Press Room

INTERVIEW: Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson

Q&A with Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson

authors of

The American Catholic Almanac
 on sale 9/30/2014

Hardcover ISBN: 9780553418729

eBook ISBN: 9780553418736

 What was your inspiration for writing The American Catholic Almanac?

Over the past several years, we’ve watched Americans—both believers and non-believers, liberal and conservative—square off against each other on questions of faith, politics, and the place of religion in public life. Regrettably, not only has the tenor of the discussion grown increasingly hostile, but also, much of the discussion has been sadly uninformed. As a nation, we’ve forgotten so much of our history. As a Church, we’ve done the same. While technology has afforded incredible access to information, we simply don’t know our own story any more. We don’t know so many of the men and women of deep faith who shaped our country, Church, and culture. This cultural amnesia has contributed to a tragic loss of respect and appreciation for the role of religion in American history, and the role of the Catholic Church in particular.

The truth is, there are legions of fascinating, brave, brilliant, complicated, and holy Catholics who are part of the American story. Knowing their stories enriches both our lives and faith. More fundamentally, when we know and share their stories, we understand our own story—as both Americans and Catholics—so much better. That understanding changes the way we engage the culture. It changes the way we see the current conflict over religion in public life and partake in conversations about it. Ultimately, in writing the American Catholic Almanac, we wanted to help Catholics celebrate the rich history of Catholicism in America, so they might write an even greater story for our future.

How is The American Catholic Almanac different from other Catholic Almanacs?

Traditionally, almanacs are mostly collections of facts and figures. These are, of course, wonderful and resourceful books. But our Almanac aspired to do something more than relay facts. We wanted to enchant our readers, to energize and inspire them. Accordingly, we decided to tell stories. Stories put you in the middle of a moment in history. They invite you into an adventure.  And the American Catholic Almanac is really just one great big storybook. Day by day, as you move through the year, you become absorbed in short yet engaging stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, and often inspiring snapshots of the American Catholics who’ve come before us. It’s an easy way for the busy and overwhelmed (but curious), to learn more about the history of the Church in America, as well about as many of the fantastic men and women who made that history.

What is the most interesting piece of American Catholic history you learned while working on this book?

This is an impossible question to answer! Every day we worked on this project was an exciting journey of discovery. We found ourselves constantly calling up friends to tell them some story or other or posting on Facebook the fun facts we had come across. For example, did you know that the first bishop of Sacramento came to California as a young man to mine for gold in the great California Gold Rush? He wanted to find enough gold to pay for his seminary formation in Europe. And he found it. Later, after he became bishop, his friends from the Gold Rush days chipped in to build Sacramento’s cathedral. Then, there was the first seminary in the United States: St. Mary’s in Baltimore. It was a former tavern. How Catholic is that?

There were also people such as Father Peter Whelan, an Irish-American priest who, during the American Civil War, ministered by himself in the hell on earth that was Andersonville Prison, and Margaret Haughery, a penniless, illiterate widow in nineteenth-century New Orleans, who launched a successful dairy and bakery, simply to raise money for orphans. By the time of her death, she had built six orphanages in Louisiana. We could go on and on: Archbishop Charles Seghers, who was murdered while ministering in the Alaskan wilderness; Mother Mary Lange, an African-American heiress who founded the first religious order for black Catholic women in 1829 Baltimore; remarkable converts to the Faith such as Orestes Brownson, Daniel Barber, Claude McKay, Fanny Allen, and James Kent Stone; plus tragic figures like Al Capone, Dutch Schultz, and General William Tecumseh Sherman. Honestly, 365 days wasn’t enough to do justice to all the wonderful stories we found.

How do you see this book being used? Who is the target audience?

We don’t think there is any one way to use the book. Some people will want to read it a little bit each morning or evening, just following the day by day reading plan we’ve laid out for them. Others’ curiosity will get the better of them, and they’ll read it much faster. The important thing, of course, is to read it to the end. Some of our favorite stories are in November and December.

In many ways, the Almanac is a great resource for Catholic families, schools, and anyone curious about American history.  Parents and teachers might consider, using the stories as a starting point for lessons on the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, or the great waves of migration that made the United States what it is. Catholics in public life will benefit from learning more about the long history of anti-Catholicism in our country, while priests, bishops, and lay Catholics working for the Church will find the tales of America’s first evangelists incredibly instructive. There really is something for everyone in the American Catholic Almanac, including non-Catholics.

Our greatest hope, however, is that the short stories we tell in the book will inspire a deeper appreciation of the profound contributions of Catholics in American history. Before we began this project, we didn’t fully appreciate what a great blessing it is to call ourselves not Irish Catholics or French Catholics or German Catholics, but American Catholics. Now we do. The story of America would be far different if not for the faith-inspired role of the Catholic Church in America. By God’s providence, this story continues. We hope this Almanac will encourage readers to continue their own journey of discovery about our history—and to make history themselves.


PRESS RELEASE: My Battle Against Hitler

One of the Great Overlooked Dramas of the Nazi Era

“Better to be a beggar in freedom than to be forced into compromises against my conscience.”  —Dietrich von Hildebrand

 My Battle Against Hitler (Image, Oct. 21, 2014), the memoirs and essays of Dietrich von Hildebrand published for the first time in English, offers a glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the 20th century’s most important Catholic thinkers and the Nazi’s public “enemy number one” in Vienna.

Von Hildebrand, a German-Catholic philosopher and theologian, was a vocal opponent of Hitler and Nazism from the onset of the political movement in the early 1920s.

Upon Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, von Hildebrand fled from Germany to Vienna, Austria so he could devote himself entirely to the intellectual and cultural battle against the Nazi ideology.

In Vienna, with the support of Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, he founded and edited the premiere German-language anti-Nazi weekly paper, Der Christliche Ständestaat (The Christian Corporative State). For this, he was sentenced to death in absentia by the Nazis.

“It is rare today that an important new story full of vivid detail should come to light from the already much-documented Nazi period,” notes John Henry Crosby, translator, compiler, and editor of My Battle Against Hitler.

“His story might well have been lost to us,” writes Crosby in a letter to readers, “were it not for a memoir, penned near the end of his life at the request of his wife, Alice von Hildebrand.”

“I am honored to present this book to a global audience,” writes Crosby, “first as one of the great overlooked dramas of the Nazi era, and second as a gripping story of one man’s readiness to risk everything to follow his conscience and stand in defiance of tyranny.”

 

Praise for My Battle Against Hitler
“At this moment in history, no memoir could be more timely than Dietrich von Hildebrand’s account of how and why he risked everything to witness against the spreading evil of National Socialism. With much of today’s world silent as Christians face increasing persecution, many good men and women are asking themselves what they can do.  This remarkable book will challenge and inspire them.”
—Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University and Former US Ambassador to the Holy See

“There is but one man who can stand with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, both in intellectual brilliance and in bravery toward the Nazis; that man is Dietrich von Hildebrand. I am privileged to strongly recommend this important book as a superb introduction to this great hero of the faith. May it spawn a new generation of devotees and champions of his extraordinary thought and life.”
—Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Miracles

“Dietrich von Hildebrand, unlike so many European Christians of his time, was an early and vigorous critic of National Socialism; a man of brilliant intellect and articulate pen who spoke out forcefully against Nazi hatred of the Jews; a scholar who defended the Christian understanding of society and the human person at immense personal cost.  This wonderful collection of his writings acquaints us intimately with an extraordinary man of faith.  It’s mandatory reading for anyone interested in a fuller understanding of a profoundly important era.”
—Charles J Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

About the Author

DIETRICH VON HILDEBRAND (1889–1977), born in Florence, was the son of renowned German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand. A leading student of the philosophers Edmund Hus­serl and Max Scheler, he took up the “great questions”—about truth, freedom, conscience, community, love, beauty—with a freshness that allowed him to break new ground, espe­cially in ethics, but also in epistemology, social philosophy, and aesthetics. His conversion to Catholicism in 1914 was the decisive turning point of his life and the impetus for important religious works. His opposition to Hitler and Nazism was so outspoken that he was forced to flee Germany in 1933, and later across Europe, finally settling in New York City in 1940, where he taught at Fordham University until 1960. He was the author of dozens of books, both in Ger­man and English. He was a major forerunner of Vatican II through his seminal writings on marriage, on Christian philosophy, and on the evil of anti-Semitism.

JOHN HENRY CROSBY (b. 1978), is a translator, writer, musician, and cultural entrepreneur. He is founder and director of the Hildebrand Project, which fosters deep cultural renewal through publications, events, fellowships, and online resources that draw on the continuing vitality of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s thought and witness.

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with John Henry Crosby, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


NEWS: Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina’s THE FEASTS Blog Tour

September 9 – September 17

To gear up for the release of Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina’s latest collaboration The Feasts, we’ve invited eleven bloggers to share their thoughts on one of their favorite Catholic feast days.

In The Feasts, Cardinal Wuerl and Aquilina explore the festivities in the calendar of Catholic holidays.  From Christmas to Easter, the Feast of the Guardian Angels to the Pentecost, the authors reintroduce readers to the true beauty and meaning of each centuries-old celebration.

On each day of the blog tour (September 9 to September 17) one of the eleven participating bloggers will post a reflection on the feast of his/her choice.

Many thanks to all of the bloggers who agreed to participate.  Please support them by visiting their blogs and reading their reflections.  Some of them will be giving away copies of The Feasts as part of the tour, so be sure to check in daily for your chance to win one!

September 9: Abigail’s Alcove – All Saints Day
September 10: Stuart’s Study – Season of Advent
September 11: Catholic Katie – Feasts of Churches
September 12: Seasons of Grace – Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
September 13: Catholic Bibles – The Solemnity of Christ the King
September 14: Random Acts of Momness – The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
September 15: Blog of the Courtier – The Solemnity of Christmas
September 16: Happy Catholic – Feast of the Holy Angels
September 17: The Orant – The Solemnity of Epiphany and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord
September 18: Single Catholic Girl  – The Feast of the Annunciation

 

About the Book

Every day is a holiday in the Catholic Church.  In their latest collaboration, Cardinal Wuerl and Mike Aquilina examine the history and traditions behind both favorite and forgotten holidays, from Christmas to Easter, from the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity to the Feast of the Holy Angels.

Catholic faith is festive, and the Catholic faithful count their days by celebrating the mysteries of Jesus’ life.  There is a message to be found in the passing of days, weeks, and seasons.  Through the feasts, ordinary Christians learn the life of Christ, share it, and come to imitate it.

This book continues the work the authors began in their books The Mass and The Church, exploring the meaning and purpose of the most basic and beloved aspects of Catholic life.  Each chapter uncovers the biblical origins and development of one of the great feasts or fasts—Advent, Epiphany, the Holy Angels, all the Marian feasts, and even this very day.  The calendar can be a catechism for Catholics who know how to live it.

About the Authors

Cardinal Donald Wuerl is the sixth and current Archbishop of Washington D.C., previously having served as Bishop of Pittsburgh.  He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and later studied at Mount St.  Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.  He continued his priestly formation at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and the Pontifical Gregorian University.  After his ordination, he received a Ph.D. in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.  He is also the author of The Catholic Way and New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today.

Mike Aquilina is the author of more than twenty books, including Angels of God and Fathers of the Church.  He appears regularly on EWTN with Scott Hahn.

 

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Cardinal Donald Wuerl or Mike Aquilina, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


INTERVIEW: Cardinal Donald Wuerl on new book THE FEASTS

Q. How did you come up with the idea for a book about feasts?

 The feasts have an outsized importance in Christianity. They teach doctrine. They form culture. They deliver the truths and mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ in a way that’s delightful and memorable. Think of Christmas and Easter. Every ethnic group marks those days with special customs, special foods, special songs. It’s a powerful experience for the senses; and it makes a deep impression on the mind. If you drive home from church and you’re still humming the hymns, then you’re probably also rehearsing the doctrine in your mind — without realizing it.

This book marks the third book in a series Mike and I have written for Image Books. The three books consider three Christian institutions that are supremely important for forming Christian community and individual Christians — the Mass, the parish church, and the feasts.

 

Q. Who should read this book? Did you have a specific audience in mind when you were writing it?

 We wrote it for everyone, really. I think Catholic families will get more out of celebrating feast days after they’ve gained a deeper understanding of each day’s biblical roots, historical development, and particular symbols and customs. Clergy will find the book a treasury of good material for homilies. Non-Catholics will, I hope, find it an easy way to get to know the celebrations of their Catholic friends, neighbors, and family members.

 

Q. In The Feasts, you refer to the calendar as a catechism and teacher. In what ways can we learn from the feasts?

The feasts are a great delivery system for doctrine. Every Sunday, Catholics recite the Creed, confirming that they accept certain basic propositions about Jesus: that he is true God, and that he is true man, that he took flesh to be the Savior of the world. It’s good that we recite the Creed; and it’s good that we commit the propositions to memory. But I think they become more truly part of us when we sing them in Christmas carols and when we kneel before the manger. In a similar way, our Lenten exercises, like the Stations of the Cross and meatless Fridays, work on us — mind, body, and soul — in a way that abstract lessons on the atonement never could. If we have been tending to these things faithfully since childhood, that’s all the better.

There’s more than one way to teach doctrine and more than one way to learn. Through much of history, many Christians could not read. They didn’t own catechisms or subscribe to religious magazines. Yet they too kept the faith and passed it on to their children. They learned it, to a great degree, as they celebrated the cycle of feasts in the common life of the Church.

 

Q. In the introduction, you write: “Catholics love to celebrate the feasts, but often passively. The time rolls around each year, and we show up because we have an obligation to do so. And participating brings us joy. But our joy could be far greater if we celebrated with understanding.” What can Catholics do to better understand the feasts of the Church and celebrate them with greater intention (other than read your book, of course!)?

The feasts are part of a greater enterprise called the calendar. The Church keeps time to its own ancient rhythm — or, more accurately, eternal rhythm. If you live the life all year round, you’ll have a better appreciation of the special times. If you’ve lived a good Lent and Easter, you’ll be better prepared for Christmas, next time it rolls around. There are many good guides that help Catholics “stay tuned” in between the major holidays. The magazines Magnificat and Word Among Us come to mind. They give ordinary Catholics a way to walk prayerfully at life’s pace, from feast to feast and season to season.

 

Q: You write, “The feasts are to time what churches are to space.” How did you come up with such an interesting analogy?

Prayer is important to the life of both authors. Mike and I have also done a lot of spiritual reading down the years. So, if you like an analogy, there’s a good chance we learned it from some long-ago — and unfortunately long-forgotten— master.

As for that particular analogy: it seemed self-evident to Mike and me. A Church is a holy place. A feast is a holy day, a holiday.

 

Q. What is your favorite Catholic feast day?

My favorite liturgical celebration is the Easter Vigil, with Easter Sunday and Christmas as very close seconds. It’s my privilege to celebrate all of them in Washington’s beautiful Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle.

Of the feasts, I particularly love the Annunciation on March 25 and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. The Immaculate Conception has a very special place in my heart for two reasons. It is the patronal feast of the United States — and I get to celebrate that Mass in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception here in D.C. And it is also the anniversary date of my Baptism (December 8, 1940).

A newcomer among the feasts, but very dear to my heart, is the Feast of Saint John Paul II, October 22. It was my privilege to know the saint, and so the prayers of the day affect me in a powerful and personal way. That Mass I can celebrate in the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II, also here in Washington, D.C.

My co-author, Mike Aquilina, shares my love for the Easter Vigil and for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. He has a particular devotion to all the saints of the early Church, and he keeps their feasts in a special way, as he also keeps the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. The beauty of the calendar is that we hold it in common, and yet it becomes something different and beautiful in every Christian life, assuming the contours of each personality and each person’s particular vocation and graces from God.

 

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Cardinal Donald Wuerl, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Come Home Premiers Weekly TV Series on EWTN

CATHOLICS COME HOME PREMIERS WEEKLY TV SERIES
To air in prime-time, worldwide on EWTN



August 21, 2014– Atlanta (Roswell), GA — Catholics Come Home® will premier its high production quality, moving TV series filmed in over a dozen scenic locations in the US and Canada, called “Catholics Come Home” on EWTN Thursday night, Sep. 4 at 10 p.m. EST.

The series will consist of thirteen 30-minute episodes, each featuring an interview with someone who recently returned to Jesus and the Catholic Church as a result of Catholics Come Home and responding to the call of the Holy Spirit. Guests include former atheists, agnostics, Protestant Christians, and fallen-away Catholics who came home. The series will also air engaging segments on the New Evangelization in each of the half-hour episodes.

Episodes will air every Thursday night at 10pm EST, with additional airings at 6 p.m. EST Sundays. The series can also be viewed streaming live online at EWTN.com.  After the series debuts in the U.S. and Canada this September, EWTN will begin airing the series internationally, starting in December. Over a dozen archdioceses and diocese are represented, since feature episodes are filmed on location in numerous North American cities, including: Vancouver, B.C.; Allen, TX; Providence, RI; New Westminster, Canada; Denver, CO; Tulsa, OK; Atlantic Highlands, NJ; Denton, TX; Farmington, MO; Austin, TX; St. Louis (Bonne Terre) MO; Philadelphia, PA; and Sturgeon Bay, WI.

The premier episode features Dr. Gloria Sampson, a former atheist and linguistic professor who taught in Communist China during the 1960s and 1970s. She discusses her recent return to the Church after 52 years away from God, thanks to seeing a Catholics Come Home commercial on TV in Vancouver, Canada.  This former atheist is now an active Catholic, who says: “all I want to do now, is evangelize!” Catholics Come Home® has released an exclusive 60-second series promo in anticipation of the premier episode.

In response to Pope Saint John Paul II’s proclamation, “Darkness can only be scattered by light; hatred can only be conquered by love,” Catholics Come Home® is sharing stories of Christ’s healing love and light, by means of this new, engaging TV series—just another one of the apostolate’s unique media efforts for the New Evangelization that has already helped over 500,000 souls home to Jesus and His Catholic Church.

 

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To schedule an interview with Tom Peterson, President and Founder of Catholics Come Home®, please send email request to spokesperson@catholicscomehome.org.   

For interviews in Spanish, contact Veronica Schnarre at 678-585-7886 x104, or by e-mail at veronica@catholicscomehome.org.

Links to:

 

CatholicsComeHome.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national and international television networks.  Catholics Come Home® is guided by a 30 person Advisory Board, including Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Bishop James Conley, Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Bishop Michael Sheridan, Bishop Jaime Soto, and other highly respected theologians and Catholic business executives.

Evangomercial™ is a trademark of Catholics Come Home, Inc. Catholics Come Home® is a Federally Registered Trademark of Catholics Come Home, Inc.

 

The Image/Random House book entitled, “Catholics Come Home…God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life” authored by Tom Peterson, with Foreward by Dr. Scott Hahn, is now available.

 

 

This Press Release is provided by CatholicsComeHome.org
Copyright ©2012 Catholics Come Home, Inc. All rights reserved.

 



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