Catholic artist’s new graphic novel “Please God, Find Me a Husband!”


After Simone Lia said a prayer in the middle of Leicester Square, she was inspired to write her newest graphic novel, Please God, Find Me A Husband! Simone, the English artist and author whose book takes a whirlwind adventure with nuns, monks, Eucharistic Adoration, Scripture…and INXS, is definitely Catholic. She knows that it’s not an easy thing to publish something so saturated with Catholicism in the U.K. today:

I thought it’s taking a big risk because I know people are quite anti-Catholic. It’s a cultural thing that goes far back. But it’s also fashionable to be an atheist, especially in the comics industry, which is aimed at a young, metropolitan demographic, and rarely touches on religion in a positive way. I think by accident I’ve done something quite rebellious.

I have just discovered Simone and her work thanks to Father Stephen Wang, who said of this book:

It’s Cosmopolitan meets St John of the Cross via Snoopy and the Far Side. […] There is a moment of grace and enlightenment near the end of the book…that is both profoundly moving and presents a spiritual insight that is worthy of the contemplative masters, and that I don’t think could have been communicated so effectively in any other medium.

Not surprisingly, readers of all faiths are giving Please God, Find Me a Husband! positive reviews. You can watch a slide/audio show of the first part of the novel at The Guardian.View a few more religious pages at The Catholic Herald.

Thanks for being an inspiration, Simone!

The song that led me to Christ – “Set It Off”


I wasn’t always in love with Christ.

Like many other Catholics in the blogosphere, my faith was ignited by something unexpected. One day, as a teenaged girl who got lost in rock music, I saw a poster for this album in a music store:

In those days, new albums had CD players with headphones connected so that you could ‘preview’ the album. I listened to the first song, “Set It Off,” and knew I had to get the album. As my dad drove me home, I read the liner notes and lyrics. They stunned me.

These tattooed, pierced, dreadlocked hard rockers credited everything to Jesus Christ. All of their songs were about their Christianity. Researching the band later, I was flabbergasted to learn that they were platinum-selling artists signed to Atlantic Records, who had toured with the biggest rock bands in the business all over the globe. Everywhere they went, they testified to Jesus as Lord.

Payable On Death changed my life with rock music, because they introduced me to Jesus Christ in a way I had never known Him. They opened my eyes to the Friend I’d had knocking on my heart all my life. And it all started with this song…

I am indebted to them.

(A fan-created video for the song.)

Brilliant Rosary-praying method for children


My husband and I are still patiently waiting for little blessings to be conceived in our new family. In the meantime, I’m enjoying all the Catholic mom (and dad) bloggers who share brilliant ideas like this one:

Kimberlee, homeschooling mom of seven, found that her children had difficulty praying the Rosary with beads. (Move your fingers and your place is lost!) That didn’t deter her! She crocheted several roses and printed cards for the mysteries.

Here’s how it works: As each Hail Mary is prayed, a red rose is placed in a basket; on each Our Father, a white rose. Read Kimberlee’s full explanation here. Can’t crochet like me? Kimberlee has some great alternative suggestions. I would imagine you could get really creative here: yellow roses for the Glory Be, presenting the basket to a statue or portrait of Mary as the Hail Holy Queen is prayed, etc. Thanks for the inspiration, Kimberlee!

Do you have any special tips for family prayer?

Music for your projects by Josh Woodward

Josh Woodward

I’m always looking for great, free music to use in my ministry projects, and I’m looking forward to sharing my resources with you. Generally, you’ll do well to find music with Creative Commons licensesread more about them here. These are licensed specifically for use in projects like videos or podcasts. Make sure you read the terms of the license; they’ll indicate whether you need to attribute the music to the artist/composer.

One such artist who offers his music free of charge is Josh Woodward. From his website, you can stream previews of every song and download individual songs or entire albums in MP3 format. Some of the songs have companion instrumental versions. Here’s what he says about using his music for projects:

Go nuts! You’re welcome to use my music, free of charge for your projects. This includes movies, ads, podcasts, YouTube videos (for partners or otherwise), karaoke, recording techno/polka covers, anything. There’s no problem using them for commercial purposes, and it’s all 100% podsafe. You can use them as is – instrumental or regular, or you can hack them apart to use in your songs or projects. What’s the catch? Just one: you need to provide attribution. Somewhere, visible to anyone who will see your work, mention my name and the song title in the credits, along with a link to my website URL:

You can also buy physical copies or iTunes versions to support Josh’s great work. (I sure dig it.)

Where do you find music for projects?

Parish site inspiration – St. Mary’s in Fredericksburg, TX


St. Mary's Catholic Church - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot i)St. Mary's Catholic Church - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot ii)

Don’t you love it when you’re browsing parish websites, and one just makes you say, “Wow, that is really nice.”? That happened to me recently when I stumbled upon the online home of St. Mary’s parish in Fredericksburg, Texas.

A few noteworthy items on the church website:

  • Beauty & Personality – Both the beauty of the Faith and the parish’s unique personality are obvious, in photos, layout and color scheme used throughout the website.
  • Mass Schedule – It’s on the front page, left-hand side, where English speakers start when they’re reading. Great placement!
  • Easy Buttons – (Staples, don’t sue me…) Buttons on the front page make it easy to find what most people are looking for when they visit a parish website. Using the button format makes it less overwhelming and a little more ‘fun’ to find information.
  • Email Communications – Every business knows you need to grab consumers right off the bat; that’s why email sign-up buttons and forms belong on the front page of a website. St. Mary’s site does it right with a very visible button. Plus, they’re using a professional service…Constant Contact. Kudos!
  • Navigation exampleStraightforward Navigation – The site navigation menu makes finding things a snap. Plus, the large footer contains links to frequented content…a smart decision.

We could congratulate St. Mary’s on several other elements of their website, but those are some standout items that every parish should consider implementing.

St. Mary's Catholic School - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot i)St. Mary's Catholic School - Fredericksburg, TX (Screenshot ii)Another pleasant surprise: The parish school website design reflects the parish character while communicating the school’s own uniqueness. It even has an impressive, professional video (produced by a local production company) about the school embedded via Vimeo.

Smart elements on the school site:

  • Beauty & Personality – We don’t see this often, so it’s important to emphasize: the school site beautifully reflects its rootedness in the parish while communicating its uniqueness as a school.
  • Parent Portal – A fun graphic link connects parents to their portal. While many school sites’ portal login links are obnoxious and distracting, this one is neither.
  • Events Calendar – Everyone wants to know what’s happening at school, so it’s smart to have a simple calendar on the front page.
  • Calls to Action – Notice three buttons below the calendar: “Schedule a Tour” + “Send Me More Info” + “Visit Our Blog” In the web design world, we call these buttons “Calls to Action” because they get the user involved and prompt them to do something. These three particular actions can also create or strengthen personal connections to the school.

Congratulations, St. Mary’s! You’re an inspiration.

Franciscan photos – thru eyes of Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR

Screen Shot 2012-04-26 at 12.53.42 PM

It’s no secret that Father Stan Fortuna, CFR, is a talented dude (as he would say). Most people know him for his raps about the Eucharist, the popes, or the zipper zone. Fewer know his photographic eye. Do yourself a favor and check out Father Fortuna Photography – a gallery of his works. You can also find his photos on his blog and Facebook page.

The images capture the world through a Franciscan’s eyes.

Ministry event’s “spot color” web design

Screen Shot 2012-04-22 at 6.56.51 PM

In the new evangelization, there are lots of events: Concerts, conferences, workshops, Theology on Taps, small group gatherings, etc. Most of the websites I’ve seen for these events are, unfortunately, usually described as one of the following:

  • lacking in creativity
  • boring
  • uninspired/uninspiring
  • confusing/non-user-friendly
  • unprofessional
  • messy
  • outdated

Generally, when I am looking for web design inspiration, I skip over Catholic websites and look to Protestant/Evangelical Christian and secular websites. The Gospel Coalition’s Women’s Conference website gave me plenty of inspiration. Note the “spot color” design scheme corresponding to their organization’s logo color. They successfully made green beautiful and surprisingly appropriate for a women’s conference:

Moral of the story: Look to fellow Christians for inspiration and great ideas!

Free priest-generated church graphics

Screen Shot 2012-04-24 at 6.22.31 PM

Have you met Fr. Stephen? No?

Let me introduce you. According to his website, he’s

an MSC (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart) priest, who blogs about his faith and ministry, about the use of new technologies and social media for evangelization, as well as his advocacy for Linux and Free/Open Source Software. He finished a master’s degree in Social Communications at the Università Pontificia Salesiana in Rome, Italy.

Well, have you at least found his Flickr page? He gives you free, high-quality, liturgically-correct graphics to use for noncommercial purposes! You’d better go find him.