Fr Steve KlugeWe have very good news to announce here at St. Francis. We now have a fourth friar in our community. You may have met him last week holding the door at the entrances. His name is Fr. Steve Kluge (pronounced Kloo-gee), and he is originally from New Jersey. Steve and I are ordination classmates; we were ordained on the same day in 2001. He is a talented and good friar and we are very happy that he is now part of our friar community at St. Francis.

Sometimes people ask us to recommend books and over the past few months I’ve recommended a book by the Jesuit priest James Martin called Jesus: A Pilgrimage and also a book about the Gospel of Mark called Mark for Everyone by Tom Wright. A few people have told me they have found these books thoughtful, engaging, and helpful. Tom Wright also has books on the other gospels, Luke for Everyone, Matthew for Everyone, etc. One woman wrote me to say she found the Tom Wright book on Mark easy to follow and easy to understand, and that she was ordering another book by him, John for Everyone. These books make good reading for Lent or for anytime at all.

Last weekend after mass, a person asked me if I knew of any books that explained the Catholic faith. Her question reminded me that the Catholic faith, for many, especially here in the South remains somewhat of a mystery. What is all this about saints and Mary and all? Understanding Catholicism by Monika K. Hellwig is a very good book that came out more than thirty years ago and yet still remains an excellent introduction to what it means to be Catholic. I have a copy that I found in a used bookstore in Maryland years ago. The description on the back cover reads, “This book is specifically addressed to people who worry when they have questions about their faith or when they begin to realize that the old explanations, which were good enough before, no longer seem to offer coherent meaning.” It’s a fine book if you’re new to the faith, or have been a long-time Catholic. Highly recommended!

Finally, we are of course in the midst of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. This past week, we friars met and talked about the BAA and its importance to the diocese and filled out our pledge cards and sent it in. I encourage you to prayerfully consider your response to the BAA and make a contribution. Thank you if you already have.

Blessings on your week!

Fr. Steve