Book Review: Mary at the Crossroads of History
By: Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, J.C.D.
Copyright Relevant Radio®
Does anyone remember Y2K? For those of you much younger than I, have you ever heard the phrase Y2K? If not, take a minute and look it up, or better yet, ask a family member what they remember about the dawn of the new millennium. I feel confident that some, or most of you, have knowledge of the speculation and anticipation that preceded January 1, 2000. I know as I sit here typing that we are 21 years past the event I have referenced above, but if you will allow me a little latitude let me ask you another question. In our opinion, what was the most important event in the last 1000 years?
Tough question to answer for sure and an answer I wish I was quick-witted enough to come up with on the fly. Well, the resolutions to all the questions posed so far can be found in the first seven pages of this book by Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, J. C. D., but some of you might know him better as Father Rocky from Relevant Radio. Father Rocky begins this book, which was published in 2020, by looking to his past where it all began on December 31, 1999, while driving across the state of Nebraska. The author was traveling home with high school boys and their fathers after a father and son ski trip. I have to admit, I was very impressed with the answers the young men gave to the question I referenced in the first paragraph regarding the most important event in the last 1000 years; however, I think when you read the number one answer you will be as awestruck as I was when I read it.
On the official Catholic Man Show Technical Read Scale**, I rate this book at a level 3 as it is an extremely enjoyable read that is easy to understand and highly inspirational. It might be just the antidote needed for our present times. In fact, the final chapter of the book titled, What We Can Do-With Our Lady’s Help shows how Mary continues to intercede for us and foster hope in a fallen world. So, if you are searching for reasons to pray the Memorare, the Holy Rosary, or any other Marian Devotion I highly recommend reading this book.
I typically struggle to read historical books. It is not that I am not able to grasp the details of what occurred at that moment in history, but rather I tend to get distracted or bogged down by dates and lose focus on the main point of the story. Thankfully reading this story about Mary’s intervention throughout the history of our world was not difficult and the author made the main point obvious, which I truly appreciated. Father Rocky covers many Marian events, which most of you already know, like the battle of Lepanto, the battle of Vienna, and the winged Hussars, but he also dives into other stories like Our Blessed Mother’s intercession at Covadonga, Spain, and the significance that Mohammed’s daughter was named Fatima. For further reference, I recommend the following Catholic Man Show episodes with regard to Mary: Number 87 The World Needs Mary, Number 178 Winged Hussars and 09/11, and Number 183 The Battle of Lepanto.
This literary work spans 117 pages and is full of opportunities for new learning. I can almost see it as being a man gear as it has many applications. Currently, my wife is reading it during adoration and I can easily see where reading it as a family around the dinner table would be beneficial, or even reading it with a group of friends would also stimulate thought and lively discussion. The author provides opportunities to discuss the significance of the Salve Regina during the travels of Columbus (also there are many significant Marian dates covered in that section of the book), but also highlights why May 13, 1981, is important as it relates to Our Lady of Fatima.
I had many favorite parts of this book and with each page, I could feel hope growing inside of my soul. I particularly enjoyed discovering that there is a Marian shrine near Green Bay, Wisconsin called Our Lady of Good Help. Of course, the story of how the shrine came to be and how it survived the Peshtigo Fire is miraculous, which should be of no surprise to the reader, as the author relates that the shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is the only location of an officially approved Marian apparition in the United States. Anyone considering a northern Wisconsin road trip? Might I suggest waiting until summer unless you have an affinity for cold weather?
Through this work Fr. Rocky is able to relate to all of us that prayers continue to be answered daily. After reading this book, I have experienced more motivation to continue praying and to persistently ask Mary for her intercession. I have no doubt that she will continue to present our petitions to her Son as she did at the wedding in Cana. Additionally, I have trust that God in His Divine wisdom will answer our prayers to help us grow in holiness. So, go ahead dream big, pray without ceasing, and remember as the author relates, “Our Lady is at the crossroads of history…and one day, God willing, she will speak up for us!”
By: Kent Keithly, husband and father
***Regarding The Catholic Man Show technical read scale: A 3 out of 10 is a leisurely read that could be read in a couple of weeks, an 8 out of 10 is a more technical read which requires more time and often requires looking up definitions of words to clearly understand the author, and finally a 10/10 is an extremely technical read that requires a significant amount of time to complete the book, as well as, extra time to look up further explanations of the topic, definitions, and likely requires that some pages be read more than once to grasp the content.