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An intimate portrait of a Catholic community
The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Story of One Vibrant Catholic Community
Witnessing the renaissance of spirituality in America, an eighteen-month series of reports on various aspects of the life of a multicultural suburban Roman Catholic parish looked deeply into the spirituality of one Christian community, spoke deeply to people searching for their own spirituality—and won a Pulitzer for beat reporting.
Now gathered into one volume, with a new chapter on parishes nationwide and vivid photographs of a parish family as it celebrates the liturgical seasons, the sacraments, the RCIA process, life in the rectory, and life in the homes of those who fill the pews, Parish! is a blueprint for a Catholic community that is fully human, fully alive.
“Parish!—an expanded collection of Robert F. Keeler's Pulitzer Prize-winning Newsday series about St. Brigid's parish on Long Island—is the best kind of religious journalism. He's fanatically faithful to the sensitivities of both critical and credulous readers and also to the experiences of the worshippers who are the subjects of his stories. He shows, in concrete terms, from hour to hour and from week to week, how people gather at St. Brigid's "to be church for each other" in a multicultural and multitheological parish that embodies many of the best advances of Vatican II.”
—Michael Joseph Gross
Reviews and endorsements
St. Brigid is a parish in Westbury, New York, which, following the Irish custom of dedicating water wells to St. Brigid, became a well for people to gather around. Expanding on his 16-month series of reports on this Catholic parish, Newsday writer/editor Keeler offers a blueprint for what a parish "community" can really become. Keeler traces the history of the parish under two pastors with distinctive styles, also detailing the growth of an ordained staff who serve over 23,000 Catholics from diverse backgrounds. Starting in the post-Vatican II era, Father Fred Schaefer reshaped the parish, with community input. In 1989, he was replaced by Father Francis Xavier Gaeta, who continued the idea of living the gospel and making people feel welcome. In addition to engaging interviews with individuals whose lives were enriched by their involvement in the parish, there is a separate chapter on what parishioners can do in their own parishes nationwide. Recommended for all collections.
“Keeler deserves not only a Pulitzer, but the gratitude of all people interested in better coverage of religion by the media. His Pulitzer may be a sign that the powers-that-be in journalism are waling up to the fact that religion is important in people’s lives. The way Keeler researched and wrote his series is an example of journalism at its best.”
“Bob Keeler has created a masterful portrait, capturing the personality of a remarkable parish. Parishes all belong to the same family of the church, but St. Brigid’s demonstrates how imaginative leadership can engage the people in shaping a unique community.”
—Philip J. Murnion, National Pastoral Life Center
“Thank you for putting religion, its interest and values, before the public in such an engaging and responsible way. Congratulations…for this great honor. It spills over to the rest of us in the vineyard!”
—Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ, author of She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse