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Signatures of grace : Catholic writers on the sacraments /

Other Authors: Grady, Thomas, Huston, Paula., Bodo, Murray.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Dutton, 2000
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"Given Catholicism's ancient aesthetic splendor, it's not surprising that many believing artists are Catholics ... The seven sacraments of the Catholic church -- Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders -- make visible momentarily and through symbol the mysterious meeting of the human and the divine". (from the Introduction by Thomas Grady and Paula Huston)

A distinctly integral feature of Catholic life, the seven holy sacraments play an enormously influential role in the lives of many writers who practice the Catholic faith. Signatures of Grace is a remarkable collection of essays inspired by the sacraments, showcasing several of the finest Catholic writers of our time -- including Mary Gordon, Ron Hansen, Patricia Hampl, and Andre Dubus -- who have in common their personal commitments to the Catholic faith. Each essay, lyrically written and thought-provoking on its own, offers an individual writer's fresh perspective about the influence of Catholicism on his or her work. Signatures of Grace describes the profound mysteries of sacramental life and is a unique contribution to literature in this genre.


Katherine VazPatricia HamplRon HansenPaul MarianiPaula HustonMurray Bodo, O.F.M.Mary GordonAndre Dubus
Prefacep. ix
1.Baptismp. 1
2.Penancep. 34
3.Eucharistp. 69
4.Confirmationp. 98
5.Matrimonyp. 131
6.Holy Ordersp. 164
7.Anointing of the Sickp. 193
Epilogue: Sacramentsp. 220
About the Contributorsp. 233

Review by Booklist Review

Pennington, a Roman Catholic priest, focuses exclusively on the sacrament of the Eucharist. Placing the Eucharist firmly within its proper context, the author outlines each stage of the Mass. The Liturgy of the Word, the Profession of Faith, and the Prayer of the Faithful all culminate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, which is analyzed in depth. Prayers, songs, responses, and the roles of both the priest and the communicants are also addressed. Punctuated with personal experiences and anecdotes, Pennington's intimate, in-depth examination provides a compelling portrait of the sacrament that serves as the centerpiece of most Catholic rituals. For readers preferring an introduction to all seven holy sacraments, Grady and Huston have assembled a volume of essays on the sacraments penned by contemporary Catholic writers. Designed to instruct as well as to inspire, each individual overview discusses the history and the meaning of the sacrament in question, while detailing the author's own personal memories and experiences. The aesthetic appeal and the spiritual foundation of the sacraments of baptism, penance, the Eucharist, confirmation, matrimony, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick are vividly and respectfully communicated in this illuminating series of essays. --Margaret Flanagan

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

How the mass and the other sacraments are celebrated--whether in Latin or the vernacular, with Gregorian chant or folk guitars--has become the battleground upon which larger issues about the Catholic Church are contested. Fortunately, this collection of fresh essays by some of the finest contemporary Catholic writers is blessedly free of that tumult. By examining how the sacraments have gradually cut through and re-shaped their lives, the contributors address how grace works through the earthen vessels of water, oil, bread and wine. Ron Hansen's essay on the Eucharist weaves a close reading of the Gospels together with his experiences as a daily communicant (including an evocation of "roll-your-own liturgies" in the immediate post-Vatican II years). Paula Huston's rendition of her own marital failure is riveting, and her conclusion--that she wound up grateful for a Church she could not "manipulate, threaten, cajole or deceive"--is a sobering victory over relativism. Mary Gordon's loving endorsement of the new rite for the Anointing of the Sick will hearten those who labored after Vatican II to implement liturgical reform. Finally, the late Andre Dubus's essay--the only previously published contribution--reminds the reader that even a ham sandwich can be a sacrament, if it embodies the love of God. For Catholics, this volume is a treasure. For those outside the Church, the essays reveal as no catechism ever could why Catholics are drawn to these "signs signifying grace." (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Originating as an idea at a California writers' conference, these seven essays on as many sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church are by recognized contemporary writers (Patricia Hampl, Mary Gordon, and Katherine Vaz, among others) who come from Catholic backgrounds that span pre- and post-Vatican Council II; six are laity. The essays combine some background on sacramental development with the writers' personal experiences and make no attempt to provide deep theological discussions of Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. An epilog by the late Andre Dubus offers another highly personal overview and might be considered theologically unsound. Editor Grady is an experienced publisher, and editor Huston also contributes a quality essay. As a whole, this collection presents contemporary and often moving views of the sacraments by professional writers, but though it may be useful for prompting discussion in classroom or parish groups, it is not an essential purchase for religion collections.--Anna M. Donnelly, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Thomas Grady has been a publisher, editor, & literary agent for over two decades. He lives in Petaluma, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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