THE CATHOLIC HOME: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day

Meredith Gould, Author . Doubleday $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-50992-3

Who better than a nice Jewish girl to tell Catholics how to celebrate their faith at home? Jews have always been known for a sensibly domestic-centered observance of their religion, and Gould, a Jewish-born convert to Catholicism, speaks from a unique dual perspective. Having lived in a Jewish home, she knows about lighting Sabbath candles, but also remembers when Catholics kept holy water and statues in their houses. In her own home, which she affectionately describes as "the Hermitage" and "Julian of Norwich goes suburban," she has revived traditions that fell by the wayside after changes wrought by Vatican II, and also established a multitude of new ones. Readers seeking to reinforce Catholic identity on the home front will find plenty of ideas, among them a how-to for celebrating Christmas when it actually arrives, instead of weeks before, and making Halloween holy by embracing it as the eve of All Saints Day. Gould's writing is light and airy, even irreverent at times, but her ideas are well-grounded and refreshing. She wisely reinforces her suggestions with excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and uses the church's sacraments and elaborate calendar of feast days and liturgical seasons as the skeleton of her book, trotting out bits of history and legend for added interest. Gould's engaging enthusiasm will doubtless have readers asking, "Who knew Catholicism could be so much fun?" (Feb. 17)

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 02/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 166 pages - 978-0-307-55052-1
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-0-385-51907-6
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