The Simple Mercy of Intercessory Prayer

I was privileged this week to help my friend, Catholic Mom contributing author Lara Patangan, introduce her beautiful new book, Simple Mercies: How the Works of Mercy Bring Peace and Fulfillment, coming next week from Our Sunday Visitor!

I’ll be sharing more about this book soon. It’s not a long book, and it’s not at all a difficult read, but there’s just so much in there to ponder! Lara makes it easy to live the works of mercy – and shows us how we already do live those works of mercy in our everyday lives.

Simple Mercies book cover

When Lara asked me to write about intercessory prayer as a work of mercy, I immediately agreed and asked about my deadline for the piece, which turned out to be two weeks. She had it back in two hours, because it turned out that I couldn’t get anything else done until I’d written down my thoughts about this.

During a crisis, many people find that they have a hard time praying. They know they need the prayers, but they feel like God is far away or not listening – or maybe they haven’t connected with God in a while. When someone comes to you and asks for prayer, that is an act of great trust both in you and in God. This is a work of mercy that costs you very little but means so very much to others. By praying for someone in need, you are shouldering their burden right along with them.

Read the rest over at Mercy Me!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

A Handy Little Prayer Tip from Pat Gohn

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Are you unable to attend Mass or Adoration in person due to the pandemic or other circumstances? Try this!

Pat adds: My two favorite online chapels are found at Savior.org in Philadelphia, and the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Lithuania that houses the original Divine Mercy portrait.

Pat Gohn hosts the Among Women podcast. Learn more at PatGohn.net.


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion.com, and OSVCatholicBooks.com!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.

A Handy Little Way for Couples to Pray from Deanna Bartalini

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Are you looking for a simple way to pray with your spouse? Try this!

Deanna Bartalini is the author of Invite the Holy Spirit into your Life and hosts the Not Lukewarm Podcast. Learn more at DeannaBartalini.com.


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion.com, and OSVCatholicBooks.com!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.

A Handy Little Prayer Tip from Lisa M. Hendey

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Are you struggling to say “yes” to God in difficult circumstances? Try this!

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of CatholicMom.com and author of many books, including I’m a Saint in the Making!


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion.com, and OSVCatholicBooks.com!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.

A Handy Little Prayer Tip from Mr. Justin McClain, O.P.

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Are you looking for ways to involve your children in family prayer? Try this!

Mr. Justin McClain, O.P., is a teacher and the author of Called to Pray: Daily Prayers for Catholic Schools.


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s available for preorder on Amazon and OSVCatholicBooks.com and will be released on May 14!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.

A Handy Little Prayer Tip from Allison Gingras

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Are you struggling with prayer right now? Try this!

Allison Gingras is the author of Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust (a Stay Connected Journal from Our Sunday Visitor). Learn more at ReconciledToYou.com.


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s available for preorder on Amazon and OSVCatholicBooks.com and will be released on May 14!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.

A Handy Little Prayer Tip from Melanie Rigney

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Do you want to pray with the saints? Try this!

Melanie Rigney is the author of several books about the saints, including Sisterhood of Saints and Brotherhood of Saints. Learn more at MelanieRigney.com.


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s available for preorder on Amazon and OSVCatholicBooks.com and will be released on May 14!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.

A Handy Little Prayer Tip from Carolyn Astfalk

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Are you super busy? Do you trouble finding even a minute to pray? Try this!

Carolyn Astfalk is a wife, mom, and novelist. Her most recent book is All in Good Time. Learn more at CarolynAstfalk.com.


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s available for preorder on Amazon and OSVCatholicBooks.com and will be released on May 14!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.

books on a bookshelf

On my bookshelf: April 2021 Reads

The first Wednesday of each month, Carolyn Astfalk hosts #OpenBook, where bloggers link posts about books they’ve read recently.

I am about ready to declare Goodreads bankruptcy over here. I’m just not keeping up.

Here’s a taste of what I’ve been reading (which includes a ridiculous number of books about people grieving the loss of a parent or grandparent):

Fiction

The Traveling Prayer Shawl by Jennifer Lynn Cary. 4 stars. Cami’s beloved grandmother (who raised her after her parents’ death) dies and leaves instructions that Cami must complete a project in order for the will to be read. She and her cousin, a longtime rival who is the only other living family member, have no idea what the will contains – and Cami’s project timetable mirrors one for an ad campaign at work that turns out to be inextricably connected with the project her grandmother left for her. A great read about priorities and the meaning of family. I’ll look for more by this author.

The Letters of Magdalen Montague by Eleanor Bourg NIcholson. 4 stars. An epistolary novel that opens shortly after the turn of the 20th century and features the delightfully cynical voice of “J,” who pens occasional letters to the anti-religious “R” about his growing obsession with the equally mysterious Magdalen Montague. This obsession leads him to rethink his Church-of-England views on Catholicism and change the course of his life. The perks of preordering this ebook directly from the publisher, Chrism Books (a new Catholic imprint of WhiteFire Publishing), meant that I didn’t want to wait until the June 1 publication date to read the book!

Close to the Soul by Mary Jo Thayer. 4 stars. This novel provides a close look at the impact of out-of-wedlock pregnancy on a devout Catholic family in the late 1950s. Carolyn’s mom and her great-aunt were terrific supporting characters. It’s a fascinating story with an uplifting (and surprising) end. (Advance reader copy provided by publisher; available now)

An Observant Wife by Naomi Ragen. 4 stars. Leah, a convert to orthodox Judaism, begins her married life in an insular Brooklyn neighborhood, and learns that it’s not that easy to live that kind of life. She takes a big risk (and pulls in the rest of the family with her) when her teen stepdaughter briefly rebels, then suffers trauma after a forbidden relationship. Turns out this book is a sequel to An Unorthodox Match, which I had not read – but the story is well told enough that I didn’t need to. (Netgalley review; book releases in September)

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese. 5 stars. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed this novel about a social-media beauty and fashion influencer, because I am not talented at either of these! The main character, Molly, turns out to be delightfully not shallow as she embarks on an adventure in volunteering at a transitional program for teens aging out of the foster care system. She makes errors in judgment along the way, grows from her mistakes, and becomes an influencer in the best sense of the term.

Is It Any Wonder by Courtney Walsh. 4 stars. Louisa’s event-planning company is hired to plan a fundraiser for the local Coast Guard station, which needs to build its reputation among the community. That’s when she discovers that her former boyfriend, whom she has not seen in more than a decade, has recently been stationed there and he’s assigned to the committee for the event. As the two of them approach their shared 30th birthday, which had been the subject of a teenage pact between them, they work through their common survivor’s guilt over the death of Cody’s father, which had broken up the two and driven a wedge between their families.

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl. 5 stars. Fans of Reichl’s memoirs will love her fiction debut, the story of a young magazine employee in her first grownup job in New York City. From her very first day, when Billie undergoes an unusual test of her fitness for the job, to the close of the magazine and Billie’s moonlighting at a local cheese shop while she remains the sole on-site employee, fulfilling a long-standing guarantee and (unbeknownst to her employer) solving a mystery that involves a secret room filled with correspondence, there’s a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters moving the story along. If you’re interested in food, you’ll love this novel.

YA/Children’s

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao. 5 stars, but you’ll have to wait until the book releases in November. One of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time. Julie blames herself for her boyfriend’s accidental death and tries to cope by getting rid of everything that reminds her of him. Her grief is pretty raw, and she puts herself into some pretty risky situations. Then she discovers that she can call his cell phone – and he answers. Sam helps her (and some other friends) work through their grief and survivor’s guilt. The book is labeled for ages 12-18 but I think 12 is a little young for this. (Netgalley review)

Everywhere, Always by Jennifer Ann Shore. 4 stars. After Avery and her single mom are involved in a car accident, Avery realizes her mom is dead before she loses consciousness and wakes up in an out-of-state hospital, only to learn that her father, whom she never knew, owns the hospital – and she has a half-brother the same age. As she recovers, she begins to bond with the family she never knew and take steps toward her dreams of working in the medical field even as she tries to deal with her own grief and her romantic interest in one of her brother’s best friends.

Nonfiction

The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller. 4 stars. I’ve been captivated by the story of the first set of quintuplets to survive infanty since I was a kid. This book provided a lot more information than the autobiography We Were Five, which I read years ago. It’s an in-depth look at the quintuplets’ early lives through their teens, and then a more cursory biography of their adulthood. There’s a lot of focus on financial matters and the quints’ growing awareness of their own celebrity.

A Catholic Guide to Spending Less and Living More: Advice from a Debt-Free Family of 16 by Sam and Rob Fatzinger. 4 stars. This book took me back to the early days of my marriage, when we lived on one income and I scoured The Tightwad Gazette (borrowed from the library, of course!) for money-saving tips as my financial contribution to the family. Not only does this book contain plenty of tips that families (or singles) can use regardless of their family situation, it also simplifies some basic financial concepts and offers spiritual insight about how we use our money. Sam and Rob Fatzinger share their own stories of figuring out the best ways to save money and stay out of debt while living on one income. Recommended especially for newly married couples and singles starting out on their own. (Advance review copy received from the publisher, Ave Maria Press; available now)


Links to books in this post are Amazon affiliate links. Your purchases made through these links support Franciscanmom.com. Thank you!

Where noted, books are review copies. If that is not indicated, I either purchased the book myself or borrowed it from the library.

Follow my Goodreads reviews for the full list of what I’ve read recently (even the duds!)

Visit today’s #OpenBook post to join the linkup or just get some great ideas about what to read! You’ll find it at Carolyn Astfalk’s A Scribbler’s Heart and at CatholicMom.com!

Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

A Handy Little Prayer Tip from Fr. Jim Phalan, C.S.C.

Welcome to this series celebrating the launch of my booklet from Our Sunday Visitor, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer! I’ve asked some friends and colleagues to share prayers and tips to supplement the information in this booklet.

Would you like to learn to love the Rosary? Try this!

Fr. Jim Phalan, C.S.C., is National Director of Family Rosary.


Share The Handy Little Guide to Prayer with someone you know. It’s available for preorder on Amazon and OSVCatholicBooks.com and will be released on May 14!


Copyright 2021 Barb Szyszkiewicz

Support Franciscanmom.com by purchasing books mentioned here through my Amazon affiliate links.