A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions from Loyola Press is another new tome to grace my bookshelf. Like Novenas, reviewed earlier this week, this book is also compiled by the famous liturgist William G. Storey. Like the other book, it has a pleasing feel: nice leather binding, readable print, and a comfortable 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch size. Just right for home, at church, or even when walking.
I like Storey’s approach of one foot in tradition and one in the present. In the section on the rosary, for example, you get much more than a “how-to.” Six different ways to pray the rosary are offered, plus reasons to guide a person to what might be the best way in a particular circumstance. Storey will give two lengthier Bible passages for each mystery for possible use, but he also gives a “key phrase” from the Scriptures–if you prefer just a touch of the Word of God. Other practices are demonstrated and explained.
The volume is organized by the liturgical year: sections for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. These are followed by prayers connected with the post-Pentecost solemnities (Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, and the Sacred Heart), a section with litanies, another for the rosary, and finally a Biblical Way of the Cross.
Within the seasonal chapters, the reader will find prayers for mealtimes, daily devotions, a few novenas, plus some familiar customs associated with various liturgical feasts. Lots of family-friendly stuff that doesn’t dumb things down for the kids.
I’d recommend the book to any Catholic, or really, any praying Christian. I especially suggest it as a gift for catechumens and candidates together with their godparents and sponsors. The explanatory notes are informative and fairly brief. But the book presupposes a person is actually going to open it up, soften the spine a bit, smudge the pages, and actually use it to pray.