Sunday, March 31, 2024
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 59

Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Embracing Tradition: The Timeless Appeal of Catholic Handcrafted Products from Italy

In the heart of Italy, where the echoes of ancient traditions reverberate through cobblestone streets and historic cathedrals, lies a cherished artistry deeply intertwined with faith: the crafting of Catholic religious items. From intricately carved crucifixes to delicately painted icons, these handcrafted products serve as tangible expressions of devotion and artistic excellence. Rooted in centuries-old techniques and infused with spiritual significance, Italian-made Catholic artifacts continue to captivate believers worldwide, offering a connection to both the divine and the rich cultural heritage of the country.

The tradition of crafting religious artifacts in Italy can be traced back to the early days of Christianity, when skilled artisans dedicated themselves to creating sacred objects for worship and reverence. Over the centuries, this art form evolved, drawing inspiration from diverse cultural influences and artistic movements while remaining steadfast in its commitment to preserving the essence of Catholic faith.

One of the most iconic symbols of Catholicism, the crucifix, holds a special place in Italian craftsmanship. Crafted from various materials such as wood, marble, or precious metals, each crucifix is meticulously designed to evoke a sense of reverence and contemplation. The artisans, often working within family-owned workshops passed down through generations, imbue these sacred symbols with profound spiritual meaning, paying homage to the sacrifice of Christ and the redemption it represents. Many beautiful options are available from this religious e-shop that offers over 80,000 handcrafted Catholic items, religious gifts and church supplies.

In addition to crucifixes, Italian artisans excel in crafting a wide array of religious items, including statues, rosaries, and religious jewelry. Each piece is crafted with meticulous attention to detail, reflecting the artisan's reverence for the subject matter and dedication to their craft. Whether it's a marble Madonna delicately sculpted to perfection, or a rosary intricately crafted from Venetian glass beads, these handcrafted treasures serve as tangible reminders of faith and devotion.

The process of creating these exquisite pieces often begins with the selection of the finest materials. Italian artisans have access to a rich array of resources, from Carrara marble to Florentine gold leaf, allowing them to bring their artistic visions to life with unparalleled beauty and craftsmanship. Many artisans also draw inspiration from Italy's rich artistic heritage, incorporating elements of Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic styles into their work to create truly timeless pieces.

What sets Italian-made Catholic products apart is not just their aesthetic appeal but also the deep spiritual significance imbued into each creation. Every stroke of the brush, every chisel mark, carries with it a sense of reverence and devotion, elevating these artifacts beyond mere objects and transforming them into vessels of faith. For the artisans, crafting these religious items is not just a profession but a sacred calling, a way of honoring their faith and contributing to the spiritual lives of others.

Beyond their spiritual significance, Italian-made Catholic products also serve as ambassadors of Italian culture and craftsmanship to the world. Renowned for their quality and beauty, these handcrafted treasures have found their way into homes, churches, and museums across the globe, showcasing the enduring legacy of Italian artistry and devotion.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional craftsmanship, fueled by a desire for authenticity and a deeper connection to the past. As mass-produced goods increasingly dominate the market, discerning consumers are turning to artisanal products, drawn to their unique character and the stories they embody. In this age of mass production and rapid consumption, Italian-made Catholic products stand as a testament to the enduring value of craftsmanship and the timeless appeal of faith.

Moreover, the purchase of these handcrafted items not only supports local artisans and their families but also helps preserve a centuries-old tradition for future generations. By investing in Italian-made Catholic products, consumers become custodians of a cultural heritage that spans centuries, ensuring that the artistry and devotion of Italy's artisans continue to thrive in the modern world. Use code CAT10 for 10% off an order on today! 

In conclusion, the tradition of crafting Catholic religious items in Italy is a testament to the enduring power of faith and artistic expression. From the humblest crucifix to the grandest cathedral, these handcrafted treasures embody the beauty, reverence, and devotion that have defined Italian craftsmanship for centuries. As we continue to navigate an ever-changing world, the timeless appeal of Italian-made Catholic products serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us of the enduring legacy of faith and the enduring power of the human spirit.

Sunday, March 24, 2024
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 58

In today’s episode, on this solemn Palm Sunday, I address the following: 

  1. 10 Suggestions for Holy Week
  2. How Palm Sunday Changed Already by the 1962 Missal
  3. Keeping Spiritual Priorities First in the Family

This episode is sponsored by offers Latin prayer cards to learn and share prayers in the sacred language. Learn your basic prayers in Latin conveniently on the go. Practice your pronunciation with easy-to-follow English phonetic renderings of Latin words. offers prayer cards in various formats, including Latin-English rosary pamphlets with the traditional 15 mysteries. Shop for additional Latin resources like missal booklets, server response cards, and more. Visit today.

Subscribe to the podcast on Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, I-tunes, and many other platforms!

Friday, March 22, 2024
Liturgy of the Land - Sanctify Our Land Once Again

Many people today desire a simple life that is closely connected to land, whether it be gardening, farming, or ranching. There is a spiritual draw to a non-consumeristic lifestyle that places God, the family, and the home at the center of all activity. This “agrarian conversion” has led many families to seek out rural communities and leave behind the suburban life.

Over ten years ago, two Catholic friends, Jason M. Craig and Thomas D Van Horn, experienced a similar agrarian conversion inspired by past Catholic land movements and a growing desire to work with their wives and children, going deeper than just “supporting” them financially. Both began a journey, perhaps with a tad too much romanticism, toward land-based life on farms. All these years later, the two have been tempered by the unyielding realities of land and limitations and have gained significant insights into the reasons, challenges, and possibilities of homesteading and farming. 

In The Liturgy of the Land: Cultivating a Catholic Homestead, Craig and Van Horn present the practicalities and theological aspects behind the desire for a productive, holy home. Our current culture understands the economy in efficient consumeristic terms, but our Catholic Faith tells us differently. The productive homestead is the center of economic life, and the family is at the center of the homestead. This book aims to bring the stories from their experience into a presentation and proposal of homesteading as a way of life, considering the principles (why?) and the practicalities (how?). May we do so under the patronage of St. Isidore the Farmer, who is honored in some places on March 22. And here is just one great excerpt worth meditating upon today:

Most people know that our technology-loving, post-industrial society is new. For centuries upon centuries prior—literally from the beginning of time—the work com- mon to most men the world over was finding, growing, securing, and preserving food. These acts were foundational for staying alive, but providing for bodily needs also grew into beautiful and intricate cultures where food wasn’t just important for staying alive but for living a life. This is because we, as man, must provide food like the beasts, but our work builds up into culture because we have souls. Intertwined with and sanctified by the Church, the life of prayer, work, fasting, and feasting formed a single life, an inte- grated whole. In the vast countryside of Christendom, the work of God (worship) and the work of the land was the life of the people, a single life undivided.

I was given an advanced copy of some of the text and I have to say it is quite inspiring and something I do recommend. Please check it out through Tan Books, especially as we are now in the spring season.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Is St. Joseph's Day Traditionally Still A Fasting Day?

Since St. Joseph’s Day falls during Lent, it coincides with the traditional Lenten fast which traditionally required 40 days of fasting and 46 days of abstinence from meat. Per the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Friday abstinence is still required on St. Joseph’s Day even where it is kept as a Holy Day of Obligation. And would the fast of Lent still be observed? The answer is unequivocally yes.

The question of whether Holy Days of Obligation abrogate the requirement of Friday abstinence outside of Lent is mentioned in the 1917 Code:

On [Sundays] or feasts of precept, the law of abstinence or of abstinence and fast or of fast only ceases, except during Lent, nor is the vigil anticipated; likewise it ceases on Holy [Saturday] afternoon (1917 Code, Canon 1252 § 4).[1]

The 1917 Code is explicit – feasts of precepts do not remove the requirement to fast or abstain during Lent. The only way that the obligation would be removed during the season of Lent would be if a dispensation would be specifically offered by the lawful Church authorities for a particular day.

It must be further noted that the removal of the obligation of penance on Holy Days of Obligation outside of Lent only applies to areas that observe the day of precept. It is not based on the Roman calendar, as affirmed by the Commission on the Code in a 1924 article in the American Ecclesiastical Review. Hence, when January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, falls on a Friday, it is still a mandatory day of abstinence in America and France and other places where it is not a Holy Day of Obligation. In contrast, Canada, Rome, and places that keep it as a Holy Day do not have to observe fasting and/or abstinence on that particular Friday. This, however, only applies to Holy Day of Obligation outside of Lent. And this change only started with the 1917 Code – beforehand, it was still a day of abstinence on Fridays regardless if it was a day of precept or not, unless a specific dispensation was issued by the Pope himself.

In 1954, Pope Pius XII issued such a decree granting bishops the permission to dispense from Friday abstinence for the Feast of St. Joseph which that year fell on a Friday. A March 26, 1954, article of The Guardian elaborates: 

“Bishops throughout the world have been granted the faculty to dispense their faithful from the law of abstinence on the Feast of St. Joseph, Friday, March 19. The power was granted in a decree issued by the Sacred Congregation of the Council, which said it acted at the special mandate of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. The decree published in L’Osservatore Romano made no mention of a dispensation from the Lenten fast.”

As such, St. Joseph’s Day did not permit the faithful to eat meat on Fridays in Lent unless such a specific dispensation were offered, which was very rarely done. Likewise, to those who maintain the 1917 Code’s requirement to also fast all forty weekdays of Lent – which was observed since the Early Church – St. Joseph’s Day remains a day of fast. Surely St. Joseph would want us to produce worthy fruits of penance during this holiest season as we prepare for the Pascal mystery.

Unfortunately, the 1983 Code of Canon Law which aligns with the many Modernist changes in the Church weakly states:

The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent. Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (1983 Code, Canons 1251 – 1252).

It should be noted that traditionally St. Joseph’s Tables, even when transferred to Sunday, were always meatless. For centuries, even Sundays in Lent were days of abstinence – just not fasting.

Want to learn more about the history of fasting and abstinence? Check out the Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence.

Sunday, March 17, 2024
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 57

In today’s episode, on Passion Sunday, I address the following: 

  1. Customs for Passion Sunday
  2. Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in Lent
  3. Customs for St. Patrick’s Day

I would like to thank for sponsoring this episode., the leader in online Catholic catechism classes, has everything from online K-12 programs, RCIA classes, adult continuing education, marriage preparation, baptism preparation, confirmation prep, quince prep classes, catechist training courses, and more. It is never too late to study the fullness of the Catholic Faith, and is the gold standard in authentic Catholic formation online. Check out their special Lenten Study Course now available for 25% off with discount code LENT25.

Subscribe to the podcast on Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, I-tunes, and many other platforms!

Saturday, March 16, 2024
Is St. Patrick's Day Traditionally Still A Fasting Day?

Definition of Fasting vs. Abstinence

Fasting refers to how much food we eat and, historically, when we eat it. It means taking only one meal during a calendar day. The meal should be an average-sized meal as overeating at the one meal is against the spirit of the fast. Fasting generally means that the meal is to be taken later in the day. Along with the one meal, up to two snacks (technically called either a collation or frustulum) are permitted. These are optional, not required. Added up together, they may not equal the size of the one meal. No other snacking throughout the day is permitted. 

Abstinence in this context refers to not eating meat. Meat refers to the fleshmeat of mammals or fowl. Beef, poultry, lamb, etc are all forbidden on days of abstinence. Abstinence does not currently prohibit animal byproducts like dairy (e.g. cheese, butter, milk) or eggs, but in times past they were prohibited. Fish is currently permitted along with shellfish and other cold-blooded animals like alligators. In times past, days of fast were always days of abstinence as well; however, not all days of abstinence were days of mandatory fasting.

The Church's Law in 1917

The days of obligatory fasting as listed in the 1917 Code of Canon Law were the forty days of Lent (including Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday until noon); the Ember Days; and the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints, and Christmas. Partial abstinence, the eating of meat only at the principal meal, was obligatory on all weeks of Lent (Monday through Thursday). And of course, complete abstinence was required on all Fridays, including Fridays of Lent, except when a holy day of obligation fell on a Friday outside of Lent. Saturdays in Lent were likewise days of complete abstinence.

The Church's Law in 1962

By 1962, the laws of fasting and abstinence were as follows as described in "Moral Theology" by Rev. Heribert Jone and adapted by Rev. Urban Adelman for the "laws and customs of the United States of America" copyright 1961: "Complete abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, the Vigils of Immaculate Conception and Christmas. Partial abstinence is to be observed on Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays and on the Vigil of Pentecost. Days of fast are all the weekdays of Lent, Ember Days, and the Vigil of Pentecost." If a vigil falls on a Sunday, the law of abstinence and fasting is dispensed that year and is not transferred to the preceding day. Father Jone adds additional guidance for the Vigil of the Nativity fast: "General custom allows one who is fasting to take a double portion of food at the collation on Christmas Eve (jejunium gaudiosum)."

History of St. Patrick's Day in Lent
For the Irish (and for Irish Americans), St. Patrick's Day is both a cultural milestone and, traditionally, a very significant spiritual day. Even traditional Catholics are not sure, due to conflicting information, if St. Patrick's Day was a day of fasting and abstinence during Lent on non-Fridays. Can I Eat Meat on St. Patrick's Day on a Friday in Lent is a different topic as Friday abstinence is universally mandatory and binding under pain of mortal sin.

The first record of dispensation from Lenten fast and/or abstinence on St. Patrick's Day was early in America's history at a time when all of Lent, aside from Sundays, were days of mandatory fasting for those between the ages of 21 and 60 (health exceptions aside). With the growing number of Irish immigrants to America in the early 1800s, special attention was given to dispense from fasting when St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday. This was done for the members of the Charitable Irish Society of Boston in 1837 and would become customary in the United States. The dispensation in 1837 "was granted on the proviso that all diners gave a small sum to charity." But this was in Boston, which was an epi-center of Irish Americans.

Back in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day was a Holy Day of Obligation and still, without special dispensation, a day of mandatory fasting and abstinence. Interestingly, "The Catholic's Pocket Prayer-Book," published by Henri Proost & Co. in 1924, notes that for Australia and New Zealand, all days in Lent were days of fasting "except Sundays and St. Patrick's Day." The same pocket guide lists the days of fasting and abstinence for Ireland and lists no such exception. Yet even for Australia and New Zealand, no exception for abstinence existed on St. Patrick's Day in 1924.


Hence, except for Australian and New Zealand Catholics, Catholics in other countries were to still fast and abstain on St. Patrick's Day. It was only not a fasting day when it fell on a Sunday in Lent, since there is no fasting on Sundays. However, it is still possible to celebrate with Irish Soda Bread and other vegan foods.

For a separate discussion of Can I Eat Meat on St. Patrick's Day on a Friday in Lent, see that article.

Want to learn more about the history of fasting and abstinence? Check out the Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence.
Sunday, March 10, 2024
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 56

In today’s episode, on Laetare Sunday, I address the following: 

  1. The Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent
  2. Laetare Sunday as Mothering Sunday
  3. 10+ Great Ideas for Lenten Almsgiving

This episode is sponsored by offers Latin prayer cards to learn and share prayers in the sacred language. Learn your basic prayers in Latin conveniently on the go. Practice your pronunciation with easy-to-follow English phonetic renderings of Latin words. offers prayer cards in various formats, including Latin-English rosary pamphlets with the traditional 15 mysteries. Shop for additional Latin resources like missal booklets, server response cards, and more. Visit today.

Subscribe to the podcast on Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, I-tunes, and many other platforms!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Laetare Sunday as Mothering Sunday

This upcoming Sunday is Laetare Sunday, the day of respite in the midst of the asceticism of Lent. Laetare Sunday is a day for us to celebrate in anticipation for the upcoming feast of Easter. We have only three weeks of Lent left to make greater progress in the spiritual life.

The following is taken from the St. John Cantius Website:

Laetare Sunday is also known as "Mothering Sunday" because of the Epistle reading that speaks of how not the Jews, but those who come to Christ, regardless of their ancestry, are the inheritors of Abraham's promise:

For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, and the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman, was born according to the flesh: but he of the free woman, was by promise. Which things are said by an allegory. For these are the two testaments. The one from mount Sina, engendering unto bondage; which is Agar: For Sina is a mountain in Arabia, which hath affinity to that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem, which is above, is free: which is our mother. For it is written: Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he, that was born according to the flesh, persecuted him that was after the spirit; so also it is now. But what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free: by the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free.

Galatians 4:22-31

The old practice of visiting the cathedral, or "mother church" of the diocese on this day is another reason for the name. In England, natural mothers are honored today, too, in a manner rather like the American "Mother's Day." Spring bulb flowers (daffodils, for ex.) are given to mothers, and simnel cake is made to celebrate the occasion (this cake has also become an Easter Cake of late, however). The word "simnel" comes from the Latin "simila," a high grade flour.

The rose vestments on Laetare Sunday is a custom originating in the fact that, as a symbol of joy and hope in the middle of this somber Season. Popes used to carry a golden rose in their right hand when returning from the celebration of Mass on this day. Way back in 1051, Pope Leo IX called this custom an "ancient institution." Originally it was natural rose, then a single golden rose of natural size, but since the fifteenth century it has consisted of a cluster or branch of roses.

The popes bless one every year, and often confer it upon churches, shrines, cities, or distinguished persons as a token of esteem and paternal affection. In case of such a bestowal, a new rose is made during the subsequent year.  The golden rose represents Christ in the shining splendor of His majesty, the "flower sprung from the root of Jesse," and it is blessed with these words:

O God! by Whose word and power all things have been created, by Whose will all things are directed, we humbly beseech Thy Majesty, Who art the joy and gladness of all the faithful, that Thou wouldst deign in Thy fatherly love to bless and sanctify this rose, most delightful in odor and appearance, which we this day carry in sign of spiritual joy, in order that the people consecrated by Thee and delivered from the yoke of Babylonian slavery through the favor of Thine only-begotten Son, Who is the glory and exultation of the people of Israel and of that Jerusalem which is our Heavenly mother, may with sincere hearts show forth their joy. Wherefore, O Lord, on this day, when the Church exults in Thy name and manifests her joy by this sign, confer upon us through her true and perfect joy and accepting her devotion of today; do Thou remit sin, strengthen faith, increase piety, protect her in Thy mercy, drive away all things adverse to her and make her ways safe and prosperous, so that Thy Church, as the fruit of good works, may unite in giving forth the perfume of the ointment of that flower sprung from the root of Jesse and which is the mystical flower of the field and lily of the valleys, and remain happy without end in eternal glory together with all the saints.

For more Catholic customs throughout the liturgical year, see "Restoring Lost Customs of Christendom" published by Our Lady of Victory Press.
Sunday, March 3, 2024
A Catholic Life Podcast: Episode 55

In today’s episode, on the Third Sunday of Lent, I address the following: 

  1. The Readings for the Third Sunday of Lent
  2. The Feast of the Five Holy Wounds
  3. The Protestant Attack on Lenten Penance
  4. The Errors of Donatists and Why They Matter Today

This episode is sponsored by provides simple and effective tools to pass on the heritage of faith and positively impact future generations of Catholics across the country. Ensure your legacy and family are protected while also leaving behind a way to support the Church. Use discount code catholiclife20 to save on your order.

Subscribe to the podcast on Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, I-tunes, and many other platforms!


Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, for instance, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made by those who click on the Amazon affiliate links included on this website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”