I recently made one of my DIY dreams come true. In the unfinished section of our basement, I put up pegboard, added various sizes and shapes of hangers, and displayed all of my tools. Though the edges weren’t exactly level, I was proud of my efforts to organize the tools I’ve acquired myself, alongside those that I inherited from my father-in-law.
As I stood back to look at my work, I saw that I have come to possess: three hammers, five tape measures, seven wrenches, six putty knives (of different sizes), eight two-inch brushes, three sets of ratchets, and assorted boxes of leftover nails, screws, and fasteners, each only missing a few. Along with these duplicates (and triplicates!), I have the trusty singles: I use the one pair of needle nose pliers more than anything else, and the Phillips-head screwdriver (because doesn’t everything that needs to be tightened use Phillips screws these days?).
Some tools we DIYers just seem to collect over time for various and sundry reasons—half of my tape measures were gifts (truly!), and I could never buy only a couple of screws or nails of the type that I needed rather than a whole box. They served their purpose, and then life moved on.
Other tools have a more enduring useful life, such as my 55-piece drill accessory set. (I will not be defeated because I don’t have the right size of drill bit!)
This week’s five professional ministry resources from CatholicsRead are tools in the “long life, persistent” category. These useful tools aid us in our work in the building and upkeep of both today’s and tomorrow’s Church.
As the pandemic has proven, no Church community can ignore today’s digital tools. Liturgical Press’ Digital Ministry and Leadership in Today’s Church is designed for pastors and parish leaders who wish to initiate or enhance their use of digital tools and methods to further their mission and ministries.
Two of this week’s titles focus on communication as a tool for sharing our stories and the Gospel with others.
In Claiming Your Voice from Liturgical Press, author Norvene Vest examines four contemporary deforming patterns: market culture, American empire, climate crisis, and racism. She illustrates that, in light of Christian foundations in prophetic imagination and Benedictine spirituality, Americans are called to provide energy for hope, to cut through public numbness, and to penetrate the deceptions of imperial consciousness so that God and the sacred again become visible and empowering for all our people.
Storytelling is a fundamental tool in the Catholic world, and GIA Publications’ The Musician’s Spirit: Connecting to Others Through Story by James Jordan focuses on the stories each artist is able to share through his or her work. This book offers practical and inspirational words on courage and vision, the arts of listening and trust, conquering the fear of looking foolish, and the importance of story in teaching.
The primary Catholic model for storytelling is the Gospel, which also served as the starting point for Pope Francis’s recently promulgated Apostolic Constitution Preach the Gospel (Praedicate Evangelium). In addition to the full text of this new constitution, Liturgical Press’ edition features world-renowned theologian Massimo Faggioli’s explanation of the significance and limitations of this document.
Sometimes, old and well-used tools—like methods for catechesis—need to be cleaned up and reappropriated. Twenty-Third Publications’ Shaping the Future of Catechesis Together by Kathy Hendricks is a fresh approach to all levels of catechesis in light of the many changes to parish life during the pandemic. This guide offers a springboard for catechists and catechetical leaders to consider how we might move into the future with renewed hope and joy.
Perhaps one of these resources will help you reorganize your own ministry toolbox.
Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.