Sunday, December 5, 2010
Book Review: Celebrating Saints and Seasons
This book is not just focused on celebrating Catholic feast days and traditions. Instead, this book seeks to be all inclusive. I don't want to say that it's wrong to be all inclusive, )I certainly don't think it's a bad thing) but when I'm teaching my own children at home or a group of children in a religious education class I don't feel there's a pressing need to teach them about other faith traditions. I found several suggestions in this book, such as teaching children about Muslim holidays and teaching them about the five pillars of Islam that simply felt like an unnecessary push for liberal multiculturalism. Why when I'm trying to make sure my young impressionable children are firmly grounded in their Catholic faith would I want to introduce them to and encourage them to celebrate holidays and traditions from other faith cultures?
The book is also focused on national holidays such as the Fourth of July, and Martin Luther King Jr. day. I thought it was rather interesting that no mention was made of Columbus Day in this book considering that Christopher Columbus was a Catholic explorer who's discovery of the Americas helped to spread Christianity to a large part of the world. I simply don't understand why holidays like that were excluded while other's that have less significance in terms of our faith tradition were not.
In many ways I feel the book is poorly organized. For any given month you may find major holidays and feast days listed up front along with some ideas for how to celebrate them either with your family or in a school setting, and in other chapters you'll find nearly everything in date order with accompanying prayers that go with those celebrations at the end of the section for that month. With a haphazard organizational structure such as this, it will be easy to miss things if you happen to use this book as a resource that you turn to for a particular day and look no further than the first page that deals with it.
Another beef I have with this book is it suggest some (not very many as one might expect) craft ideas but offers no illustrations for how the finished product should look. The lack of illustrations is not too big of a deal, but it would have made the book a little better. Most of the craft ideas are ones you could easily find with a quick online search.
I'm sure this book will be helpful to some, but I didn't find much [that was useful] inside it's covers that I haven't already seen in other books like it or online. If I were asked for a suggestion of a good book filled with great ideas for how to live the liturgical year with your child or religious education class this book would not even make my top five suggestions.
I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book by the publisher, St. Anthony Messenger Press, in exchange for my honest review.