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Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families Paperback – November 28, 2014
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"Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II is an easy, inspiring read that brings John Paul the Great once again into our hearts and homes. Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle has done the work for us, so all we have to do now is gather the family together, listen, reflect, pray, and grow in closeness to the Lord and each other." --Joan Lewis, EWTN Rome Bureau Chief
"As we set our sights on journeying ever closer to Jesus Christ in the Lenten season, Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle will be a true gift for your entire family. Packed with teachings from this great saint, stories from his life, and prompts to guide your own fasting, almsgiving, and prayer, this book will be a beautiful companion for your family, drawing you close both to the glory of the Easter resurrection and to one another." --Lisa M. Hendey, Author of The Grace of Yes
"This little book packs a powerful, inspirational punch, uniting the wisdom of our beloved Papa and the practicality of a mom in the trenches. Be not afraid of Lent!" --Karen Edmisten, Author of Deathbed Conversions
"Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle once again offers Catholic families a beautiful gift! Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II is an outstanding resource to help families enjoy an enriching Lenten journey." --Randy Hain, Author of Journey to Heaven
"For busy families--and all families are busy--Lent can become just one thing on an endless to-do list. Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle understands. She knows that families need to grow their spiritual lives but have many other commitments that pull on their time and energy. In this daily Lenten guide, she provides practical, easy-to-do guidance to help families joyfully celebrate the threefold purpose of Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. What gives this book extra value is the poignant stories from the life of St. John Paul II--stories that are guaranteed to touch your heart and increase your family's love for this great saint. Cooper O'Boyle has written a superb Lenten resource that deserves a place in every Catholic home." -- --Woodeene Koenig-Bricker, Author of 365 Saints
About the Author
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle is an award-winning author and journalist, speaker, pilgrimage host, retreat leader, and the EWTN television host of Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms and Catholic Mom's Café, which she created. A Catholic wife and mother of five, Cooper O'Boyle was noted as one of the Top Ten Most Fascinating Catholics in 2009 by Faith & Family Live. She enjoyed a decade-long friendship with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and became a Lay Missionary of Charity. For many years her spiritual director was Servant of God John A. Hardon, S.J., who also served as one of Mother Teresa's spiritual directors.
Cooper O'Boyle was invited by the Holy See in 2008 to participate in an international congress for women at the Vatican to mark the twentieth anniversary of the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women). She received apostolic blessings from Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on her books and work and a special blessing from Saint John Paul II for her work with Blessed Mother Teresa. Cooper O'Boyle is the author of several books on faith and family, including Rooted in Love, The Miraculous Medal, Mother Teresa and Me, and Catholic Mom's Café. She has been featured by Zenit news and Rome Reports, and is a frequent guest on EWTN Bookmark, Faith & Culture, and Vatican Insider.
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As a mother of five, Donna-Marie is keenly sensitive to moms' and dads' responsibility to help their children grow in the spiritual life. With that thought at the fore, she has crafted daily meditations and activities appropriate for the entire family. Each day contains (1) a reflection for parents to engage in prior to beginning prayer with the children; (2) an excerpt from John Paul II's audiences or writings for the family to read aloud; (3) a family prayer time; (4) a story from John Paul II's life; (5) and then a daily suggestion for how the family can fast, give alms, and offer short individual prayers throughout the day.
What I found especially ingenius of Donna-Marie was how the stories she shares from John Paul's life take us chronologically from his birth (shared on Ash Wednesday) straight through to his own personal passion and death (on Good Friday) and his canonization (Easter Sunday). It is such a powerful way of reminding us that Jesus is recreating His earthly life in each of us. And walking with John Paul through the most horrific events of the last century, not to mention personal tragedies, allows us bear our own crosses and see how the glory of Christ's Resurrection is shot through even the darkest of experiences.
"Joy" - that's the word that keeps coming to mind for this book. It planted joy in my soul, that same joy that beamed from the eyes and smile of John Paul II, the same joy our Blessed Mother surely had gazing upon her Son, Jesus. "Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II" is quite the treasure.
Using St. John Paul II as a spiritual guide, author Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle effectively assists families in experiencing a deeper spiritual growth and conversion during the holy and penitential season of Lent in Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II. This daily devotional begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday, providing prayers, reflections, and activities, which include fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, for the entire family. Each day, the family gathers together in the morning or evening to read a quote from St. John Paul II, reflect on points to ponder, read a brief excerpt from the life of St. John Paul II, discuss and choose fasting and almsgiving suggestions, and pray a simple, yet poignant prayer. In this way, the three essential components of the Lenten season are fulfilled: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
I was very impressed with both the spiritual depth of this book for families, as well as the practicality of the format. As a great leader of the Church here on earth, Pope John Paul II, showed us the way to holiness, not only through the words he preached and wrote in his many books, encyclicals, homilies, general audiences, but also in the life of holiness he patterned for us. St. John Paul II is an excellent spiritual guide and model of holiness for both children and adults. Cooper-O'Boyle clearly and concisely articulates and explains the saint's spirituality in a manner that is easily understood, even by children. Each day's devotions are short enough to fit into the family's schedule, while leaving a lasting impact on the heart, mind, and soul. The suggested activities for fasting and almsgiving are creative, innovative, and attainable for families.
Bringing Lent Home with St. John Paul II is a beautiful spiritual companion for your family this Lent and many future Lenten seasons to come. It will draw you and your family into the holiness of the season and prepare your hearts to receive the full gift of love offered to us through the Paschal Mystery at Easter.