Friday, November 30, 2012

App Review: Catholic Meditations on the Life of Mary

This App contains 31 daily meditations on the life of Mary.  

The short meditations are intended especially for the Month of May or October, though they may be used at any time.

 In addition to these meditations there are Introductory prayers, and there is an indulgence attached to this devotion  
There is a daily alert you can set to remind yourself at your preferred time.  

Here are a couple of screen-shots from the App:


This App will help bring you closer to Mary by developing a better understanding of her life.
Catholic Meditations on the Life of Mary is designed for both iPhone and iPad.

 You can get the App on iTunes in the App store HERE.  
There is also a FREE lite version available HERE.

Book Review: "Dogs of War" by Kathleen Kinsolving

This entertaining collection of dog stories features the following three dogs:

 President Franklin D. Roosevelt - Fala (Scottish Terrier)  
FDR taught him to stand on his hind legs whenever "The Star Spangled Banner" was played.  Fala traveled everywhere with FDR.  For the most part, FDR was the only one allowed to feed Fala by hand after Fala had gotten ill from eating too much rich food.  Fala even dis every trick he 
 knew to impress Winston Churchill.  

General George S. Patton - Willie (Bull Terrier)    
General Patton found Willie in England during World War II.  He the was the General's constant companion, but Willie was not fond of other dogs.  He even had a brief skirmish with the next featured dog, Telek when Eisenhower visited Patton.  

General Dwight D. Eisenhower = Telek (Scottie)  
Telek was named after Telegraph Cottage, a vacation spot, and  and Kay, his driver, with whom he became good friends.  The extent of their relationship is not detailed, but he did say to her  "I don't know what I'd do without you".  As with the other two dogs,  Telek was Ike's constant companion, and he was known to leave "puddles" in inconvenient places.   Telek was also interviewed for a newspaper. :)

 I grew up owning dogs, but you do NOT have to be a dog lover to appreciate these heartwarming, entertaining stories of three well-known dogs and the companionship they provided to their owners. A very endearing book that also includes photos of the three, which makes it easier to relate to their stories.


App Review: Catholic Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Catholic Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary By Valent Richie  

I had not heard of this particular devotion, but it is prescribed by St. Louis de Montford.

 It consists of 3 crowns of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Excellence, Power and Goodness).  

There is an introductory prayer, one Our Father and four Hail Mary's for each crown, and a 1-sentence prayer after each Hail Mary.  
  • All prayers are written out for those who may not know them by heart.
  • You can set a daily alert to remind you at your preferred time.
  • Navigation is easy, and it directs you through the whole devotion.
Here are a couple of screen-shots from the App:



A very useful tool for an important devotion.  

The Little Crown App app is designed for both iPhone and iPad.  

You can get it on iTunes, in the App store HERE.

It is a FREE App.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

App Review: Adventus: Daily Catholic Meditations for Advent and 12 Days of Christmas

Adventus: Daily Catholic Meditations for Advent and 12 Days of Christmas  by Valent Richie  

I can hardly believe that it's almost Advent again :) If you feel the same, this App will help you prepare  during Advent for the birth of our Lord.  

There is a preparatory prayer and meditation for each day.  
I was a bit surprised that the first few days' meditation discussed the last judgement, but I especially liked the focus on repentance.  There is also some reference to the teachings of St. John the Baptist.  The daily meditations focus on how we can best prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas.  

You can set up a daily reminder for the time that is best for you.  

The daily  meditations continue beyond Advent and include the 12 days of Christmas, up to and including January 5.  

Here are a couple screen-shots from the App:


A very appropriate and useful tool to use during Advent to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. 

Adventus is designed for both iPhone and iPad.    

You can get the App on iTunes in the App store HERE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

App Review: Scriptural Rosary By Valent Richie

One of the best ways to stay close to God is to pray the Rosary regularly.  
This App helps you do that with the following features:
  • You can set an alert to remind you at your preferred time.
  • Each set of mysteries is identified with the day(s) on which it should be prayed.
  • All prayers are written out (Apostles' Creed,  Our Father, Hail Mary, etc.) for those who may not know them by heart.
  • Each mystery and each Hail Mary are preceded by the relevant  scripture verse.
  • Navigation is easy, and you can progress at the pace with which you are most comfortable.
Here are a couple of screen-shots from the App:

The Scriptual Rosary App is a valuable spiritual tool.
It is designed for both iPhone and iPad.  
You can get the App on iTunes. HERE.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Music Review: Advent at Ephesus

I can hardly believe it is almost Advent again :), but this CD really helps prepare you for Advent and the birth of our Lord.  

The sisters' voices are crystal-like and they combine to produce a beautiful,  inspiring, uplifting blend of chant and Christmas hymns.  

To be honest,  I only recognized a couple of the titles as 'Christmas' hymns, but the others are instantly recognizable as being about our Lord's birth, and a couple are about the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

My favorite hymns are "Come Thou Redeemer of the Earth" and "O Come Divine Messiah".

 I highly recommend this CD to prepare you for Christmas! You can get it at the sites below, or on Amazon.  Below is a sample from the CD.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Movie Review: Lincoln - PG13

President Lincoln is trying to pass the 13th amendment, end slavery, end the Civil War and re-unite the country.

  Most of the story takes place in the House of Representatives, where Lincoln and his allies believe that passing the 13th amendment (the Senate has already passed it) abolishing slavery will help accomplish his goals.  The political maneuverings of the time are much like we'd see today.

  A very well-told story. The prejudice  of the time is so strong it is almost a caricature of the racist stereotype.  

Daniel Day-Lewis is EXCELLENT in his role as Lincoln. I especially enjoyed his interaction with his family, his wife (Sally Field was very good as Mary Todd Lincoln) and two sons.

 Content warnings include language (use of the 'n' word), and and a couple of gory scenes from the war. A very good quality movie.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage

Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage
by Cheryl Dickow
Waterford, MI: Bezalel Books, 2012

In honor of the Year of Faith, Bezalel Books has rereleased Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage. This inspiring novel by Cheryl Dickow focuses on Beth, a woman in the midst of a mid-life crisis. She is the mother of teenagers, her marriage is struggling, and being a middle-school teacher is no longer offering any inspiration. “Her ache for what life hadn’t yet held was becoming almost unbearable at times.” What middle-age woman can’t relate to that pain? 

Beth goes on a journey to Israel to help her sort out what she wants out of life. Sitting on the plane to begin her journey, “she was already getting deliciously lost in the silence that surrounded her and felt as if she could, for the first time in ages, hear her own thoughts. There were no televisions on in the background, no kids arguing with each other, no one calling her name. If there was a still, small voice wanting to speak to her, she would finally be able to listen.”

Upon arriving in Israel, she meets the Goldfarbs, her hosts for the duration. During her two-week stay, they welcome her as family, introduce her to the culture, and she will suffer with them as they experience unspeakable pain. By the time she returns home, her life is forever changed, and she does indeed find what she needs. 

Elizabeth: A Holy Land Journey offers an education in the sights, sounds, and holy places of the Holy Land as well as Jewish traditions. It also speaks to the universal restlessness in a woman’s heart. It is a novel well-worth spending some quality time with.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Monday, November 12, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall - PG13

James Bond is back, and so is an agent from M's past, who threatens not only her, but all of MI6, the British Secret Service.  Bond must  protect M,  track him down and stop him before he completes his mission.

A good storyline, and plenty of action.  I'm not a big fan of  Daniel Craig, but he is especially good in Skyfall.

Content warnings include some violence and a shower scene (no nudity).  

One of the best Bond films to-date.  Definitely see it!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review: O Radiant Dawn

O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath
by Lisa Hendey
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2012
It’s hard to believe but Advent is right around the corner. Are you searching for a meaningful Advent practice to bring more faith and spiritual growth into this busiest of seasons? “O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath” may be just what you are looking for.
Hendey, founder of and best-selling writer of The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, offers a series of twenty-eight short reflections, one for each day of Advent. The title of the booklet comes from one of the “O Antiphons” of Advent: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, son of justice; come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” It is a reminder to reflect on the glory of God’s majesty, a majesty we often miss when we are preoccupied with ever-growing to-do lists.
She has designed the prayers to be used around the Advent wreath. As she writes, “The wreath’s simple circle of evergreens represents the never-ending promise of eternal life. Upon the wreath or in its middle we arrange four candles – three purple and one rose. The purple candles mark the solemn tone of the season and call us to wait patiently, eyes set on Christ. The rose candle marks our great joy as Christmas approaches.” While an Advent wreath is a beautiful symbol (with small children, my family uses a paper version), the prayers contained within this book can certainly be used without one.
The prayers and reflections can be used by individuals or by families. Each day offers a short gathering prayer, a relevant Scripture passage, a reflection and closing prayer. An added bonus is that Hendey offers a separate reflection for those with younger children. For those able and wishing to spend more than five minutes, the questions for reflection can offer much to ponder and perhaps journal about.
“O Radiant Dawn” is truly a great gift in a small package. It would be a perfect devotional to make available in large numbers to parish communities. Those who use it will find their Advent season to be greatly enhanced, with the emphasis placed first where it rightly belongs – on the coming of Christ.