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The Symbols of the Church

Maurice Dilasser, Editor; Mary Cabrini Durkin, OSU, Madeleine Beaumont, and Caroline Morson, Translators

Science has its own language; the arts have another. Religion uses the language of the arts, for it uses signs and symbols, like bridges from the visible to the invisible. The symbol is not an object of worship but invites us to worship. It leads to an encounter with the divine. Richly illustrated, The Symbols of the Church shows that the language of symbols is more universal than the language of words in expressing faith. Over 200 full-color photographs and illustrations depict a variety of symbols that range from bells to architecture to liturgical vestments. Commentary, poetry, scriptural text, prayers, musical excerpts, and quotes from well-known persons offer insight into the meaning and history of these symbols. The Symbols of the Church looks both beyond the church building and deep within it to find symbols relevant to Judeo-Christianity. First it recalls those principal sacred symbols—sun, moon, stars, architectural figures, time, space—which various cultures have made into a permanent and universal religious language and which were known to the Christian Church. Then it presents the evolution of the church building through time, from ancient temples to the modern church. Finally, it explores church furnishings and features—the baptistry, the nave, the organ, sacred vessels, the vestiture of church ministers—that are "permanent church signs." Churches are a compendia of symbols. The celebrations which take place in them enact these symbols. Their interpretation cannot be improvised but is a product of the interpretation given by the Church throughout its history and in its teaching and liturgy. The Church turns to the more widely used symbols of religious language to express its faith and dispose each person to receive its vision of the churches. The Symbols of the Church offers a beautiful and thoughtful introduction to their symbolic meaning. Part One: Symbols of the Christian World includes the sections "The World and Its Image," "The Inhabitants of the Heavenly and Terrestrial Worlds," "The World Subject to Humanity," and "Elements, Space, and Time." Topics included in these sections are The Heavenly Circle; The Depths; The Square of the Earth; The Ascent of the Heights; Temple; God of the Universe and Holy Trinity; Jesus Christ, God in our Midst; The World of Humanity; World of the Spirits; The Animal Kingdom; Plant World; Products of the Earth; Objects; Elements; Colors; Numbers; and Time. Part Two: Church Symbolism includes the section "Evolution of Churches and Their Symbolism." Topics included in this section are: Foreshadowings; The First Places of Worship; The Basilica; Romanesque and Cistercian Symbolism; Gothic Symbolism; Sixteenth-Century Churches; Classical and Baroque; Mid-Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries; Nineteenth Century and First Half of the Twentieth Century; and A Symbolism for New Churches. Part Three: Permanent Church Signs includes such topics as Consecration and Symbolism of a Church; Surroundings That Are Considered Sacred; The Church in Its Setting; Voices of the Churches; The Gates; The Baptistry, a Door onto Another Life; The Nave; The Organ; The Signs of the Paintings, Stained-Glass Windows and Statues; Sanctuary, Choir; The Celebration of the Word; The Altar; The Luminary; The Reserved Eucharist; Sacred Vessels for the Celebration of the Sacraments; and Liturgical Vestments—The Study of Vestments. Glossaries are included for the following subjects: Vocabulary of Symbolism; The Bible: Source of the Judeo-Christian Symbols; Liturgical Books and the Interpretation of Sacramental Symbolism; Sacraments—Application of the Symbolic Language; Eucharistic Vocabulary; The Heavenly Church, the Triumphant Church, the Church of the Saints; Vocabulary for Buildings; and Architectural Vocabulary. A complete text index is included as well as an index to illustrations.

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Verses on Death

Helinand of Froidmont; Translated by Jenny Lind Porter

Helinand (c.1162—1237) was born to a noble flemish family which had fled to France after the assasination of Charles the Bold. In the richly creative, rough and tumble world of the twelfth century, he proved himself an accomplish poet. In Verses on Death Helinand combines his love of poetry and his love of monastic tradition; from his cloister, he invites death to visit those dearest to him, to turn their attentions to the joys of eternity. Both in Old French and in Jenny Lind Porter's translation, the verses provide lively, colloquial and arresting reflections on the transitory vanity of worldly pleasures.

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Life in Christ

Timothy Backous, OSB

Leaflet in Exploring the Catechism of the Catholic Church series.

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Marriage

Understanding the Sacraments

Lawrence E. Mick

Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of our life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick provides these books—convenient, individual chapters of his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today—as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us. There is perhaps no sacrament more difficult to understand than marriage. What does it mean that Christian marriage is a sacrament? How is marriage part of the continuing revelation of the mystery of God? We often think of marriage as a one-time occurrence marked by a wedding. Marriage, however, like baptism, is an entrance into a way of life. Just as we renew our sacraments of initiation by participating in the Eucharist and reaffirming our baptismal vows during the year, we also need to see marriage as a continuing conversion and encounter with God. In Marriage, Mick meaningfully explores the sacrament and answers many questions Christians have, whether they are preparing for or already living a married life. Lawrence E. Mick, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a liturgical consultant and writer whose numerous books include Understanding the Sacraments Today and Living Baptism Daily (both published by Liturgical Press).

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Experience the Mystery

Pastoral Possibilities for Christian Mystagogy

David Regan, CSSp

Fourth century Christian Fathers put experience of the mystery ahead of learning doctrine. The early bishops borrowed from the mystery religions of Greece and Rome the language and techniques of "mystagogy" leading candidates into an experience of the mystery and made this central to Christian initiation. This book narrates the ancient history of mystagogy and its timid revival in the Order for the Christian Initiation of Adults and makes a strong case for granting it a major pastoral role today. David Regan shows that mystagogy is relevant to all areas of the Church, especially liturgy, religious formation, and inculturation. He explores the heart of the Christian mystery, explains the pastoral and spiritual importance of mystagogy, and demonstrates the relevance of mystagogy to contemporary Christianity.

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Baptism

Understanding the Sacraments

Lawrence E. Mick

Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of our life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick provides these booklets based on his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today—as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us. Baptism enables the church to carry on the mission that was entrusted to it by Christ. Those who accept the call to baptism are accepting God’s call to continue the work of Christ in the world today. In Baptism, Mick offers adult catechumens, parents, godparents, and all believers a meaningful introduction to this first sacrament of initiation. A practice dating back to the time of Jesus and shared by communities across the Christian tradition, baptism has a rich and dynamic history within the Catholic Church. This small volume is an excellent companion to the journey that begins with water and affirmation. Lawrence E. Mick, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a liturgical consultant and writer whose numerous books include Understanding the Sacraments Today and Living Baptism Daily (both published by Liturgical Press).

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Holy Orders

Understanding the Sacraments

Lawrence E. Mick

Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of our life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick gives us these booklets—based on individual chapters of his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today—as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us. All sacraments serve the needs of the church, but perhaps none so directly as holy orders, where individuals are consecrated to live out their baptismal vows as leaders of the church community. When entering a holy order (whether the diaconate, priesthood, or order of bishops), one joins a group dedicated to helping the faithful carry on the work of Christ. The roles of leaders within community have always adapted to meet the needs of the time, as a look at Paul’s letters or any period of church history shows. Here Father Mick looks into the theology and history of holy orders, offering direction and vision for current and future practice. Lawrence E. Mick, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a liturgical consultant and writer whose numerous books include Understanding the Sacraments Today and Living Baptism Daily (both published by Liturgical Press).

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Anointing

Understanding the Sacraments

Lawrence E. Mick

Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of our life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick gives us these booklets—based on individual chapters of his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today—as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us. Almost half of Mark’s Gospel is made up of healing narratives, powerful signs of the arrival of God’s kingdom in human history. Through these miracles Jesus revealed God’s presence in the world and opened ears, eyes, and hearts to the reality of salvation. Reform of the sacrament of anointing since the Second Vatican Council has dramatically changed our practice and theological understanding over recent centuries. No longer called last rites or extreme unction, anointing of the sick gathers the community to pray for and minister to seriously ill members. Through prayer, anointing, and laying on of hands, the church provides special pastoral care meant not just for the dying but for all who are seriously ill. In Anointing, Father Mick recounts the history and explores the elements and roles of the sacrament in a way that integrates it into our mission and clarifies the parts we all have to play. Lawrence E. Mick, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a liturgical consultant and writer whose numerous books include Understanding the Sacraments Today and Living Baptism Daily (both published by Liturgical Press).

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The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

Jane E. Regan

Leaflet in Exploring the Catechism of the Catholic Church series.

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How to Explain Your Faith

John Pritchard

Why is it that when Christians are asked to explain their faith they are often left speechless? True, there is much about faith that defies description and explanation. Yet John Pritchard thinks we can do better than stunned silence when posed with challenging questions about what it means to have faith in Jesus. In a world that increasingly doubts the need for organized religion, it is important for Christians to have straightforward and respectful answers to questions such as Is Christianity for those who can’t get a life? and What use is a dying God? and What’s the use of praying?. In How to Explain Your Faith, Pritchard helps us explore these challenging questions and many more. In a style that is simple without being simplistic or sugar-coated, practical without being preachy or pious, Pritchard takes readers to the heart of the matter of Christian faith. He not only helps us articulate a response to challenges from others but helps us personally enter more deeply into the mysteries of Christian faith and the heart of that faith, Jesus Christ. Right Reverend John Pritchard is the Anglican Bishop of Jarrow, England. He is the author of numerous books, including Living Easter Through the Year and Leading Intercessions, both published by Liturgical Press.

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Focus on Theology Resource Book

Peggy O'Leary, CSJ, and Kathleen Foley, CSJ, Editors

The essential components of the program are a resource book and videotapes that are integrally related and together lead to the participant discussion and writing that is at the heart of the program. The dynamic interaction between tradition and experience is the basis for the transmission of the Christian message. Through these conversations and through prayer together, participants come to know one another in a community of faith. Program Content The program's twenty-eight sessions range from one to two hours in length. They provide an overview of the basic elements of Christian life. Part One: Scripture Chapter One: Genesis 1-11 • Scientific Background and Biblical Interpretation • Creation • The Fall • Providence Chapter Two: Scripture and Spirituality • Spirituality of Children: Ruby Bridges • Scripture Confronts the Cover Story • Joseph and Gifts Chapter Three: Gospels • Approaches to the Gospels • Parables Chapter Four: Our Beliefs • Christ/Redemption • Redemption Today • Vocation Part Two: The Church Chapter Five: Mystery and Mission • Mystery of the Church • Mission of the Church • Development of Doctrine/The Magisterium Chapter Six: Sacramental Life • Sacramental Life • Structure of the Mass • The Liturgical Year • Sacred Art • Sacred Music Chapter Seven: Moral Life • Christian Moral Life • Catholic Social Thought and Catholic Education • Theological Virtues • Integrating Work and Leisure Chapter Eight: Fulfilling the Kingdom • Mary • Ecumenism • Information, Formation, Transformation • Eyes of Faith

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What Christians Believe

Hubert J. Richards

This collection of Instruction for Children books has been re-edited to appeal to a wider age-group: 7-14. The books comprising this volume are Creed for Children, The Sacraments for Children, The Ten Commandments for Children,and Mass for Children.

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Eucharist

Understanding the Sacraments

Lawrence E. Mick

Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick gives us these booklets—based on individual chapters of his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today—as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us. Eucharist is not just about communion. It is the liturgy where Christ is revealed as present in the community (Body of Christ), the presider, the Word (Logos) proclaimed, and the consecrated bread and wine (Body and Blood of Christ). Eucharist means thanksgiving, and Mass comes from the word for sending out. We give thanks for all that Jesus has done and is, and we are sent out to share the good news with others. The liturgy reflects the scope of Jesus’ ministry, from the Incarnation to the sending out of his apostles to carry on the work of building God’s kingdom. In this booklet Father Mick discusses the four parts of the Mass (the gathering, Liturgy of the Word, Eucharist, and dismissal), attending particularly to the way our participation makes possible the encounter with Christ and with others as we come together to celebrate, worship, and continually make present the Body of Christ. Lawrence E. Mick, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a liturgical consultant and writer whose numerous books include Understanding the Sacraments Today and Living Baptism Daily (both published by Liturgical Press).

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Confirmation

Understanding the Sacraments

Lawrence E. Mick

Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of our life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick provides these books—convenient, individual chapters of his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today—as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us. Confirmation practices have varied throughout church history. Yet whether confirmation is experienced independently as a teenager or adult, or in conjunction with baptism and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil, it affects us the same. Confirmation is the sacrament that confers on the believer the Holy Spirit, the Advocate promised by Jesus. As such, confirmation is best seen not as a requirement for membership in the church but as an opportunity for continued growth and conversion in Christ. As we mature in faith, we recognize our gifts within the Body of Christ and renew our commitment to follow Jesus. In Confirmation, Mick provides a meaningful introduction to the history, theology, and practice of the sacrament, complete with questions for further reflection. Lawrence E. Mick, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a liturgical consultant and writer whose numerous books include Understanding the Sacraments Today and Living Baptism Daily (both published by Liturgical Press).

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Sex, Priestly Ministry, and the Church

Len Sperry; Foreword by Donald Cozzens

"Would removing the celibacy requirement really eliminate priest pedophilia?" “Won't tough corrective measures such as a ‘zero tolerance policy’ only exacerbate the priest shortage?” These questions reflect the kind of concerns many of us are thinking and talking about lately. Despite the ongoing media coverage of sexual impropriety in the Church, there is relatively little known about sexuality issues involving priests. Sex, Priestly Ministry, and the Church provides an objective and authoritative account of psychosexual development in priests and key background information on the many sexual issues facing the Church today. It is a concise, comprehensive, one-of-a-kind resource of the most current information needed to understand these sexual issues and controversies and make reasoned, responsible decisions. Chapters under Part I: Essential Facts: Psychosexual Development are “Sex and Sexuality: Everything You Need to Know,” “The Process of Psychosexual Development,” and “Sexuality, Intimacy and Celibacy.” Chapters under Part II: Essential Facts: Sexual Misconduct are “Determinants of Ministry Health and Sexual Misconduct,” “Abusiveness and Sexual Misconduct,” “Narcissism, Sexuality and Sexual Misconduct,” and “Priest Sexual Misconduct with Children, Adolescents and Adults.” Chapters under Part III: Pressing Sexual Issues are “Selecting Suitable Candidates for the Priesthood,” “Homosexuality and the Priesthood,” “Decisions About Removing Priests,” and “Preventing Sexual Misconduct in Ministry.” Len Sperry, MD, PhD, is clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin and coordinator of the doctoral program in counseling at Barry University. He has consulted widely with religious organizations on issues involving ministry personnel and organizational dynamics, including the evaluation and treatment of priest sexual offenders. Among his 40 published books are Ministry and Community and Transforming Self and Community, published by Liturgical Press.

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