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The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day Hardcover – February 17, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Who better than a nice Jewish girl to tell Catholics how to celebrate their faith at home? Jews have always been known for a sensibly domestic-centered observance of their religion, and Gould, a Jewish-born convert to Catholicism, speaks from a unique dual perspective. Having lived in a Jewish home, she knows about lighting Sabbath candles, but also remembers when Catholics kept holy water and statues in their houses. In her own home, which she affectionately describes as "the Hermitage" and "Julian of Norwich goes suburban," she has revived traditions that fell by the wayside after changes wrought by Vatican II, and also established a multitude of new ones. Readers seeking to reinforce Catholic identity on the home front will find plenty of ideas, among them a how-to for celebrating Christmas when it actually arrives, instead of weeks before, and making Halloween holy by embracing it as the eve of All Saints Day. Gould's writing is light and airy, even irreverent at times, but her ideas are well-grounded and refreshing. She wisely reinforces her suggestions with excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and uses the church's sacraments and elaborate calendar of feast days and liturgical seasons as the skeleton of her book, trotting out bits of history and legend for added interest. Gould's engaging enthusiasm will doubtless have readers asking, "Who knew Catholicism could be so much fun?"
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“The Catholic Home is clear, practical, and inviting; it will make every Catholic’s job easier visualizing how to bring the faith home.” —Frederica Matthewes-Green, NPR commentator and author of Facing East and At the Corner of East and Now
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Top Customer Reviews
It might help to point out that this is a book which makes some pretty basic distinctions: that Catholics pray with the saints in icons, not to the saints in icons. It explains the Jesse Tree for Christmas, but strangely, has little information on the Advent wreath (though, to be fair, the author suggests that you can find lots of information, including the daily readings, online). It includes a few paragraphs on keeping a prayer journal, lists the station of the cross for Lent and explains the Rosary in a fairly minimal and introductory fashion.
The whole book runs to roughly 200 pages, not including appendices, but including non-seasonal information, daily devotions and honoring the sacraments, so that each seasonal celebration merits just a few pages. Today's solemnity, Mary, Mother of God, runs to a page and a half, a third of which is taken up by the entry heading. As the saying goes, this is not a fount of information that would drown an elephant, though it is a good, resourceful introduction for those individuals who are just beginning a deepening personal, sacramental life in the Church.
I, personally, would have loved to have discovered, in this book, more information on all the seasons: crafts for adults and children; information on home altars not just in the back of the book, but within every seasonal entry; more historical information, prayers and novenas and lots and lots of pictures! The Roman Catholic Church has been around for 2,000 years and Holy Mother Church's intense emotional and spiritual impact on art, culture and the home have produced profound artifacts of tradition, lore and devotion. This book barely skims the top of such an immense wealth.
Sadly, I have yet to find such a book. For those who are searching for such a tome, a good resource can be with fisheaters: fisheaters.com/beingcatholic.html as well as within Flickr, by searching for catholic altars, etc.