Announcement: The Festival of Hope is coming

Okay, here it is (on this beautiful feast of St. Therese, Doctor of the Church)!


One month from today will mark the opening of a major event here at The Tail End.  The Festival of Hope will be a month-long blog event that will be dedicated to and celebrate the theme of Christian hope


There are several important aspects to this event:


— I’ll be reflecting on hope and offering some interesting resources for further reflection, understanding, and prayer. 


— (More exiting to me) I’ll be hosting a series of guest bloggers, talented Christian (both Catholic and non-Catholic) authors and artists, all offering some rich and helpful reflections on the theme of hope. 


— Finally (and also exciting to a book-nut like me), you’ll also have the chance to win some very worthwhile prizes while you’re here!  I’m reluctant to proceed with this one, because there’s a great collection of books and other items sitting in a box in my office, ready to be given away to you and other visitors, and the more I look at them, the more I want to keep them for myself.  They’re excellent!  (Don’t worry, I promised the authors I’d give them away to you.)



Our Guest Bloggers


Let me tell you about those guest bloggers, because you’re going to be interested.  As of today, our Festival of Hope guest-blogger line-up (authors who have agreed to serve as a guest blogger for a day) includes:


— Mike Aquilina, vice-president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and author of a list of extraordinary books, including Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols, The Fathers of the Church, and The Resilient Church


— Tim Drake, one of the premier Catholic journalists in the United States, longtime reporter for the  National Catholic Register, and author of the new book Behind Bella, as well as Young and Catholic: The Face of Tomorrow’s Church 


— Nancy Carpentier Brown, author of The Mysteries of Harry Potter and The Father Brown Reader and Catholic education expert


— Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, a presenter in the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s recent international congress on the dignity of women, and author of The Domestic Church: Room by Room and The Heart of Motherhood


— Dr. Heath White, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Postmodernism 101: A First Course for Curious Christians


— Regina Doman, Catholic artist and author of Angel in the Waters (a personal favorite children’s book of mine) and The Shadow of the Bear


— Karina Fabian, science fiction author of Infinite Space, Infinite God and Firestorm of Dragons, and president of the Catholic Writers Guild


— Lawrence Klimecki, Catholic artist and illustrator of S Is for Saints


You will be hearing from all of them on the topic of Christian hope on this blog during the Festival of Hope!  Is that cool, or what?  (That’s where the list is at now; I hope and expect that it will expand a bit before November 1 rolls around.  I’ll keep you posted.) 



Books and More for You


Not only will you get the insightful contributions from that gang of contributors; you’ll also have an opportunity to win something from a long list of prizes I’ll be giving away that mostly includes a bunch of excellent books, plus a few other great things thrown in for fun.  (Many of these books have been donated by the authors themselves, some have been donated by my publisher Pauline Books and Media, and a few are on me.)


Rather than put a list up right here of all these books and other products, I think I’ll allow part of the pleasure of this month-long event to be finding out what cool things are begin given away as we go along.  Suffice it to say, just about every one of the authors and artists mentioned above is represented in the list, not to mention many other books, too, offered both by Pauline Books and Media, as well as some authors who were not able to contribute a blog post, but who wanted to participate in some way in our Festival of Hope.  And there’s just about enough so that there will be something to be given away for free to a visitor to this blog almost every day.


Again — cool, or what?



The Timing


As I said, this all takes place during the month of November.  That’s appropriate, and not accidental.  Let me count the ways!


— First, November 1, the first day of our Festival of Hope, is All Saints’ Day.  This feast is a Day of Hope like few others.  It is a reminder of the holiness to which we are all called, the grace which is the common treasure of us all, and the eternal glory which awaits us.  The saints will figure prominently in our celebration of hope.


— Further, the month of November is traditionally marked as a month of prayer for the dead.  (November 2 is All Souls Day.)  Praying for the dead is an exercise in hope. 


— Still more, the final day of the month, this year, falls on the First Sunday of Advent, the Church’s annual season of hope par excellence.  During Advent we look forward “in joyful hope” (as the Eucharistic Prayer says) to the coming of the Lord.  It was no accident that Pope Benedict chose a date immediately prior to the opening of Advent last year to release his most recent encyclical, Spe Salvi, on Christian hope. So this Festival of Hope should serve as an excellent anticipation, preparation, and opening to the Advent season for readers. 


— Finally, and speaking of Spe Salvi, the final day of our Festival of Hope, November 30, will mark the one-year anniversary of the promulgation of this very important papal encyclical.   Here at The Tail End, we’ll celebrate November 30 as Spe Salvi Day, pointing to this encyclical as nourishment for more authentic and joy-filled Christian living.  That day will be downright crowded with reflections, resources, and extra prizes to give away.



Your Guide to Spe Salvi: Saved in Hope


To wrap up this announcement, I must acknowledge that there is an element of shameless self-promotion in all of this, but hopefully you’ll find even that worthwhile.  One reason for my decision to organize this Festival of Hope here is to celebrate the publication of a new book of my own that is coming out in October from Pauline Books and Media. 


Your Guide to Spe Salvi: Saved in Hope is now available.  This little book is a companion to the Pope’s encyclical, a guided tour which takes readers step-by-step through Pope Benedict’s rich but sometimes challenging teaching.  It includes plenty of helpful explanations, background information, and practical illustrations of each section of Spe Salvi, as well as questions for reflection, prayer prompts, and suggests for bringing it all into daily living. 


The new series title is “Benedict XVI Made Simple,” though I would have to agree with  Fr. Joseph Hennessey’s blurb on the back cover, which suggests that while it may not be possible to make Pope Benedict’s reflections and teaching simple, my book does make it “simpler, more user-friendly.”


May I humbly suggest you consider Your Guide to Spe Salvi: Saved in Hope as a helpful resource for some spiritual growth, either personally or together with others in an adult faith formation group, during Advent this year?



So Stop By Often


Whether my book interests you or not, there will surely be plenty here at The Tail End during November that will.  Between now and then, if other contributors agree to add their voices to our efforts, I’ll let you know.


We live in difficult times — and by all appearances, they decidedly do not seem to be getting better.  Hope is a virtue that we need more than ever.  Hopefully, this blog will offer a modest means of developing that virtue in those who come by during November.


Hope will be our theme, and “Come, Lord Jesus” will be our prayer. 


Please pass the word!



2 Responses to “Announcement: The Festival of Hope is coming”

  1. Teresa Paolucci Says:

    I think this is an awesome idea. We have to recognize that the Lord is with us in and through all things. This site helps reminds me of the Saint’s and Angels that have lead the way and remain beacons for us to follow. Hope is our forever message!

  2. Barry Says:

    I appreciate your wonderful encouragement, Teresa. Thanks very much!

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