3 Good Things for Monday

It’s Monday, it’s the dog days of summer, and…well, it’s Monday. So here are 3 good things I wanted to share:

1. HELPING THE HERMIT IS NOW TAX-DEDUCTIBLE!

Regular readers know that, along with my friends Kevin Lowry and Jon Marc Grodi, over the past few months we’ve been trying to help our friend Brother Rex Anthony Norris establish a permanent Franciscan hermitage up in Maine.  I’m pleased to announce that our project, Friends of Little Portion Hermitage, recently received 501(c)(3) status, meaning your donations are now tax-deductible!  Please consider helping out this great cause, whether you can give $1 or $10,000 or anything you fancy, and also please consider sharing the FLPH site with anyone you think may be able to help.

You can also check out Brother Rex’s daily thoughts on the project’s Twitter and Facebook pages, and leave him prayer requests via the website. He loves to pray for others and in fact that’s how he spends a lot of his day, in prayer.  Don’t hesitate to ask for him to remember your intentions, he is always glad to help.

2. UPCOMING BLOG TOURS (AND GIVEAWAYS)

Okay, so this might technically be more than one good piece of news, but let’s not quibble, shall we? I’m honored to once again be part of two upcoming blog tours, for some forthcoming books from Image Books, the Catholic imprint at Random House.  In September I’ll be part of the blog tour for “The Feasts”, the forthcoming book co-written by DC’s Archbishop, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, and well-known Catholic author, speaker, and broadcaster Mike Aquilina.  The book takes a look at the history and traditions surrounding many of the feasts of the Church, from Epiphany to Easter to All Saints, and everything in between. I’ll be tackling the chapter on Christmas, and you can check out my review on September 16th.

Continuing in the Christmas vein, this December I’ll also be on the blog tour for Scott Hahn’s forthcoming book, “Joy to the World”.  In this new book Dr. Hahn, the prolific writer and very familiar Catholic theologian and speaker, takes a look at the birth of Jesus from the perspective of a family story.  I’ll be sharing my review of his latest with you on December 9th,

And in both cases, gentle reader, thanks to the generosity of Random House, I’ll be offering a giveaway of each book once my review appears – so stay tuned.

3. ART EVERYWHERE, NOW UNDERWAY

The Art Everywhere project, which regular readers will remember my informing you about, has now begun in New York’s Times Square.  Soon it will be spreading to other cities around the U.S., and last through the month of August.  The goal is to encourage people not only to appreciate the rich history of American art, using some of the most popular images from our museums, but also to learn and explore more by actually visiting these great institutions.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the over 50,000 billboards, train platforms, city buses and other public advertising areas around the country which will be featuring 56 works, selected by the public, to celebrate American art.  You can also follow the project on Twitter at @arteverywhereus, and use the hashtag #arteverywhere when you see some of the campaign’s billboards where you are.  I’m really looking forward to seeing where some of the images will be popping up around town over the course of this month.

Art Everywhere billboard in Times Square, New York City

Art Everywhere billboard in Times Square, New York City

 

Hanging with the Hermit on “The Good Catholic Life”

As regular readers know, I’m part of a team working to establish a permanent Franciscan hermitage up in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, through the Friends of Little Portion Hermitage (FLPH).  The present hermit, my friend Brother Rex Anthony Norris, was recently featured in a terrific article by Sarah Reinhard in the National Catholic Register, which if you didn’t get a chance to read you should definitely check out.  This is all part of an ongoing media campaign which began with Brother Rex’ appearance on EWTN’s The Journey Home program back in April, and which has continued with guest posts from prominent Catholic writers, and now with radio and print interviews, to try to share his story and the wonderful opportunity we have to support this calling to the eremitic life in the Church.

Tomorrow afternoon – Friday, June 6th at 4pm – Brother Rex will be appearing on The Good Catholic Life radio show out of Boston, talking about his vocation and what we hope to accomplish by establishing the permanent hermitage through FLPH.  If you’re in the Boston area, you can listen to the broadcast live on 1060 AM.  You can also download the audio file later when it’s posted, but in the meantime, by visiting the show’s website you can find out how to post your questions for Brother Rex or leave feedback.

I’m really looking forward to hearing Brother Rex chat with the hosts, including people like Scot Landry and Dom Bettinelli, great guys whom I got to meet when I spoke at the Catholic New Media Conference in Boston last Fall.  Hope you can tune in to the program or download and share it later, and please prayerfully consider a donation to help make the goal of a permanent hermitage a reality!  If you are the host of a media program yourself, or know someone who is, I’d also ask you to get in contact if you’d be interested in having Brother Rex appear on your program.  We’d love to get as much support for this effort as we can, and as you’ll hear, Brother Rex is a smart, funny, and inspiring guest – and of course, be sure to “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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God, Heroism, and the Call of Duty

Like many men who never quite grow out of their boyhood interests – and why should you? – I’m still drawn to certain stories of heroism.  With great interest, I can still become absorbed in tales of scientific adventurers exploring the cosmos or long-forgotten civilizations here at home, knights in shining armor or shining spandex fighting villains and monsters who seek to destroy the innocent, and so on.  Yet on the whole, I must confess, I’ve never been particularly drawn to war stories as a genre, whether of writing or filmmaking.  Perhaps because it’s all a bit too real to take.

There are exceptions to that however, and one of them is the story of a Kansas-born priest, Father Emil Kapuan, the most highly decorated chaplain in U.S. military history.  Father Kapuan was imprisoned by Chinese leftists during the Korean War, but managed to comfort and save the lives of others while being tortured and humiliated in a brutal prisoner of war camp.  Today, in aid of the Friends of Little Portion Hermitage, author and speaker Chris Stefanick tells the story of Father Kapuan, whose courage and virtue frankly makes most of us men look like little more than schoolboys by comparison.

While you’re over at the FLPH site, feel free to leave a prayer request for Brother Rex, ashe loves receiving them, and won’t you consider making a donation to help us build him and his successors a hermitage? And please share the site with anyone you think may be able to help.  The site features inspirational quotes and posts from many Catholic writers and speakers, as well as Brother Rex’s daily posts of quotations to reflect upon and inspire you in your journey of faith. Thanks for your support and your generosity!

Servant of God Father Emil Kapuan (1916-1951)

Servant of God Father Emil Kapuan (1916-1951)