What to Expect at a “Church of Nice” Gift Shop – A Sarcastic Review

 “Church of Nice” can be defined as… well, let’s let this guy explain a bit about what the Church of Nice is –


 Alright cool; now that we’ve got that explanation out of the way, let’s talk about the wonderfully nice time I had today at this Nice Catholic gift shop.

  I figured I’d do my part and help others to know what to expect at a Church of Nice gift shop; because it’s just such a nice place to visit!

 They have a lovely set of literature for everyone, from books on Pope Francis to, the Youcat, to comic-book style bible stories, to the Bible for Teens, to prayer books for busy moms and dads… you can find most anything here! Well, except for the Douay – Rheims bible of course. When I asked if they had it they asked me what it was; they had never heard of it. Or the Baltimore Catechism… its way too old fashioned and boring!

 They even have a section for “Our Lady” of Medjugorie (a un-approved “marian” apparition that is eerily not looking so good for being approved by the Church. See an interesting video on this here.) (It has actually been emphasized by Pope Francis himself to “stay away from Medjugorje” )


  Along with lovely books helping busy families fit some Catholicism into their lives, learn what Pope Francis wants us to know about the enviroment, and of COURSE a TON of teen books on “Sex, God & Marriage” … there was this gem that really stood out;


The “Catholic Guide to Dating After Divorce“. Perhaps they missed the part about Divorced Catholics having to abstain from marital acts BUT who am I to judge? At least they are drawing people in from all walks of life right?

 The youth section is filled with very informative and interesting literature that is sure to help them learn more about the Church and the Faith, and to grow to love the faith in all its glory… books on surviving your parents divorcing, comic book bible heroes, The Youcat,”Prove It”! books, Meditations for teens WRITTEN by teens – so they don’t get bored by the old fashioned and traditional sort of mediations, and… of course, a TON of books on sex (ahem, excuse me) the vocation of Marriage. Of course there are no books on “modesty“; calling out a need for people to cover up their beautiful, God-given, Holy-Spirit-filled bodies is just insulting, and telling the youth not to watch movies or listen to music that is so called “impure” is just a BAD IDEA. Seriously, that would just scare everyone away! Why push them away by telling them about it, when we can easily become modest in our hearts by being nice to one another.. it IS after all what most emcompasses being modest and pure anyway! These kids are coming from all walks of life – we must learn to meet them where they’re at.

 Why use books like “The Eternal Priesthood” , “Story of a Soul“, “Young Man’s Guide” “Knights of the Altar“, “Douay Rheims Bible“, “Mother Mary Loyola books“, “Introduction to the Devout Life“, “The Spirit of the Liturgy” the “Baltimore Catechism” “Leading the Little Ones to Mary” “Catholic Children’s Treasure Box Set” “Defenders of Christendom” “New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism” “Catholic Apologetics”  “Following Christ in the World” “Understanding the Massto give the youth? 

 They are way too old fashioned – the youth need things made easier to understand, and things made for their time ! Books that go too deep into topics such as, the Sacraments (all 7, not just the sacrament of Marriage), the Holy Mass, the 10 Commandments, and whatnot will just bore them! After all, St. Dominic Savio, St. Maria Goretti and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati didn’t become who they are now because of some old fashioned “traditional” information and teachings now did they? They most certainly must of had everything filtered into a nice, understandable and modern language book, or else, they would have never of been so on fire with the faith in the first place! I am sure they had youth programs like, Alpha, that made them to be the Saints and Blesseds we know of today.

 Writers like Mother Mary Loyola, Anne Carroll  Fr. X Lasance, Fr John Laux are way too old fashioned and out of touch – so there’s no point in even expecting books from them on the shelves of Gift Shops like this one.

 Whereas, Alice von Hildebrand, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Cdl. Ratzinger are fine- as long as their works are appropriate, and they are certainly not good for the youth; it’s too difficult for them to read! And only if they are books that people can relate to – we must meet people from where they are at remember? And today, people are WAY too busy to care about reading deep books on anything more than the precepts of the Church!

 The youth are fast – paced – only new and shiny things will attract them. For example; these lovely rosaries that are sold at the gift shop are just what is needed! Sports-themed rosaries are exactly what will encompass a deep love, admiration and appreciation for the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Mother; that will certainly last throughout their entire life as something they truly connected with. There is nothing like fingering a basket-ball-beaded rosary when you are feeling worried about the game, or when you are in a prison for your faith! 


    Youth need attractive music like MONK ROCK and Christian Fitness Music that will REALLY bring them closer to the Faith, and encourage a deep love for the Church. Nothing like a good workout to stir up a devotion to the Catholic Faith – it may even spark such a fire of love and devotion that they would want to be martyrs of the faith, as the First Christians did ! Oh all this potential is just riveting! Anybody else feel a need to raise their hands?

  Speaking of raising hands; who else ADORES this book !? “My Badass Book of Saints.” ? Doesn’t it just make you want to scream? There is nothing so fun as having a book that you can hide from your kids; perfect for “mommy’s alone time”! After all; better not let those kids catch you reading something that has the A word in it – the best part about this book is the chase see? 


  Oh! I almost forgot! Remember when I mentioned that there was something for everyone? Well gosh gee there are even memorials, cards, and even necklaces of remembrance for those poor souls who have lost their pets! How touching; there is nothing that good ole’ St. Francis can’t fix when it comes to animals!


  AND! They even have “Home Selling Kits” from good ole’ Saint Joe! There ain’t nothin’ like Saint Joe when you have a material need! It may be just what a non-believer needs – unless it doesn’t work.. BAH! Saint Joe wouldn’t let a non-believer down!


 Oh and I am so GLAD! They are now selling those Immaculate Waters products – isn’t that great? From bar soaps, liquid soaps and body lotion; all infused with the healing waters of LOURDES! After all, that was a great message of Our Lady of Lourdes, “I am the Immaculate Conception. Go drink at the spring and bathe in its waters.” It is a wonderful message that we can take from that Lourdes apparition to Bernadette Whats-her-name; very healing, peaceful and overall very nice. 


  Also, if you are a choir member, or a “Eucharistic Minister”; there is something for YOU as well! It is especially important to remember those who hand out the Eucharist in Communion – with all those crowds at Sunday masses these days we really need a lot of them. What would we possibly do without our wonderful lil helpers?

 Speaking of helpers, I just read in the bulletin for this week, in the Lifeteen section that, if you are bored at mass or are having trouble keeping awake that the best thing to do is to get up off your keister and get involved!

 “Bored at Mass? Can’t wait for it to end? Want it to go faster? That’s easy—get involved! Sign up for one or more the roles at Mass: ministers of hospitality, altar servers, proclaiming the Scriptures, distributing communion, or taking the collection are always needed. “


   Isn’t that great? What a wonderful way to get the youth to really love the essence of the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross as reparation for our sins and the eating of His sacred body and blood! After all, it’s a community meal, and a memorial! It’s not as if Jesus is really there on the cross at every Mass; that wouldn’t be very nice… in fact, it would be pretty frightening… then we would have to think about perfecting ourselves even more, rather than meeting each other where we are at. *Shudder*. Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about that! Moving on.


 And we cannot forget our wonderful Believer Pins! Thanks to the Episcopal Shoppe; we can now show our faith in a cute and easy way! They even have rainbows for those who.. well.. we don’t talk about that part. Anyway! Aren’t they just adorbs? 

Other cute things we can find at these kinds of Catholic Gift Shops are those really cool “Cremation Rosaries” – why not take Grandma along in your hail mary’s? She always loved it when you admired her saying the rosary before she died. It would mean so much to her! I mean, so what if keeping ashes of your loved ones is forbidden by the Church – it’s not like its the 1950’s anymore! This is the 21st century! What about Grandma? Besides, if it wasn’t ok it wouldn’t be sold at these gift shops… right? 

We can also purchase cute statues and mementoes of Pope Francis ! Talk about taking our love for this Pope to another level! What a joy it is to add his statue to our collection of statues of saints! This really can remind us that we are already saints! We just haven’t made it to heaven yet! I just can’t wait until the first Church of Pope Francis opens! Won’t that be exciting!?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566) taught that idolatry is committed “by worshipping idols and images as God, or believing that they possess any divinity or virtue entitling them to our worship, by praying to, or reposing confidence in them” But that doesn’t mean I’ll be PRAYING to my statues of Pope Francis! …. only when I feel really really confused about matters of the faith. Can you blame me? Don’t judge me!

That’s all for this time, see my next blog post on Gift Shops for a “less sarcastic” explanation of how “Nice” this all is, and how detrimental this kind of thinking is for the Catholic Faith.

 Until next time! God bless! 


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