Book Review: Breakthrough by Fr. Rob Galea

Need a book to help you get you on the right tone for a new year and new decade ahead? Fr. Rob Galea’s book Breakthrough published by Ave Maria Press was a very inspirational read for me. While reading Breakthough, I kept on thinking about how Fr. Galea’s story is like a modern version of St. Augustine’s Confessions.

Fr. Galea captures a story of conversion, discernment and change in Breakthrough. Specifically, Fr. Galea touches upon the ups and downs in his life that many youth my age face, from dark times even suicidal thoughts, to his journey to sing on the World Youth Day stage in Sydney to his ordination to the priesthood and reaching the X-Factor stage.

The thing with books like Breakthrough is that it really resonates and touches the heart. As an emotional man, I had a couple tears reading some pages because Fr. Galea’s storytelling speaks to a reality that many young people face.

What does God want me to do? As I read Breakthrough, I noticed that that seems to be the thread that gathers all the chapters together. While our human desires are what we want to pursue, as Catholics, we do so in a spirit of discernment and sometimes, our will does not align with that of God. Sometimes, our parents’ aspirations may not be be in line with God’s plans. Fr. Galea’s story shows that total surrender to God is difficult not only for an individual but also for parent(s), but by surrendering our lives to God, many good fruits are borne because God, as a Father, only wants what is the best for his children. God’s plans are greater than our plans.

On a personal level, I found Breakthrough to somewhat help me form my thoughts about seminary life. As someone who is seriously considering entering the seminary, Fr. Galea’s book has helped me to see the ups and downs of seminary life and the decision seminarians must discern. Reading this book has helped me understand the challenges that come in pursuing a vocation – being a priest is not an easy road, and Fr. Galea’s book showed that. However, Fr. Galea did not despair in challenges, but rather, took them on in a spirit of joy and optimism.

Breakthrough serves as a word of encouragement to youth and young adults. As we enter a new year, Fr. Galea’s inspiration story and music will help many young people like myself to keep our heads high and look the future with optimism, surrendering our lives into God’s guiding hands, because whatever God has in store for us may be challenging, but certainly good and rewarding.

Purchase the book from Ave Maria Press here.

Read a sample of Breakthrough here.

Book Review: A History of the Church in 100 Objects by Mike and Grace Aquilina

It is sort of like a history textbook, but more than that. If the proverb, “A picture is worth ten thousand words,” is true, then the pictures of this book combine to 1 million words, not including the actual texts.

This book, A History of the Church in 100 Objects by Mike Aquilina and Grace Aquilina is the work of a father and daughter. I have never read the History of the Church in such format before and I saw the format appealing.

I received a review copy of A History of the Church in 100 Objects at the end of November of last year. I spent a week reading it. A majority of it was read while I was retreat.

A History of the Church in 100 Objects is a self-explanatory title. The book leads the reader along the timeline of the Church through pictures of various artifacts. Some of the artefacts I have heard of and seen pictures of them before such as the Silver Star in Bethlehem and Michaelangelo’s Pietà. However, there are some objects I have never even knew existed such as St. Thérèse’s curls and the Seton rock. I found reading the book to be very eye-opening about the history of the Catholic Church.

I am amazed at how the Aquilina managed to compile all the artifacts. I liked how everything flowed. I do recognize some Papal artifacts from Fr. Richard Kunst, the curator of a large collection Papal artifacts and relics.

I also like the text accompanying the objects. The passages are very straight forward and easy to understand. I wish though that the passages would be longer. Sometimes, I read the end of the passage, wanting to know more. But the Aquilinas probably understand readers may want more. Therefore, at the end of each object passage, there is a For More section, with recommended titles that will build on what was said in the passage.

To my surprise, the images are in colour along with the headings. At first, I thought that only the cover (like most books) would be in gray-scale. A History of the Church in 100 Objects is an exception. All the images are in colour, and that livens up every artefact and allow the reader to look at the object in more details than a gray scale image (some people may disagree). I also noticed that there are some blank pages. The reason for this is so that the image of the artefact will always be on the left side of the book with the chapter heading on the right. I find this very convenient. The blank pages could be used for notes which I find as a good feature.

A History of the Church in 100 Objects has gained praise from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, George Weigel and other well-known Catholics. I would say, “Simple, concise and beautiful!”

This book was also on Catholic-Link’s 44 of the Best Catholic Books of 2017 list. Indeed, I believe it deserves this honour!

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

Overall, I think A History of the Church in 100 Objects is a good title for those who want to dig into Church History and does not want to much heavy reading. A History of the Church in 100 Objects seems to be a good book for introductory to Church history and good for youth like myself to get to know the Church a little bit more, including its bright and dark moments.

Purchase A History of the Church in 100 Objects here from Ave Maria Press. 

Update from The Catholic ManI will be undertaking a trip to Europe, including Barcelona Spain, Provence and Côte d’Azure, France and Florence, Rome and Sorrento, Italy in March of 2019. In preparation for the trip, I will be starting a travel blog in conjunction with The Catholic Man Reviews, known as The Catholic Pilgrim Reviews, which will hopefully be launched sometime next month. Many of the reviews will also be shared on The Catholic Man Reviews. However The Catholic Man Reviews will still be up and running with its unique reviews of Catholic books and products. A lot of reviews coming in the near future so please visit!