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Carl Eifert finds joy through writing

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Open up to any page of Carl Eifert’s book, Just Thinking: An Ordinary Guy Ponders His Religion, and you will find more than 100 bite-size essays combining commentary on the church with vignettes of everyday life. The essays cover a wide range of topics from sin, heaven and hell, to liturgical traditions and biblical figures. The collection opens in the baseball diamond of Nationals Park in Washington as Eifert explains the gift of confession and forgiveness in a way every sports fan can relate to.

“It is meant to have a light touch and attract people who wouldn’t ordinarily read a book like this,” said Eifert.

“I hope that it turns around the life of one reader. That would be a success.” Carl Eifert

The 90-year-old newspaper man and lifelong Catholic graduated from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He spent his entire career living by his pen as an editor and writer for a variety of publications. He also worked as a press secretary and speechwriter. In 1970, Eifert, his wife, Bette Jo, and five children moved to Alexandria, became parishioners at St. Louis Church and joined the Mount Vernon Knights of Columbus Council. He worked as a wire editor for Catholic News Service and in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops media relations office before retiring. 

Without the work to motivate him, his writing came to a halt. It was several years later that he again felt the desire to take up his pen. He rediscovered a sense of joy from writing that he had not experienced in a long time.

“I used to hate to edit my own stuff but I found that it became fun,” he said. 

Five years ago, he started writing essays on faith for the council’s monthly online newsletter KC Quote. 

Carl Eifert_BookArmed with the Bible, the Catholic encyclopedia and other historical and religious sources, Eifert set out to answer church questions in a way that would be both educational and enjoyable. 

The essays were a big hit among the Knights. Donna Piscitelli, the wife of one of the Knights, encouraged Eifert to write a book. Together they compiled his work into a 422-page volume released in October. It is now available in paperback on Amazon.

Eifert says the book is not meant for the advanced philosopher or theologian, but for the everyday person in the pew who might not know why he or she is going to church anymore. 

“I hope that it turns around the life of one reader,” said Eifert. “That would be a success.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017