Saints are those through whom we catch a glimpse of what God is like—and of what we are called to be.
Saints are a significant part of our heritage, revered figures of our Christian culture, according to Father Bill Bausch. Long before television, the cult of the saints dominated the popular imagination; they were and are our Christian celebrities. He says that while modern celebrities point to and celebrate themselves, the saints point to or wrestle with “something more” beyond appearances, “some one more.” They are mirrors to another reality.
Whatever their history, at least once in their lives, saints heroically leap beyond their pride, self absorption, and even the instincts of self preservation into a fullness of sacrifice, generosity, and love that takes our breath away. As Father Bausch illustrates here, amazing grace envelops them, sometimes like a gentle breeze, other times like a storm. However it happens, he says, we are surprised, edified, and impressed, impressed enough to call them saints, whether they are official or not. He covers fifty of these saints (official, unofficial, and should-be’s) here in his beautifully written anthology.
One more thing. Father Bausch says that saints teach us and assure us that we too can catch a glimpse of what God is like—and learn who we are called to be. This is reason enough to listen to their stories.
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Rev. William J. Bausch is a parish priest of the diocese of Trenton, New Jersey. He is the award-winning author of numerous books on parish ministry, the sacraments, Church history, storytelling, and homiletics. His book, Traditions, Tensions, Transitions in Ministry received an honorable mention in 1983 from the Catholic Press Association; Storytelling: Imagination and Faith was awarded second place in 1985 for best pastoral work; The Total Parish Manual won first place in 1995; Brave New Church won first place in 2002; and Once Upon a Gospel won third place in 2009.
He was awarded the President’s Award in 1996 from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils for Parish Leadership, the Catholic Library Association’s Aggiornamento Award for Notable Contribution to Parish Life in 2004 and the Walter J. Burghardt, S. J. Preaching award in 2008 for his contribution to Catholic preaching. He has lectured and given workshops at such colleges and universities as Notre Dame; Sacred Heart in Fairfield, Connecticut; Boston College; Charles Carroll in Cleveland; and in most U.S. dioceses as well as abroad. His latest book is The Story Revealed, a book of homilies.
First and foremost, however, though retired from the pastorate, he remains happily engaged in his first love: being a parish priest active in assisting at three parishes, writing, and giving lectures and retreats.