The Vatican – Secrets and Treasures of the Holy City
Written by Father Michael Collins
Published at DK Canada
About the Book
A visually stunning and uniquely informative insider's view to the great treasures and daily life in the Holy City, The Vatican is a unique behind-the-scenes look at the world's smallest nation and the spiritual center of the Catholic Church.
Written by an accomplished church historian and produced with the full cooperation of the Vatican, this beautifully illustrated guide delves into the 2,000-year-long history of the Vatican. It discusses papal influence, daily life and governance of the world's largest religious body, and the art collections and other priceless treasures rarely seen by the public.
Updated to include Pope Francis, the 266th pope of the Catholic Church.
I was raised in the Catholic Church – well let’s just say that I was baptised, did my communion and confirmation. I would go to church when visiting my maternal grand-mother, at Easter and Christmas. But I was also involved in the girl guides which had more links with Catholicism back in the days than nowadays. In 1984, the Pope John Paul II came to visit Canada. I was part of the group of young people who danced on September 11th, 1984 at the Montreal Olympic Stadium.
The main reason why I asked to review this book is because I wanted to surprised my in-laws with it on their birthday – both are born in March. They are devout Catholics and I knew that they would enjoy reading this book on their spare times.
So the book is beautifully illustrated with hundreds of photos throughout the years and inform the reader in details about the history behind the papacy and the Vatican. Here’s the table of content of the book:
- Calendar: This section gives you a glimpse of what the Vatican looks like during the Christmas season, the Easter season, Summer and Fall. In this section my favourite photo is the one of Christmas with the life-sized nativity and the tree behind it. Apparently the tree is donate every year by a different country.
- History: In this section, you will learn more about how the papacy started and grew through the years. You will travel in time through the Roman Era, the Early Middle Ages, the Late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightement, the 19th Century and the Modern Era.
- Architecture: The architecture of St. Peter’s, Casina of Pius IV, Santo Stefano, the Vatican gardens, the Lionine Wall, the Vatican Museums, the Apostolic Palace, the Raphael Rooms, the Chapel of Nicholas V and the Sala Ducale is presented in this section of the book.
- Daily Life: What is the life within the walls of the Vatican? Discover it here within the City Walls, the Papacy and the Holy See.
- People: Learn more about Pope Francis, the Vatican Diplomat, The Treasury Curator, the Ceremonies Assistant, The Choir Boy, The Sister of Charity, the Seminarian, the Head of the Floreria, the Mosaic Restorer, the Painting Restorer, the Papal Photographer, and the Swiss Guard.
- Treasures: In this section you will get the privilege to observe the Papal Tiaras, the mitres, the Papal accessories, the Mass Vestments, the Pectoral Crosses, the Papal Jewelry, the croziers and staffs, the processional crosses, the incense holders, the table crosses, the candleholders, the paxes, the monstrances, the ciboria, the chalices, the cruets, the bells, the water vessels, the missals and the ceremonial tools.
- Chronology of Popes: Learn the whole chronology of Popes through the years. Just for fun I decided to check how many Popes were in post since I was born. Since 1969, five Popes were the leaders of the Catholic church – Paul IV, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.
- Glossary and Index
Each photo and image included in this book will highlight a specific part of the Vatican. Even if you have never had the opportunity to visit the Vatican, you have the feeling that you are right there exploring the surroundings. I know that my maternal grand-mother would have liked this book as she was a devout Catholic. She prayed often for the Pope when she was alive and was very active in her church. Looking at the photos included in this book, I know she would have love traveling to the Vatican even if it was just through the pages of a book.
Needless to say, some of these pictures are breathtaking and gives a different perspective than if you would visit the Vatican. I particularly like the fact that there is much explanations about the architecture found within the walls of the Vatican. You can also visualize and admire the numerous statues and art found on the walls of the Vatican. I am amazed of the extent of work found within the Vatican from the mosaics to the textured surface made out of small pebbles,shells and glass which were novel materials back in the 16th century. Seeing all the photos included in this book, I am pretty sure that it will allow you to enter private places not accessible otherwise.
I even learned a few things while looking through the book. For example, there is a Gallery of Maps which takes its name from the 40 maps frescoed on the walls. These maps represent the Italian regions and the papal properties at the time of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585). They are an important record of the 16th century history and cartography. In the People section, you will have a glimpse in the lives of the some of the people surrounding the Pope on a daily basis. Through the pages you can get familiar with the kind of days these people have when working at the Vatican.
If you have a devout Catholic in your life, this book will definitively be a marvelous gift to this person. Knowing how my in-laws are quite involved in their church, I think this book will be a blessing to them.
The Vatican is available at your favourite bookstore, even amazon.ca and amazon.com.
Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned title for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.
You’re Going to Be Okay – Encouraging Truth Your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days
Written by Holley Gerth
Published at Revell, a Baker Publishing Group division.
About the book
If your life isn't perfect . . .
If you've ever been disappointed . . .
If you feel stressed or tired . . .
This is for you.
You really are going to be okay. And it truly is possible to live with joy, resilience, and strength no matter what life brings. Yes, there will be hurt and hard times. But God wants to help you find ways to survive, grow stronger, and even thrive--no matter what happens.
With her trademark positive encouragement and probing questions for self-reflection, bestselling author Holley Gerth encourages you to spend less of your life stressing or regretting and more of your life truly living.
The title itself reminded me something my husband and I used to say often in the early years of our marriage:
Everything is gonna be all right.
We still say it every once in a while as it has become one of our saying when things are tougher. So the title attracted me to the book along with the fact that I had reviewed her two previous titles with Revell.
Once again Holley Gerth has found a way to help women to dig out the truth in their lives be writing a jewel of a book that will encourage the reader into seeking what is best for her. Mind you, the author not only lift up the spirit of the reader but she also pushes you to take the time to think about the true words about yourself. Here’s the thing – most women will eventually start believing the lies that the enemy wants them to hear. But deep down, as a child of the Living God we don’t need to take these thoughts for reality because they are false. Thoughts like “You never do anything right.” or “Nobody wants to spend time with you.”
These thoughts are not from God himself. With the help of the guidance provided in this book, the reader will dig, search, and discover the truth about herself. Throughout the book the author has included places for you to ponder and write down answers to specific questions like:
What was the situation you were in when you felt insecure?
What were you afraid would happen?
Why would it matter to you if that did happen?
The questions, if you take the time to answer, is the first step toward healing and learning to hear the truth about yourself. Also included in this book, is a Go Deeper Guide which allow you as an individual or with a group of other women to study each chapter individually and dig deeper on your own journey. The author is very encouraging through the pages of this book and only seek that everyone have healthy thoughts about themselves.
I think this is a fabulous book for all women in life as we have a tendency of believing the lies about ourselves. This book will allow you to regret less and live truthfully.
You’re Going to Be Okay is available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, even amazon.ca and amazon.com
Disclaimer: The book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.
About the book
Welcome to Asia: Its People and History! Is the land of Asia a mystery to your kids? Do they know who lives there? Do they know how to pray for them? Asia is home to more than fifty countries and territories and roughly three-fifths of the world’s population. Could you use some help introducing your family to this vast land? This sixteen-week course presents a brief picture of six nations. It is by no means all encompassing. Its purpose is to introduce your students to the people of Asia, share their stories, and spark curiosity.
I pray that the course does much more than that, however. I pray that through meeting just a few of our brothers and sisters who live in cities and villages with names that are hard to pronounce that your children feel more connected with those who are suffering for their faith in Christ. Through stories and activities, we’ll meet the people of Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Iran, and Vietnam. We’ll get to know the children of these lands and hear about their experiences. Most of all, we’ll pray for them and their families. Won’t you join us?
Who is Bonnie Rose Hudson?
Bonnie Rose Hudson works with both SchoolhouseTeachers.com and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine® as a curriculum creator and editorial assistant. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She would love for you to stop by and meet the star of her children’s series at Exploring with Jake , look through the 10/40 window of the world and join others in prayer at Looking Out the 10/40 Window, or stop by her author’s blog WriteBonnieRose.com for fun printables and discover how you can write for the homeschool market.
In the midst of the February blues, the Olympics, the running around to get 2nd and 3rd opinion for orthodontic treatment for my oldest son, we sat down numerous time in our living room to learn more about Laos in the pdf version of Asia: Its People and History. The main reason why I decided to embark on this review team is that I knew it would introduce something different to our kids during what I consider the toughest month of the year when you homeschool and we have friends who are missionaries in a country in Asia – Thailand.
The countries you will visit with this book are Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Iran, Vietnam. Each country is divided into 2-4 weeks of study which includes stories, discussion questions, history as well as fun activities.
So what do you know about Laos? Well, I sure didn’t know much about that country so the kids and I embarked on a journey to discover more about it. The first week, we learned about how Jesus came to Laos and how it impacted a specific village in one of the areas. It was a moving story about how it is illegal to own a Bible in that country and how Jesus provided for a specific need for the main character. The following week, you learn more about Laos itself and discover its history. During the reading of that week, we got introduced at a map of the part of Asia where Laos is located. Well, it turns out that it is one of the northern border of Thailand (the other one being Myanmar where our friends are the closest as they live near Chiang Mai). Realizing that Laos was so close to Thailand was interesting. The first part of that week, was a mini history lessons and the second part of the chapter was providing more information on what life as a Christian is in Laos. At the end of the chapter, you are directed toward two downloadable free book from Kids of Courage in which you can learn more about the people of Laos: Bold Believers of the Hmong People and Bold Believers Among the Khmu of Southeast Asia. There is also a crossword activity included for the kids to do.
During the third week, we read another story about a family of believers who were rejected by the villagers because of their faith. The family was split in two because a brother at stayed in fear of standing up on his faith. Though circumstances will reunite them in the end. Reading this story, helped the kids and I realize the struggles that believers in many countries have to face on a daily basis. Sometimes I think that we have it easy in North America and that it would be a great way to gleaned the true believers from the flaky ones if you see what I mean… Again discussion questions are following this chapter in order to allow you and your kids to talk about what you have read. Finally, this past week, we learned more about who lived in Laos by discover two of the hundred people groups that can be found there. We also read some stories of Christians living in two provinces of Laos – Laos contains sixteen provinces. And then at the end of that week, there is a printable puzzle that you can do with the kids.
During the weeks were we read and learned more about Laos, my daughter who is six years old and is a Sparkie at Awana was working on her Wing Runner Frequent Flyer Extra Credit Cards. She had recently completed the Book Review verses and was finishing up the TakeOff section when she entered in the Passport section of the book. This specific section introduce the importance of sharing the Gospel in other countries and how you need a passport to travel. Anyhow, each pages of this book contains activities in the back of them – like coloring, find the image by following numbers and so on. Well, she came to me one day last week all excited because at the back on the first thing she had to do in the Passport section there was a map of Asia and she learned fun facts about the country of Laos – People who live in Laos speak Lao and People eat a lot of rice in Laos. She was trilled to show me the map and pointing at the country of Laos which was marked as well. She decided that she would color the country just because we have learned more about it. She was so proud to have Laos mentioned in her Awana book that it was simple priceless to see her excitement. All I can say is thank you Bonnie for writing about Laos in this book.
My only disappointment is that there isn’t more countries of Asia included in this book. But it’s a great introduction of Asia, the people living there and the history linked to the countries. I would also have included some recipes in order to make the experience of visiting a country via this book more interesting and introduce the kids to different flavors from Asia. On the other hand, I guess you could expand the exploration of a country on your own if you want to do that.
Needless to say, the kids are already looking forward to explore Bangladesh the next few weeks. February being what it is I think this book is a great way to do something different while we wait for spring to come. We enjoyed learning more about Laos and look forward to learn more about the other countries in this book in the weeks to come.
To make the study even more interesting, the author has put together a variety of bonus content linked to the countries found in the book. You can find them on her website at Asia It’s People and History Bonus Content.
Two of my readers can get the DDF copy of the booka Rafflecopter giveaway
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