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Hope, an Anchor in Today's World

Janet Schaeffler, OP

One of the great theological virtues, hope is a sign of our trust in God, the foundation for making our way through difficulties, and an invitation to witness to God's care in our lives. A psalm, a Pauline passage, and a gospel passage allow us to explore this virtue of which our world is in such need. Janet Schaeffler, OP, is the former director of Adult Faith Formation for the Archdiocese of Detroit. She is the author of several books, including The Creed: A Catechist's Guide. She is also the facilitator of online courses and a leader of days of reflection, retreats, parish missions, and workshops. She is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Catechetics from the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership and has been named among those who have made a significant contribution to the field of Christian religious education in the North American context by the "Christian Educators of the 20th Century Project," Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in La Mirada, CA.Visit AliveInTheWord.org to explore more of the books in this engaging new series.

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Mary, Favored by God

Catherine Upchurch

Few people have influenced Christian spirituality, theology, and history as profoundly as Mary, mother of Jesus. Explore three key events early in her life that set the course for her role in salvation history. Learn what it means to be favored by God.Catherine Upchurch serves as the director of Little Rock Scripture Study and the general editor of the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible. Her work in adult faith formation involves writing, editing, lecturing, and leading retreats and days of reflection. She is an associate editor of The Bible Today, a journal of biblical spirituality, and a contributor to Give Us This Day, published by Liturgical Press.Visit AliveInTheWord.org to explore more of the books in this engaging new series.

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Dashed Hopes

When Our Best-Laid Plans Fall Apart

Laura Kelly Fanucci

Where do we turn when our hopes are dashed, when we look at best-laid plans and see only shattered dreams? With fresh perspectives on Jeremiah's plans for "a future of hope," Jesus' agony in the garden, and Isaiah's promise of "a way in the wilderness," Laura Kelly Fanucci offers hope for those wondering what comes next when life feels broken.Laura Kelly Fanucci is the research associate for the Collegeville Institute Seminars. She is the author of Mercy: God's Nature, Our Challenge in the Alive in the Word series, Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting (Liturgical Press, 2014); and the co-author of Living Your Discipleship: 7 Ways to Express Your Deepest Calling (23rd Publications, 2015). She blogs about spirituality and parenting at www.motheringspirit.com.Visit AliveInTheWord.org to explore more of the books in this engaging new series.

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Hope, an Anchor in Today's World

Janet Schaeffler, OP

One of the great theological virtues, hope is a sign of our trust in God, the foundation for making our way through difficulties, and an invitation to witness to God's care in our lives. A psalm, a Pauline passage, and a gospel passage allow us to explore this virtue of which our world is in such need. Janet Schaeffler, OP, is the former director of Adult Faith Formation for the Archdiocese of Detroit. She is the author of several books, including The Creed: A Catechist's Guide. She is also the facilitator of online courses and a leader of days of reflection, retreats, parish missions, and workshops. She is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Catechetics from the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership and has been named among those who have made a significant contribution to the field of Christian religious education in the North American context by the "Christian Educators of the 20th Century Project," Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in La Mirada, CA.Visit AliveInTheWord.org to explore more of the books in this engaging new series.

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Christmas, Season of Wonder and Hope

Catherine Upchurch

It is not possible to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the very Son of God, in a single day. The church gives us a season—from Christmas eve to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord—to reflect with wonder on what God has done and is doing in our world. The gift of this child who would go on to give his very life for our salvation is the source of our hope in every age and through every storm. In Christmas, Season of Wonder and Hope, meditate with Catherine Upchurch on three New Testament passages that invite us to move through wonder to hope. Catherine Upchurch serves as the director of Little Rock Scripture Study and the general editor of the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible. She brings years of adult faith formation experience to her writing and speaking. She is an associate editor of The Bible Today, a regular contributor to Give Us This Day, and the author of Mary, Favored by God, Moses, Called and Equipped, and Hospitality, Welcoming the Stranger. Visit AliveInTheWord.org to explore more of the books in this engaging new series.

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Trust, Confidence in the God of Salvation

John Craghan

Our faith gives witness to a God who is worthy of our trust and invites us to model this confidence to those around us. Explore a few key Bible passages that teach us to surrender to the power of divine love and rely on the God who created and redeems us. John F. Craghan is professor emeritus of religious studies at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. He is North American editor for Scripture in Church (Dominican Publications) and is the author of numerous books, including I Was Ill and You Cared for Me: Biblical Reflections on Serving the Physically and Mentally Impaired; Psalms for All Seasons; And the Life of the World to Come: Reflections on the Biblical Notion of Heaven; and The Gospels of the Weekday Lectionary, all published by Liturgical Press.Visit AliveInTheWord.org to explore more of the books in this engaging new series.

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Let Justice Sing

Hymnody and Justice

Paul Westermeyer

Justice has been an urgent concern of twentieth-century hymn writers, but are they the first to place such an emphasis on it? In Let Justice Sing, Paul Westermeyer offers an answer with the hope that it will stimulate dialogue, future studies, and an understanding of the past that can be applied to the present. Let Justice Sing explores the content, context, and importance of justice within the "warp and woof" of hymnody. By analyzing these aspects and past hymnic repertoires, it suggests to the Church and others who wish to join the moral deliberation it presumes, that not only have Christians always sung about justice, but the message transcends the messengers. The perspective and dialogue fostered by Let Justice Sing is directed to students in college or seminary courses where hymnody, Church music, or ethics is the topic; adults in forums or classes where questions about music and justice arise; and anyone with an interest in hymnody, justice, or the relationship between the two. Chapters are "Content: The Twentieth Century": "Content: Before the Twentieth Century, I"; "Content: Before the Twentieth Century, II"; "Context"; and "Hymnody and Justice." Paul Westermeyer, PhD, is Professor of Church Music at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. He teaches, directs music, and administers a master of sacred music degree program with St. Olaf College. His writing includes numerous articles and books.

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Feminist Liturgy

A Matter of Justice

Janet R. Walton

Feminist liturgy began in the midst of a broad human quest for justice in the late twentieth century. The Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War movement added momentum for women's struggle for justice. Within this ferment, women addressed the limits placed on them in secular and religious institutions as well. Feminist liturgies developed as one of a number of attempts to discover and claim a more truthful telling and embodying of the stories that shape our religious consciousness. In Feminist Liturgy: A Matter of Justice, Walton offers a "partial account" of feminist liturgies to encourage both discussion and action so that our liturgies will be "true" for all of us. Walton explains that liturgies typically described as "feminist" emerged in the late 1960s when women and some men realized that what they were experiencing in the liturgies not only wasn’t “enough” but, in fact, wasn’t “true.” A liturgical process that centers on an encounter—an engaged, embodied dialogue with God—cannot be true when females are left out of the dialogue. To make the liturgies more accurate, people joined together to discover how to use symbols, texts, and forms that expressed relationships with God more authentically. Walton examines four aspects of feminist liturgies: the historical context in which they developed, the tasks and principles that guide them, the possibilities they offer, and application to regular institutional liturgies. In examining these aspects, Walton responds to questions, clarifies hunches, alleviates doubts, and encourages more people to contribute to the development of feminist liturgies. Janet R. Walton is professor of worship at Union Theological Seminary in New York. She is the author of Art and Worship: A Vital Connection published by The Liturgical Press.

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The Earth is the Lord's

The Bible, Ecology, and Worship

Dianne Bergant, CSA

The first verse of Psalm 24 declares that "the earth is the Lord's" because it was God who "founded it on the seas and established it over the waters." In The Earth Is the Lord's Dianne Bergant explains that if the rich and elaborate religious tradition in that statement is understood, it can deepen our appreciation of God's creative power. She examines the relationship between humans, the earth, and worshiping the Lord by focusing on ancient and contemporary beliefs as well as key passages from the Bible. Chapter one, A New Worldview, discusses the connection between humans and earth, an open and critical dialogue between science and theology, and the idea that humans are not the center of the universe. Chapter two, Creation and Re-creation, focuses on the Sabbath, the sanctuary, a sacred time and place, and the image of God. Chapter three, Nature: Friend or Foe?, examines nature. Chapter four, Creation and Morality, takes a close look at morality. The final chapter, On That Day, discusses the day of the Lord, a new heaven and a new earth, and the Messianic Age. Sister Dianne Bergant CSA, is Professor of Old Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The general editor of The Collegeville Bible Commentary (Old Testament), she was editor of The Bible Today from 1986-1990.

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Exploring Music as Worship and Theology

Research in Liturgical Practice

Mary E. McGann, RSCJ

Exploring Music as Worship and Theology addresses a central challenge to liturgical scholars and pastoral leaders—how to understand the diverse, culturally shaped worship patterns that exist in our multi-cultural church. It situates music as a central lens through which to explore a community's liturgical practice, and offers a practical method for studying and interpreting the lived experience of a musical-liturgical assembly. Exploring Music as Worship and Theology invites greater attention to the diverse cultural music emerging in our various Christian assemblies, and underscores the need for greater dialogue between our theories of liturgy, music, and the actual practice of local communities. Chapters are "Interdisciplinary Orientations to Musical-Liturgical Practice," “The Research Process,” and “Creative Dialogue with Liturgical Studies.” Mary E. McGann, RSCJ, PhD, is assistant professor of liturgy and music at the Franciscan School of Theology at Berkeley. She is co-author with Edward Foley, OFM Cap, of Music in the Eucharistic Prayer published by The Liturgical Press.

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Liturgy and the Social Sciences

Nathan D. Mitchell

In his letter to liturgists meeting in Mainz, Germany, in 1964, theologian Romano Guardini asked: "Is ritual a forgotten way of doing things?" That question challenged Catholics to reevaluate the roots and roles of ritual. In an ongoing response to that challenge, liturgists have sought to reinterpret the multiple meanings of ritual using insights from the social sciences. In Liturgy and the Social Sciences, Nathan Mitchell examines the responses of liturgists to Guardini's famous question. In the first chapter Mitchell focuses on Aidan Kavanagh, OSB, a noted U.S. liturgist that undertook the challenge of answering Guardini's question. He explains how Father Kavanagh's innovative call for a new discipline—a "political science" of behavior—was taken up by American liturgists in a "classical" or "high church" mode that emphasized ritual action as traditional, authoritative, repetitive, conservative, and "canonical." The second chapter examines how the "high church consensus" began to unravel as a result of critical work done on "emerging ritual" by Ronald Grimes and David Kertzer. These scholars argued that new categories were needed to understand how ritual connects with social life and explained the characteristics of "emerging ritual" as innovative, untraditional, unpredictable, playful, and short term. In the third chapter Mitchell explores some of the proposals that a new generation of anthropologists have made for interpreting ritual. He gives attention to the research of Talal Asad, who suggests that rituals are a "technology" aimed at producing "virtuous selves." Michel Foucault's "technologies of the self" is also discussed in this chapter. Although written for directors of liturgy, Liturgy and the Social Sciences will also appeal to DREs, clergy and religious, directors of adult formation, persons working with candidates in RCIA, and students and teachers of liturgy who want to look beyond what we do to understand why we do it. Nathan D. Mitchell, PhD, is Associate Director for Research at the Center for Pastoral Liturgy, University of Notre Dame. Six times a year, he writes "The Amen Corner" for Worship. In 1998, the North American Academy of Liturgy presented him with its Berakah Award. Other books by Mitchell that have been published by The Liturgical Press include Cult and Controversy, Mission and Ministry, and Rule of Prayer, Rule of Faith. He also contributed to The Collegeville Pastoral Dictionary of Biblical Theology.

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Lay Preaching

State of the Question

Patricia A. Parachini, SNJM

Lay preaching—preaching rendered by a baptized Christian who has not been ordained a deacon, priest, or bishop—has been a growing issue of concern since the mid-1980s. Along with this concern, a new emphasis on the important role of the laity in spreading the Gospel has emerged. This emphasis has seen lay preaching develop into a common practice in many parts of the country. But if the needs of God's people to hear the Word are to be met, a systematic approach must be taken to this timely and urgent issue. In Lay Preaching Patricia Parachini provides that approach. Preaching is a broad category (or genus) which includes different types (or species) of preaching including pre-evangelistic preaching, evangelization, catechetical preaching or catechesis, preaching in church, and liturgical preaching. Although Parachini briefly discusses lay preaching in general, her primary focus in Lay Preaching is the most frequently debated type of preaching and the only type from which laity are regularly excluded: liturgical preaching. In the past ten years there has been a growing interest in the ministry of liturgical preaching among Roman Catholic men and women that are not ordained but minister in the Church. In Lay Preaching Parachini pays attention to that growing interest, while maintaining that people need to hear the Word preached to them well and effectively. She begins by highlighting significant moments in the history of lay preaching and addressing some of the major theological and liturgical concerns that are key to a discussion of preaching. Then, Parachini explains the pertinent canons on preaching from the 1983 revised Code of Canon Law. Finally, she describes current practices throughout the U.S. regarding lay preaching and raises fundamental questions that provide direction for the future. Chapters are "A Historical Survey," "Mapping the Theological Terrain," "Perspectives of the 1983 Code of Canon Law," and "Present Realities, Future Possibilities." Patricia A. Parachini, SNJM, DMin, has been involved in the preaching ministry for 18 years as a Professor of Homiletics; a workshop facilitator; and a resource person for liturgical preaching at St. Mary's Seminary and University, the Catholic University of America, Aquinas Summer Preaching Institute, and St. Paul's College.

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The Byzantine Rite

A Short History

Robert Taft, SJ

Much has been written regarding the western liturgy; the same cannot be said of the Byzantine liturgy. Father Taft contributes to a remedy of that shortfall through this work. In it he traces the origins of the Byzantine Rite during its period of formation: from its earliest recorded beginnings until the end of Byzantium (1453 c.e.). While the rite has undergone some change in the period since then, its outlines remain essentially the same.

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Liturgical Art For A Media Culture

Eileen D. Crowley

Ours is a culture steeped in media and technology, a fact that fascinates some and frightens others. Because media permeates every aspect of our lives, church leaders would do well to discern when and how it might be appropriately used in liturgical settings. In Liturgical Art for a Media Culture Eileen Crowley provides a powerful aid in that discernment process. By first addressing such basics as the vocabulary and historical context of media in Christian worship, Crowley helps to ease readers’ fears. By looking honestly at the perils and possibilities of media in worship—and by giving readers both a framework for evaluating and a model for implementing media in worship—Crowley guides the reader’s fascination with media into channels appropriate for worship. This is a timely source for those who wish to use media and technology as a way to vitalize, yet not obstruct, worship and liturgy. Eileen D. Crowley, PhD, is assistant professor of Word and Worship at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

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Liturgy and Hermeneutics

Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS

By its very nature, hermeneutics—the art or science of interpreting—is interdisciplinary. It is equally important for scholars of literature, philosophy, biblical texts, and theology. In spite of the fact that interpretation has long been an important concern for Scripture exegetes and that in recent years liturgists have paid increasing attention to methods, there is no major work that specifically addresses the issues of hermeneutics for liturgy. Liturgy and Hermeneutics fills that void. In Liturgy and Hermeneutics Joyce Ann Zimmerman explains that all communication requires some interpretation, even everyday conversations in which we are hardly aware of it. But a great deal of communication is far more complex. Anytime we try to describe such things as an idea, a concept, or an experience, we are well beyond ordinary language use and into the realm of language as a symbol system. Since symbols have both a literal meaning and another level of meaning available only through interpretation, much of our communication is hermeneutical. Liturgy is no exception; it too is hermeneutical. In the past everything about liturgy seemed clear and understandable, and the rituals were denotative. However, Zimmerman argues, that lack of interpretation may have deprived worshipers of the richness proper to liturgy. A non-interpretive approach to liturgy tends to reduce it to rubrics or received grace. We must likewise be wary of an interpretation of liturgy that is too subjective. Only authentic interpretation examines liturgy's richness while remaining faithful to its tradition, doctrinal content, and ritual expressions. In Liturgy and Hermeneutics Zimmerman specifically addresses hermeneutics and its use in liturgy and liturgical studies. Her purpose is twofold: (1) to introduce readers to a complex body of literature so they can become literate in a technical field; and (2) to guide readers through the complex issues and strategies involved in interpreting liturgy (as text, as ritual, as life). Zimmerman does not promote a single hermeneutic approach, but instead points out the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches. Chapters are "What’s at Stake?" “Overview of Hermeneutical Theory and Issues,” “Critical Methods,” “Post-critical Methods,” “Hermeneutics and Liturgical Studies Today,” and an epilogue that raises questions yet to be comprehensively addressed by liturgists. Joyce Ann Zimmerman, CPPS, PhD, STD, is the founding director of the Institute for Liturgical Ministry in Dayton, Ohio and is the founding editor and columnist for Liturgical Ministry. She is an Adjunct Professor of Liturgy; a liturgical consultant; and frequent facilitator of workshops and days of recollection on liturgy, spirituality, and other related topics. She is the author of numerous books and articles on liturgy and spirituality.

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