Ink Slingers Victoria K

REVIEW: Everyday Evangelism by Cathy Duffy

REVIEW Everyday Evangelism for Catholics Cathy Duff


Evangelization.  Sometimes a scary word for Catholics.  Lions and tigers and bears and…evangelization.  Oh my.  Catholics are notoriously bad at evangelization, at least, that’s the stereotype.  We imagine our protestant brothers and sisters doing the big work of evangelization: standing on street corners, handing out pamphlets, going on mission trips, praying out loud, actually knowing what’s in the bible, flocking around a dynamic preacher.

Cathy Duffy’s book “Everyday Evangelism for Catholics” addresses this concern.  Duffy utilizes insight from her own personal experiences in evangelization to create a playbook for modern Catholic evangelism.

Her work contains a plethora of resources and pragmatic strategies for approaching evangelization.  It is clear from this book that she’s had a TON of experience.  What’s more, she doesn’t limit her perspective to “formal” evangelization situations.  She shares examples of evangelization work she’s done both at her parish and within her personal life, and points to resources that help with both categories.  This gives the reader a broad sense of many forms of evangelization.

What I LOVE about this book

What I just love about this book is the focus Duffy places on listening: 

“…while an understanding of doctrine and worldviews is helpful, more often than not, the most valuable skill you bring to the table for an evangelistic conversation is the ability to listen.

I would consider this to be the thesis statement of Duffy’s guide, and something all too necessary to remember in the New Evangelization.  Think of the list of “evangelization” activities I put up before.  Standing on street corners, handing out pamphlets, going on mission trips, praying out loud, actually knowing what’s in the bible, flocking around a dynamic preacher.  Although these are good things, very few of those place the focus listening.

Duffy presents the core of evangelization as listening completely and intentionally to those in your life.  Instead of shoving doctrine down throats, you ask questions to better understand their worldview—and to encourage them to start questioning what they believe is true.  You build trust, and show them that you truly want what’s best for them—the overwhelming love of Christ.

Perfect… for the right audience

To be completely honest, this book was not the perfect resource for me.  I have had the blessing of taking courses on sharing the gospel and seminars on good listening skills.  What’s more, I’m inundated with the Catholic community that has formed online, which is a beacon for evangelism.  This doesn’t make me “perfect” at evangelization, but I think I’m beyond the scope of this book.  If you feel yourself already well-versed in evangelization, this book is not for you (unless you’re looking for a list of resources for evangelization, for which this book is a treasure trove!).

However, that’s not to say that this book isn’t extremely useful in the right circumstance.  It is the PERFECT beginner’s guide to evangelism. Are you new to the process of evangelization?  Do you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of sharing Catholicism?  Please read this book.  Do you have a friend who would love to evangelize, but doesn’t know how?  Buy them this book.

For the newbie to Catholic evangelization, this book is essential.


Yes, this book would be great for a beginner evangelist to read on their own.  But, IMHO, the VERY BEST setting for this book—and the idea of this makes me really excited—would be for an evangelization team at a parish. Some parishes have them, and this book makes me want to start an evangelization team at mine!   The team could get together, pray the prayers at the start of the chapter, and delve into the discussion questions. This book could help the group develop skills and form a common vision.  How cool would that be??

Books Domestic Church Reading Reviews

Best of My 2018 Reading: Nonfiction Edition with Sarah Reinhard

Best of My 2018 Reading: Nonfiction Edition with Sarah Reinhard

I used to think I was an all-fiction-all-the-time type of reader, but last year proved me wrong. Last year, I found out that I love nonfiction just as much.

I had a stretch of binge reading, and it included some great novels.

But I found something missing. I wanted something that {gasp} wasn’t fiction.

I read a lot of nonfiction anyway, both for paid review and for pleasure. There’s so much to learn. There’s so much that’s good. There’s…just…so…much.

So without any more rambling, here are my favorite nonfictions reads from my 2018 pile!

The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, by Cardinal Robert Sarah with Nicolas Diat. This was a book I couldn’t whip through, and yet one that I savored and couldn’t put down. Reading it felt anything but accidental, that’s for sure. (I wrote about that here.)

To Light a Fire on the Earth: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Secular Age, by Robert E. Barron. My first inclination with this was to offer it to a new deacon at our parish, who, as it happens, had already read it. Barron has a way of boiling things down and, yet, also planting seeds that stay with you.

Jesus Approaches: What Contemporary Women Can Learn about Healing, Freedom, and Joy from the Women of the New Testament, by Elizabeth M. Kelly. Water is a recurring theme that Elizabeth Kelly uses throughout this book, and it struck me throughout. It began like a long cold drink on a hot day: refreshing and soothing. It continued like a mug of steaming tea: comforting and snuggly. It traversed the paths of a wet washcloth on a hot forehead, a shared laugh over a glass of iced tea, a moment together over the baptismal font. Kelly’s depth of insight and the reach of her wisdom went right to my heart, in each and every chapter. The book examines eight women from the New Testament, and they may not all be the ones you expect. Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Martha and Mary of Bethany: no surprise there. But a shepherd girl who was there on Christmas night? That caught me…and captured my imagination. Kelly has a way of doing that throughout this book, and it’s a beautiful experience.

Clueless in Galilee: A Fresh Take on the Gospels, by Mac Barron. You’ll laugh, yes. (A lot, if you’re like me.) But you’ll also look differently at those Gospel stories that may be so old hat that you don’t even hear them anymore. I love Barron’s approach to “riffing” on the Gospels, and I also appreciate his innate ability to challenge readers to go beyond.

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both, by Jennifer Fulwiler. I’ve been following Fulwiler for quite a while, and I’ve enjoyed watching her hard work pay off in success. I read this in a can’t-put-it-down kind of way and laughed so hard, at times, that I was crying. She has a self-deprecating way of writing and sharing her life that makes her approachable. This book also challenges readers to think beyond their constraints — it’s equal parts memoir, humor, guide, and good story.

The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Secret Search, by John O’Neill.This reads like an adventure in many ways, and yet it’s true. O’Neill has a way of turning the dry facts into interesting tidbits, and the pictures don’t hurt either. This is a book you can whip through and then find yourself saying, “Wait, what just happened? Was that real?”

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, by Anne Bogel.I’ve become a late-to-the-game Anne Bogel fangirl. I listened to this, but I think I’ll be getting a hard copy because…truth. She speaks to me and inspires me with her reading.

How Catholic Art Saved the Church: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art, by Elizabeth Lev. This book was such a gift to read. I didn’t mean to start reading it, to be honest. I was just leafing through it, looking at it and admiring the pictures. I glanced over the table of contents and the introduction caught my eye. I’ll read just about anything, but this was GOOD. Elizabeth Lev is a master storyteller: She had me flipping to examine pictures, smiling at what I read, and thoroughly enjoying every aspect of this book. Of course, at least part of that was because of the beautiful job Sophia Institute Press did with the actual book: thick, glossy paper and four-color, magazine-quality images. Truly, this is a book that’s an aesthetic delight on many levels.

Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me, by Amanda Martinez Beck. I read this book for the first time this year (it’s a new release, so I couldn’t have read it sooner), and then I reread it. I think, in fact, I’ll be reading it a third time in 2019 with a group of friends. Beck starts strong and finishes stronger. I think every woman probably needs to read and reread this book.

What nonfiction did you read last year? What did you love (or hate)?

Books Domestic Church Ink Slingers Reading Reviews Sarah Reinhard

Best of My 2018 Reading: Fiction Edition with Sarah Reinhard


While I drink enough coffee to drown a fat pony, I also read enough books to weigh that same pony down. Well, it was a lot for me, and a respectable 100+. When Martina heard that I had written about my favorite reads of 2018, she invited me to share it here. Never one to be outdone in ideas, I offered to do one for fiction and one for nonfiction.

So, let’s dive into my favorite fiction reads from 2018, shall we?

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. This was a massive novel I intended to read years ago. I started by listening to it, and tried to supplement my listening with reading (because I have the book). I just couldn’t limit my enjoyment of it to the times when I could hear it. The story was huge and long and wonderful in all the ways I love.

Endless Water, Starless Sky, by Rosamund Hodge. This is the sequel to Bright Smoke, Cold Fire. I’m not classically trained, but Hodge is. I know, at some level, that I miss a huge amount of her brilliance because of my own ignorance. And yet, I am hopelessly a fan of hers. Of the books she’s written, I think these two may be my favorites. I’d call this the best writing I read all year, judged on actual writing and on storytelling and on enjoyment level.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1), by Neal Shusterman. I heard this referenced as someone’s favorite book, and that’s sometimes all it takes for me to run after a book. I read and loved Shusterman’s so it stands to reason that I may like his other books. I just…hadn’t gotten around to them. Though this is first in a series, it stands alone. Once again, Shusterman has taken an old trope of a question and carved it into a mind exercise of a book. There’s a plot, but there’s also the exploration of ethics and the great what-if. AI meets immortality meets scandal meets human nature. This is a book not just to read, but to discuss and ponder.

The Eighth Arrow: Odysseus in the Underworld, a Novel, by Augustine Wetta, O.S.B.This book made me want to actually attempt Homer and some other classics. (I’ve read Dante, so I got those references.) And yet, the book made sense without any of that and only a rudimentary knowledge of what I knew were deeper references. The adventure was great, peppered with humor. I couldn’t put it down, and I found myself thinking of it in the times I wasn’t reading, which is, to me, always a sign of a great book.

Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather. I listened to this and found myself wanting to hold it and actually read the words. Cather paints an image of the Southwest that I could see as I listened.

A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron. My teen daughter handed this to me, and I’ll be honest: I was going to quit if it didn’t pick up or something. Cameron has his own style, that’s for sure, and the premise behind the book didn’t make sense to me until I was about a third of the way through. And then…hooked. The storytelling is fabulous, and you’ll never look at a dog the same way again.

The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. This is one of my all-time favorite books. It seems like I’ve read it about even 18 months or so since the first time I read it. Every time I pick it up, I find some passage that was right there for me. The premise: A devil writes letters to his nephew, filled with advice and tips for tempting more effectively. Turn your expectations upside down and prepare to be wowed by Lewis’s wonderful writing.

The Cricket on the Hearth, by Charles Dickens. Another all-time favorite book, and one that inspired my handle for many years. This year, it also inspired me to read some other Dickens. It’s a family story, in many ways, and a glimpse at life many years ago. I never saw the movie (which I heard was horrible), but Dot Peerybingle remains a favorite character of mine.

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery. I listened to this via CraftLit and was then inspired to listen to the rest of the eight-book series. And then, because I couldn’t get enough, I listened to Before Green Gables and Marilla of Green Gables. My girls have both turned their noses up at Anne, but I think I’ll be revisiting her quite often.

What fiction did you read last year? What did you love (or hate)?


Books Ink Slingers Janalin Reviews

Good Enough is Good Enough: A Book Review from Catholic Sistas


Confession:  I rarely take time to read for ME.  Hardly, if ever.  So when I had the chance to do a review on the book, “Good Enough is Good Enough” I felt as if the Holy Spirit was leading me to do so.  And it was a Holy Spirit moment indeed because this title could not have come to me at a better time.  Author Colleen Dugan introduces herself as a Catholic mom of six with a perfectionist personality living a very imperfect life.  A mom that in her past was trying to live up to a standard of perfection that no one could possibly achieve.  In our oversaturated Instagram perfect lives we can all identify with that, yes? 

I *know* that I cannot fill from an empty cup  but yet I continue to spread myself thin saying “yes” to too many things for others.  I put myself last thinking that someday I will have more time to do the things that I truly love to do.  Colleen gave me a clear wake up call that I needed to tend to my own flock before caring for all of the outside world, “Here is one truth we Catholic parents have to accept: we must quit worrying about what everyone else is doing and set to work becoming holy within the confines of our own particular families.” 

Interestingly Duggan uses St. Ignatius of Loyola’s autobiography to support her stance of self care and how he rejected the extreme religious penances of his time so that he might be encouraged to be of sound body and mind.  Sound body and mind.  That’s a novel thought!  How many of us with multiple children (particularly with children under the age of 3) have considered the state of our own body and mind lately?

Taking care of ourselves

Truth be told we aren’t going to be perfect.  We all will strive to be model Catholic citizens and we will fall flat on our face time after time.  I know I do anyway.  If you are like me and continue to strive towards holiness and feel defeated over and over this book is for you.  Duggan will relate her life (and yours) to the Saints and to the difficulties that Mother Mary faced.  You will finish the book with a better idea of how to love God better in spite of our imperfections!  

Author Colleen Duggan

I was inspired by this book and I know you will be also!   Grab your copy of “Good Enough is Good Enough” from Ave Maria Press before May 1st and save 20% with the promo code: COLLEEN