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This is John's second book, a memoir of growing up Catholic in the 1960s.  Simon & Schuster published the book in October of 2008 and it has grown to become a favorite among Catholics and Christians across the United States. John received letters and emails on a daily basis from readers who felt that he had written their life's story, because that's how universal the Catholic experience is for millions in America. Parish the Thought received more than a dozen reviews, all very positive, stating that John had brought them into each story, allowing the reader to personally share in the experience. 


Parish the Thought book cover.

John Bernard Ruane writes about a truly memorable parish, St. Bede's in the Archdiocese of Chicago. His witty moving recall of his years growing up is a marvelous tribute to his mother and father and to the parish itself.  Chicago priests and parishes have shaped literally millions of Catholics and all of us now have a reason to be grateful to John.

   -- Francis Cardinal George

     Archbishop of Chicago

A warm and funny memoir! 

    -- Bill Zwecker

   Chicago Sun-Times

In an inspirational story for Catholics and Protestants, too, who hold the belief that if one raises up a child in the way he should go, he might actually go there. This is a good read. The characters become like family and the reader wants to know how John and his siblings fare in life. The story does not disappoint.

     -- Joanne Anderson

          Mississippi Press

You write in the book, "I am the product of two good parents, a mother who believed strongly in God and the Catholic Church. They didn't have all the answers either, but they did have a pretty good idea of right and wrong. Because of them, my brother, three sisters and I turned out to be decent people, good Catholics. If I can do as well for my kids, I will be happy."

I tell you, that just brought tears to my eyes because we get so overwhelmed with the material world today. And that's it, you summed it up right there. That's what we need to be striving for in our lives. 

         -- Wendy Weise

          Relevant Radio

Written largely from the eye of an altar boy, his truthful observations spill out like the confessions of an adolescent when confronted by a nun over some transgression. The dialogue he creates among his peers is at once comical and believable. You don't have to be from Chicago to appreciate this book. The universality of Ruane's commentary makes it an easy read.

       --  Mary Breslin

       Catholic Explorer

John Ruane's stories of growing up Catholic in the 1960s transports readers back to a time before cable television, cellphone and the Internet. 

     -- Candice Hannigan

  Atlanta Journal-Constitution

John Bernard Ruane still carries the morals and principles imbued in him while attending St. Bede the Venerable. While St. Bede's is an essential part of Ruane's memoir, the book's real purpose seems to be a tribute to loving, caring parents. Ruane paints a portrait of parents, Bernard and Therese, who devoted their lives to raising their five kids.

       -- John Ryan

 Chicago SouthtownStar

In Parish the Thought, the names may be different, but many of the experiences will be familiar for Catholics who grew up in the 1960s and '70s.  Beyond the nostalgia is a story of faith, rich in its traditions and beliefs, and which holds a significant place n the lives of many. 

     --  Suzanne Haugh

         Georgia Bulletin

It was to the Church he returned when he thought about how he could give his children a strong moral foundation. For Ruane, the faith and values his parents taught him transcended all else in raising their children.

        -- Michelle Martin

  Chicago Catholic New World

A homespun tale of Catholic life as he experienced it at St. Bede's Parish in Chicago. For Ruane the inescapable presence of his church and its Catholic school permeated every corner of social, cultural and familial relations. He imbibed willingly. This was a refuge in a time of trouble and a stage upon which some very happy memories were created. Readers will find themselves on an interesting trip down memory lane by an obervant Chicago Catholic.                 

            -- Patrick Hayes

      Catholic News Service

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