Thursday, April 11, 2002

A Philadelphia Catholic in King James's Court by Martin de Porres Kennedy

Lilyfield Press, 0967149215, $12.95

Michael O'Shea is surviving a bittersweet summer. Following the loss of his father, his family elects to spend time with the family of his mother's brother, staunch "Bible-believing" folk who choose to live practically like the Amish. As if dealing with the death of his father was not enough to bear, Michael soon finds himself cornered by people dismissing his Catholic faith as "pagan."

Explanations outside of actual Bible quotes fall on deaf ears, and soon Michael is self-propelled into a crash course in apologetics, with only the Bible and the prayers of his mother to sustain him. As Michael prepares to successfully defend the Faith against the local nay-sayers, many of whom know much of the Bible by heart, he finds himself becoming more confident in this mission set out for him. It is his knowledge of the Faith through God's Word which helps establish an atmosphere of tolerance which some in this tight-knit community are more willing to embrace than others.

Michael's dialogue and evangelization is well woven into Kennedy's prose; he delivers the facts without making it sound as if the "Philadelphia Catholic" is reading his lines from a book. Having visited Amish country myself, I also found the story's setting quite engrossing, and I enjoyed reading Kennedy's detailed portrayal of life among the "plain" people as well. Philadelphia Catholic is a book adults as well as young people can enjoy, a great informal apologetics tool.

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