The book is called Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life. Each of the book's eight chapters examines one beatitude, offering examples of the virtues in daily life as well as prayers that coincide with the specific beatitude.
Also entitled Kingdom of Happiness, the companion DVD focuses on powerful stories of people who have lived the beatitudes, both in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. An example of "Blessed are the merciful" is a woman whose brother and son were killed in the line of duty as police officers. After their deaths, she purposely reached out to the state to request the death penalty not be administered to the murderer.
The website maps out practical ways to live the beatitudes. It includes definitions of each beatitude, psalms and other reflections for each day, and challenges to implement the beatitude in a concrete way.
Father Kirby received his doctorate at Holy Cross University in Rome. He said happiness and the beatitudes were a major theme for the school's moral theology department, but when he later became a pastor, he realized that his parishioners were pursuing happiness inadequately.
"I've realized that the work in the academic classroom, in theology, is not reaching as broadly as we would have liked – the peoples in the pews [and] in the trenches."
He said the desire to instruct people in the true meaning of happiness arose out of a frustration over seeing people accept a hopeless and unhappy life as the norm.