Grand Rapids Catholic

Catholic Ministries and Events in Grand Rapids, Michigan


Pope Francis Visit website gets America ready for the Pope

I Love Pope FrancisA big thanks to Joseph Feeley for sending information about the Pope’s visit to the U.S.!

He writes:

I thought your readers might be interested in reading a news bit about this website that was created for the Pope’s visit to the U.S.A.. It has the pope’s visit schedule broken down by city, has news, hotel booking and other stuff. It’s called There are two press releases out for it already:

Religious News Services (RNS) released a press release about it here the other day:

and Christian News Wire had a bit about it too:

When the news is overloaded with Pope Francis, where do you get the details on his upcoming U.S. visit?

Catholic to the Max, the Ohio-based family company famous for their t-shirts, coffee mugs, and framed art, has made the all-in-one solution. They call it is a comprehensive website providing information on Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the United States. Finding historical background and keeping up with the latest information on a papal visit to America usually means jumping from site-to-site on the web, but Catholic to the Max has created a one-stop-shop for that.

“We’ve been down this road before, back in 2008, when we realized there was no all-in-one website for Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.S.” says Mark Nelson, the owner of Catholic to the Max.

“There was a ‘Pope in New York’ website made by New York, there was a ‘Pope in D.C.’ website made by D.C., but there was no all-inclusive website with shopping, travel, and the whole shebang, so we made one ourselves.”

A devout Catholic and father of nine children, Nelson and his Catholic to the Max are no strangers to Papal visits, having run the official retail arm of the 2008 Pope Benedict Visit to Washington, D.C. as well as his own unofficial websites in the past.

“We’re just doing what we love: celebrating the Pope. We don’t need to be labeled ‘official’ in order to love the Holy Father in our own way. This is what we do.”

The “unofficial” nature of the website, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t get official products there. In addition to supplying Philadelphia and the World Meeting of Families with retail merchandise, Nelson is also licensed to sell the official World Meeting Icon on his own website and to Catholic bookstores across the country.

“The World Meeting has an official icon of the Holy Family that we can beautifully reproduce on canvas, wood, even coffee mugs. Parishes have already been buying their own Holy Family icon reproductions and setting them up at the front of the church. Everything we sell goes to support the World Meeting, both monetarily and prayerfully.”

Prayerfully? Nelson believes that prayers for Catholic families in general, and the World Meeting of Families specifically, are necessary over the next several months, and the Holy Family icon can help encourage that.

“Having that official image at the front of the church during Mass or having small prints available on a table in the back is a huge reminder and wake-up call for the average Catholic: this World Meeting is a big deal, and we need to get the word out and to pray.”

Catholic to the Max is based in Steubenville, Ohio. World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis products are available at, or by phone at 800.895.6267


Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI Highlighted his Pastoral, Scholarly, Holy Life, Says Cardinal Dolan

Timothy Cardinal DolanCardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued this statement moments after learning of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013.

Statement of Cardinal Timothy Dolan

The Holy Father brought the tender heart of a pastor, the incisive mind of a scholar and the confidence of a soul united with His God in all he did. His resignation is but another sign of his great care for the Church. We are sad that he will be resigning but grateful for his eight years of selfless leadership as successor of St. Peter.

Though 78 when he elected pope in 2005, he set out to meet his people – and they were of all faiths – all over the world. He visited the religiously threatened – Jews, Muslims and Christians in the war-torn Middle East, the desperately poor in Africa, and the world’s youth gathered to meet him in Australia, Germany, and Spain.

He delighted our beloved United States of America when he visited Washington and New York in 2008. As a favored statesman he greeted notables at the White House. As a spiritual leader he led the Catholic community in prayer at Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a pastor feeling pain in a stirring, private meeting at the Vatican nunciature in Washington, he brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse by clerics.

Pope Benedict often cited the significance of eternal truths and he warned of a dictatorship of relativism. Some values, such as human life, stand out above all others, he taught again and again. It is a message for eternity.

He unified Catholics and reached out to schismatic groups in hopes of drawing them back to the church. More unites us than divides us, he said by word and deed. That message is for eternity.

He spoke for the world’s poor when he visited them and wrote of equality among nations in his peace messages and encyclicals. He pleaded for a more equitable share of world resources and for a respect for God’s creation in nature.

Those who met him, heard him speak and read his clear, profound writings found themselves moved and changed. In all he said and did he urged people everywhere to know and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

The occasion of his resignation stands as an important moment in our lives as citizens of the world. Our experience impels us to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict. Our hope impels us to pray that the College of Cardinals under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit choose a worthy successor to meet the challenges present in today’s world.



Pope Benedict XVI to resign on February 28

Pope Benedict XVIVatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he expected a conclave of cardinals to be held in March within 15 or 20 days of the resignation and a new pope elected before Easter Sunday on March 31.

Here is the pope’s announcement:

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.

And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013



The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament

This has been available for a couple of years now, but I just learned about it. It sounds totally awesome. One woman that was speaking about it said that listening to it, hearing an actor read Jesus’ words, it was like listening to Jesus give a homily and she didn’t want to stop listening. It’s available on CD and via MP3 download.

There’s also an app.

It’s available for any device you might have. iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook and PC. There’s a free app that includes a searchable Bible with the Old and New Testament, and it includes the audio version of the book of Mark for free. If you get the paid app, it includes the entire audio New Testament. That app is $19.99.

From their website: The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. Voiced by award winning internationally-renowed actors including: Neal McDonough, Kristen Bell, Sean Astin, Michael York, Blair Underwood, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Brian Cox, Julia Ormond, John Rhys-Davies and many more. The Truth & Life audio New Testament is a first of its kind dramatized audio Bible from the RSV-CE

From Chicago to Hollywood to New York and beyond… over 70 actors, 20 audio engineers in 10 studios over 3 continents contributed to the creation of this unique audio New Testament.

More than 100 media development experts and 10,000 production hours were needed to complete this ambitious project.

The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours in length.

Visit Truth & Life App to learn more!