PRESS RELEASE: Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?

“Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?”  – Pope Francis, May, 2014

Pope Francis posed that question to provoke deeper reflection about inclusiveness and diversity in the Church. But it’s not the first time that question has been asked.

Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father Paul Mueller hear questions like that all the time. They’re scientists at the Vatican Observatory, the official astronomical research institute of the Catholic Church.

In Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (Image, Oct. 7, 2014) they explore a variety of questions at the crossroads of faith and reason, and show how science and religion can have different but complementary ways of looking at the same issue.

“This book is about what it’s like when science encounters faith on friendly, mutually respectful terms,” writes Mueller.

Although the authors are serious scientists, the book is written for an audience of educated laypeople who are interested in both science and religion, and how each operates in our society.

“We simply want to share with you the joy and hope— and fun— that we find in doing science and living faith,” writes Mueller referring to his goal for the book. “We hope that our hope and joy will be contagious!”

Written in the form of a dialogue, the book takes place over the course of six conversations between the two authors. The six conversations are meant to recreate the sorts of conversations the authors have had with each other, with other Jesuits, and with people they’ve met through their work.

In answering those questions, the authors dispel the assumption that science and faith must be at odds with one another.

“Science and religion have common historical roots—the war between them (if there is one) has not been eternal,” notes Consolmagno. “And many people who do science are also religious. At least for them—as for the two of us—religion and science are not at war at all.”

“Paul and I are very fortunate,” Consolmagno writes. “We get to live and work with a group of Jesuit scientists who take both science and faith very seriously. We all work together in the lab, but we also pray together in the chapel. In our daily lives, we don’t feel any particular conflict or tension between science and faith.”

6 questions that are addressed in the book:

  • How do you reconcile The Big Bang with Genesis?
  • What happened recently when astronomers debated the status of Pluto as a planet?
  • Was the Star of Bethlehem just a pious religious story or an actual description of astronomical events?
  • What really went down between Galileo and the Catholic Church – and why do the effects of that confrontation still reverberate to this day?
  • Will the Universe come to an end?
  • And… could you really baptize an extraterrestrial?

About the Authors

BROTHER GUY CONSOLMAGNO, SJ was born in Detroit, Michigan, earned undergraduate and masters’ degrees in Earth and Planetary Sciences from MIT (in 1974 and 1975), and a Ph. D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in 1978. He worked as a post-doctoral fellow and lecturer at Harvard University’s Department of Astronomy, and MIT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; served in the US Peace Corps, teaching physics at the University of Nairobi; and was a physics professor at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, before entering the Jesuits as a brother in 1989. At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, his research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. In July of 2014, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public from the American Astronomical Society.

FATHER PAUL R. MUELLER, SJ is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended a Jesuit high school and earned a degree in physics at Boston University before entering the Society of Jesus in 1982. As part of his Jesuit training, he earned masters’ degrees in divinity, philosophy, and theology, along the way developing an interest in religion-science issues. After being ordained a priest in 1993, he attended the University of Chicago, where he completed a fourth master’s degree (in physics) and a doctorate in the history and philosophy of science through the interdisciplinary program in Conceptual Historical Studies of Science. He served as professor of philosophy at Loyola University Chicago from 2004 until 2009.

For more information, visit ImageCatholicBooks.com

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno or Father Paul Mueller, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


PRESS RELEASE: The American Catholic Almanac

Discover the Rich History of the Catholic Church in America

What do Buffalo Bill, John F. Kennedy, Vince Lombardi, Fulton Sheen, and Andy Warhol have in common? They’re all Catholics who have shaped America.

In The American Catholic Almanac (Image, Sept. 30, 2014) Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson have put together a page-a-day history of 365 inspiring stories celebrating the historic contributions of American men and women who have been shaped by their Catholic faith.

From Revolutionary War to Notre Dame Football, the Catholic Church has played a unique and often transformative role in American public life over the last 300 years. The American Catholic Almanac tells the fascinating, funny, uplifting and unlikely tales of the famous figures and lesser-known saints and sinners who have influenced history, culture, and politics.

At a time when all eyes are focused on Pope Francis and the Church in Rome, Burch and Stimpson have provided American Catholics with a masterful resource for learning about the rich history of the church right here in our own backyards.

“Many American Catholics have studied the history of the Faith in Europe and know about the lives of the saints who built the Church there,” write the authors, “But for all that American Catholics know about Church history elsewhere, much of our own history remains a mystery.”

“When we first set out to write The American Catholic Almanac we wanted to accomplish two things,” write Burch and Stimpson. “First, we wanted to tell the stories of the men and women who built the Catholic Church in America. Second, we wanted to demonstrate just how much America has benefited from what those men and women did.”

The American Catholic Almanac brings to light the contributions of priests, religious and lay Catholics whose unyielding faith and humble acts of service changed minds, transformed hearts and gave rise to greater Catholic devotion in America.

“In the end, the best gift we received from writing this book was getting to know the men and women in these pages,” write Burch and Stimpson. “They charmed us, amused us, inspired us, and encouraged us. They brought us to a deeper faith in Christ and a deeper love for the Church.”

 

Did you know…

  • The first immigrant to arrive in America via Ellis Island was a 15-year-old Irish-Catholic girl?
  • Al Capone’s tombstone reads, “My Jesus Mercy”?
  • Andrew Jackson credited America’s victory in the Battle of New Orleans to the prayers of the Virgin Mary and the Ursuline Sisters?
  • Five Franciscans died defending the Church’s teachings on marriage in sixteenth-century Georgia?
  • Jack Kerouac died wanting to be known as a Catholic and not as a beat poet?
  • Catholic missionaries lived in Virginia 36 years before the English settled Jamestown?

About the Authors

BRIAN BURCH is the president of CatholicVote.org, a non-profit political advocacy group based in Chicago, Illinois.

EMILY STIMPSON is a Catholic writer based in Steubenville, Ohio, and the author of The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years and These Beautiful Bones: An Everyday Theology of the Body.

For more information, visit ImageCatholicBooks.com

To request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Brian Burch or Emily Stimpson, please contact Katie Moore, publicist, kamoore@penguinrandomhouse.com, 719-268-1936.


PRESS RELEASE: The Feasts

Finding True Joy in the Feasts of Christ

Catholics love to celebrate the feasts, but often these celebrations become routine.

In their latest collaboration, The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics (Image, Sept. 16, 2014), Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina remind us of the reasons for the seasons and celebrations of the Church and show us how to find true joy in the feasts of Christ.

The authors examine the history and traditions behind both favorite and forgotten holidays, from Christmas to Valentine’s Day to the Feast of the Sacred Heart. They demonstrate how through the feasts, ordinary Christians learn the life of Christ, share it, and come to imitate it.

“The feasts form us,” write the authors, “They help to make us and remake us according to the pattern of the life of Jesus Christ. We number our days as we walk in his footsteps, from his birth to his baptism, from his passion to his resurrection, from his Ascension to his sending of the Spirit to make us saints. We do this faithfully every year, and it defines us as who we are.”

This book continues the work of exploring the meaning and purpose of the most basic and beloved aspects of Catholic life, which the authors began in their books The Mass and The Church. The Feasts begins with introductory material about the Christian calendar, looking at the biblical origins of the feasts and the ways they’ve developed through the centuries. The authors then go on to examine the Church’s individual major (and some minor) feasts and seasons.

Wuerl and Aquilina show readers how the feasts of Christ are like our family celebrations (baptisms, weddings, birthdays, etc.), only on a grand scale, noting “They are universal. They are eternal. They provide true joy that satisfies.”

 

“The feasts are to time what churches are to space,” write the authors, “They are moments we mark off as sacred. They are moments of special grace for our prayer and our common life as a family—a Church.”

 

Included in The Feasts are more than two dozen beautiful black-and-white photos depicting various Church celebrations.

 

About the Authors

CARDINAL DONALD WUERL is the archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the author of The Catholic Way and New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today.

MIKE AQUILINA is the author of more than 20 books, including Angels of God and Fathers of the Church. He appears regularly on EWTN.

 

Praise for The Feasts

“In this highly approachable volume, co-authors Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina have combined sound research with pastoral sensitivity to take readers on a journey of discovery and inspiration through the Church’s liturgical year.  Beginning with the fundamental question of why the Church has always celebrated the Eucharist on Sundays, all the way to the origins of feasts of more recent vintage, such as Divine Mercy Sunday, this fine work reminds us that the feasts and seasons we celebrate are not just arbitrary events.  Rather, we discover how the Church year is the Church’s time-honored way of inviting present-day Christians to learn about,  be challenged by, and find hope for the future through the unfolding of the Paschal Mystery in time and the witness of all the saints, upon whom ‘we rely for unfailing help’” (Quotation taken from Eucharistic Prayer III). —Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville & President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

“This gracefully written book will serve not only as a splendid explanation of the Church’s feasts and solemnities but also as an illuminating introduction to the faith itself. Mike Aquilina and Cardinal Wuerl have once again shown their prowess as champions of the new evangelization.” —Robert Barron, author of Catholicism

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


Image Author 101: Mother Teresa

This month in our Image Author 101 series, we’re featuring Mother Teresa.

Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu–born on August 26, 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia to an Albanian family –is better known to the world as Mother Teresa. As a young girl, she attended a convent-run primary school and sang in the local Sacred Heart choir. At the young age of 12 years old, Mother Teresa strongly felt God calling to her to become a missionary and spread the Gospel and the love of God.

At 18, she left her home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto of Dublin. In Dublin,  she decided to take the name Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. After completing her training in Ireland, Mother Teresa went on a mission in Darjeeling, India. There in 1931 she took her vows as a nun. In 1937 she took her final profession of vows and according to custom for the Loreto nuns, she took the title of “mother” making her Mother Teresa.

For the next 17 years she taught geography and history and served as the principal at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, India. While teaching, Mother Teresa was moved by the extreme suffering and poverty she witnessed in Calcutta, and in 1948 she left her position at the school to work in the slums. With little aid, she set out to help the poor, sick, outcast, and dying by opening an outdoor school and converting a government building into a home for the destitute and dying.

In October of 1950, Mother Teresa received permission to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity.” The chief goal of those who were part of the Missionaries of Charity was to love and care for people who had no one else to help or care for them. After receiving a Decree of Praise from Pope Paul VI, The Missionaries of Charity grew in numbers of volunteers, funds, and influence – all to help the least fortunate.

Mother Teresa’s extraordinary and tireless work has been recognized and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of prestigious awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poor and “in bringing help to suffering humanity.”

Mother Teresa’s health deteriorated for several years, with problems stemming from her heart, lungs, and kidneys. She died on September 5, 1997 at the age of 87.  Since her death 17 years ago, Mother Teresa has remained an inspiration and an exemplar of compassion. In 2003, she was beatified, the third step toward possible sainthood, giving her the title “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.” Her legacy and her teaching live on through the Missionaries of Charity and through her books, including the New York Times best-seller Come Be My Light.

Read a sample from Come Be My Light here.

This month, we’re giving away 5 copies of Come Be My Light. Enter to win by filling in the form below. One entry per person please.



Image Author 101: Cardinal Dolan

This month in our Image Author 101 series, we’re featuring Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 6, 1950. The eldest of five children, he has two sisters and two brothers. His family attended the Holy Infant Roman Catholic Church in Ballwin, a suburb of St. Louis, during his upbringing and he has said that he can’t remember a time he didn’t want to be a priest. He followed his calling and entered Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary in Shrewsbury, Missouri in 1964, and later obtained a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College. Cardinal John Carberry sent him to Rome to further his studies at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, from which he earned the degree of Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1976. He was ordained a priest on June 19, 1976.

Dolan is now the tenth and current Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, which serves over 2.5 million Roman Catholics. He was appointed to the position by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 and had previously served as Archbishop of Milwaukee and Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis. He was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2010, succeeding Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. On January 6, 2012, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI announced that Cardinal Dolan was to be appointed to the College of Cardinals. He was elevated in the Consistory of February 18, 2012.

Dolan is well-known on a national and international scale for his conservative values and charismatic media personality. He was highly involved in the 2012 “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign and was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” that same year. He garnered a lot of attention as a candidate for the papacy after Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, but maintained all along that he didn’t expect to be elected. The amount of support he had speaks to his incredible popularity and importance within the Catholic Church.

Did you know…

  • He’s a die-hard Milwaukee Brewers fan?
  • One of his brothers is a former radio talk-show host?
  • He played “priest,” pretending to minster Mass as a child?
  • His doctorate thesis centered on former Archbishop Edwin Vincent O’Hara?
  • He once wore a “cheesehead” hat in tribute to the Green Bay Packers during a homily at an outdoor Mass?

In his free time, Cardinal Dolan likes to read and take walks… and write books with Image! Cardinal Dolan is a prolific writer and has published three books with us.

Vatican correspondent John L. Allen, Jr. conducted a series of lengthy exclusive interviews with Cardinal Dolan, and then compiled them into a book entitled A People of Hope. These interviews address the challenges facing the Catholic Church today and Cardinal Dolan’s view of the present and future of Catholicism. John Allen draws out a picture of future trends by exploring where Dolan wants to lead, and how a Church that increasingly bears his imprint will look and feel. Allen frames his questions in a way that allows Dolan to expand on the topic himself as much as possible. The result is a book more “with” Dolan than a book “about” him – one that lets his personality, voice, and opinion shine through more than anything else. More information |Excerpt

Cardinal Dolan published the short e-book, True Freedom, in light of the 2012 “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign. Here, he explains the need for all Americans to embrace a new culture rooted in what Blessed John Paul II called the Gospel of Life – where the sacredness of all human life, and the freedoms that are their birthright, are upheld, respected and protected by law. Dolan issues a plea for all citizens to reject the cynicism of the day and foster a culture in which religious freedom and all human life are infinitely valued. More information |Excerpt | Author Q&A

Praying in Rome is Cardinal Dolan’s most recent published work with Image. This e-book original addresses Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, his final days in the Vatican, the Conclave, and the excitement and joy of the election of Pope Francis – all from the eyes of Cardinal Dolan. More information |Excerpt

 

This month we’re giving away 5 copies of A People of Hope. Simply fill out the form below for a chance to win! One entry per person, please.




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