Jubilee Year of Mercy Book Review

Book Reviews by Ann Jonas, Tradebook Buyer - CSB/SJU Bookstores
this review was published in the St. Cloud Visitor

 “The Holy Year of Mercy: A Faith-Sharing Guide, With Reflections by Pope Francis” by The Word Among Us Press; September 2015; 146 pp; $11.95

The editors of The Word Among Us Press have put together a nice faith-sharing guide that focuses on eight of Pope Francis’ sermons with the theme of experiencing and sharing God’s mercy. This book can be used by individuals for personal reflection or in small faith-sharing groups and contains eight sessions (chapters), along with an introduction and three appendices. The first appendix is the actual text of the “Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.” The second explains the logo and motto for the Year of Mercy and the last appendix contains practical pointers for faith-sharing groups. Each of the eight sessions has a Scripture passage, a homily from Pope Francis and then two sets of questions, one to help readers focus on the meaning of the Scripture passage and one to help connect the words from Scripture and Pope Francis to real life. Space to write responses follows each set of questions. Finally, suggestions are offered to help us act on what we’ve read. This book gives us a great tool to celebrate the Jubilee Year in a meaningful fashion.

 “A Year of Mercy: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis” edited by Diane Houdek; Franciscan Media; November 2015; 176 pp; $15.99

Pope Francis often speaks on the subject of mercy, calling it “the Lord’s most powerful message.” This new book, compiled by Diane Houdek, is a collection of some of the pope’s most inspiring words on the subject. Arranged to accompany readers through the Year of Mercy; the chapters follow the liturgical year, beginning with Advent. Twelve chapters plus an introduction are included; the chapters’ themes include “Mary: Mother of Mercy,” ”Mercy and Resurrection: Our Eternal Hope,” “Sacraments: Signs of God’s Mercy.” Each chapter contains at least nine and up to sixteen brief commentaries by Pope Francis, which offer thoughtful and moving guidance from our Holy Father.

 “Crossing the Threshold of Mercy: A Spiritual Guide for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy” edited by Mark-David Janus, SSP, PhD; Paulist Press; November 2015; 181 pp; $14.95

Fr. Mark-David Janus, president of Paulist Press, has put together a new book that gives readers not only spiritual quotations on the theme of mercy, but the official calendar of events for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The title of the book is derived from the tradition of crossing the threshold of the Holy Doors at the four great basilicas in Rome when a pilgrimage is made. Short readings from Scripture, thoughtful comments by Pope Francis and spiritual reflections from others, including theologian Walter Kasper and Catherine of Sienna, are included. In all there are more than three hundred prayers, reflections and comments centered on mercy. Many of them are connected to particular liturgical seasons, special feasts and celebrations. This book is a quite substantial reader’s companion to the Jubilee Year.

 “Pope Francis: The Year of Mercy” edited by Vincenzo Sansonetti; Rizzoli International Publications; November 2015; 272 pp; $24.95

This hardcover anthology of Pope Francis’ quotations is a beautiful keepsake book devoted to the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The quotes, from Pope Francis’ speeches, prayers and tweets, directly refer to the topic of mercy and are arranged chronologically, many from his March visit to Naples, where he visited Caravaggio’s magnificent painting “The Seven Works of Mercy.”  Impressive images illustrate his words; the majority are photographs of Pope Francis interacting with – and showing his love for – people from around the world. The calendar for the Jubilee Year and Pope Francis’ prayer for the Year of Mercy are included in this attractive gift book.