by Greg Tobin

A fun and fascinating guide to the Catholic roots of holidays and celebrations

How did Sunday become the "Sabbath Day?" Why did St. Valentine become the patron saint of lovebirds? Most people happily participate in Mardi Gras, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day with very little knowledge of the origins and meanings of those celebrations. Was Jesus Really Born on Christmas? is a smart and concise guide to the hidden heritages of the special days that make up contemporary life. Tobin unearths the religious roots of the seemingly secular, offering historical trivia and the sometimes bizarre origins of the days throughout the year that bring people together.

In these pages, readers will discover that:

· Jesus was not born on Christmas Day, the winter solstice, in the Year 0 . . . but possibly on April 17 in 6 BC, according to archaeological and astrological evidence.

· The Easter Bunny is a deeply pagan tradition and a seemingly indelible symbol of fecundity that simply could not be suppressed by the Church. Same with Easter eggs.

· It is no accident that our celebration of Mother’s Day falls in early May, which is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Christ and the Catholic symbol of motherhood.

· Saint Patrick is not only the patron saint of Ireland--and the Irish throughout the world--but the patron saint of Nigeria, too (thanks primarily to Irish missionaries).

Greg Tobin is the author of several books on the Catholic Church. He was the editor of The Catholic Advocate, and during the April 2005 papal transition he appeared frequently on national radio and TV programs as an expert commentator on the popes and the papal election process. His books Selecting the Pope and Holy Father were widely used as authoritative resources on the subject and were quoted in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, as well as the Associated Press. He lives in West Orange, NJ.

by John Michael Talbot with Steve Rabey

In The Way of the Mystics we are invited to take a journey to the heart of our faith by examining the stories of thirteen of Christian history’s most revered mystics. These spiritual pioneers devoted their lives to exploring a deeper communion with God and through their examples show us how we can apply spiritual wisdom to our own lives. The mystics featured in this book are from different centuries, countries, and Christian traditions but all have been divinely blessed to transcend the limitations of worldly concerns and fully enter the spiritual realm: a place that so often seems closed off to us. The Way of the Mystics offers insights into the lives of such familiar figures as St. Francis of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Merton, and others. The authors explore these spiritual giants’ experiences, the movements they founded or influenced, and the controversies they generated, offering nuggets of truth distilled from their often enigmatic writings. In addition, the book offers practical suggestions for applying the mystics' wisdom to our lives, enabling us to better pursue a deeper relationship with God.

by Michael Guillen

Whenever mind-boggling scientific discoveries make the news, logic rules. Yet whenever prayer and faith provide physical, emotional and mental benefits, spirituality rules. So which side should you embrace?

Both of them, says Michael Guillen, Ph.D. They represent your IQ and what he calls SQ, or “Spiritual Quotient.” The two are like your eyes: you need both in order to have full-blown, 3-D, stereoscopic vision.

“It’s only with IQ and SQ,” Guillen says, “that you’re able to see the universe has depth… able to see yourself and others in their full, multi-dimensional glory.” Able to see more beauty and meaning in life than you’ve ever imagined.

by Michael Foley

The first guide to the Catholic roots of everyday things - from red wine to Santa Claus.

Did you know that the origins of Groundhog Day stem from a Catholic Marian devotion? Or that the common pretzel was once a Lenten reward for the pious? Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? is a fascinating guide to the roots of all things Catholic. This smart and concise guide will introduce readers to the hidden heritage in many commonplace things that make up contemporary life. The reader-friendly format and the illuminating entries will make this guide a perfect gift for interested Catholics and historians alike.