Seal of Approval

The following books have been awarded the Seal of Approval for the 2nd quarter of 2022:

  • Breastplate of Righteousness, Theresa Linden
  • Lucia of Fatima, Kathryn Swegart
  • Eyes of Fire, Mina Ambrose
  • Van Horn, Jim Sano
  • A Saint in the Family, Corinna Turner

From Our Blog

  • Pastor and Poet: A Portrait

    Margaret Zacharias
    July 2, 2022 - 7:00am

    It’s There
    I can  hear it
    spiral the tornado
    howl the blizzard force
    against the kitchen wall
    push the sixteen-wheeler on  I-35
    into a jack knife down a deep ditch
    blast me in a straight derecho drive
    with an August mid-day surprise.

    I can feel it
    burn my face more quickly
    by the flapping beach umbrella
    penetrate me deep inside my parka
    in twenty below shivering night
    cool me swiftly after biking
    in the chair under the shade
    of the big elm and ruffle my hair
    in the uphill walk to morning prayer. 

    I can’t see it
    rattle the bare oak tree limbs
    on a freezing January afternoon
    dry the patio garden in a little
    over an hour after a good rain
    billow the sails of the thirty-six-foot boat
    as we near the Apostle Islands
    move the deep array of fallen leaves
    to my neighbor’s fully raked lawn 

    The Wind

     I can hear it
    speaking my deeply felt truth
    at just the right moment

    I can feel it
    when I hug a grieving parent
    who has lost a beloved child
    I can’t see it
    set me on fire with  the Word
    as it moves to open hearts. 

    The Spirit

    Copyright Lawrence Robert Hoffmann, 2022

    As a member of Serra International, I have the privilege to pray every day for brothers and sisters who are called to the priesthood and consecrated religious life.

    Serra is the organization for lay Roman Catholics specifically designated by the Holy See as a “primary pontifical work” to provide spiritual and material support for vocations. Founded in Seattle in 1935, based in Chicago today, Serra International includes more than 1100 chartered regional clubs in 46 different countries.

    One benefit of membership in Serra International is opportunity to become better acquainted with priests and religious. I experience awe and wonder at the myriad gifts poured forth by the Holy Spirit into these individuals.

    Many are disciplined athletes and gourmet cooks, working to maintain God’s gift of physical strength for their missions. Several are talented painters, calligraphers or print makers. Most of them write daily, for homilies, articles in religious newspapers, and to enhance their personal spiritual growth in private prayer journals.

    Today I want to present a portrait of this kind of dedication to accomplish fullness in our own lives with God. Whether our vocations are lay or religious, we’re all striving for the same end.

    Reverend Lawrence Hoffmann celebrated his Golden Jubilee in May 2021, after 50 years of service as a parish priest in the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa.

    The third child and third son among ten siblings, he grew up with sensitivity to the rhythms of nature, working close to the earth on his father’s farm in Shelby County, Iowa. Every night of his childhood, ten children went down on their knees to pray the rosary with their mother before they went to bed. At age 77, Fr. Hoffmann continues to ride his bike for miles through the hilly Iowa heartland. He still hikes and skis in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, summer and winter.

    Having served in a multitude of parishes, rural, urban and suburban, he’s always been a go-to person for every fund-raising auction committee. Bidding wars for his popular hand-soldered stained-glass lampshades and crucifixes have yielded tens of thousands of dollars for Catholic education and philanthropy.

    Today, Fr. Hoffmann continues to serve his diocese as Co-Vicar for the retired clergy, Chaplain to the local Serra Club, and Board member for Catholic Charities.

    If all that weren’t enough, in retirement Fr. Hoffmann has brought his vigor and practicality to serious study of poetic form, meter, and technique. His sensibility for the light, color, and moods of human life are reflected in his poems above and below.

    May they help inspire us all to become everything we can be, as Catholics and as writers.

    Copyright Margaret King Zacharias, 2022.

    Fr. Hoffmann’s poems are included here with the author’s permission to Catholic Writers Guild, and published under his own Copyright.


    Love’s Entry

    From the eternal now, from eternal void,
           moments – seconds; matter – exploding
           time begins – the universe grows

    In creative Threeness,
         gift, life chosen and loved unfolds to fill the earth
         within splitting and enlivened cells

    For extending love into everything created unique
         persons, man and woman given free will
    to say yes and no

    In haughty hearts,
         choices, “mine and mine” with “no” echoing loud
         overwhelms their human condition

    With eternal care, in light of decisions poor,
         Emmanuel, human and divine, born
         to save, forgive and grace

    In our response,
         love, given and lived is enabled
         by the divine and human sent
         into our continuing history 

    Into the eternal now,
         persons free, we can touch
         divinity, shared and loved.

    Copyright Lawrence Robert Hoffmann, 2022




The CWG Prayer

Holy Family, guide our minds, our hearts, our hands, as we write, speak, illustrate – help our words to live in union with the Word.

Teach us discipline and skill to use the talents God gives us.

Give us also insight and courage to convey God's love through our craft, and humility to be open to His divine will, shaping our lives, in loving loyalty to His Church.

In Christ's name,


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