Remember to help get #ThanksPontifex trending today at 1:45 p.m. CST!
Aquinas and More, a great Catholic store that had probably the best selection of Catholic goods available online, seems to be going out of business soon. This is unfortunate, because that means I'll have to go to Catholic
Ripoff Supply more often (and their website needs major improvement). Ah well.
For now until they run out of inventory, they're having a 20% off sale on almost everything.
The Mass Explained App for iPad looks like a pretty awesome app ("coming soon") from Agnus, LLC. I haven't seen the app in action (just screenshots), but even if it's just a bunch of static pages like an interactive book, it looks like the content is high-quality:
I really hope the app function as good as it looks. If so, I think this would be a good template for other similar apps explaining sacraments, sacramentals, the Rosary, prayer, saints, the Vatican, etc.
Basically take encyclopedic knowledge of a Catholic subject, and marry that with some great illustrations, images, and 3D models, and make a very nice interactive app or iBook. I would buy the whole series!
Through Facebook, I discovered this great video on one young man's experience as an altar server:
I definitely agree that the altar server can distract from the liturgy if he is not focused on his duty, and that priests should encourage the use of cassocks and surplices instead of albs. A large reason for my joining the Seminary was my experience as an altar server, assisting some very humble priests who were great representatives of the Church and very close to Jesus—and this was reinforced by how reverent and dedicated they were to the celebration of Holy Mass.
Tomorrow begins the Year of Faith, when, as Pope Benedict points out, "we must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples."
Here are a few resources I'd like to highlight for making the Year of Faith personal:
[Update: An enlightening look at the viability of the study mentioned in this post.]
A recent study supports the popular opinion (used to justify the HHS birth control mandate, among other things) that providing free contraceptives to women reduces the rate of abortion:
Free birth control led to greatly lower rates of abortions and births to teenagers, a large study concludes, offering strong evidence for how a bitterly contested Obama administration policy could benefit women’s health. The two-year project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured, who were given their choice of a range of free contraceptives.
I meant to post this sooner, just never had time to get around to it... there's a new Catholic Meme site around, aptly named Catholic Memes. An example of what you'll find browsing the site:
There's tons more where that came from. The site is a bit like an expanded LOLSaints; whereas LOLSaints.com centers around the lives of the saints, and incorporates little snippets of info about each saint pictured, Catholic Memes puts the message in the meme. Some may call that a bit more shallow, but I think they're funny nonetheless—with a healthy dose of sarcasm!
This year's Catholic New Media Conference (held in Arlington, TX), came by so fast I didn't really have time to prepare any blog posts before hand, post pictures during the conference, or summarize individual sessions.
In years past (2011 and 2010), I've tried to dump pretty much everything I learned on my blog... but this year's CNMC was so much more broad-reaching that there was no way I could keep up with all the great content!
For the past few months, the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) has been gearing up for an annual convention in St. Louis (my home diocese), where they'll have a keynote by Barbara Marx Hubbard.
Google finds some interesting tidbits about Hubbard:
"Agents of conscious evolution training." — her newest course, offered via her site.
"Birth 2012; Cocreating a planetary shift. It is time to activate a new era of human possibility and potential!" — Also from her site.
"Conscious evolution is the evolution of evolution, from unconscious to conscious choice. While consciousness has been evolving for billions of years, conscious evolution is new. It is part of the trajectory of human evolution, the canvas of choice before us now as we recognize that we have come to possess the powers that we used to attribute to the gods." — From her site's description of 'conscious evolution'.
During the presentation, Fr. Witt spoke of the episcopal motto of Archbishop Kenrick, Noli irritare leonem (seen in the picture of his crest above, which I took during a visit to the Old Cathedral a few years ago). It is translated, "Don't disturb the lion," and conveys a special message today: don't try stripping us [Catholics] of our religious liberty, or you'll get the full force of our fury!*