Kerry Weber, our newest editor, has just written a lovely book, published by Twenty-Third Publications, called Keeping the Faith: Prayers for College Students, a marvelous compendium of her original prayers (she's a good pray-er, obviously) and inspiring quotes from figures ranging from St. Bernard of Clairvaux to Paul Claudel to Sirach to Babe Ruth. 

The back cover copy provides a good overview:

These are heartfelt and very realistic prayers about college life. Kerry Weber beautifully expresses all the familiar emotions, all the highs and lows, all the fears and dreams that every college student experiences. She learned early on in her own college life that she couldn’t cope without God’s guidance and she clung to her faith to see her through. She makes a compelling case for staying close to God from the first unfamiliar days on campus to the moment of graduation. This is a wonderful gift for any young person heading off to college. It offers reassurance and comfort and encourages them to build a vibrant life of faith and prayer.

There are beautiful prayers in her book for almost every occasion in the life of everyone from dewy-eyed freshmen (and women) to seen-it-all seniors: "Loneliness," "Choosing a Major," "Academic Pressures," even one for "Difficult Roommate."   Why not give it to your favorite college student?

And our visiting editor, Thomas J. Massaro, S.J., (and columnist and professor of moral theology at Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry), has recorded a series of talks for Now You Know Media.  If you're a regular subscriber to America you will have seen their ads.  Tom's series, on religion and American public life, is the latest in their series of talks.   Tom has a terrific way of applying the riches of the Catholic tradition to contemporary moral questions and current affairs, and doing it in an accessible way.  A summary of his new offering:

Through this new series, explore the rich interplay of religion and public affairs.  Examine the challenge of secularization, the workings of civil society and the pattern of thought called civil religion.  Explore precisely how religious voices make themselves heard in the public arena. Investigate whether American is actually experiencing a culture war and the merits of faith-based initiatives for the provision of social services.

Just don't say you can't think of any good Christmas gifts this year.

James Martin, SJ