An Open Letter to Bishop Perez

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1st May 2019

Dear Bishop Perez,

Re: Your letter to the faithful dated March 15, 2019.

Peace be with you and may Our Lord fill you with His wisdom, grace, and blessings.

We, the faithful, encourage you to relax your position on the Communion Rite posture policy, first promulgated in 2003, which enforces the policy of standing after receiving Holy Communion. Since the Diocesan Bishop may adapt actions and postures to the customs of the people, we further encourage you to reinstate the policy from the General Instruction to the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal (2002): “…The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei…” We are aware that the right to kneel has been secured by the Holy See, but we would very much like to have the encouragement and support of our bishop. Let the posture of kneeling bring uniformity.

We believe this posture of reverence best gives glory to God, deepens the faith of the believer, moves the heart of the unbeliever toward the truth of the True Presence, and can foster unity in posture during the Mass. Ironically, some parishes received your letter on the same day we heard this for the Second Reading: “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth…” (Philippians 2:10).

To many of us, kneeling resonates in our souls as the proper posture for these parts of the Mass, and we don’t understand the logic behind standing. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope emeritus Benedict XVI), in The Spirit of the Liturgy, laments that “There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling” (pg 184). He further explains how the Scriptures show the importance of kneeling. In them, we read about the night Jesus gave us the Eucharist and how he entered into His Passion by praying on his knees, giving us an example of the right disposition and posture one should have both in preparing to receive Holy Communion and after reception.

The book of Revelation gives us a peek at the heavenly worship, which faith tells us we participate in through the Mass. In this heavenly worship, the elders fall down before Our Lord whenever glory, honor, and thanks are given. Using this heavenly worship as a model, we see how appropriate the posture of kneeling would be when the priest, in persona Christi, lifts up our Eucharistic Lord and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”

We also read how the leper in Mark 1:40 falls to his knees before the Lord, saying, “If you will, you can make me clean.” His prayer is strikingly similar to ours. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.” Like the leper, we long for Christ to answer our prayer. Like the leper, we trust in His power. The leper, however, did not know the Divine nature of Jesus, like we do. Therefore, we have even more reason to be on our knees for this prayer.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger ends this section on kneeling with this: “It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture — insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.”

Dear Bishop, let us kneel. First, the altar rails were removed and we were told to stand to receive Communion. Next, we were told to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Then we had to stand after the Lamb of God. Now we are told we shouldn’t kneel after we receive Him.

Belief in the True Presence dwindles. Let us kneel. Do not encourage us to stand at these parts of the Mass where our hearts beg us to kneel, but rather let us worship Our Lord, who we truly believe is present in the Eucharist. As it is, very little quiet time is given for the faithful to offer prayers of thanksgiving, praise, and love to the Lord their God who has humbled Himself to become their food. To discourage kneeling after the reception of Holy Communion will reduce the amount of time for such prayer even more.

We are in a spiritual battle that grows more volatile every day. Notre Dame went up in flames. Hundreds of other Catholic Churches have been recently vandalized too, including St. James Catholic Church in Lakewood. The persecution of the Church intensifies–Christians tortured and murdered in record numbers in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The faithful in Sri Lanka can no longer attend Mass. Here in the US, the faithful are labeled “haters” and laws are being created to punish those who stand for Catholic moral teaching. The priest sex-abuse scandals continue to rip apart the Church from within, increasing the already large numbers of Catholics leaving the Church. And studies show that the faith has been watered down so much that over half of the Catholics in the pews no longer believe all the Church’s beautiful, transformational, and saving teachings. Many no longer believe in the True Presence.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. As we worship, so we believe. In this dark culture, we need signs, symbols and reverent postures. We need solid and unwavering faith, intense devotion, and courageous witness. Let us kneel before our Eucharistic Lord so that the lukewarm may have their hearts set on fire and the believer may grow in deeper faith, and so that the unbeliever’s heart might be touched, and all the world will know: Jesus Christ is Lord.

Respectfully yours,

The faithful from several parishes in the Cleveland Diocese

Note: this letter has gone out to all priests of the Cleveland Diocese


If you share these sentiments, you are welcome to sign the letter here:
https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/allow-kneeling-during-the-communion-rite

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Inspiring Our Children to Greater Faith with Knights

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photographer/artist: Eric Keeghan

Isn’t this St. George plaque beautiful?

Tomorrow you will have a chance to win it as part of the Grand Prize for the Belt of Truth Scavenger Hunt. But for now…I get to have it on my wall for a few days!!!

The stunning image is secured to an 11” x 14” wood plaque. Eric Keeghan is the photographer/artist and you can see more of his work and find one-of-a-kind pieces on Etsy: TheTravelingCamera and CatholicLittleFlower.


Pictures of Saint George often show him with a dragon.

And, indeed, one can find many stories about George fighting dragons. In one story, a dragon made its nest at the spring that provided water for a little town of mostly pagan citizens.

In order to lure the dragon away from the spring, the townspeople offered it a sheep every day. When the sheep ran out, the thirsty townsfolk decided that a maiden would be just as effective as a sheep!

They chose the victim by drawing straws, and one day the princess’ straw was drawn. Well, the king was not too happy about this and he begged for her to be spared. The thirsty townspeople said, “No!” and offered her to the dragon.

Fortunately for her, George showed up and faced the dragon. After protecting himself with the Sign of the Cross, he slayed the dragon. Amazed at his courage and victory, the entire town abandoned paganism and embraced Christianity.


A biography of Saint George will show that he died in year 303 A.D. He served in Diocletian’s army until Diocletian ordered the soldiers to arrest Christians and sacrifice to the Roman gods. As a Christian, George refused. Diocletian offered George land, money, and slaves if only he would sacrifice to the gods. But George, steadfast in his faith, refused. Diocletian then ordered his torture and execution.

Saint George’s faith and courage are inspiring! Stories about Christian Knighthood–with knights, castles, dragons and armor–are perfect for symbolizing the spiritual battle we face! What better way to inspire our children to arm themselves with virtue?

Saint Paul saw this too and wrote the following:

“Therefore, put on the armor of God,
that you may be able to resist on the evil day and,
having done everything, to hold your ground.
So stand fast with your loins girded in truth,
clothed with righteousness as a breastplate,
and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield,
to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

~ Ephesians 6:13-17

Those verses inspired my new Armor of God series. There will be six books in the series, one for each part of the armor: Belt of Truth, Boots of Peace, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation and Sword of the Spirit.

These books follow George Pennington and friends as they attend Knight School for Boys and Girls, where the children work to earn each piece of armor. The story themes and “Brother Coll’s Catechism Lessons,” weaved into each story, are geared toward children preparing for First Confession and First Holy Communion.

The BELT OF TRUTH comes out tomorrow, April 23, on the Feast of Saint George! In this story, nine-year-old George Pennington bravely faces the fearsome head knight at the annual “tryouts,” hoping to be among the few accepted to Knight School for Boys and Girls. Otherwise, he’ll have to sit next to his father for years . . . sitting, writing, and yawning as he learns his father’s trade. But George does not want to be a scribe. He wants to be a knight!

When George tries to sneak out and visit his friend, he accidentally burns his mother’s cherished tapestry and costly repairs threaten his ability to remain at Knight School. A lie seems like the best solution. As lying becomes easier for George, he discovers that students need to earn the first piece of armor: The Belt of Truth. 

With tryouts, treks through the woods, a one-armed knight, the Code of Chivalry, and rumors of dragons, I hope that the six-book ARMOR OF GOD series will captivate young readers. Written with children ages 7-9 in mind, these roughly 14,000-word stories appeal to the universal and timeless quest for virtue and inner strength.


Tomorrow, April 23, you are invited to take part in the Armor of God: Belt of Truth Scavenger Hunt. As you visit the stops along the way, you will get to know 7 authors of Catholic children’s books and you will have opportunities to win many prizes. Once you’ve collected all the CLUES, you can enter for the grand prize which includes the beautiful St. George plaque featured in the beginning of this post, 8 Catholic children’s books, one St. George rosary, and a St. George necklace! Please share this event with your friends.


I am the author of nine published Catholic novels and three short stories in two anthologies. Two books in my Catholic teen fiction series have won awards from the Catholic Press Association.

I love our Catholic faith, especially the unique aspects of it: the saints, the Eucharist, even Confession! Growing up in a military family and moving every few years, left me with the impression that life is an adventure. I rarely get to travel anymore, but I love to write, so the adventures continue through my stories.

My faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the realities we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. I hope the richness, depth, and mystery of our Catholic faith will spark my readers’ imaginations through my stories and make them more aware of these invisible realities and of the power of faith and grace.

I hold a Catechetical Diploma from Catholic Distance University and am a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. My books are featured on CatholicTeenBooks.com, Catholic Reads, and Virtue Works Media. The first in my Catholic teen fiction series is available on FORMED.


To find exciting books in a variety of genres for the Catholic teen in your life, visit CatholicTeenBooks.com

Faith Through Fiction Vlog

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Introducing the new Faith Through Fiction vlog series from Catholic Teen Books

God knows the challenges we face.

Depression ~ loneliness ~ peer pressure ~ disorders ~ temptation ~ bullying ~ hurt ~ shyness ~ loss ~ disabilities ~ the struggle to forgive . . .

God has an answer for all our problems, healing for all our wounds, and a path that will bring far greater joy than the path the world presents to us. How can we find this path, this healing, these answers?

Don’t underestimate the power of a story.

Catholic Teen Books presents a fun new video blog that is perfect for teens, high school teachers,  homeschoolers, and parents.

Through this series Catholic Teen Books strives to fulfill its mission of counteracting the anti-God culture that permeates society today and leaves young adults with few wholesome literature choices. In every episode, you will discover solid books that bring faith-filled solutions to issues teens face.

You can learn more about the series and the hosts of the show, T.M. Gaouette and Leslea Wahl, on www.CatholicTeenBooks.com.

Check out the series trailer here and the first episode below:

The first episode addresses the theme of bullying, which too many teens face every  day. How can we help our teens to consider all sides of this issue, gain a faith-filled perspective, and courageously make the right choices that can help both the bully and the victims?

This new vlog series is just one of the ways Catholic Teen Books seeks to support parents and teachers in encouraging young people to dive into stories that can change lives and develop faith and character. Want to make sure you catch every episode of this new vlog series? Sign up for Catholic Teen Books newsletter.

Book Tour: Roland West, Outcast

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First, I want to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am counting my blessings and so thankful for my faith, my family, my freedom, and my followers! Among many other things. May God bless you and your families.

Second, I want to invite you to check out the blog stops for the Virtual Book Tour for Roland West, Outcast! You still have time to enter for 3 chances to win (I’ll be giving away 2 books and 1 Amazon gift card)!

  • Enter the 1st giveaway on the first stop
  • Enter the 2nd giveaway by participating/commenting on the other posts (see below for details).
  • Enter the 3rd giveaway (for the Amazon gift card) by sharing my blog tour posts. This is my way of saying thank you to everyone who helps me promote my new release! I’ve been keeping a list of everyone who has shared them so far. If you share my promotional posts or tell a friend about this book, please let me know either in the comments or send me an email: theresalinden@oh.rr.com

RWOutcast front cover

BLOG TOUR FOR ROLAND WEST, OUTCAST

Saturday, November 17 – our first blog stop will be Tumblar House Catholic Bookstore’s blog “The Lounge.” Check out the Author Interview and look for the 1st GIVEAWAY!  You’ll be able to enter all week long! A winner will be chosen on the last day of the Blog Tour. While you are there, check out the other great books and content on Tumblar House’s website!

Saturday, November 17 – visit Today’s Catholic Teacher Magazine for my article “Why We Need Catholic Fiction.”  Share the link to my article in Catholic Teacher anywhere to enter the second GIVEAWAY. Simply message me or email me the link.

Sunday, November 18 – blogger Barb Grady Szyszkiewicz  shares her review of Roland West, Outcast on “Franciscan Mom” 

Monday, November 19 – stop by Unseen Books, home of the books by Corinna Turner, fantasy and dystopian author.

Monday, November 19 – stop by Plot Line &  Sinker for a review of Roland West, Outcast by Ellen Gable, author, editor, speaker, and publisher.

Monday, November 19 – blogger Steven R. McEvoy on “Book Reviews & More” Read his review and my article “Embarrassing Moments.” Share your own embarrassing moment in the comments to enter the second GIVEAWAY!

Tuesday, November 20 – award-winning Catholic teen fiction author Leslea Wahl shares her review of Roland West, Outcast on her “Monthly Book Review” blog. Play the “Saint Game” for several chances to enter the second GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, November 21 – visit blogger Christina Weigand on “Faith, Inspiration, and a Cup of Tea” to read her review and to see the entire Prologue to the Roland West, Outcast! Copy any line of the prologue into the comments to enter the second GIVEAWAY!

Thursday, November 22 – Carolyn Astfalk, author of coming-of-age romance Rightfully Ours, has posted the book trailer and her review of Roland West, Outcast on her “My Scribbler’s Heart Blog.” In the comments, share which West Brother books you have read, if any, to enter the second GIVEAWAY!  (It’s okay if you are new to the series. Just say so and you are still entered to win)

Friday, November 23 – T.M. Gaouette, Writer, Blogger, and Author of Catholic Fiction, shares her review and points you to a Mad Lib game! Play the game and answer this question in the comments to be entered into the second GIVEAWAY: Did you ever give a speech in high school? How did it go?

***BONUS STOP***

Saturday, November 24 – blogger Steven R. McEvoy on “Book Reviews & More” shares his interview of the characters: Roland, Keefe, and Jarret West, and Peter Brandt! Check out the character interviews today!


You can check out the review trailer here: https://youtu.be/wDuY3b0cMSY

Need to catch up on the West Brothers series?  Get books 3 & 4 for 99 cents!catholicreads ad

 

Turning in Circles – Book Review

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Southern fiction at its best!

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Story summary: Savannah and Charleston, two sisters living in a small Southern town, have always been close. They’ve shared everything with one another…until Dillon, the one boy in school who’s bad news, sets his sights on Charleston. As she’s drawn down his dark, destructive path, Savannah panics, knowing this isn’t a relationship destined for anything but trouble.

She turns to her lifelong best friend, Ellerbe, for help, but there’s a shift in their relationship. The connection they’ve shared is taking a turn toward something more, something deeper. And Savannah isn’t sure she’s ready for a romance while trying to save her sister.

As Savannah’s foundation begins to crumble, every decision becomes an unchangeable step toward an outcome that could have tragic repercussions.

Get your copy here: Amazon link


I’ve seen Michelle Buckman’s titles and I’ve been wanting to check out her books for some time. I am so glad that I finally did. Please stop by her website to learn more about her and her books.

Michelle Buckman’s author page


My Review:

I really enjoyed this Southern fiction! Michelle Buckman has a beautiful and engaging writing style that pulls readers deep into the story and doesn’t let them go. The story begins at a leisurely Southern pace, introducing Savannah and her sister Charleston, but always hinting at trouble to come. The setting details and tone are captivating and give incredible dimension to the story. And while it’s set in modern times, the life of the people in this small farming community reminds me of simpler days when everyone knew everyone else and neighbors sat around drinking iced tea on front porches and took leisurely strolls through lovely streets and trails. But there is always something lurking beneath the surface, a hint of trouble, of mistakes that change lives, and of danger.  

As the story developed, this book became almost impossible to set down. And I came away with a bit of introspection. Savannah faces the same problem many of us do: watching a loved one go down the wrong path (in this case, a potentially dangerous one) and feeling powerless to do anything about it. She wrestles with how to respond to this, sometimes making things worse and other times not doing enough. So many moments in this story resonated with me and I’m sure they will with everyone who reads this story of family, friendship, and the challenges we all face with those we care about.

This is the first book by Michelle Buckman that I’ve read, and I look forward to reading more by her.

This month I am linking up with Carolyn Astfalk’s “An Open Book” and CatholicMom.com. What have you been reading lately? Feel free to link up your blog post too! You can find the details here.

Book Review: The Things We Knew

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I just finished reading a book that is on the Sabbath Rest Book Talk reading list. With a bit of romance and a lot of mystery, this is a beautiful and emotional story of faith, family, forgiveness, and facing the truth. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to read more from this author.

The Things We Knew by Catherine West

51eGLI0vfBLThis story takes place on the little island of Nantucket. Lynette lives at home, struggling to care for her father, who has memory issues that are not yet diagnosed, and their enormous family home, which is falling apart faster than she can fix it. She is one of five siblings. Her mother died when she was a teen. She can’t remember the specifics about that day and no one ever talks about it, but it’s obviously had a profound effect on every member of the family and even on the neighbors. Their family was once very close, but the relationships are now strained.

They were also close to the neighbor’s son, Nick Cooper, who is another main character in this story. He’s around the siblings ages and spent his childhood and teen years at the Carlisle’s home. You get the impression early on that he knows more about the Carlisle family than he wants to admit. He also cares deeply about this family, and about Lynette, in particular. And Lynette had a crush on him when they were teens.

As the siblings become aware of the bleak financial situation back home, and of their father’s failing health, they each return home to see what they can do. Once home, they find themselves facing the past, their own problems today, and strained relationships with one another, but they’ve got to work together for the sake of their father and their family home. The easy answer is to sell their large estate, and Nick’s father is all to eager for them to do this. In fact, all the siblings except for Lynette seem to like this easy answer. But Lynette loves her family home and wants their father to be able to spend his last years there. As the youngest, she hasn’t been accustomed to insisting on her way, but this is very important to her, so that’s about to change.

I really enjoyed this story and was sad for it to end. The writing is beautiful. The author develops characters and setting details that you can see, smell, and touch in your mind. With a bit of romance and a lot of mystery, this is a beautiful and emotional story of faith, forgiveness, and facing the truth. It is a heart wrenching story about a family in crisis who has lost so much and stands to lose so much more, but who also has much to gain.


You can watch Sabbath Rest Book Talk on Youtube. Check out any of the past episodes or catch this September’s episode. The theme will be aging.

Release Day for the Liberty Trilogy!

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In two weeks her vocation begins.

She must find a way out.

Liberty 554-062466-84 of Aldonia grew up knowing that one day she, along with every member of society, must contribute to the greater good. She’s been measured, tested, and examined all her life, and now they’ve matched her to a vocation. They want her attributes—intelligence, beauty, health—to pass on to the next generation.

Life begins in the laboratory, making the family obsolete. Using top specimens, scientists create and implant only the best into the fittest women. Every girl in Aldonia wishes she had this vocation because of the alleged bonuses and privileges that come with it. But Liberty does not want to be a Breeder.

As the day draws near, Liberty is attacked. She’s about to lose consciousness when someone rescues her. She wakes in an underground facility, discovering a secret group that watches over Aldonia. Before they return her to society, she witnesses the rescue of a man scheduled for government re-education. They rescued him. They can rescue her.

Set in the not-so-distant future, the Liberty trilogy is a young adult story about a woman who wants to direct her own life, instead of having it controlled by the government. This novel explores the loss the individual faces when government is allowed to grow too big and reach too far. The traditional family is nonexistent. Human life loses value. The earth is elevated above man.

The books are available now as paperback or ebook on Amazon or through your favorite bookseller.

Chasing Liberty

Testing Liberty

Fight for Liberty

Bound to Find Freedom ~FREE short story connected to the trilogy

Congratulations to Michelle! She won a complete set of the Liberty trilogy!


Author Happiness!

Dear readers, you are my inspiration! I didn’t realize how much fun the contest was going to be for me as the author. But I have so enjoyed reading all the comments. I’ll share some of them here:

“I have read this series and I couldn’t put it down! I describe it to my friends as a Catholic version of the “Divergent” series. Dedrick is definitely swoon-worthy! LOVE the new book covers!” ~Cathy

“I love this series! So exciting that they’ll be re-released with such awesome new covers!” ~Susan

“I know my daughter would love this series!” ~Heather

“I love reading your books! I’ve just started Anyone But Him. I have been timid to read the trilogy because I wondered if it would be too depressing but after reading your blog, I’m ready to expand my horizons” ~Andy

“I enjoyed reading this trilogy so much! (I am so glad you decided to write a trilogy and didn’t stop with the first book! I so needed the next two in the series, especially the third!!!) I know I will reread the series again, as I miss reading about characters like Dedrick and Liberty. What better way to reread the trilogy than with the new covers?!” ~Anna

“I love the new covers. I adore a good Catholic dystopian. I want these for myself and look forward to sharing them with my 3 children.” ~Jillian

“This trilogy sounds so good! I am definitely putting it on my to-read list and adding to our homeschool book list for this year for my 9th and 11th graders! We are going to be working on American History and government over the next 12 months so I feel like this could be interesting to add to the topics in our discussions.” ~OurRominCatholicLife

“I love Dystopian fiction. Adding faith into the mix makes it even better.” ~Nicole

“This Tirlogy not only capivated my teen but also me. Your wording in this article is everything I have been trying to exclaim to others about dystopian but fail for lack of words. You have a very eloquent way with them. I long for great dystopian fiction and you hit the nail on the head, evoking emotions and feelings like none other, creating in me a desire to seek out truth and become the person God intends me to be. I pray you will be writing for years to come!” ~Danielle

“I have to admit your 5 points persuaded me to take a look at your books for my daughter.” ~Margaret


book signingAbout the author:

Theresa Linden is the author of award-winning Battle for His Soul and Roland West, Loner (Catholic Press Association Book Awards, 2016 & 2017). Raised in a military family, she developed a strong patriotism and a sense of adventure. Her Catholic faith inspires the belief that there is no greater adventure than the reality we can’t see, the spiritual side of life. She has eight published novels, including a fast-paced dystopian trilogy that tackles tough moral questions of our day, and two short stories in Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body (Full Quiver Publishing). She holds a Catechetical Diploma from Catholic Distance University and is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the International Writers Society. A wife, homeschooling mom, and Secular Franciscan, she resides in northeast Ohio with her husband and three teenage boys.