Arts

Brendan, a saint of adventure

BrendanBrendan: The Remarkable Life and Voyage of Brendan of Clonfert, One of the most Beloved Irish Saints by Morgan Llywelyn (New York, Tom Doherty Associates, 303 pages, $29.99.)

Saints stand out as great role models for youth and if they haven’t already added St. Brendan to their list of heroes, it’s probable they will after reading Brendan: The Remarkable Life and Voyage of Brendan of Clonfert, One of the most Beloved Irish Saints by Morgan Llywelyn.

Brendan is a telling tale of the legendary life of St. Brendan of Clonfert, or St. Brendan the Navigator, one of the greatest Irish saints. In reading the novel, the reader will develop a mental picture of who St. Brendan was — a man of great faith, knowledge and love for God.

Music helps singer find her inner peace

Singer Rosanna Riverso with Sony Recording artists The Priests. Riverso was a soloist at the show The Priests performed in December at Toronto’s St. Paul’s Basilica. TORONTO - During these uncertain times, Mississauga, Ont., singer-songwriter Rosanna Riverso wants to bring a Christian message of hope, peace and inspiration to all.

“I think we live in a very fast-paced society and even right now, today, are facing a lot of economic, social and spiritual strife,” Riverso told The Catholic Register.

To that end, Riverso has organized the Peace Concert Tour that will take place in three Catholic churches in Southern Ontario. The first concert is on June 6 at Oakville’s St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. The following concerts will be held at Hamilton’s St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church on Sept. 19 and Oct. 8 at Toronto’s St. Paul’s Basilica.

Play tries to bring redemption to the urban underside

A scene from The Ultimate Sacrifice, a Gospel musical opening at the Panasonic Theatre June 25.TORONTO - As an actor, Michelle Lopez is accustomed to a theatre ensemble circling to practise lines, but before joining the cast of The Ultimate Sacrifice she’d never encountered an entire theatre group gathering for a lively half-hour prayer before and after rehearsals.

Those sessions are just one reason Lopez calls her role in the Gospel musical a blessing.

Lorraine Williams' two vocations

Lorraine WilliamsMARKHAM, Ont. - If Marshall McLuhan says you ought to be on the left bank of the Seine writing, perhaps you should book a trip to Paris and buy a leather-bound notebook. But that’s not what Lorraine Williams did after her famous English professor told her he thought she might have a career as a writer.

Not that she didn’t appreciate McLuhan’s encouragement of her very young self as she sipped wine at a reception following graduation from Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College in 1953.

Adding puzzling mystery to Jesus' story

The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel ChristThe Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ, by Philip Pullman (Knopf, 256 pages, hardcover, $27.)

Well-known authors have tried to retell the Jesus story in fictional form over the last few decades. Some, like C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, used a highly imaginative and metaphorical setting. Nikos Kazantzakis with his very earthy Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ and Anne Rice with her recent and much more prosaic rendering in the Christ The Lord series both chose a literal retelling of the Gospel.

Finding grace in the meal

Paula ButturiniTORONTO - For Paula Butturini, 15 years of continuous tragedies were countered by moments of unexpected grace and solace found in the rituals of preparing and sharing food around the dinner table.

In her book Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food and Healing in Italy, published this year by Riverhead Books, Butturini bounces the reader between a series of brutal, gut-wrenching events and peaceful, heartwarming stories that centre around food and fellowship — a gripping story of perseverance and hope.

Cambridge artist's monstrance a gift to Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI accepts a monstranceWhen he was designing a monstrance around the idea of the Holy Trinity a decade go, sculptor Achim Klaas never thought he would be presenting it to the Pope.

But that’s exactly what happened April 21 when Klaas, 59, met Pope Benedict XVI and gave him the monstrance as a gift just days after the official celebration of the Pope’s five-year pontificate.

The Richard family’s love of music, each other, shines on CD

The Richard family`Some jokingly call them the Catholic Von Trapp Family. And there are similarities as Mary and Louis Richard, with their children Nicole, 21, Cecile, 18, Catherine, 15, Daniel, 13, and Anna, 10, do sing together as a family.

The Richards recently produced a CD of their own religious music — composed, arranged, performed and sung by the entire family.

Documentary shows Canadian connection in Peruvian mining conflict

Devil's OperationThe tale of a priest, the devil, a mine and the mine’s private army has hit the Toronto Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival just as Canada is debating whether it should give taxpayer money and government services to mining companies with poor human rights and environmental records outside Canada.

The Devil Operation
, produced and directed by Canadian filmmaker and journalist Stephanie Boyd, adds to a list of recent documentaries that feature a Canadian connection, mining, human rights violations and environmental disaster, including Return to El Salvador, the story of how a protester against a Canadian mine turned up dead, and Under the Rich Earth which explores the use of private paramilitary squads by Canadian mining companies in Ecuador.

Music a big part of Fr. Robbie McDougall's ministry

Fr. Robbie McDougallWhile attending Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto nearly 40 years ago, a renowned concert pianist discovered how he could better use his musical talents for God.

Thirteen years later he would be ordained to the priesthood and for the past 21 years has been leading scores of people across Canada in retreats, parish missions, workshops and Christian concerts.

Fr. Robbie McDougall is a priest based in the Manitoba archdiocese of St. Boniface. He founded a ministry more than 20 years ago to combine his love for sacred music and evangelization.

Convent stay helps shape angel novel

Danielle TrussoniTORONTO - For 132 years, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of La Crosse, Wisconsin, have upheld an unbroken practice of perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

This Catholic tradition is the unlikely inspiration for acclaimed author Danielle Trussoni’s new action-packed thriller and novel-turned-Hollywood movie Angelology.

Plain and simple, killing is wrong

{mosimage}Autobiography of an Execution, by David R. Dow (Twelve, 320 pages, hard cover, $29.99.)

David Dow may not believe in God, but he does believe in justice, love and compassion — and he certainly has a conscience. A death penalty lawyer, he works in Texas for a non-profit organization that attempts to save inmates from capital punishment.

Dow does not try to save the prisoners because he feels for them personally. In fact, he dislikes most of his clients. But, as he makes very clear, they do not deserve to die, and certainly not through a biased, racist and classist criminal justice system.

A poor man's biblical view of economics

{mosimage}Jesus and Money: A guide for Times of Financial Crisis by Ben Witherington III (Brazos Press, soft cover, 192 pages, $21.99)

Ben Witherington knows Scripture and he might know money, but when he brings the two together he falls short of talking sense.

Witherington brings biblical teaching on money to bear on the current economic crisis in Jesus and Money. Witherington is a well-published Evangelical biblical scholar whose works cover a wide range of scholarly debates, presenting them in accessible ways for lay Christian audiences. In this book, however, Witherington presents an incomplete view of biblical texts on wealth and oversteps the bounds of his expertise as he applies these texts to today’s economy.

This incompleteness is ironic, as Witherington explicitly stakes out his position as a “canonical” approach to the Scriptures. That is, he insists Christians may not pick and choose parts of Scripture that appeal to them while ignoring others. This is precisely the problem with his primary target throughout the book: advocates of the “health and wealth” or “prosperity” Gospel who focus on texts which seem to suggest that material wealth is a sign of God’s blessing.