View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Looking for a book to read?

I recently read You did it for Me – Care of Your Neighbor as a Spiritual Practice by Father Kevin McKenna.

First, a disclaimer: I’ve known Fr. McKenna for years. He used to be Chancellor of our diocese, is a past president of the Canon Law Society of America, and is now a pastor in our diocese.

He’s also a baseball fan.

The book is a good primer. It touches on the seven broad themes under which the U.S. Bishops have summarized the Church’s social teachings, which he lists as: respect for the life of dignity of each person; call to family, community and participation; rights and responsibilities of the human person; option for and with the poor and vulnerable; dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for God’s creation.

Fr. McKenna includes quotes from encyclicals, pastoral letters, Scriptures, Documents of Vatican II, biographies, and so on.

Also included are reflection statements mixed in with the text, and questions at the end of each chapter.

Each chapter begins with a vignette about some person engaged in social ministry – lay, ordained and religious.

What’s nice is that while we may be knowledgeable about one aspect of the Church’s social teachings, we may not know a lot about other parts of it. His book gives us a good sampling in a readable format.

The reflection statements and questions can lead to discussion – and prayer.

Best of all, he doesn’t write like a canon lawyer.

I give it a “thumbs up”.

And I’m not getting any kickbacks!

It’s available from Ave Maria Press.

By the way, go Red Sox!


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