Conception: An Icon of the Beginning, authored by Francis Etheredge

Conception: An Icon of the Beginning, authored by Francis Etheredge

Conception: An Icon of the Beginning

by Francis Etheredge

A book to plunge into the debate on the beginning of life like a life-boat dropping into the stormy seas filled with a variety of arguments both simple and more complex, drawing on reason, evidence and expert human biologists, the wisdom of Scripture, the Fathers and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, an extensive contents for searching the many varied and diverse kinds of contributions and launched in the hope of helping the unborn, the frozen and all who are open to be touched by the wonder of life but lost in a bewildering maze of difficulties.

Each one of us is a witness to a beginning. Learning to speak about that beginning is a personal work that we share with others. This book, then, takes up those initial questions, sources and terms that help us to make sense of human conception and express it “a-freshly”. Each of us comes to exist through others: a child has a father and a mother and is embedded in a family. Indeed, if to be conceived is to be “conceived-in-relationship” then we are an Icon of the Beginning. Just, however, as “the beginning of creation” expressed an act of the mystery of God, so does the conception of each one of us; and, therefore, exploring human conception is at the same time an exploration of how human conception “recapitulates” the mystery of man’s creation.

The book is invaluably enriched by a variety of contributors: Dr Mary Anne Urlakis’ General Foreword, two poems by her daughter, Grace Marie Urlakis, and by helpful Forewords to each of the chapters from Dr. Joseph Tham, LC, Dr. Ronda Chervin, Dr. Michael Baggott, LC, Sr. Helena Burns and Kathleen Sweeney; there is an invaluably discerning review of the scientific knowledge of human conception provided by Professors Justo Aznar and Julio Tudela (in Chapter V: Part II); in addition, there are a variety of modern images from the Unesco Bioethics in Art Competitions; and, finally, there is a challenging End Word: A New Beginning, by Dr. Elizabeth Bothamley Rex.

Paperback TBD | Kindle $9.99

TESTIMONIALS

“In this beautifully crafted work, Francis Etheredge argues that the human embryo is absolutely the ‘first jot’ of a person’s life story. Human persons are also relational beings for persons cannot understand themselves without reference to the other. The creative act integrates body and soul, echoing the beginning of creation. Each of us is thus an icon of the beginning. The argument put forward in favour of human beings existing body and soul from conception is robust: the Church teaches that Mary is the perfect creature from conception. She is full of grace from conception. If there is no soul, there is no grace as the soul is the recipient of grace. Her conception defines the moment of our creatureliness for us. This work is a wonderful argument in favour of the close harmony between Genesis and human generation.” – Pravin Thevathasan, MB.BS, MRPsych, MSc (Medical Ethics), Consultant Psychiatrist and Editor, Catholic Medical Quarterly

“This is a remarkable book. I know of no other that brings together philosophy, theology, embryology, the visual arts, and poetry in celebration of the beauty and inviolability of human life in the womb. It reminds me of the words of King David in the Psalm: ‘Didst thou not form me in my mother’s womb? I praise thee for my wondrous fashioning.'” – Fr. John Saward, author of Redeemer in the Womb

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Francis Etheredge is married with eleven children, three of whom are in heaven. Marriage and family life are a work of graced nature: a single reality which has a history and is a vocation. Through sharing his life, Francis hopes that others will discover the God who comes to help.

Francis is the author of Scripture: A Unique Word, and a trilogy From Truth and Truth (Volume I-“Faithful Reason”; Volume II-“Faith and Reason in Dialogue”; Volume III-“Faith Is Married Reason”), all of which are published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing; The Human Person: A Bioethical Word, The Family on Pilgrimage: God Leads through Dead Ends, and The Prayerful Kissall of which are published by En Route Books and Media.

Francis is currently a freelance writer and speaker and his “Posts” on LinkedIn can be viewed here. Poetry; short articles; autobiographical blog; excerpts from books; and “Philosophize: A Ten Minute Write.”

He has earned a BA Div (Hons), MA in Catholic Theology, PGC in Biblical Studies, PGC in Higher Education, and an MA in Marriage and Family (Distinction).

Enjoy these additional articles by Francis Etheredge:

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The Rebirth of Nicodemus, authored by Rick Akins

The Rebirth of Nicodemus, authored by Rick Akins

The Rebirth of Nicodemus

by Rick Akins

As the Romans prepare to destroy Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 A.D., the Apostle John visits the elderly Pharisee, Nicodemus. The last surviving Apostle seeks information for his writing of the fourth Gospel.  As a young and prideful scribe, Nicodemus told King Herod where the ‘king of the Jews’ would be born. From this mistake, the children of Bethlehem were butchered. Follow the Pharisees’ interactions with Jesus as he learns to bring Christian forgiveness into his own life, while John learns the secrets to writing his dramatic account of Christ’s life.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I really enjoyed getting to know Nicodemus’s character and found it quite creative how the author had him, in some way, involved with all the critical stages of Christ’s life. Through Nicodemus’s perspective, we see the landscape, learn of the political struggle, and experience life as a Jewish person in this first century. This was particularly evident when Nicodemus takes John to the Temple the first time to tell him about meeting Jesus when he was 12. Those descriptions, smells, details….all well done. I pray this book finds its way into the hands of thousands of people. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful story that I would recommend to any of my friends and family.” – Natalie Hanemann, Owner and Editor, Hanemann Editorial


The Rebirth of Nicodemus is a story takes you in and takes you back, being a part of the troubled times which include the destruction of the temple. It is one family’s story of being caught up in the violence and finding hope in Jesus the Son of God. Their company and guide is St. John the Beloved. The characters whose names we know from history are made vivid, living, walking souls and we become their contemporaries. It is good company I recommend you walk with them.” – Rev. Dr. Balluff S.T.D., Vicar for Priests Diocese of Joliet


“I will say I was entertained, and it was a powerful finish for sure. I found The Rebirth of Nicodemus an intriguing story which captured my imagination. I could not help but think how many of us are on similar journeys of faith. Many clinging to the past, clinging to possessions, clinging to worldly desires and our pride like an old tradition or faith. Knowing that the joy of our Lord Jesus and God is right in front of us, many times we are too afraid to take the steps forward and truly trust in Christ and his promise to us. I pray we all have this ‘Nicodemus moment.’ ‘Send your Spirit, send your Spirit like the wind Lord, forgive me, take me back!'” – Tim Botka, Director, Fishers of Men, Diocese of Joliet


The Rebirth of Nicodemus not only gives new life to Nicodemus, it brings back to life on earth to a host of first century Jews and Christians, the beloved disciple John, and Jesus Christ, Who loved him and loves us all. This book is masterful historical and biblical fiction. I can only imagine how many hours Rick Akins spent in research and in weaving this story together, but I know he has provided every reader a few hours of inspiration and delight.” – Kevin Vost, Psy.D., Author of 12 Eternal Life Lessons from St. Thomas Aquinas


“In The Rebirth of Nicodemus, Rick Akins give us a unique and reverent take on a story of a turbulent time – and the timeless story of Jesus – a devotional speculation of beautiful connections told through the conversations of beloved Gospel characters, against the backdrop of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. A worthy addition to the tradition of biblical historical fiction!” – Jim L. Papandrea, M.Div., Ph.D., Professor of Church History and Historical Theology

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Akins is a father of three and currently lives in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was born and raised Catholic in upstate New York and has an electrical engineering degree and MBA from the University of Illinois.

Rick has been widely published in the technology field and owns six patents in fiber optics. In 2004, he began attending an evangelical church every other weekend for family reasons and wrote several books about the experience.

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Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology

Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology

Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology

with books by Fr. Robert A. Brungs, SJ

The Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (ITEST) is an association of theologians, scientists and others committed to a world view in which faith and science collaborate in exploring the truth. ITEST explores truth theologically in the wisdom traditions of the human community and in the data studied in the sciences in pursuit of its mission, which is to further advance the Kingdom of God by demonstrating that faith and science are complementary paths to the one Truth.

The Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology (ITEST) began in 1966 when two scientistsFather Robert Brungs, SJ (a physicist) and Dr. John Matschiner (a biochemist), saw the need to keep Christian churches abreast of advances in science and technology. Recognizing that faith-science issues were both complex and widespread, they incorporated ITEST in 1968.

Most of the books presented here were developed by Father Robert A. Brungs, SJ, Jesuit, Cincinnati native and co-founder and Director of the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology, who led and guided ITEST for almost four decades until his death on May 8, 2006. He was ably assisted by Sr. Marianne Postiglione, R.S.M., in this work. 

ITEST's WebsiteWCAT Radio Shows

You See Lights Breaking Upon Us: Doctrinal Perspectives on Biological Advance

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But God raised him high
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That, essentially, is the theme of this volume. In one way or another, the conversation always came back to the idea that the “blame” for secularism resides at least in part in our failure to live biblical secularity.

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LIFE Runners Daily Devotions, ed. by Dr. Pat Castle

LIFE Runners Daily Devotions, ed. by Dr. Pat Castle

COMING SOON!

LIFE Runners Daily Devotions

Edited by Dr. Pat Castle

LIFE Runners is the world’s largest Pro-Life team, running optional, jersey required, faith needed. We are fueled by prayers and devotions. We impact hearts and minds for saving lives with our “REMEMBER The Unborn” jerseys. We gather for an annual fall race retreat, summer A-Cross America Relay, and many local chapter huddles. Join us, All in Christ for Pro-Life! liferunners.org

TESTIMONIALS

“This devotion will fuel the Pro-Life Movement.” – Cardinal Dolan

“The LIFE Runners Devotion will unite the Pro-Life Movement.” Archbishop Naumann

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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by Nancy E. Martin

Gwen Coniker, Servant of God, ordinary wife and mother of thirteen, teaches others how to live these dual vocations to a heroic degree. In a contemporary turbulent modern world, which has lost the real meaning of faithful marriage and the dignity of every human life, Gwen, along with her husband, Jerry, co-founded the Apostolate for Family Consecration. It was a vision which was conceived in Fatima and lived out in the United States. Gwen was challenged with her own moral dilemmas. How she dealt with these and lived her life left an impression on anyone who interacted with her.

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Patchwork Heart Radio interviews Nancy Martin

Winds of Change

TESTIMONIALS

“The life and apostolate of the Servant of God, Gwen Coniker, has been well-documented by Nancy E. Martin in this book. The author presents Gwen Coniker as remarkable for her love of her husband, her motherly Christian education of her 12 children, her devotion to the apostolate of promoting families and her undoubted Christian impression on any one who interacted with her. In my yearly working visits to the Apostolate for Family Consecration over a period of 20 years, the impression never left me that Gwen Coniker was an extraordinary Catholic mother. The Second Vatican Council underlined the fact of the call of every one to holiness, which is the perfection of charity: love of God and love of neighbour (cf Lumen Gentium, 40). For both Church and society, it is a grace that mothers of families who practised Christian virtues to an heroic degree be raised to the honour of the altar. I have no doubt that this book will help to promote the Beatification Cause of Gwen Coniker and will encourage Christian mothers. I warmly recommend it.” – Francis Cardinal Arinze

“In the book Servant of God, Gwen Coniker: GOD LEADS, Faith & Trust Follow, the life of Servant of God Gwen Cecilia Coniker is unveiled so that we see that she was an ordinary woman who performed extraordinary deeds. Fittingly, Gwen set her priorities to be faith, love and family. One of the great fruits of Gwen and Jerry’s marriage as co-founders of the Apostolate for Family Consecration is how they became a family for other families; a vision conceived in Fatima and lived out in the United States. In the era of New Evangelization, the apostolate provides an additional resource for personal and communal renewal.” – Most Reverend Jeffrey M. Monforton, Bishop of Steubenville, OH

“The list of prelates who have signed off and have given their approval for their [Gwen and Jerry Coniker] apostolate is incredible.  It is truly a blessed and holy list of names that have sanctioned the work that they have done both with the Apostolate for family Consecration and for Catholic Familyland.”  Dr. Mary Anne Urlakis, Catholic Bioethicist WCAT Radio

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Martin is a wife and mother of five who has a passion for the Catholic Faith. She has developed and led many varied ministerial efforts and has taught classes on Consecration to Our Lady via the St. Louis de Montfort charism both online and in the classroom.

She holds an M.A. Theology, Summa cum Laude, with concentrations in Dogmatics, Morality, and Bioethics from Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, CT.  She has earned certifications in Lay Ministry, Advanced Biblical Studies, Bioethics, and Online Teaching. She has also published articles in the Social Justice Review.

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