In ‘Rescued,’ Fr. Riccardo explores the power of the salvation story in order to help the faithful see the world through God’s lens

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DETROIT — In his third book, released Sep. 23, Fr. John Riccardo explores the Gospel story and its role in the lives of all of God’s creation in a new, unique way. 

The book, “Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary News of the Gospel,” is Fr. Riccardo’s way of teaching people biblical truths and helping them to understand the story of redemption history. 

Nothing else in life will make sense until people understand that story, Fr. Riccardo, executive director of ACTS XXIX and former pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, told Detroit Catholic

“I think if the Lord created me to do one thing, this might be it: to tell His story in a way that I find to be compelling and attractive,” Fr. Riccardo said. “In this age that we are living in, amongst the many crises both in the Church and the culture, most people don’t know the story; they don’t know the Gospel.” 

Many, Fr. Riccardo said, think of the Gospel — the central crux of salvation history — as “ordinary news” or simply “good advice.”

“But the Gospel is neither advice nor is it ordinary news; it is extraordinary and shocking news because it is the news of what God has done to rescue his creation, which he made out of love and who fell into slavery,” Fr. Riccardo said.

In the book, which has a forward written by Scott Hahn, Fr. Riccardo said he tries to break open the kerygma, or the basic message of salvation in the Gospel, which is power in and of itself. 

“The teller of the story does not have the power, so it has nothing to do with how persuasive I am or you are,” Fr. Riccardo said. “The story itself, the message itself, is about what God has done in power over and over again.”

The book is Fr. Riccardo’s third, following 2016’s “Heaven Starts Now: Becoming a Saint Day by Day” and 2018’s “Rerouting: Finding Our Way Back to God and His Church.”

“Rescued” is intended to help the faithful see the world through God’s eyes, Fr. Riccardo said. 

The book has been a long time in the making, and it is a culmination of the mission of his organization, ACTS XXIX, a Detroit-based apostolate dedicated to parish renewal nationwide. 

Fr. Riccardo said that every time his team at ACTS XXIX shares this message, people always approach him afterward to ask why they have never heard the message of the Gospel presented in this way. 

“This is actually the heart of our work at ACTS XXIX, what we call one of our essential principles for transformation in the Church,” Fr. Riccardo said. “It is reacquiring the biblical worldview. Everywhere we go, everything we do, we preach the Gospel in this way. It is constantly getting refined.”

Fr. Riccardo hopes people pick up the new book, but he insists any power it has it’s a reflection on him, but the message itself. 

“There is an anointing on this book,” Fr. Riccardo said. “We desperately need hope in our culture, and the book is all about the reasons that you and I have for hope. And the reason is that God has acted, and He is still acting.”

‘Rescued: The Unexpected and Extraordinary News of the Gospel’

By Fr. John Riccardo
Word Among Us Press (Sept. 23, 2020)
144 pages
Available: $9.99 (Kindle), $13.46 (paperback) at Amazon.com