Mr. Shaun McAfee, O.P. is the author of Reform Yourself! and other books, is the founder and editor of EpicPew.com, and contributes to many online Catholic resources. He holds a Masters in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Shaun has made his temporary profession as a Lay Dominican and temporarily lives in Italy.
In Heaven We’ll Meet Again
The Saints and Scripture on Our Heavenly Reunion
François René Blot, Sophia Press
It would sound cliché to start off by saying this book ‘blew me away’ but that’s exactly what I’m going to day. This book blew me away! Growing up Protestant where every pastor had a different answer for loved ones in the afterlife, I grew up completely confused and not full of much optimism. Since becoming a Catholic and learning so much, I actually never focused on this subject so I was still a bit in the dark when I picked up the book.
This book took my previous understanding of the afterlife and tore it to shreds, replacing it with brilliant hope and awe. The content itself was written long ago by François René Blot, who apparently wrote the text to console and encourage a woman who recently lost a love one. This book is much more than a grieving letter; it is a masterpiece vindication derived from Sacred Scripture, saints, and doctors of the Church of what we can expect in heaven, and how to make sure we help our loved ones (and ourselves) get there. This book belongs in every Catholic home. Really, it does.
The Epistle to the Hebrews
And the Seven Core Beliefs of Catholics
Shane Kapler, Angelico
Shane Kapler actually contacted me in his bottomless humility, asking me to remove a reference I made on my Amazon review where I compared him to Scott Hahn. Well there’s no stopping me now, and it deserves to be said: in this book, Shane proves he is among the most impressive and cogent scripture exegetes of our time.
Just as the title makes clear, this book reveals the gems of Catholicism within the Letter to the Hebrews. Kapler demonstrates his proficiency in exegesis and hermeneutics, supplying a bounty of background material to expose the world in which the letter was written, and how Catholicism is truly born of the whole of Scripture, Old Testament and New.
Memorize the Mass
How to Know and Love the Mass as if Your Life Depended On It
Kevin Vost, En Route
In 2014 I discovered Kevin Vost’s writing when I first picked up One Minute Aquinas which I enjoyed greatly, being a theology student at the time. I have since gone back to read most of his older books and have kept up with every title since. Still, I believe Hounds of the Lord is one of the most energizing saint books I’ve ever read. In fact, since then, I can’t stop reading saint books.
Memorize the Mass is a very important book. Too many Catholics go through the same routine each Sunday morning (or Saturday evening), “going through the motions” of their “dress up, go to Mass, and go back home to watch the football game” mentality. Few people are actually engaged in the Mass, and fewer understand and value the parts. The last thing you might think is a solution is to learn how to memorize it, then. Right? Wrong. If you’ve never read a Vost book on memory you’re missing out. Why? Because he unlocks the secrets of what I call active retention, where we don’t just deposit information in our brain like a bank, but a deeper appreciation and understanding of what we’re committing to memory. The book is comprehensive: any reader will fall in vivid love with both the Traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo. If you or someone you know is, at all, struggling with enjoying Mass, buy this book.
Fifty Things I Learned in My First Fifty Years
Patrick Madrid, Ignatius
Patrick Madrid is my favorite Catholic author. There, I said it. His is the model apologist of our time. I have not had a chance to read one of his recent books, How To Do Apologetics, but I’m really glad he’s sharing more of his insight in his latest books, specifically Envoy for Christ, and What Now?
What makes Patrick so different, in my opinion, is his humility and obvious sense of care for every person he meets. I listened to a recording of him once where he’s on some protestant radio show and he’s just getting yelled at, insulted, and mocked, caller after caller. But Patrick remained calm, respectful, and pleasant. He did the same in a recorded debate with a Protestant pastor from Australia, I think, in the Protestant pastor’s church. I think he was the only Catholic in attendance! With the same polemic tone and heated accusations of idolatry and heresy, Patrick kept his cool.
So I’ve always done my best to carry myself like Patrick and consider some of the things he must have gone through in his life that shaped him to be the meek and humble apologist he is today, while raising an 11-child family of God-fearing Catholics. This new book answers that call with precision. Patrick shares 50 real-life lessons from times he was completely humiliated, to times he chose humility over his reputation. Get this book for yourself or a young person searching for wisdom from a solid Catholic man.
How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church
Kevin Lowry, OSV
The title is hilarious, so I bought it. Kevin’s story is very similar to many young men today: young, dumb, and full of bad decisions. The first half of the book tells that story of college drop-out, to a new creation in Christ. The second half of the book is devoted to showing how all the hurdles he experienced in his faith led him to the Catholic Church. It’s a different story, too, to read about his roots as a minister’s son, who sort of fell away from his roots twice: once my making many terrible decisions, and second, choosing a faith radically different from that of his father. If you like conversion stories, make this your next purchase.
A Missal for Children
So, this book is not for you unless you are about 5-10 years old, and younger if you enjoy pictures. No really, this is by far the most elegant and beautiful children’s missal I have ever seen. Inside the book the reader will enjoy wonderful images of children participating in the Mass, complete with simple (though ample) instructions on the parts of the Mass. There also a very nice glossary (so smart to include that) many prayers included also. The textured hardcover with gold inlay text and gold-edged pages make for a stunning gift to any First Communion, Baptism, or Confirmation. Our kids love this little book as do we, and you will, too.