“A priest is a man who makes Jesus real to others through word, example, and the sacraments. He shows us what Jesus is like. . .” Does that description remind you of anyone? I hope so! It reminded me of Monsignor John Leykam, godfather to my youngest; and it was sure fun bringing him up as the kids and I read this delightful little book.
Elizabeth Ficocelli’s words and Shannon Wirrenga’s illustrations go together like hand in glove to give children a rich, human, catechetically-sound introduction to the lives of our priests. So where do priests come from? “They were once young boys just like you. . .[They] played baseball. . .climbed trees. . .dreamed of being an astronaut.” This book maintains the same down-to-earth, relatable feel as it explores “the call,” priestly formation, life in community, and the various roles in which priests serve.
Something I especially liked was the reminder that priests are journeying toward heaven too. “He goes to Confession to be strengthened, just like his people.” We hear how priests need to pray, take breaks, and spend time with friends – just like you, me, and Jesus. In this very subtle way Ficocelli communicates Catholicism’s incarnational worldview – that the God of the universe loves us so tenderly that he comes down from his heaven to join us in the most humdrum of activities; that in the sacraments humble things like water, bread, wine, and even words, become conduits of Divine Life.
I also take my hat off at the way Ficocelli was able to weave fifteen kid-friendly definitions into thirteen pages! Now besides being a dad, I'm an educator; and that feat earned her an “A” in my grade book. There’s even a glossary!
I was excited to hear that is only the first in a series from Bezalel Books, with Where Do Sisters Come From? set to arrive before year’s end, and Where Do Deacons Come From? soon to follow. It’s such a neat way to open our children’s hearts to God’s call. The final line of the book is priceless, “Maybe the next young man God calls will be you!”