News Categories
(171)General Catholic Ramblings (17)Catholic Retailing Tips (4)lent (1)sales (1)Catholic Retailing Links (4)e-book (3)kindle (3)nook (101)Aquinas and More Catholic Goods Newsletters (2)easter (3)first communion (1)confession (1)imelda (1)mother's day (1)vatican collection (1)confirmation (1)saints (2)josemaria escriva (2)opus dei (2)there be dragons (1)altar missal (1)church supplies (1)roman missal (1)divine mercy (7)Catholic Reading Program (1)rosary (134)Catholic Media Reviews (1)bible (1)catechism (1)youcat (4)Should We Carry This Product? (8)Press Releases (1)e-reader (10)Aquinas and More Staff Picks (1)James' Picks (1)behind the counter (1)product reviews (1)staff picks (13)Chinese Persecution (3)Jeremy's Picks (1)Donna's Picks (2)Ian's Picks (2)Aline's Picks (1)Nicole's Picks (5)Catholic Author Interviews (1)CPSIA (64)The Liturgical Year (2)Family Life (1)12 days of christmas (1)feast days (14)Catholic Product Guides (14)Behind the Counter Catholic Radio Show (205)Behind the Catholic Counter (44)Behind the Catholic Counter Podcast (1)catholic choir book (1)oplatki christmas wafer (1)coffee (1)the theotokos (1)elizabeth ann seton (1)thomas aquinas (1)john bosco (1)didache bible (2)ember days (1)first communion gifts (1)gregory the great (1)symbolon (1)Technology (1)sacred heart (1)scapular (1)miracle of our lady of the snows (1)back to school gifts (1)nativity of the blessed virgin mary (1)saint thomas aquinas (1)clean fridge monday (1)clean monday (1)diaconate (1)how to measure for a cassock (1)san damiano cross (1)crucifix (1)divine mercy for moms (1)saint blaise (1)what should i do for lent? (1)laetare sunday (1)ash wednesday (1)our lady of lourdes (1)columba marmion (1)maximilian kolbe relics (1)bury the dead (1)saint cunegunda (1)pray like a carmelite (1)frances of rome (1)saint joseph (1)saint joseph table (1)how to be holy (1)easter vigil (1)way of prayer (1)way of perfection (1)our lady of perpetual help (1)peter and paul (1)saint ignatius (1)Dominicans (1)Saint Dominic (1)oplatki (1)blessing for an advent wreath (1)saint andrew (1)saint lucy (1)douay rheims bible (1)what is candlemas (1)Catholic Passion (1)First Communion Stories
RSS Feed
A Most Admirable Life – St. Philip Neri
Posted by Ian on 26 May 2017 06:00 AM

“Give me ten men really detached from the world, and I have the heart to believe I could convert the world with them.” – St. Philip Neri

Too many people have yet to hear about St. Philip, a man of both simplicity and remarkable effectiveness in preaching the Gospel and leading souls to Our Lord.

Recently the great John Henry Cardinal Newman, English convert and priest of the Oratory, was beatified. The Congregation of the Oratory was founded by St. Philip Neri in Rome in the 16th century. Sadly, many people are unfamiliar with the life, work, and the vision of St. Philip – the founder of the order that Newman chose as his own after becoming a Roman Catholic.

In a real sense, St. Philp was Newman’s “spiritual father” and he worked tirelessly to renew the Church from its center.  There are two meanings to this statement – the center being orthodoxy and, of course, the center being Rome.

Today, May 26, if the Feast of St. Philip Neri – Apostle of Rome.

Saint Philip Neri Of The Joyous Heart


“Let us concentrate ourselves so completely in the divine love, and enter so far into the living fountain of wisdom, through the wounded Side of our Incarnate God, that we may deny ourselves and our self-love, and so be unable to find our way out of that Wound again.” – St. Philip Neri

Philip Romolo Neri, born in 1515 to a Florentine family, had an unremarkable childhood. At 18, while living with his cousin in San Germano, he had a profound conversion experience and set off for Rome. After arriving in Rome, he found a job as a tutor and continued his own studies for three years with the Augustinian friars. Upon completing of his studies he began work among the sick and the poor of the city of Rome, later earning for himself the title “apostle of Rome.”

Although he seriously considered leaving for the foreign missions, Philip continued his “home missionary” work in Rome, extending his work among the prostitutes of Rome and expanding his efforts to care for the many poor pilgrims who traveled to the Eternal City but did not have any food, water or housing. During this time, Philip sought ordination and received the holy orders on May 23, 1551. A unique aspect of his apostolic work was simply engaging people in conversation, traveling through the city like Socrates, leading them to his desired topics of conversation which, of course, would hopefully bring them to Our Lord and Salvation. Using this unique approach to evangelization, he eventually drew to himself a group of enthusiastic, educated young men. This group met regularly in the evenings, prayed, read the Scriptures and the Fathers, and listened to a lecture. The group began to engage in missionary work throughout the city, and the early Oratory was born. By 1556, the Oratory was at work and the men continued their missionary activities in Rome, preaching in the churches every evening – something that had never been done before.

St. Philip Neri Gifts

Although Philip himself was blessed with a zeal and gift for winning souls for the Lord, he was never a very public person and avoided the limelight. More than anything else, he enjoyed simply hearing confessions, through which he effected many conversions.

The Congregation of the Oratory received official canonical standing by papal decree on July 15, 1575, as a community of secular priests. Philip did not even put forth his own name for consideration as the superior of the society, so Pope Pius IV intervened and Philip was elected superior for life. Philip, remarkably free from any personal ambition, never desired to preside over an organization or a religious order so he established that each oratory would be self-governing – this was formally confirmed by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. Although this form of governance is common among religious communities today, it was a novelty during Philip’s lifetime.

Over the centuries the Congregation of the Oratory has grown slowly and steadily. Today there are over 70 Oratories and over 500 priests in the Congregation. The members of the Oratory spend the day involved in various ministries – clearly the same kind that St. Philip Neri7 first established: teaching, parish work, spiritual direction, campus ministry, administration or maintaining the fabric of the community house. Some oratories are specifically connected with parishes and thus its members serve as the parish staff.

St. Philip Neri8 died on May 25 in 1595, the feast of Corpus Christi, at 80 years of age, after spending the day hearing confessions. He was beatified in 1615 and canonized in 1622.

St. Philip Neri9, patron of Rome, pray for us!

Read more about the Congregation of the Oratory here.

Read more »

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.

Read more »


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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

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.

Read more »

The Tenth Day of Christmas – The Holy Name of Jesus
Posted by Ian on 03 January 2017 07:00 AM

Adoration of the Holy Name of Jesus

In the New Testament, St. Paul writes that God the Father “bestowed on him (Christ Jesus) the name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phillipians, 2:9)

We give honor to the Holy Name of Jesus, not because we believe in some intrinsic power hidden in the letters composing it, but because the Name of Jesus reminds us of the many blessings we receive through Our Savior, Christ the Lord. To give thanks for these blessings we revere His Holy Name, just as we honor His Passion by honoring His Holy Cross. At the Holy Name of Jesus, we uncover our heads, we bend our knees, and we offer our prayers in His Name.

As our ancestors in faith, the people of the Old Covenant, honored and kept most holy the name of the Lord God, so we, the people of the New Covenant, venerate the Name of Our Redeemer, the second person of the Holy Trinity, who is Jesus Christ Our Lord.

The veneration of the Holy Name of Jesus first became popular in the 12th century due to the efforts of the Cistercians, most importantly those of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He was a special lover of the Holy Name and speaks of it in many of his sermons. Franciscans in the 15th century, especially St. Bernadino of Siena and St. John Capistrano, became the greatest promoters of the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. These two saints carried with them, on their missions throughout Italy, a copy of the monogram “IHS” of the Holy Name of Jesus, surrounded by rays, with which they blessed the sick and worked many miracles. At the close of their fiery sermons, the saints exhibited the monogram of the Holy Name to the faithful and asked them to prostrate themselves, to adore the Name of the Redeemer of mankind. Celebrations in honor of the Holy Name of Jesus occurred on a local level throughout Europe until the feast was extended to the whole Roman Catholic Church in 1721 during the pontificate of Innocent XIII.

What should we recall, what should we think about on this special feast day? Of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, let us remember that it brings help to us in our bodily needs, according to the words of Our Lord: “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents (with their hands), and if they drink and deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” (Gospel of St. Matthew 16:17-18). Let us remember that in the Name of Jesus, the Apostles gave strength to the lame and even life to the dead. The Holy Name gives us consolation in times of trial and protects us against Satan and his evil designs, for the Devil fears the Name of Jesus, who triumphed over him on the Holy Cross. Finally, in the Name of Jesus we obtain every blessing and grace for eternity, for Our Lord said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (Gospel of St. John 16:23-24)


Read more »