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Excellent Catholic Parishes: The Guide to Best Places and Practices [Paperback]

By Paul Wilkes (Author)
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Item description for Excellent Catholic Parishes: The Guide to Best Places and Practices by Paul Wilkes...

The author traveled the country to discover the qualities that make Catholic parishes successful. The results of his search have produced an in-depth look at eight extraordinary parishes, a directory of hundreds of great parishes throughout the country, and listings of traits common to excellence that other parishes can emulate.

Publishers Description
A directory of hundreds of recommended Catholic parishes also offers detailed examinations of eight Catholic parishes that the author believes are exemplary, evaluating each in such areas as social action, adult education, and outreach programs. Simultaneous.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paulist Press
Pages   255
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.28" Width: 5.14" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 5, 2001
Publisher   Paulist Press
ISBN  0809139928  
ISBN13  9780809139927  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul Wilkes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Wilkes is an American writer, speaker, and filmmaker who is best known for his focus on religion, especially Roman Catholicism and its monastic tradition. Wilkes has written for the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, and Atlantic Monthly. His book, In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest, won a Christopher Award. In addition to Merton, his PBS documentary, Paul was host and writer of the acclaimed television series Six American Families, which won a duPont-Columbia award for documentary excellence.

Paul Wilkes currently resides in Wilmington, in the state of North Carolina. Paul Wilkes was born in 1938.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Church Institutions & Organizations
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Ecclesiology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about Excellent Catholic Parishes: The Guide to Best Places and Practices?

Horizontally-focused  Feb 5, 2007
That Wilkes includes both an entry for Chicago's Old St. Pat's, a veritable showcase of bizarre, 70's-style liturgical abuses, and a reflection on liturgical dance, an innovation absolutely prohibited from celebrations of the Western/Latin rite (see "Notitiae" 11 [1975] 202-205, Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship), should give you some indication of the ideological thread that runs through this book. The parishes highlighted here are precisely the sort of horizontally-focused places that prompted Pope Benedict's pending and much-needed "reform of the reform."
It makes you wonder...  Mar 28, 2004
When a book starts off with a profile of Walter Cuenin. Pastor of Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton, MA. You know you're in for a ride, of the drug induced kind. There is nothing remotely Catholic about this parish, nor is there anything quite good about it either. It's a nice place to go to meet a wide variety of kooky people, who will reassure you of your lifestyle, no matter how at odds with the church it may be. But it is not somewhere you want to go if you're seeking to nourish your Catholic faith. THe author holds this parish up as an the prime example, and from there it is all downhill. Admittedly I'm only acquainted with three of the six parishes, OLHC being the one I know most about, but the themes are all the same. From thorough disregard to Church teaching, to playing around and absurd liturgical ideas, to even such esoteric things as bringing in fortune tellers and reiki healers. There is nothing Catholic about these Churches. Yes, they may be large, most people don't like being challenged afterall, they want an easy way out, but rather than symbols of goodness, they are by and large symbols of everything that has gone wrong when the Church embraced secularism. If you want a truly awesome vibrant parish try St. Clement's Shrine in Boston!
Should be "Excellent Liberal Catholic Parishes"  Jun 21, 2003
Mr. Wilkes, also the author of The Good Enough Catholic, presents examples of parishes that he and other Liberal, dissenting types would champion as beacons of Catholic-lite. One example is Christ The King in Las Vegas.
The church has no kneelers, so nobody kneels. The Tabenacle which houses our Lord's body has been shunted
off to a side chapel! Pita bread is used for Communion and,
if you walked in to the Church, you'd never guess it was a Catholic Church. There is nothing adorning it's walls. No Stations of the Cross, no nothing. Not real orthodox stuff.
Word of mouth and trial and error are better guides.
Excellent parishes are flawed jewels  Oct 27, 2001
Mr. Wilkes offers an inspiring overview of "excellent" Catholic parishes, but the nuts and bolts of running an "excellent" parish are ignored. This is not a "how-to" book as much as a presentation of church communities too good to be true.

In fact, I have been to three of these "excellent" parishes and can assure you that they are simply hyped parishes who at one time or another had a charismatic pastor. They are the flavor of the month, and in a few years will look as faddishly ridiculous as afros or SUVs.

St. Mary Magdalen in Florida, where I grew up, is now a parish ruled by a "lay-ocracy" of parishioners, typically wealthy, who push through their own programs at the expense of less influential members. They recently raised money to renovate their 25 year old chuch, but wealthy members convinced a weak pastor to spend the money on a gymnasium instead. A product of central Florida's explosive growth, they will be saddled with brick-and-mortar monuments in years to come.

Old St. Pat's in Chicago prides itself on a celebration of diversity and ecumenism. One Holy Week, the pastor and his parishioner confidantes decided to cancel the Holy Thursday liturgy in favor of a Seder--limited seating (100 people) at $20 a head. Most parishioners were excluded from a celebration of one of Catholicism's most solemn liturgies. Fortunately, Cardinal Bernardin had a proper liturgy in the cathedral not far from good old Pat's.

Santa Monica in California is a touchy, feel-good church with a dynamic pastor, lots of wealthy parishioners (then-Mayor Riordan donated $1 million to repair a bell tower damaged in an earthquake), and enough film stars in attendance to rival Spago's. In the country's largest diocese, it offers good liturgies and an involved community that is unrivaled by other Los Angeles parishes; the diocese has no commitment to liturgy, so anything rising a few inches above the ruck is bound to be considered "excellent."

Mr. Wilke would do better to look at the true nature of his parishes, which may not have been possible in his short stays. The diamond may shine on first look, but closer examination shows a diry black core.

Barely Catholic  Sep 16, 2001
This book, ostensibly for the practicing Catholic, profiles eight parishes in the United States in which the the Church is taught to be changing, stylish, and peculiar to circumstances, rather than the one, holy, apostolic, and Catholic Church it has been since the time of Christ. The parishes profiled in this book are run by laymen (to the delight of the pastors themselves) and the holding to and teaching Christian truth is not mentioned anywhere as the objective of a good Catholic parish. I am glad to have read this book, as these parishes will be easy for me to avoid in my travels.

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