A gentleman who runs a large online Catholic bookstore recently told me that his business had just experienced its best year ever. Ever! As we talked about this phenomenon amidst the backdrop of crashing stock markets, oil spills and a “me” generation gone amuck, we marveled at this fact. After all, it would seem that books would be the first thing to shift from a person’s “needs” list to their “wants” list. And then as times grow tougher, off any list altogether. But as that recent conversation revealed, the exact opposite happens to be true. 

Now, more than ever, people “need” books. Books give people comfort and hope and a chance for escape. The gentleman went on to say that numerous individuals had shared their desire to turn their backs on their big screen television sets and “Hollywood” and settle in with a good book. 

In late 2008, I spoke at a women’s conference in Minnesota and was blessed to meet Patti Maguire Armstrong.  Patti is the best-selling Catholic author and speaker who co-wrote the “Amazing Grace” book series and is the woman behind the wonderful book that should be on every parent’s bookshelf: Catholic Truths for Our Children. Patti is the sort of author whose talents for writing about everyday life in an extraordinary way makes books a “need” and not just a “want.” 

Patti writes faith-based books in such a way as to help fill the void that so many of us ache to fill. Indeed, Patti provides exactly that in her books Catholic Truths for Our Children as well as Dear God, I don’t get it! her newest book that is written for Catholic kids.

In a world where the tangible has lost its appeal, the intangibles of faith have taken a spot front and center. In a world where liberalism and bias have reared their ugly heads, and smoke and mirrors politics have left people dazed, readers seek solace in books that reflect the teachings of Christ. 

Catholic Truths for Our Children provides the sort of guidance that parents welcome. It is neither too in-your-face nor is it too high-and-mighty. As the mother of ten, Patti is none of these things; rather, she is a woman whose faith and trust in God is evident in all aspects of her life and writing; Patti does her best to live the way she believes Christ has called her to live: with humility and kindness to all. Patti is always quick to turn a sticky situation into an opportunity for growth. Her quick wit and humor provide enough “reality” for the reader to know that hers isn’t a “perfect” life but, rather, is a life striving towards perfection.

I left that 2008 Minnesota woman’s conference with a copy of Catholic Truths for Our Children and a newfound friendship. I will always fondly recall how Patti and I stayed up until the wee hours (okay, it was 10 p.m., but for us it was the wee hours) talking and delving into our faith and what it means to be a Catholic woman today and a Catholic parent. We agreed that it is an exciting time to answer God’s call but also challenging. 

These are the sorts of “truths” that Patti delves into in her book—a book that I began on the plane ride home and promptly finished within days.

I’ve read countless parenting books over the years and have never been as affected by any of them as I was by Patti’s. At the time my own children were mid-to-late-teens and still I felt that everything Patti covered in her book was relevant to me; in other words, this isn’t a book written only for parents of toddlers or for a parent of younger children; it is a book written for parents whose kids may even have moved on to their own homes because it is a book that teaches and cocoons the reader in the joys and privileges of being a Catholic parent.

The book begins by reminding us of the importance of our parental roles. We may feel we know this and yet Patti’s words really make us “own” this message. Patti explores such topics as The Trinity, Church Authority, The Pope, The Sacraments, and Faith and Works—all heady reading in and of themselves but to find them in one book is truly a reflection of the author’s talents.  There are other chapters as well—chapters that explore why the Catholic Church is the ONE left by Christ and the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Jesus. All chapters are filled with the kind of information that makes our faith tangible, real and yet clearly a gift from heaven.

But before Patti explores the many topics, she begins with what she calls “Square One – God.” And I really like that beginning. The Alpha, I am appropriately reminded when I read this simple chapter heading and then the contents that follow. It is the perfect way to begin a book about our journey as parents because it causes us to stop in our tracks and truly identify our own “square one.”

Catholic Truths for Our Children is an absolute gem.

Patti is also the author of the recently released Dear God, I don’t get it! which she wrote for Catholic kids. Dear God is a book that shares the adventures of siblings who each pray for something different when they learn of their father’s job loss. Through a number of zany antics and plain old mischief, the reader is taken on an adventure of “saintly” proportions all the while learning what really happens when prayers collide and God is in charge. Patti, a homeschool mother, has added a vocabulary and question section in the back of the book which makes it ideal for Catholic classrooms and homeschool curriculums along with being an excellent choice for Catholic kids to read at home just for fun because it upholds their Catholic faith while keeping them entertained.

For a great Catholic parenting pack to get or to give, Patti Maguire Armstrong delivers in Catholic Truths for Our Children and Dear God, I don’t get it!

Patti’s website is www.RaisingCatholicKids.com  where you can order her books or invite her to speak at your event.

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