Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the audiobook edition of devotional Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply by the assistant curate in the Diocese of Llandaff, the Reverend Andrew Highway. The book has been narrated by Matt Standley. The audiobook can be obtained from Audible, Amazon and iTunes. A sample of the book is provided below. It is also available in paperback / ebook editions from the usual outlets and directly from the publishers.
Great, bite sized and makes an excellent “1 of your 5” a day! Caters for everyone – whoever you are and whatever you do because we are all busy and our lives can become stressful and complicated, whether we are working or retired or seeking a job or looking after our family. It balances so many aspects of everyone’s lives.
Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the devotional book Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply by the Anglican curate, the Reverend Andrew Highway of the Diocese of Llandaff, The Church in Wales. Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply is a collection of straightforward prayers from the heart that are intended to help readers have a conversation with God in a simple and honest manner, about all the things that can occur throughout daily life. These prayers address how we feel, what we see, our experiences, fears and worries; hopes, joys, and aspirations. The book is divided into four sections, with prayers about Ordinary Things, When Seeking God, Through the Year, and In the World. Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply is available worldwide from Amazon, directly through the publishers Hope and Life Press, and at other major booksellers.
– Welcome collection of short prayers in a frightfully busy world. These succinct and incisive prayers help counter the pressures of modern life, intrusive technology, and widespread commercialism. Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply guides us back to a still, listening, loving God – The Reverend Dr. Mark Dimond, Bishop’s Chaplain, The Church in Wales.
– Human, heartfelt, concise, simple, tender prayers clearly rooted in the God of love who is in Christ. At the end of our day, the only thing that matters is prayer. It is clear in Life’s Complicated: Pray Simply that prayer matters to the Reverend Andrew Highway – The Right Reverend David Wilbourne, Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Llandaff, The Church in Wales.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Reverend Andrew Highway is an Anglican assistant curate with the Church in Wales. He grew up in the market town of Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire on the edge of the Cotswolds and is the son of a Baptist minister. Highway’s early experience of both traditional and charismatic Baptist worship provided him with basic spiritual formation, but in 2005 he started exploring a more catholic spirituality, leading to a deeper appreciation of the sacraments and the rhythm of daily prayer. After finding his spiritual home to date in the Anglican Church, Highway studied at Saint Michael’s Theological College, United Kingdom, and was ordained by the Archbishop of Wales at Llandaff Cathedral in 2012. During preparation for ordination, Highway felt particularly drawn to the intersection of Anglo Catholic and Celtic spiritualities, whereas his vocational formation was influenced by the liturgy, architecture and values of the Oxford Movement.
As a non-stipendiary minister, Highway works as a Town Center Development Manager with Caerphilly County Borough Council and has enjoyed a varied career, including 10 years as a police officer with the South Wales Police, before moving into local government for a career in place management. Highway has developed an effective Unique Places model of town center management and created the Choose the High Street brand that encourages people to support their local high streets. In his vocational capacity, Highway presently serves in parish ministry with the Diocese of Llandaff in the deanery of Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly.
Hope and Life Press is proud to welcome on board the Catholic journalist, author, and stage mentalist Angelo Eramus Stagnaro, with his latest book A Modern Guide for Sinners in the Third Millennium set to be released in paperback and ebook editions later this year. Suitable for catechumens, catechists, homilists, apologists, canonists, people interested in exploring different forms of Christian spirituality, and Christians interested in developing their spiritual life, this book is intended to elucidate the concept of sin for readers who may have forgotten its meaning and it is the first in which the seven social sins as promulgated by the Vatican in 2008 are addressed. The book has been granted the Nihil Obstat/Imprimatur by the Archdiocese of New York.
Stagnaro is a news correspondent with the United Nations, newspapers, and international wire services in the United States of America (US), Europe, and Australia. He is the principal liaison between the Consulate of the Holy See in New York City (NYC) and the Catholic News Service in Washington, D.C., as well as the Service’s chief correspondent in the City. Stagnaro is a regular contributor to the National Catholic Register and his major articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Catholic Herald, National Catholic Reporter, America Magazine, US Catholic Magazine, and The Tablet among others.
Stagnaro is the author of four books on the Catholic faith titled The Catechist’s Magic Kit, The Christian Book of the Dead, How to Pray the Dominican Way, and A Lenten Cookbook for Catholics. These books have been granted the Nihil Obstat/Imprimatur by the Diocese of Brooklyn. A professional stage mentalist and one of the world’s experts in cold reading, he is also the author of eight books on stage magic/cold reading, all of which are seminal works that have been translated into French, German, and Spanish. Stagnaro has lectured in more than 70 cities across North America, Europe, and Asia. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Smoke and Mirrors. He is also Guildmaster of the Catholic Magicians’ Guild, President of the Society of Concerned American Magicians, and Chairman of the Occult Investigation Committee of the Society of American Magicians.
Stagnaro was awarded the 2008 Catholic Press Association Award for Best News Writing for National Event with his coverage of Benedict XVI’s US papal trip. His article The Monastic Ways of the Wise Little Bee was included in the National Catholic Reporter‘s compilation Best Catholic Spirituality Writing 2013. He is also a professed member of the Secular Franciscans and has served as Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults catechist in NYC and Singapore.
Below is our interview with Marie Ann Dean of Iowa (US), the Notre Dame alum and author of the Catholic historical fiction novel based in Malta titled The Jeweler’s Polish, newly released by Hope and Life Press.
1. When did you first start writing?
I first starting writing as a very young child. I remember writing for my parochial school newspaper, a little two-sided mimeographed sheets organized by the nuns. I wrote some things, including a little historical reference to the founder of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. I was writing poetry as a child, as well. I have written dozens of short stories, plays, and poetry ever since I can remember. I was a feature writer for my high school newspaper and feature editor, as well as the high school assistant feature editor for my school in the local city newspaper. In college, I also wrote features. At Notre Dame, I had poetry published in The Juggler and I wrote many, many poems and plays, one of which was put on at Notre Dame by a group of very talented students. It was a strange play about children and adolescents responding to The Black Death. I have written both verse dramas and prose dramas. I just like to write.
2. What is the story behind your book The Jeweler’s Polish?
The story is entirely made up as the two Emeralds in the book are fictive characters. But many of the facts regarding the Knights and the French Revolution, as well as Napoleon’s rise to power, are common historical types of information. Most of my novels either take place in the small Mediterranean island of Malta or are connected by characters from Malta. Malta, like England, inspires me to write. I believe we all have spiritual homes, even on earth, which encourage us to be whom we are created to be and place is important to me.
3. Where did you grow up? How did that influence your writing?
I grew up in Iowa and my family is full of writers. My great-grandfather, great-grandmother, great uncle, grandmother, and others all had published works including novels. More importantly, the two great journals of the Czech community in America were written and published by my great-grandparents. These can now be found in the library of Illinois Benedictine College.
4. What is the greatest joy for you in writing?
John Henry, Cardinal Newman stated that he meditated with a pen in his hand. I find that I am closer to God when I write. Also, I am more in touch with my own self.
5. How do you spend your time when you are not writing?
I pray mostly, being a semi-contemplative in the world. I do some spiritual direction and intercessory prayer. Also, I do research and paint, clean house, and carry out all the normal daily chores. My life is based on a monastic day, somewhat.
6. What do you read for pleasure?
For pleasure, I have moved from reading poetry to novels. I do read the classics and like to re-read the same books. I am reading Bleak House at the moment. I have been reading Dickens rather systematically for a few years now. I also read contemporary novels. My son gave me Game of Thrones for Christmas two years ago, but to be honest, I have avoided reading most modern novels after the year 2010 as I do not want to be influenced by contemporary fantasy. I like going back to the older forms, such as epistolary novels, which have charm. But I can say that I have read most of the main novelists from the earliest ones recognized in the 18th century, down to our times.
7. What are your plans for the future?
My future plans are to continue to be a contemplative in the world and pray for others. As a Catholic, I also pray for the holy souls in Purgatory, which I have done since I was a child. Serious praying takes energy, which most people do not realize. I live in true monastic fashion, day by day, with a regular schedule, which I do admit brings peace and balance to one’s life.
Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the first book in our Melitensia category with The Jeweler’s Polish, written by the Iowa novelist, poet, teacher, and homeschooler Marie Ann Dean. The Jeweler’s Polish is a Catholic historical fiction novel set primarily in the small Mediterranean island of Malta at the time of the Knights Hospitaller or the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Containing a near-gothic narrative that includes knightly orders, Masons, Illuminati, conspiracies, curses, mysterious jewels, apparitions of spirits, poisoners, gender dysphoria, the evil eye, and incest, The Jeweler’s Polish presents to readers the 21st century young Englishwoman, Emerald Rohan Grady, and her ancestral namesake, the Lady Emerald Esther Maria de Rohan, niece of the kindly but corrupt Grandmaster Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc.
But who, in reality, was Lady Emerald? Who was Lucas de Pinto? What made Captain Azzopardi meet his men in secret, at nighttime, in the historical city of Valletta? Who betrayed the kingdom of God and worked for the kingdom of Man? Why did Lady Emerald have to meet Pope Pius VI in Rome? How were the Jesuits and the Masons involved? Above all, who was the Repentant? The Jeweler’s Polish is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon worldwide, Hope and Life Press, and other major booksellers.
“Malta is a fascinating, yet somewhat mysterious, island nation known throughout history as the home of the famous, but somehow also mysterious, Knights. In The Jeweler’s Polish, accomplished author Marie Ann Dean brings us on one woman’s fascinating voyage of self-discovery to Malta. Dean adroitly weaves together the tale of that woman’s journey with events in the lives of historical figures connected with the Knights in Malta and elsewhere. As her prose portrays transformations in her characters, the reader is also brought to contemplate profound, yet very simple truths. You will enjoy The Jeweler’s Polish” – Monsignor Richard Soseman, J.C.L., Official of the Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican City State.
“From the start of the story, Marie Ann Dean draws the reader into an historical mystery that will capture the imagination. She does a masterful job of tying the past history of the Church and of Europe to current times. The heroines, Emerald both of old and of new, guide the reader through an exciting adventure that falls just short of discovering the biblical Antichrist. I highly recommend The Jeweler’s Polish” – James A. Toups, author of The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope, Principal at RMR Corporation.
“Marie Ann Dean’s familiarity with the isle of Malta and her literary skills are put to good use in constructing a near-gothic narrative, combined with an intriguing apocalyptic storyline involving the identity of the Antichrist and the timing of the Second Coming. The result is a highly entertaining read, reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code but of higher literary quality and more complex . . . a very diverting and compelling first novel that leaves enough plot threads untied to demand a sequel or two. The Jeweler’s Polish leaves the reader wanting more!” – Mary Ann Beavis, Ph.D., Professor of Religion and Culture, Saint Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.
“In The Jeweler’s Polish, the heroine Emerald’s plans to travel initiate a journey to seek the ‘jewels’ of her heritage. The story is immersed in intrigue, secrecy, and the adventurous danger of the hunt. Traitors, mistresses, knights, and monks fill the pages of an effervescent novel. The pages turn quickly: Dean diligently weaves the tale of Emerald’s search for her hereditary matrix that serves both to elude and define her. Any reader of The Jeweler’s Polish who has sought family trees, or who has been fascinated by the Da Vinci Code, or Angels and Demons, will no doubt be riveted to Emerald’s search. The mystery is laced with danger and delight, discovery and disappointment, with new clues uncovered and the real hidden treasure of the heroine’s beneficence.
“One travels through multiple settings following both Emerald’s contemporary life and that of her centuries-old namesake – merry old England, Paris, Rome, yet always returning to a crisscrossed Malta: between two continents and between eras; the failing religiousness of the late Renaissance and the violent birth of contemporary democratic secularity. Within the thrill of the search, Dean’s work is, in the end, a battle between good and evil. And in the end, Emerald’s search rises above ennui and passivity to a new receptivity of the divine: the polish of a grace from beyond brings light both because of her goodness and despite her weakness.
“Is it not everyman/everywoman’s journey to seek their source and uncover treasures hidden for the ages – whether in Tehran, Tokyo, or New York? In The Jeweler’s Polish, one finds fellow seekers, while enjoying a well of literary refreshment. One hopes that Dean’s excellent work of final delight will reach many readers. One also hopes that readers will uncover, at least, some of their own hereditary jewels – the soulful treasures of any truly good persons, which often remain hidden until finally polish by Grace and Love itself” – Reverend Brian Miclot, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Saint Ambrose University.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Ann Dean is an American novelist and poet from Iowa, with a particular interest in Catholic contemplative spiritualities in the Latin Rite tradition. A teacher by profession and former Montessori homeschooler, Dean helped set up various classical education schools and Montessori homeschools across the United States (US). She also lectured on English Literature at the University of Notre Dame (US), and on both Theology and Literature at Bristol University, United Kingdom (UK). As a practicing Catholic and pastoral counselor, Dean has served as lecturer to diocesan teachers in the US and Canada, also teaching catechesis and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes as director. She was also a lay chaplain with the Westminster Diocese, United Kingdom (UK).
Dean has a Bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy/Theology from Marycrest College, and a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Notre Dame. She was also Downside Scholar Fellow in Theology at Bristol University. Dean holds a Master Teacher’s Certificate from the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools. An international Catholic blogger since 2007, Dean writes regularly on matters of the Catholic faith and spirituality at Etheldreda‘s Place and The Courtyard. She is also twice winner and Grand Prize-winner of the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest with her poems. Dean enjoys painting in watercolors, acrylics, and oils.
Hope and Life Press are proud to present Brian Kiczek, D.C., another author who has come on board with his book Help for Suffering Humanity: Mary, Help of Christians. This Catholic nonfiction book will be released in paperback and ebook editions in late 2016.
Brian Kiczek is a chiropractor, husband, and father of three, who reverted back to the Catholic faith after 10 years of atheism, followed by New Age beliefs, then Bible believer. He is a United States (US) Navy veteran of the Persian Gulf War, during which he served as an operations specialist aboard the USS Normandy. This and other life experiences, including serving as security officer in Manhattan during 9/11 and after at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, together with working in various chiropractic offices treating multiple conditions, have served to inspire Kiczek to come up with ways to integrate prayer and work, to help others in both a physical and a spiritual manner. His research dissertation addressed the Effects of prayer and religiosity on health and longevity. Kiczek presently works in the disadvantaged area of Passaic County, New Jersey, helping to heal wounded backs.
Kiczek has been educated in the Catholic schools of Red Bank, New Jersey and graduated cum laude from Rutgers University. He holds a doctorate in chiropractic from the University of Bridgeport. He is active in evangelization with the parish of his church, in particular as a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) teacher for many years. He has also founded a children’s rosary group in the said parish. Kiczek is popularly known as the Rosary Doctor for his tireless work in spreading the message of the rosary to anyone open to hear it. He believes that the prodigal sons and daughters of the world are going to return to God and to the Church in droves, as the famine that is spreading across the globe increases through financial crises, wars, and disasters. Having lived through what it means to be a prodigal son, Kiczek feels great care and compassion for all who may be away from God, and works without cease to heal both physical and spiritual ills. He strives to repay the Lord, Jesus Christ, for having been merciful to him, in particular through the power and the love of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the Kindle edition of the book Sonnets From the Spirit, written by the award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers. The paperback edition of the book was released by Hope and Life Press last month.
Sonnets From the Spirit is a collection of 52 icons in poetry on major episodes from Sacred Scripture, written according to the ancient practice of midrash. The themes of the sonnets are illustrated by great works of sacred art. This book is intended to provide readers with a little feel for God working through, and sometimes despite, very human people whose strengths and weaknesses greatly resembled those of 21st century humankind. Sonnets From the Spirit is also available in paperback and ebook editions directly from Hope and Life Press, Amazon globally, and other major booksellers.
“The poems of Villiers continue the ancient practice of midrash, the breaking open of Scripture texts, by entering into the voices of its characters and illuminating new facets of the stories. As such they offer worthy meditations to accompany our sacred reading, inviting us to consider our own lived responses” – Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D., online Abbess at Abbey of the Arts, Pantheos contributor, and author of eight books on monastic spirituality and creativity.
“In this series of sonnets, Villiers takes us from the birth of Eve to the Assumption of the Virgin, the Second Eve. The sonnets are like icons in poetry, each poem a meditation seeking to take us through the biblical text into the mystery of God” –Archpriest Andrew Louth, FBA, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University.
“A new voice in poetry that helps us to find fresh insights into some of the classic passages of Holy Scripture, stimulating reflection and prayer” – Reverend Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop (ret.) of Newcastle and Reviews Editor of the Church of England Newspaper.
“In Sonnets from the Spirit, the talented poet and theologian Christopher Villiers conveys Bible stories in verse. These rhythmic sonnets do not just tell a story. As you read, you become the central character of each poem, entering the viewpoint of Bible people and the events they encountered then, coming away with an ‘I’ ready to perceive and receive an ongoing relationship with God” – Mary Harwell Sayler, Christian poet and writer.