April 7, 2008

Jaguar XJ220In Colorado Springs there is a car repair center called Elite Auto. The lobby is clean and with carpet could pass for the reception area of a dentist’s office. There is a fridge in the corner with free drinks for customers. On the wall next to the cash register are dozens of thank you notes from customers. Behind the counter on the right are two floor-to-ceiling Snapon tool chests full of the owners’ personal tools. In the back wall is a window that let’s you see into the substantial repair bay. Parked out front next to the entrance is always, ALWAYS, a valuable sports car.

Last Saturday when I went to pick up my van there was a Jaguar XJ220 parked out front. The car was one of 17 in that particular style made and is one of only a couple in the United States. It is valued at about 1.2 million as it only has 700 miles on it. Inside the repair bay was a Shelby GT 500 that the shop are detailing.

All of this goes to create an atmosphere that this shop not only can be trusted but is also the best place in town to get a car fixed. After all, if people whose cars are worth several hundred thousand dollars will trust them, shouldn’t you be able to trust them with your $25,000 car?

This isn’t to say that the shop is perfect. I had to take my van back twice to have a gas leak fixed and I think a piece of sound deadener was forgotten when I last had it in the shop. But when something goes wrong, they fix it.

Now, think about your Catholic gift shop. What do you do to brag about your store? I’m not talking about the things you say, I’m talking about the things in your store and on your website that people will notice without having to ask. If you look around and can’t think of anything, here are some suggestions:

  • If people send you thank you notes, post them at the register.
  • If people leave you positive feedback on your website, post it there.
  • If your website is part of a ratings program like Shopzilla or, post your ratings on the site.
  • Figure out what sets your company apart from others and put that information up somewhere for people to find.
  • If your company has received industry awards, put them somewhere noticeable.
  • When people are at the checkout counter and you are engaging in that last-minute customer service that makes people remember your shop positively, mention to new customers how big / orthodox / selective your selection is.
  • Use your business cards to brag. The back of your cards is a great place to mention how great your store is.
  • Clean up your store’s presentation. In various industries – auto repair, garbage collection and Catholic stores – having a clean presentation will put you head and shoulders above the competition.

If you can’t do any of these things at present, your store is in serious trouble and you need to figure out how to make your business something to brag about.

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Bishop Trautman – Defender of the Faith?

April 1, 2008

It appears he has discovered his episcopal spine. Now if the “Catholic school Hilary is speaking at would do the same.

H/T New Advent

Help The Brady Bunch With College

April 1, 2008

H/T to Shrine of the Holy Wapping by way of St. Mary’s Aggies.

Some friends who have a wonderful Catholic family of 9 kids, all home-schooled, are in the final 10 of a $25,000 college scholarship contest (and the parents are Aggie Catholics if you needed more incentive). They created a great video, but now need your votes to help them win. Go here to vote for them (yes, you have to fill out a short registration).

Behold, the Handmaid of the Lord.

March 31, 2008

The Feast of the Annunciation

Today, when we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, we not only celebrate the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, but also the great mystery of the Incarnation, taking place at the moment Mary declares, in obedience to the Lord, “be it done.” The dialogue we observe between Mary and the angel (found in Luke, chapter 1) is rather concise; the angel’s greeting to Mary, the announcement of God’s plan, and Mary’s humble acceptance to be the Lord’s handmaid. But in this short narration- just a few handfuls of sentences- a great deal of information and meaning is conveyed.

First there is the greeting God’s messenger uses to address Mary; “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28), indicating that even at this point, Mary is already filled with God’s grace. Mary’s reaction here, first unassuming silence, and then humbly asking how God’s intentions for her will be carried out, is fitting of one who was, as we know, conceived free from original sin. We see Mary react to the angel Gabriel with humility and obedience, even fear- a sharp contrast to the actions of Eve in the garden. St. Irenaeus, considered to be the first great Catholic theologian, elaborates on the contrast between Eve and the Blessed Virgin in book 5 of Against Heresies:

Read the rest.

The Essential Chant Book?

March 31, 2008
For some time, we’ve mentioned in passing the project called The Parish Book of Chant. The idea here is to combined all the universal people’s music associated with the Mass, including a Kyriale and chant hymns, together with an EF and OF Ordo, all with English translations, as compiled by Richard Rice.

Incredibly, nothing like this is in print. So far as I know, nothing like this has ever been in print. Similar volumes are either teaching manuals (Chants of the Church) or lack English translations (Liber Cantualis). It strikes me that a volume such as this. will be essential for any parish that is working toward offering an excellent OF and the EF.

So the CMAA moved forward here to fill a need. The book is in the early stages of going to print. But so that you know what is coming, have a look at the front matter plus table of contents.

We are looking at a June release.

Will we be carrying it? Of course. Would you expect less from the Catholic store with the largest selection of chant books and music and the most expertise staff on-line?

Kid Choir Smackdown

March 31, 2008

Okay folks, it’s the three year old singing the Sanctus versus the two and a half year old singing the Our Father.

H/T Danielle Bean

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How Not to Write a Press Release

March 29, 2008

I recently stumbled across a press release that I assume was written by a Catholic company promoting its new products. While I commend the publisher for actually having enough business sense to make use of press releases, the manner in which this was accomplished veered into that murky area of ethics that I have commented on before.

The publisher put in quotes from another Catholic publisher talking about his financial hardships and mentioned two publishers by name that are having problems before talking about how even if these publishers go under, his company will be there to fill the gap.

It seems that in an industry where many companies are struggling financially, highlighting those companies by name for no reason other than to promote your own products is pretty low.

It would have been possible to write the same press release and mention industrial problems without singling out specific vendors.

If you want tips on writing good press releases, I recommend the Christian Newswire article.