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.

I Will Make You Fishers of Men

March 29, 2008
The Feast of St. Mark – the Evangelist – is April 25 – “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature”

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas Fine Art Print
Thomas said [to the other Twelve] “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Both [Mark and Matthew] designate Jesus’ preaching with the Greek term evangelion– but what does this actually mean? The term has recently been translated as “good news.” That sounds attractive but it falls far short of the order of the magnitude of what is actually meant by the word evangelion. This term figures in the vocabulary of the Roman emperors, who understood themselves as lords, saviors, and redeemers of the world. The messages issued by the emperor were called in Latin evangelium, regardless of whether or not their content was particularly cheerful and pleasant. The idea was that what comes from the emperor is a saving message, that it is not just a piece of news, but a change of the world for the better. . .The evangelium, the Gospel, is not just informative speech but performative speech– not just the imparting of information, but action, efficacious power that enters into the world to save and transform. Mark speaks of the “Gospel of God,” the point being that it is not the emperors who can save the world but God. And it is here that God’s word, which is at once word and deed, appears; it is here that what the emperors merely assert, but cannot actually perform, truly takes place. For here it is the real Lord of the world– the living God– who goes into action.

– from “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict XVI
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Christ sent his apostles so that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The mission to baptize, and so the sacramental mission, is implied in the mission to evangelize, because the sacrament is prepared for by the word of God and by the faith which is assent to this word:

The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God . . . . The preaching of the Word is required for the sacramental ministry itself, since the sacraments are sacraments of faith, drawing their origin and nourishment from the Word.

“The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why they are called ‘sacraments of faith.'”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1122 – 1123


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“But in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence”

-1st Letter of St. Peter 3:15

Reasons for Apologetics

“The first reason, for the Christian, is out of obedience to God’s will, announced in his Word. Refusal to give a reason for faith is disobedience to God. There are also at least two practical reasons for doing apologetics; to convince unbelievers and to instruct and build up believers. Evan if there were no unbelievers to persuade, we should still give reasons for faith, for faith does not remain alone but produces reasons just as it produces good works. Faith educates reason and reason explores the treasure of the “faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”

Furthermore, faith for a Christian is faith in a God who is himself love, our lover and beloved; and the more our hearts love someone, the more our minds want to know about our beloved. Faith naturally leads to reason through the agency of love. So faith leads to reason, and reason leads to faith…Thus reason and faith are friends, companions, wedded partners, allies.”

– from the Handbook of Christian Apologetics


First Holy Communion season is here!
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The Original Catholic Content Site

March 26, 2008

About fifteen years ago several Catholic websites were started by some of those pioneering people who saw the Internet as a way to provide Catholic information and community on-line. This was before Amazon was huge and when AOL was still king of Internet access while their ubiquitous disks were cursed by all.

Among those original pioneers (forgive me if I leave you off, it wasn’t intentional) were Paul at The Catholic Pages, Kevin at New Advent, the Catholic Information Network, Peter’s Net (now Catholic Culture), Catholic Online and, if I may be vain for a moment, The Catholic Liturgical Library.

These sites are still all online but some of us have not been able to devote the time that Kevin at New Advent has to constantly improving his site. I graduated from college, started a family and my own Catholic store which really cut into my ability to update the Liturgical Library. I’m sure others have faced similar challenges.

But Kevin has constantly been improving the original on-line Catholic Encyclopedia so that it is cross-linked everywhere and available on CD. He has also expanded his selection with the inclusion of the Summa, the Church Fathers, the Douay Bible and a selection of Catholic documents.

If you haven’t used his site or don’t have the entire document collection on CD, you might want to take a look.

Catholic Family Movies For April

March 26, 2008

My mom has posted the latest monthly movie guide for Catholic night at the movies. Watch something meaningful next month!