Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Catholic Book Review: El Año Litúrgico en Familia

Last December, I bought a book written by my friend Xhonané Olivas and her husband Miguel, The Liturgical Year in the Family (my translation), as a resource for teaching my children about Catholicism.  Xhonané blogs at Familia Católica about this very topic, and the book builds upon the blog by including even more information.  

This book is in Spanish, which works for us because we speak Spanish at home.  If you don’t speak Spanish, maybe you know a family or catechist that does?

The book begins with an explanation of The Liturgical Calendar, its seasons, colors, and celebrations, including the significance of and differences between Feast Days, Memorials, and Solemnities.  You read about how the Olivas Family integrates the Liturgical Calendar and the teachings of the Church into their daily life and into their homeschool education.

Each season of the Liturgical Calendar is fully addressed in its own chapter, complete with explanations, pictures, educational activities, crafts, coloring pages, and links to additional activities on the blog.  Each chapter is organized the same way, making the entire book easy to navigate when you are looking for something in particular.  All of the coloring and writing pages are together in the Appendix.

Here are a few of the pages my children colored for Lent.  This is a partially filled out list of Lenten Goals in the categories of fasting and self denial, prayer and reflection, and donations to charity.

And this is a fill in calendar for Lent that helps children count the days to Easter.

You can find many similar activities for each Liturgical Season in the book.  One section in each chapter also demonstrates with photos how the Olivas Family decorates their home and displays their faith for each season with the altars, banners, drawings, crafts, and prayer aids the children make as they learn the faith.

Even though I continue to use Xhonané’s blog as a resource to teach my children, I feel that the book provides valuable information that is not available on the blog and the book can help me find something on the blog by enabling me to click directly to specific blog pages.  I highly recommend the book to any Spanish speaking family or catechist.

Honestly, I don’t have any negative impressions of the book; it is very well organized, includes clear explanations, and is distinctive enough from the blog to make it worth owning.  My only suggestion would be to include a section of suggested books or websites for further reading on various topics that would enable readers to enhance their knowledge of the faith; these could be listed for adults and children. 

If you do not speak or read Spanish, perhaps you know a family or catechist that does; it would make a wonderful gift to a couple just starting their family or a new catechist.  Also, Xhonané’s blog, Familia Católica, is a great resource for anyone looking for information and activities to teach the faith; the Google Translator Gadget is available on the blog for numerous languages.  In fact, if your computer is set to a language other than Spanish, the Google Translator will appear at the top of the blog offering to translate the page for you. 

You can see a preview of the book for free or purchase El Año Litúrgico en Familia as a PDF for $19.99 here.  For copies sold this final week of the Easter season, the Olivas family is donating 75% of the price to the Catholic news agency Zenit.  They are also donating copies to priests and religious brothers and sisters.  You can read about these donations here.  You can read more about Zenit here.  This is another way to add to Sunday’s second collection for the Catholic Communications Campaign by benefitting a very dedicated Catholic news service with your purchase.

Disclaimer: I purchased my copy of El Año Litúrgico en Familia for personal use at a discounted price in return for participating in several raffles of the book hosted by the authors.  As a condition of participating in the raffles, I promoted the book on social media.  I have chosen to review this book because I have personally found it useful and worthy of sharing with others and I published the review at this time because I support the authors’ wish to donate proceeds.  The authors did not ask me to review the book, nor did they expect a review when they offered me a discounted price.  You can read more about my Review Policies here.

This post is linked to the Catholic Bloggers Network Round up.  Remember to go visit the other links there and vote with your mouse for this month’s Big Clicks Award.

I have also linked this post to the Tea with Saint Anne Link up hosted by Jennifer at Crafolic.  This link up is for posts that help to grow the Domestic Church and encourage a faith centered home.

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