Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Catholic Book Blog Tour: Framing Faith by Sarah Piccini {Book Review}

The closing of our Parish back in Miami, brought great sadness to our family.  It was a our home there, we had great family and friends there, history was made there...we exchanged out vows in our Sacrament of Matrimony, saw our second and third children be Baptized, many fond memories of this small and beautiful little church Near the Miami River in Florida.  My only wish was that I had taken more pictures and spent more time with our Pastor asking questions about its rich history. 

As I stop to think about Saint Robert Bellarmine's in Miami, I realize that our family is not alone.  Across the US, there are many other families like ours, reminicing the closing of their home parishes due to restructuring of the different Diocese and of course, our horrible economy.  Yes, sadly, we are not alone! 

Book cover
Which leaves you with this question, "How do you capture the richness of these parishes?"  Author Sarah Piccini had an inovative idea, she documented the history of the people of 10 parishes in the Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania, then got together with photographer Ivana Pavelka & ARTS Engage and together they captured these ten beautiful parishes in a book entitled, Framing Faith: A Pictorial History of Communities of Faith.

Looking through this beautiful book, I can't help but feel like I've been taken back through time to parishes with not just the Catholic history that they embody, but also the history of many immigrants and their families.  To see the pictures of the cornerstones and see the dates some as old as 1895, just facisnates me.  Some written in Polish for those communities rich with these families starting to make roots in a new country.  This book conveys to its reader, the positive impact that Catholic immigrants from Poland, Slovakia, Italy, Germany, and Lithuania made to the Scranton Diocese.  What an incredibly thoughtful and beautiful idea it was for these two very talented ladies to have created this lovely book! 

Here's a synopsis of the book:

An additional neat feature about this book is that it was part of a program called ARTS Engage!  "ARTS Engage! is a program whose mission is to build social skills through the arts by allowing students to create work and work with professional artists. This project allowed students to develop photography skills by working with a high caliber artist such as Ivana Pavelka and the documentation of ethnic churches offered a unique place-based learning experience about our cultural history." Maureen McGuigan, Deputy Director of Arts and Culture, Lackawanna County

Description (from their website):
Framing Faith tells the story of the faith of immigrants and their descendants, spotlighting 10 Catholic churches in the Diocese of Scranton that were closed due to restructuring.   The churches are:
 The churches have rich ethnic heritages. They are Polish, Slovak, Italian, German, and Lithuanian parishes with long traditions and deep roots. Each church was founded by immigrant groups who came to the coal fields of the Lackawanna Valley with little more than their faith in God. Their churches served as the center of the community and touchstones of the Old Country. Framing Faith traces their histories from small beginnings through baptisms, weddings and funerals to their final celebrations. Throughout the text are images from each church, visual reminders of what was for many an important part of their lives.
It was truly a pleasure reviewing this book.   I could not tell you which parish I liked the most because each one had such amazing stories or the place was just heavenly, that I could not pick just one.  I might favor Sacred Heart in Mayfield, but I'm partial to anything and anyone with that title ;)
Stained Glass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Sacred Heart Church

Stations of the Cross,
Sacred Heart Church

Immaculate Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Sacred Heart Church

This book honors all of those parishioners and priests that served and loved and worshipped our Lord in beautiful parishes.  I wish more authors and photographers would capture these unforgetable churches throughout the US, as these two lovely ladies have done so well in this great book.  If you have ties to the Northern Pennsylvania area or just the fact that you love older traditional churches and their rich history, I recommend that you add Framing Faith to your Catholic library.

Learn more about this awesome book, Framing Faith, by visiting its website and also on Facebook.

Ready to buy?  There are several choices:
  1. Paperback, $24.95 96 pgs., 8.5" x 11", ISBN 9780982256589
  2. PDF eBook, $4.95
  3. Kindle, $2.99
  4. iPad, $4.99
  5. Nook, $4.95
  6. Google, $3.79
DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a PDF e-book version of this book by Tribute Books in exchange for my honest review of it.

Hope you enjoyed this review! 
Many Blessings,
Mama Erika
    SARAH PICCINI graduated from the University of Scranton with a degree in History and Communications. In 2010, she received a Master’s degree in History focusing on the ethnic and labor history of the Lackawanna Valley. She collaborates with the Lackawanna Historical Society on many projects and programs, and serves the Vice President of the board for the Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces Associates.
    Sarah Piccini, author on Facebook ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER:
    IVANA PAVELKA is a co-founder and co-manager of the photographic gallery Camerawork in Scranton and is a professional photographer who has had many solo and group shows. Her professional career includes teaching in the art department at Keystone College (La Plume, PA), giving workshops and residencies as a rostered artist in schools, and working as a commercial photographer. She is also a professional bookbinder who was trained in European methods in Prague, where she grew up. When she came to the United States in 1980, she free-lanced as a bookbinder for such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has lived in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, since 1991.   Ivana Pavelka, photographer on Facebook

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