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Kathleen Henry, A novel set in Provincetown and Ireland

Check out this review from Edge Promotions!

Critical Mass

by Jack Gardner
EDGE Contributor
Friday Apr 10, 2009

Critical Mass, the first novel from community ordained priest Kathleen M. Henry, is a delicate work of fiction that tells the stories of two priests, several women and their involvement with the Catholic Church.

Spanning 90 years, the novel is presented in the form of the Catholic Mass with each chapter of the book representing a different segment of the mass.

Molly, an Irish immigrant in America in 1910, is a woman so wracked with guilt that she does not allow herself communion.

Anne, a 1950’s housewife, has a sexual encounter with a priest and bears him a child. Christine is a lesbian who longs to be ordained in the church but works with the homeless in 1998. Father Michael John and Sister Perpetua are siblings who both have felt the callings but for different reasons.

These are just a few of the characters that make up Henry’s thought provoking novel.

"Critical Mass" is really the story of one particular parish and demonstrates in many ways how the church is, to quote the author, "the community of people with whom you work for justice through love". Henry has been quoted as saying "one’s spirituality and relationship with God rarely survives being institutionalized" and her novel explores that philosophy.

The book’s target audience is made up of former Catholics and baby boomers, but any reader that picks up this slim volume will be touched by the stories of the characters within.

Calling "Critical Mass" ’religious fiction’ would be doing the book an injustice. It is secular fiction laid out in the form of the Catholic Mass with a spiritual background, but there is nothing about the book that is preachy or proselytizing.

At just over 100 pages, "Critical Mass" is a quick read that will leave you with a sense of hope and a feeling of connectedness with your fellow man. The church has been the backbone of society for nearly 2000 years and even though society and individuals may pull away from the institution itself, there is no denying that it has, in one way or another, touched every one’s life.

This is the theme of "Critical Mass" and one of the things that makes it a must read for believers and non-believers alike.

Jack Gardner is a founding producer of and director for Anagram Productions. He has performed in Operas, Musicals and dramatic works as well as doing voice over and radio work. Jack lives in Miami with his three dogs.