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How to choose a First Communion Dress
Posted by Ian on 17 March 2017 10:30 AM

Selecting a First Communion Dress for your daughter’s First Holy Communion can be time consuming task. Here are some tips to make sure you save time and get the perfect dress for such a wonderful occasion.

Look at the different styles available.

First Communion dresses come in a wide variety of styles and materials. Sleeves can be short, long or none at all and some dresses have a cute bolero vest.

Dresses also can be floor length or shorter and your daughter will probably have an opinion about what she likes best.

And don’t forget the veil!

Consider price

Dresses can range in price from around $50 to over $300. Are you planning on having this dress available for multiple daughters? Will your daughter wear this dress more than once? First Communion dresses usually make good Easter dresses later. Just add a pastel sash!

If this is a one time shot consider spending less. Department stores typically have inexpensive dresses that are perfectly suitable for a one time use.

If the dress is going to be worn more, consider spending a little more from a company like Lito Children’s Wear. The dresses are good quality and all the ones carried by Aquinas and More are made in the United States. These dresses range in price from $80 up to $120.

If you are looking for heirloom quality to pass on for generations, go with Embroidered Heirlooms. These dresses are gorgeous and have those classic details like piping and smocking that you won’t find in many places anymore. You will pay for the quality. These dresses are typically over $300 and you have to order early since the company is small.

Consider where the dress is made

Unfortunately, most First Communion dresses are made in China. These dresses are typically less expensive but if you have an option, why not get a dress made in a country that doesn’t have a policy of state-forced human rights abuses?

Fortunately, it is possible to buy dresses at reasonable prices made in the United States.

Organza First Communion Dress
Organza First Communion Dress

Measure Twice

If you can’t walk into a store to buy a dress, make sure you measure your daughter carefully so that you get the right size dress.

Some stores may not let you exchange a dress if you make a mistake but at Aquinas and More we will be happy to make an exchange for you if the dress isn’t the right size.

Remember that tea length dresses are higher than ankle but lower than knee height.

Measurements are taken from the shoulder to the bottom hem of the dress.


Embroidered Tulle First Communion Dress
Embroidered Tulle First Communion Dress


Does your daughter’s doll want to share in the special day?

What girl wouldn’t want to dress up her American Girl-size doll just like her? Lito makes matching doll First Communion dresses for several of their First Communion dress styles. What a great gift for your daughter!

Doll First Communion Dress
Doll First Communion Dress

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What’s Your Catholic Passion – Helping the Poor
Posted by Ian on 14 February 2017 10:34 AM

Father GallagherFather Maurice Gallagher was born in 1921 in Hanover Township, IA.

Before his ordination he volunteered to be transferred to Pueblo, CO because the area was in great need of priests.

During his life he served in numerous parishes throughout Colorado and even helped organize a credit union for St. Joseph's parish in Salida.

Gallagher Vestment
Rev. Msgr. Edward W. Lechtenberg wearing the vestment.

His love of the poor and those in special need of healing was always his primary concern.

Father Gallagher died in 2015 while visiting his family in Iowa.

The vestment purchased in his memory is a Celtic Knot chasuble from Theological Threads.

Read his full obituary.

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St. Valentine's Day is February 14th.

Do you know the story behind this holiday?

St. Valentine of Rome, a martyr, was a priest or possibly a bishop in 3rd century Rome. Some sources list St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni as separate men, but most scholars believe them to have been the same person. Little is known about the history of St. Valentine, but he is believed to have been a physician, imprisoned for giving aid to jailed martyrs. However, as with many of the early martyrs, little is known aside from his name, Valentinus; that he was killed for the Faith; and that he was buried at the Via Flaminia north of Rome. He was beaten and beheaded around the year 269 A.D. Valentine’s name and feast on the 14th of February was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who named Valentine among those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.

There are several legends about St. Valentine, but as Pope Gelasius I indicated, his actual acts cannot be known. The most well-known legend of the saint’s life is also sometimes cited as the basis for the later card-sending tradition.

According to legend, Valentine, along with St. Marius, aided the Christian martyrs during the Claudian persecution. In addition to his other edicts against helping Christians, Claudius had also issued a decree forbidding marriage. Valentine, a priest or a bishop, defied this decree and he urged young lovers to come to him in secret so that he could join them in the sacrament of matrimony. When Valentine was discovered, he was arrested, but the emperor first attempted to convert Valentine to Roman paganism rather than execute him.

Of course, Valentine remained steadfast in his faith, and even tried to convert Emperor Claudius to Christianity, and so the emperor then condemned him to death. In the time before Valentine was executed, he was tended by the jailer, Asterius, and his blind daughter, who was very kind to Valentine and brought him food and messages. The legend states that Valentine became friends with and converted both Asterius and his daughter, and miraculously restored the girl's sight.

The History of Saint Valentine's Day

The romantic nature of February 14 seems to have been attached to the date long after it was recognized as the feast day of St. Valentine. Still, several centuries before pre-printed, mass-produced greeting cards existed, men and women sent notes, tokens, and cards to their loves on St. Valentine’s Day. The tradition certainly was in place by the late 15th century, with French and English literature indicating the practice dated at least to the 14th century. However it is less certain exactly how St. Valentine’s Day came to be recognized as the romantic holiday it is today. There are multiple ideas on how the custom evolved.

The legend that describes St. Valentine’s imprisonment mentions a letter he sent to the Jailer Asterius’s daughter on the eve before he was executed. According to the legend, the farewell message was affectionately signed “From Your Valentine,” a phrase now popular on Valentine greeting cards everywhere.

One aspect is referenced in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer. It was a popular belief in the middle ages that birds would choose their mates mid-way through the second month of the year – the 14th of February – and that day was seen as consecrated to lovers. In Chaucer’s 14th century poem Parliament of Fowls is the line “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day, Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” This is often recognized as the earliest known written reference to the sending of notes to a loved one on St. Valentine’s Day.

Some years later, the reference to Valentine’s Day and birds was mentioned again in one of the Paston Letters (a collection of letters and other papers exchanged among members of the gentry Paston family and their acquaintances between 1422 and 1509):

And, cousin mine, upon Monday is Saint Valentine's Day and every bird chooses himself a mate, and if it like you to come on Thursday night, and make provision that you may abide till then, I trust to God that ye shall speak to my husband and I shall pray that we may bring the matter to a conclusion.

– excerpted from the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia and Catholic Forum's Patron Saint Index

Author: Hans Urs Von Balthasar
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Author: Peter Kreeft
Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's Encylical Deus Caritas Est
Author: The John Paul II Institute
Marriage - The Mystery of Faithful Love
The Mystery of Faithful Love
Author: Pope John Paul II
By Love Refined Letters to a Young Bride
By Love Refined Letters to a Young Bride


To browse the complete selection of items in our St. Valentine's Day Specialty Store, please click here.
“God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.”
Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
– from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1604, 1605


“Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered,
it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.”

– St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 13:4

A Simple Prayer to Saint Valentine

Dear Saint and glorious martyr, teach us to love unselfishly and to find great joy in giving. Enable all true lovers to bring out the best in each other. Let them love each other in God and in God each other. Amen.

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What is Candlemas?
Posted by Ian on 02 February 2017 06:15 AM

Candlemas – History and Meaning

In the Roman Rite, Candlemas is another name the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The principal Mass for this great feast is preceded by the blessing of candles, hence the name, from Candle Mass.

According to the Mosaic law of the Old Testament, a woman who has given birth to a son was considered unclean for 7 days (double this time if she had a daughter) and she was to remain for 33 days “in the blood of her purification” which meant the time she was excluded from the temple. When the time of waiting was over, forty days, she was to bring a sacrifice to the temple. After offering her sacrifice, and having a priest pray over her, she was considered clean.

Forty days after the birth of Our Lord, His Blessed Mother complied with the Mosaic law, she ritually redeemed her first born son, and was purified by the prayer of St. Simeon the just, in the presence of Anna the prophetess. This awesome event, the first solemn introduction of Our Lord into His Father's House, has ever been a great feast in the Church.

In the Roman Rite, the blessing of the candles takes place before the Mass. The celebrant is dressed in purple vestments, stands on the epistle side of the holy altar, and blesses the candles. Five prescribed orations are sung or recited as the candles, of pure beeswax, are sprinkled and incensed. The candles are then distributed to the congregants and the Canticle of Simeon, the Nunc dimitus, is sung. Between each verse of the Canticle, “Lumen ad revelationem gentium et gloriam plebis tuae Israel” is sung. Following this a procession takes place, with the candles lighted and carried in hand, while all sing “Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion” – composed by St. John of Damascus, an early Father of the Church. The solemn procession represents the entry of Our Lord, who is the Light of the World, into the holy Temple of Jerusalem.

The Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Candlemas, was celebrated in the earliest times in the Church at Jerusalem and from there the observance of the feast spread throughout the Christian world.

This article brought to you by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Written by Mike Davis.

Sources for this article include:

The Catholic Dictionary, the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, and The Church's Year.

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What is the Douay-Rheims Bible
Posted by Ian on 31 January 2017 11:01 AM

The Holy Bible, faithfully translated into English out of the authentic Latin. Diligently conferred with the Hebrew, Greek and other Editions.
                -From the title page of the first editions of the Douay-Rheims Bible


History of the Douay-Rheims Bible

The Douay-Rheims Bible, which is also sometimes called merely the Douay Bible or abbreviated as the D-R Bible, is the oldest full Roman Catholic Bible translation in English. It is sometimes written with the spelling of Douai-Rheims, or referred to as the Rheims-Douai Bible. The spelling of “Rhemes” has also been used. The name is based on the fact that the translation was produced at the English College at Douay; the college had migrated to the area of Rheims and editions were printed there as well. Douay and Rheims, as well as Rhemes, are English spellings of the French towns of Douai and Riems, which explains the different spellings used in publishing. Douay-Rheims is the most common spelling used in publishing the translation today.

The Douay Bible dates to 1582 for the New Testament and 1609-10 for the Old Testament, and thus the Bible in its entirety. The reasons for the translation and publication were two-fold.

First, given the circumstances in England and Europe at the time, it was deemed pertinent that the faithful have access to a Bible they could read and understand, for pious use. This was especially true of the New Testament, which Catholics wanted to be able to read easily.

The second reason, which is connected to the first, was to respond to controversial editions translated by Protestant reformers. Around the end of the 16th century, there were about nine complete English Bibles and a few other New Testament translations in English. Many of the Protestant translations of scripture included controversial and biased translation, and were presented and used in polemical ways to support the Protestant schism. The publishing of the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible sought to provide an accurate, faithful English translation of the Holy Bible.


Translation and Style of the Douay-Rheims

The translation type of the Douay-Rheims is a literal translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible, initially translated by St. Jerome, which had been reaffirmed as authoritative by the Council of Trent. This is also called “word for Word” translation. Therefore it did not bend word meanings in order to fit biases. A great amount of time was spent ensuring the Bible was translated exactly. Some of the Latin words did not have an exact English equivalent. In these cases, the word was either kept in its original form or “anglicized.” Some words were not changed at all; for example with amen, which passed unchanged from Greek, into Latin, into English, or the word pasch.

In other cases the Latin word was rewritten, not as a true English word, but an English adaptation of a word. For example, the Latin version of Philippians 2:7 read:

sed semet ipsum exinanivit formam servi accipiens in similitudinem hominum factus et habitu inventus ut homo”

With no exact English word for exinanivit, the 1582 version of the D-R Bible began the verse with “He exinanited himself,” an anglicized version of the word exinanivit.

Conferring with and comparing to the Greek and Hebrew was also done to ensure accuracy.

 Douay Rheims First Communion Bible

The Douay-Rheims Bible Today

The Douay-Rheims Bible in its present form is not the exact translation of the 1582 and 1610 versions, but the Challoner revision of 1749-1752. The revisions by Bishop Challoner were minor in terms of meaning and theology. Basically the revisions included two aspects.

First of all, Challoner changed the bulk of the anglicized words to actual English words. The anglicized version of the Latin words were a barrier to popular use by Catholics, if they did not understand the Latin term itself. For example the verse from Philippians mentioned above was changed to begin, “He emptied himself…” as opposed to “exinanited.” The other main change was to update archaic language and spelling. For example, the 16th/17th century spelling of “bloud” was changed to the modern “blood.” This did not however remove the use of words such as thee, thy, hath, etc, which the Douay-Rheims preserved.

These revisions gave the translation great popularity and it remained the standard Catholic Bible until the mid-20th century and is still the favorite of many Catholics due to its eloquent language and clear, faithful rendering of scripture. The Douay-Rheims Bible is available in a variety of forms, from a basic leather version to the elegant, heirloom quality large-sized Haydock Bible with commentary. It is also available on audio CD.

To view our entire Douay-Rheims selection, click here.


The article included information from the New Catholic Encyclopedia and from Wikipedia.

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Epiphany: The Revelation of Jesus as King
Posted by Ian on 06 January 2017 04:28 AM
“On January 6 we celebrate Jesus' coming as Savior of the world”


“The light that shone in the night at Christmas illuminating the Bethlehem Grotto, where Mary, Joseph and the shepherds remained in silent adoration, shines out today and is manifested to all. The Epiphany is a mystery of light, symbolically suggested by the star that guided the Magi on their journey. The true source of light, however, the “sun that rises from on high”, is Christ.

In the mystery of Christmas, Christ's light shines on the earth, spreading, as it were, in concentric circles. First of all, it shines on the Holy Family of Nazareth:  the Virgin Mary and Joseph are illuminated by the divine presence of the Infant Jesus. The light of the Redeemer is then manifested to the shepherds of Bethlehem, who, informed by an Angel, hasten immediately to the grotto and find there the “sign” that had been foretold to them: the Child, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

The shepherds, together with Mary and Joseph, represent that “remnant of Israel,” the poor, the anawim, to whom the Good News was proclaimed.

Finally, Christ's brightness shines out, reaching the Magi who are the first-fruits of the pagan peoples.

. . . The Magi worshiped a simple Child in the arms of his Mother Mary, because in him they recognized the source of the twofold light that had guided them: the light of the star and the light of the Scriptures. In him they recognized the King of the Jews, the glory of Israel, but also the King of all the peoples.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Homily at the Vatican Basilica, January 6th 2006


The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. In the magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation.

The magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Savior of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

Let Us Pray



An Epiphany Morning Prayer

You revealed your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory in heaven by the light of faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

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