An Invitation to Joy

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9780684870335: An Invitation to Joy

Photographs, accompanying quotes, and brief essays explore Pope John Paul II's life and thoughts

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Review:

Invitation to Joy is an indispensable book for anyone who wants to understand the papacy of John Paul II. It is a straightforward, simple pictorial memoir that collects excerpts from the pope's writings and speeches (including one previously unpublished original prayer), sewn together with Vatican-approved commentary by former Time correspondent Greg Burke. In four chapters (entitled "The Human Family"; "The People of God"; "Human Dignity"; and "A Devotional Life"), John Paul II presents an epigrammatic, rough-cut portrait of his life and religious vision. ("'Life' is one of the most beautiful titles which the Bible attributes to God. He is the living God.") Each chapter contains dozens of color photographs of the pope, in almost every conceivable setting--from his own confessional in the church of St. John Lateran to New York's Central Park. (Many of these photographs sprawl across two full pages, and their emotional impact is difficult to describe in words.)

Archbishop Jorge Maria Mejia, archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, has written an exuberant introduction to the book, which is the best possible summary of the message that John Paul II offers in the pages that follow: "Here is a man, known around the world, who proclaims with gestures and words that life is worth living: that it has a meaning, that it is not closed off between two inscrutable abysses, that it is not inside itself, but is open to others; that love is possible and enriching; that all of us, men and women, whatever the hue of our skins, are called to form a family, with God."

About the Author:

Pope John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Poland in 1920. Appointed in 1978, he is the youngest pontiff in 132 years and the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Fluent in eight languages he is a champion of human rights whose greatest hope is to help create a world where all people live in freedom and plenitude.

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