life of this “earthly trinity” is to gaze into heaven.

Rating:  4.5 stars

Quotes:  “A joy to read; so many ‘wow’ points.”

“It will make the Nativity relevant [to me] all year long.”

“Simple and beautiful; it gave me new insights into Christmas.”

  • The Soul of a Lion: the Life of Dietrich von Hildebrand

Author:  Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

Synopsis:  Based on a letter to his wife late in life, Dietrich von Hildebrand’s story is told from his youth, through conversion to Catholicism, his passion for truth, and his extensive writing.  He resisted Hitler and Nazism at great risk and finally fled to America from Nazi-controlled Europe.

Rating:  3.9 stars

Quotes:  “An inspiring book about a truly inspiring man of faith.”

“The book was difficult to read, but worth the effort.  Von Hildebrand’s life was fascinating and a vivid example of courage, faith and trust in God.”

“A great story of conversion and standing against Nazism and socialism.”

  • The Confessions

Author:  Saint Augustine

Synopsis:  A profoundly insightful auto-biography of a man’s struggle and journey which leads him to fall in love with God.  This book is the masterpiece from which all other Christian memoirs flow. Augustine’s astonishing story remains as fresh today as it did when he wrote it in the late fourth century. It still speaks with a clear, vivid and altogether distinctive voice to believers and those searching for the One who will give rest to their restless hearts.  Fr. De Celles once said, in a homily, that every Catholic should read The Confessions of St. Augustine.

Rating:  3.9 stars

Quotes:  “Not always an easy read, but glad I read it.  It provides much to ponder.” “Wonderful insights; a journey of a soul searching for truth.”

“Something that every Catholic should read; although it can be difficult.  You need a good English translation.”

  • 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.”Continue reading →
  • 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.”

    Continue reading →
  • 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.”

    Continue reading →
  • 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.”

    Continue reading →
  • 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!”

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  • 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.”

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  • 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.”

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  • 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.”

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  • 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.”

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  • 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!”

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  • This Life: What Catholics Believe About What Happens Next

    Author: Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.
    Synopsis: This fascinating book looks at how really consoling and uplifting are the truths surrounding death, judgment, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.
    Rating: 5.0 stars
    Quotes: “Father Groeschel’s concise presentation on Purgatory is a must read for everyone. Father justified Purgatory’s existence with quotes from Matthew’s gospel. I particularly enjoyed the visual of St Catherine of Genoa portraying Purgatory as “a soul feeling itself melting in the fire of God’s love.” She said, “the joy increases day by day as God’s love fills the soul as the impediments to that love are worn away.” Not the scary place most imagine.”

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  • A Severe Mercy

    Author: Sheldon Vanauken
    Synopsis: A heart-rending love story described by its author as “the spiritual autobiography of a love rather than of the lovers.
    Rating: 4.0 stars
    Quotes: “A good story about the journey & process of conversion of godless people. Didn’t care for the literary style.”
    “I cherished the insight into the man CS Lewis was through his letters.”

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  • Many Are Called

    Author: Scott Hahn
    Synopsis: Dr. Scott Hahn, one of the most celebrated scholars and influential Catholic writers living today, enthusiastically encourages Catholics around the world to renew their focus on the sacred role of the Catholic priest.
    Rating: 3.5 stars
    Quotes: “I enjoyed the book, because I learned to look at the priesthood in so many different ways.”
    “I was expecting a book explaining how the calling for the priesthood enters the lives of men, the various responses they have to that calling, and why they answered the call. The title to me was dishonest. It could have been called…The Priesthood Through the Centuries, or something like that.”

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  • Mother Teresa A Complete Authorized Biography

    Author: Kathryn Spink
    Synopsis: The complete story of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Missionaries of Charity and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, a woman regarded by millions as a contemporary saint for her dedication to serving the poorest of the poor.
    Rating: 4.0 stars
    Quotes: “I enjoyed reading about how her story unfolded. There are many, many things one could say about her life and work, but what struck me most of all was the two things to which she always returned. Those things were the “primacy of love” and the focusing on one individual at a time. It made me think of the passages in Corinthians about having all the wonderful gifts, but if we don’t use them with love, they are worthless. That is what Mother Teresa’s life showed, the idea that love always must be the focus of our interactions with one another.”
    “A joy to read the details of the character and works of Mother Teresa who was so beloved by people of all faiths for her genuine selfless love for all people, but especially the poor. Her determination was amazing and the way she inspired others. I hope after reading this that I will remember, more often, to look into the eyes of others to see their dignity in the image of Jesus Christ.”

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  • The Lamb’s Supper

    Author: Scott Hahn
    Synopsis: An inspiring exploration of the Mass and of the book of Revelation.
    Rating: 4.2 stars
    Quotes: “We agreed that we gained a deeper appreciation of the meaning of all the parts of the Mass and are hoping that will translate to keener and more deliberate participation when we attend Mass.”
    “Revelation is a part of the Bible that has always confounded me and I think that Scott Hahn clarified so many things with Jesus as Lamb. His insights were lovely, and I liked his writing.”

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  • Padre Pio, Man of Hope

    Author: Renzo Allegri
    Synopsis: An intimate biography by which one sees the results of this humble Capuchin’s prayers, and discovers for oneself the Source of his great hope.
    Rating: 4.2 stars
    Quotes: “The book, and his life, made a compelling case for the importance of the Sacrament of Confession in aiding all believers on their journey toward holiness.”
    “It was very good in the way it emphasized the importance of obedience and the sacrament of confession.”

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  • Old Errors, New Labels

    Authors: Fulton J. Sheen
    Synopsis: A fascinating and thought-provoking analysis of cultural issues that trouble us as much today as they did the faithful to whom Bishop Sheen initially addressed this book in 1931.
    Rating: 4 stars
    Quotes: “A lot of “meat” in this book and one needs to take the time to digest it all. When approaching this book, I think one needs to prepare oneself for a lot of reflection. He gives excellent perspectives on the logic or illogic of a way of thinking.”
    “Bishop Sheen could have written this book yesterday since everything he says is as pertinent for today’s world as for the time he lived. It was enlightening and interesting.”

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  • A Doctor at Calvary

    Author: Pierre Barbet M.D. {Read during Lent}
    Synopsis: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon
    Rating: 3.8 stars
    Quotes: “This book changed how I view the Crucifixion, it enlightened me to the facts of the death of our Savior. This book was a life-changing one in many ways for me.”
    “It is an excellent technical book about the crucifixion. If one is looking for a book to help immerse oneself in the passion, this could be of great value.”

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  • Saint Gianna Molla

    Author: Pietro Molla and Elio Guerriero
    Synopsis: The inspiring story of a newly canonized contemporary woman who risked her life to save her unborn child.
    Rating: 1.8 stars
    Quotes: “This book was disappointing because it was very poorly written and very repetitive. St. Gianna is a wonderful example of a contemporary holy woman but I didn’t feel this book did her story justice. A better book was Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, A Woman’s Life by Giuliana Pelucchi.”

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  • Life of Christ

    Author: Fulton J. Sheen
    Synopsis: A dramatic and moving recounting of the birth, life, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ, and a passionate portrait of the God-Man, the teacher, the healer, and most of all, the savior, whose promise has sustained humanity for two millennia.
    Rating: 4.6 stars
    Quotes: “It is a very “meaty” book and is the kind of book that can be used in small sections. By that I mean, after reading it through once, a person could return to it and focus on just one section at a time for review.”
    “It was not what I expected (merely a chronicle of Christ’s life) but made me rethink many aspects of our religion, had amazing insights and was wonderful from beginning to end. A book to deepen faith!”

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  • Left to Tell

    Author: Immaculee Illibagiza
    Synopsis: Discovering God Amidst The Rwandan Holocaust – The Inspiring Autobiography of a Survivor
    Rating: 4.6 Stars
    Quotes: “A glowing example of trust and belief in God, of faith that is tested and remains true, and of one woman’s courage and devotion.”
    “In her hiding, she experienced the spiritual warfare within her very soul. She wrote about having to fight against doubt (i.e. God cannot save you, etc.), fear and self-pity. The miracle of her survival is truly witness of God’s power and love.”

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  • Screwtape Letters

    Author: C.S. Lewis
    Synopsis: How a Senior Devil Instructs a Junior Devil in the Art of Temptation
    Rating: 4.4 Stars
    Quotes: “It is very helpful to read about some of the devil’s tactics, especially to realize that they can be very simple things. The tendency is to think big, and to be ready to fight off the dragon when the enemy actually is a gnat.”
    “I enjoyed it, liked the perspective of the devil’s manipulation and found it inventive and well written.”

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  • Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary Speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa

    Author: Immaculee Ilibagiza
    Synopsis: The story of this Vatican-approved Marian apparition that took place 13 years before the genocide in Rwanda.
    Rating: 4.3 stars
    Quotes: “Another winner by Immaculee Ilibagiza. It makes the Blessed Mother’s great love for the world so very evident, and it emphasizes the need to listen to Christ and His mother when they speak.”
    “I really enjoyed reading this book. It was so sweet, so warm and so inspiring. It amazed me that all these apparitions took place during my lifetime and I knew nothing about it until this book.”

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  • No Turning Back, A Witness to Mercy

    Author: Fr. Donald Calloway
    Synopsis: The autobiography of an extremely troubled young man who experiences a powerful conversion, embraces Catholicism, and answers the call to the priesthood.
    Rating: 3.7 stars
    Quotes: “An amazing story of conversion reminding us that there is always hope.”
    “An incredible story of God’s grace and mercy. It is a hopeful testament to the power of prayer for those who are fallen.”

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  • Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

    Author: Susan Tassone
    Synopsis: This inspiring book shows how you can join the saints in this act of divine charity.
    Rating: 4 stars
    “I learned so much from this book! I felt had had previously been negligent in praying for the poor souls in purgatory.”
    “As a cradle Catholic I was aware of praying for the souls in purgatory. This is a great reminder to focus every day on the poor souls.”

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History of Book Club:

St Raymond Parish Book Club began in September 2008. Below are the books that the club has read since that time (thru May 2015)

2008 – 2009



THE SHADOW OF HIS WINGS – Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM

WITH GOD IN RUSSIA – Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J.

HE LEADETH ME – Fr. Ciszek

THE DECEIVER – Rev. Livio Fanzaga


2009 – 2010


LEFT TO TELL – Immaculee Ilibagiza

LIFE OF CHRIST – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen


A DOCTOR AT CALVARY – Pierre Barbet, M.D.

OLD ERRORS, NEW LABELS,  – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

PADRE PIO, A MAN OF HOPE, – Renzo Allegri


2010 – 2011






A SEVERE MERCY – Sheldon Vanauken



HERETICS – G.K. Chesterton


2011 – 2012




THE 33 DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH  (Selected Chapters) – Christopher Renger





THE GRUNT PADRE – Fr. Daniel Mode

Summer Reading: HAPPINESS, GOD & MAN – Christopher Cardinal Schonborn

2012 – 2013

HAPPINESS, GOD & MAN – Christopher Cardinal Schonborn




SOLANUS CASEY – Catherine M. Odell

THE HUMAN SOUL – Abbot Vonier


THE BOY WHO MET JESUS: Segatashya of Kibeho – Immaculee Ilibagiza

THE 33 DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH (Selected Chapters)


2013 – 2014



THE LANGUAGE OF GOD – Dr. Francis Collins

  1. FRANCIS OF ASSISI – G.K. Chesterton

BLOOD BROTHERS – Elias Chacour

MY SISTERS THE SAINTS – Colleen Carroll Campbell


TRUSTFUL SURRENDER TO DIVIND PROVIDENCE – Fr. Jean Baptiste SaInt-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Colombiere, S.J.

THE 33 DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH (Selected Chapters)


2014 – 2015



HUNGRY SOULS (Supernatural Visits, Messages and Warnings from Purgatory – Gerard J. van den Aardweg



PERPETUA’s  PASSION ( The Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman) – Joyce Salisbury

THE PRICE TO PAY – Joseph Fadelle


THE 33 DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH (Selected Chapters)