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Book Reviews

5 out of 5 stars Enlightening Answers to Common Questions, October 15, 2001
Reviewer: Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. from Birmingham, AL 
Dr. D'Ambrosio's book is a pleasurable walk through various conversions: to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; to a love of His Catholic Church; from sin to more intimate prayer; to union with Christ through sacrament and meditation. The genius of this book is D'Ambrosio's open sharing of his own conversions. . . from rock-and-roll bands, through seminary, to crying babies and little rascals in church. His are the questions of millions, and his answers are plainly based on authentic Catholic teaching. This is a most useful book.


5 out of 5 stars Exploring the Catholic Church, October 11, 2001
Reviewer: Avery Cardinal Dulles 
"D'Ambrosio has produced a remarkably attractive and practical introduction to Christian teaching and life, well adapted to lay persons of our day. With an excellent theological background, he draws more directly on his own experience of living the gospel as a lay teacher, a musician, a husband, and a father. He is able to speak from the heart about prayer and sacramental worship."


5 out of 5 stars A Perfect Introduction for the Curious..., October 14, 2001
Reviewer: Carl E. Olson (see more about me) from Heath, Ohio United States
I've had the pleasure of studying under Dr. D'Ambrosio and have benefitted tremendously from his knowledge and insight. Now many others can also experience, in reading this book, the warmth and clarity of Dr. D'Ambrosio's teaching. Like all fine teachers he loves his subject and explains it in a way that is accessible to everyone, regardless of how much they know about the Catholic Church. The relational richness, historical soundness, and Scriptural basis of Catholicism permeates this book and makes it an excellent read for non-Catholics who are curious about the Catholic Church. But it also contains plenty of food for mind and soul for Catholics who want to learn more about their Faith. I've already recommended it to both Catholic and non-Catholic friends and will continue to do so in the future.

5 out of 5 stars Faithful to Chruch teaching and so readable, August 21, 2001
Reviewer: Janis J Wakelin (see more about me) from Poway, CA United States
Dr. D'Ambrosio is a master at explaining the faith and helping us apply theological principles to our lives. In this book, he covers the basics in his usual engaging style, and outdoes himself in his chapter "What is the Mass?", which includes Eucharistic Adoration. Pastors, RCIA leaders and teachers should seriously consider this book for those entering the Church. Those with friends or loved ones who want to know more about the Catholic Church, this is the book you want. Or just get it for yourself. His teaching is in line with the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church, and his love for the Church is evident in every page.



5 out of 5 stars Warp and Woof, March 1, 2002
Reviewer: Ruth Hayes-Barba from Portland, OR USA
The greatest achievement in Exploring the Catholic Church is a clear presentation of the truths of the faith completely interwoven in the warp and woof of ordinary life. The centrality of doctrinal belief and sacramental life penetrate meals and car rides, story telling and family disagreements, and yes, even diaper changes. Nothing of life stands apart from the Gospel, rather everything is integrated in the mastery of the Lord Jesus. The glory of the faith is that everyone is called to stand shoulder to shoulder with its heroes, to grow in an intimate prayer life, and ultimately to sit at one Eucharistic Table, in this world and the next. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers practical ways of living the faith while challenging those of us waiting for more time and different circumstances to be about the business of growing in holiness. Ruth Hayes-Barba, MSW, MTS, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon


5 out of 5 stars A Book to Give To Others, November 7, 2001

Reviewer: Tyra Murray (see more about me) from McMinnville, OR USA

For the past year I have been examining Catholic books that would be appropriate to pass on to Christian friends to introduce basic Church teachings. This is just the book I was hoping to find. It opens up the world of Catholic thinking, with the important emphasis on our spiritual relationship with Jesus. As a convert to Catholicism, I don't believe it will alienate non-Catholic Christians. It is not a conversion story, but it includes a great deal of personal, anecdotal example which adds warmth. It does use "church language" and so will probably not work for non-Christians.


5 out of 5 stars It would be a scandal not to purchase this book!, December 18, 2001
Reviewer: David L. Jones from St. Joseph, Missouri
There are several strengths to Dr. D'Ambrosio's book and his teaching method. The first is his use and application of natural reasoning. He uses examples that everyone can relate to and agree with, without specifically relying on Revelation. This is an important tool of Pre-Evangelization and he uses it better than anybody I know. His explanation of Confession (both written & oral) using this method is the best I've ever read or heard. Second, his abundant use of Sacred Scripture will aid Evangelicals and Bible-loving non-Catholics gain a fuller understanding on why Catholics do what we do, which is explicitly or implicitly taught in the Bible. Thirdly, Dr. D'Ambrosio is a Historical Theologian who helps us see history in a way that builds and supports our faith. Fourthly, his extensive ecumenical and interfaith dialog experience dealing with non-Catholics allows him to answer questions before someone can ask them. He understands the obstacles that they are confronting and tries to tear them down so that they can see the Fullness of Truth, which subsists in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Fifth, even though an academic writes this book, it is written in a popular style, which no one will have problems understanding. His extensive teaching experience allows him to take some very complicated subjects and explain them in a manner, which everyone can understand. That is a sign of a truly great teacher. Lastly, this book is very reasonably priced and it would be a scandal not to purchase it.


5 out of 5 stars Buy This Book! NOW!!, November 26, 2001
Reviewer: SHR (see more about me) from Annandale, VA
There are not many books that are right on the mark in exploring the Catholic Church--this one hits a bull's eye! I highly recommend this golden nugget written by an expert. I enjoyed the conversational tone of this must-read masterpiece. Thanks to Dr. Marcellino G. D'Ambrosio for putting in writing what every Catholic should know and for providing a detailed explanation with an unmatched sense of humor. This clever instructional tool should be required reading for all Catholics-or those who'd like to join us! Don't just take my word for it--get this gem for your personal collection today.

Here are some of my favorite parts of Marcellino's book:

Dr. D'Ambrosio talked about his priest friend who has many degrees/awards but only has his baptismal certificate on his wall. This priest's example, and the importance he places on the Sacrament of Baptism, has inspired me to also have my baptismal certificate (and my children's, too) framed and proudly displayed in our home.
It was funny to read the part where Marcellino said he was a 'blithering idiot' with the birth of his twins (in the context of prayer time). I remember working on about 70% mental capacity during those times. The doctor's down-to-earth real-life examples referenced throughout the book, such as this one, should be a hit with all readers.
The 'Getting More Out of the Mass' section is really super spectacular. After reading this part, I feel that the Mass really covers almost all bases in our faith and felt great joy and excitement in going to my usual weekday Mass the next morning. As I walked to Communion that day (and since then), I was reminded of what Dr. D'Ambrosio stated about his personal goal of being a better person when leaving the church than upon arrival.
I always knew that the father of the prodigal son starting rejoicing when his son was still a long way off, but I really like what Marcellino said in the 'Forgiveness' part of his book where the father didn't care (or even listen) to any excuses or explanation from the boy why he sinned. The father only cared that his son turned in the right direction. Dr. D'Ambrosio was so correct when he pointed out that changing behavior is the key, not simply the feeling of sorrow for one's sins. Nice touch where he adds about his family seeking forgiveness from one another at various times-something we should all do.
One comical section was where he mentions, in humility, that he absurdly substitutes his name in the place of the famous 'love' scripture: "Marcellino is always patient and kind." This is a good example for all of us as we recognize our shortcomings in our struggle to become saints.
Speaking of saints, I like the way Dr. D'Ambrosio speaks of Mary and the Saints as our prayer partners as we ask them to intercede on our behalf in our adoration and worship of our Lord.

Finally, all I can say is that with a book like this, I fully expect the servers of this online bookseller to fail with all the orders being placed for this one-of-a-kind Catholic favorite!! Hope you enjoy Dr. Marcellino G. D'Ambrosio's work-of-art as much as I did.

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