‘Reiser’s Ramblings’ wins national book award

The late Rev. Bernard Reiser, founding pastor of Church of the Epiphany, Coon Rapids, has been honored in one of the most prestigious national contests for independently published works, The National Indie Excellence Awards, a contest recognizing outstanding independently published books. Reiser’s book, “Reiser’s Ramblings,” has been selected the winner of the 2012 Indie Excellence Award in the category of religion-non-fiction.

“This is the second award in less than 30 days,” said Ann Brau, Reiser Relief president and Reiser’s niece.

“It’s sure nice to see his words continuing to inspire others and I’m sure Father would find the recognition to be both humbling and heartwarming. It gives me huge solace to see his work selected for this honor.”

Winners and finalists of the awards were announced May 29.

The National Indie Excellence Book Awards competition is judged by independent experts from all aspects of the indie book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters.

They select award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation.

This award celebrates the highest achievements in independent press and self-publishing, a sector of the industry that has grown exponentially in recent years.

According to Mark Sanislo, who created the portrait of Reiser on the cover of the book and was the book’s illustrator, the portrait was originally painted and unveiled in 1999 for his 50th jubilee celebration to the priesthood.

“Father Reiser was my pastor for most of my lifetime,” Sanislo said.

“In his last years not only was he a great confidant but a dear friend. So it was a great honor for me to paint his portrait and will rank as a favorite among the many portraits I have painted.”

The book, “Reiser’s Ramblings,” is a collection of Reiser’s columns that are separated into six sections: Early Life and Key Influences; The Wonder of God’s Creation; Our Place in God’s World; Counting Our Blessings; God’s Grace at Work Within Us; and All Eyes on Heaven.

“Each column is titled and short,” Brau said. “So we end up with reminiscences and a lovely book of short, easily read edifying stories and thoughts.”

Reiser was born in 1924 and was ordained to the priesthood June 4, 1949. He first was assigned to St. Mary of the Lake parish in White Bear Lake.

In 1964, Archbishop Leo Binz asked Reiser to start a parish in the quickly-growing suburb of Coon Rapids.

Under Reiser’s leadership, Epiphany grew to become one of the largest Catholic communities in the state.

In addition to a spacious sanctuary, the Epiphany campus includes an elementary school, a Perpetual Adoration chapel, a senior housing complex, an assisted living facility, a cemetery and several outdoor shrines.

While retired Reiser volunteered his time to parishes in and around the Twin Cities.

Reiser Relief Inc. is a volunteer run non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded by Reiser, who has been involved with Haiti outreach programs for over 13 years.

Based in Coon Rapids, Reiser Relief’s mission is to help the impoverished people of the Caribbean country of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The book was published in June 2010. Reiser died in late December 2011.

“Reiser’s Ramblings” is available online at www.ReiserRelief.org and at Epiphany Catholic Church Gift Center, Coon Rapids; St. George Catholic Books, Blaine; St. Maximilian Catholic Books, Elk River; Heaven Bound Catholic Books, St. Michael; Saint Patrick’s Guild, St. Paul; and St. Olaf Church, Minneapolis.

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