Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our blog has a new home!

As we're progressing toward the grand opening of Catholic Handmade, some exciting changes are happening!

One of those changes is our new and improved blog! The new blog has all of the features of this blog, and includes the same posts and pages with an exciting new look!

Please join us at Catholic Handmade - Blog!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Holy Father!

Today we celebrate Pope Benedict XVI's 84th birthday!

Born Joseph Ratzinger on Holy Saturday, April 16th 1927 in Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, Germany, his parents had him baptized the very same day. His big brother Georg has said that Joseph always had a gentle spirit, and was sensitive to the suffering of others. He also loved animals and music.

Not surprisingly, young Joseph Ratzinger was a bright and eager student, always willing to serve the Lord and others. He entered the seminary as a teenager. Sadly, the evil of Nazism had taken hold in his home country, and Joseph was conscripted into the German military. He knew the penalty for desertion was death, and bravely fled the German military and was a US prisoner of war for a short time.

After WWII ended, Joseph was free to pursue his calling to the priesthood. His brother Georg entered the seminary with him, and they both were ordained June 29th, 1951. Fr. Joseph's intellectual abilities quickly became known within the Church, and he taught as a professor at several universities in Germany before being asked to serve as a theological consultant for the Second Vatican Council in 1962.

Fr. Joseph's contributions to the Second Vatican Council solidified his reputation as an insightful theologian and man of wisdom and holiness. In 1977, Fr. Joseph became Archbishop Ratzinger, overseeing the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In three short months, Pope Paul VI named him a Cardinal. Cardinal Ratizinger continued to publish theological writings on everything from creation and evolution to ecumenism and politics. His wisdom and ability to apply traditional theological principles to modern issues made him an ideal choice for Pope John Paul II to appoint to prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

After the death of Pope John Paul II, the conclave of cardinals, guided by the Holy Spirit, chose Cardinal Ratzinger to be the next Holy Father. While most practicing Catholics were thrilled with the choice, the secular press was less than enthused. News stories abounded referring to the new pope as "John Paul II's Pit Bull," and "the Vatican's Enforcer." A picture was painted of a man that would rule with a iron fist, lacking in charity and sensitivity.

But those of us who have studied the life and papacy of Pope Benedict XVI know that this is not the case. Sources inside Vatican City echo what the Pope's brother Georg said about his little brother. He is a man of both gentleness and unswerving faith. Those who work closely with the Holy Father often speak of his profound humility. Far from the "pit bull" characterized by the secular media, Pope Benedict XVI has shown that true Christian love means speaking the truth with charity. It is interesting to note that his first two encyclicals have been on the topics of Love and Hope- painting a picture of a man that is a far cry from the heartless authoritarian many in the secular media portray him as.

Other interesting facts about the Holy Father include that his love for the music continues, and he often relaxes by playing Mozart on his piano. Pope Benedict also maintains his love of animals, and has two cats of his own. He has also spoken out against treating animals as mere commodities. Some have called Benedict VI "the Green Pope," as he has sought to develop the Church's position on environmental issues and Christian stewardship of natural resources. Pope Benedict has also tirelessly promoted peace and cooperation between all faiths and nations. He truly has been able to preserve the traditional teachings of the Faith while applying them to contemporary issues.

Pope Benedict XVI is said to love the Bavarian cuisine of his homeland. He also has his Italian favorites that he often dines on in the Vatican. A source close to the Holy Father has said that fresh buffalo mozzarella is one of his favorite snacks. Unlike the low-moisture mozzarella often eaten in America, fresh mozzarella has a deliciously soft, moist texture and mild creamy flavor. It is traditionally made with water buffalo milk, though most brands available in the US use cows milk.

And so in his honor, we share this recipe for a traditional, easy dish that showcases this beloved ingredient of Pope Benedict XVI!

Mozzarella Caprese


approx. 16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

3 large tomatoes, thickly sliced

2 red peppers, roasted and sliced*

1 cup fresh basil leaves

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar



*to roast peppers: cut in half and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Place under hot broiler until skin is blackened in places, approx. 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the broiler as exact time will vary depending on broiler temp. Once skin is blackened in places, remove pan from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes. Place peppers in a plastic bag and close the bag, allowing steam to build. Skin the peppers and slice.

To Prepare:

1. Slice the fresh mozzarella in 1/2" slices.

2. Layer tomatoes, mozzarella, roasted peppers, and fresh basil on large platter, alternating slices in a pattern.

3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

4. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add red onions, olives, capers, or other veggies if you wish. This traditional Italian salad is refreshing and delicious!

So raise a forkful and say a prayer for our Holy Father, Benedict VXI on his birthday! May the Lord bless us with many more years of his leadership and guidance!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Today's Featured Artist: Win Charles of Aspen Rose Arts

Inspired by flowers and the natural beauty of the Bahamas, Win Charles creates vibrant oil paintings that transport the viewer to the tropics. Born in Aspen, CO in 1987, Win taught herself to paint as a way of coping with her cerebral palsy.

Win's work has been displayed in many galleries, and she is eager to sell on the Catholic Handmade site this fall. Win's favorite saint is St. Anne, because she is the mother of Mary and grandmother of Christ.

Thank you, Win, for sharing your creativity with us! We're so glad to have you in the Catholic Handmade family!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guilds and Patron Saints: Catholic Handmade is reviving an ancient tradition!

Part of the unique character of Catholic Handmade will be the revival of Guilds under the patronage of the saints as a means of promoting Catholic art and handiwork. Rather than searching through categories of listings, Catholic Handmade patrons will have special Guild showrooms to explore.

If you have a hankering for some homebaked specialty cookies, the Bakers of St. Elizabeth is the showroom for you. If you're searching for some handmade scented candles, you'd want to take a peek in the Candlemakers of St. Ambrose room. Each room will also have a short biography of the its patron saint.

Shop Catholic artisans while learning about the Faith - it's what Catholic Handmade is all about!

Our wonderful technical manager Christopher found a great site with loads of interesting information about Guilds, which I've posted in our Reading Room. If you haven't had a chance to check out the Reading Room, take a look! There are links to many Papal speeches and letters, articles, and Vatican websites- all related to art and the Church. One of the links is to JPII's Letter to Artists, which helped inspire Catholic Handmade.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vatican: Oct. 22nd to be Bl. John Paul II's Feast Day

Yesterday, the Vatican made the announcement that Bl. John Paul II's feast day will becelebrated Oct. 22nd. According to the decree, Oct. 22nd was chosen because it marks the anniversary of John Paul II's liturgical inauguration of his papacy in 1978.

Until JPII is officially canonized, dioceses outside of Poland and Rome (his homeland and where he served as pope) will have to apply for special permission to insert the Oct. 22nd feast day into their liturgical calendars. If he becomes St. John Paul, his feast day will be universally observed on the liturgical calendar.

Also released was the opening prayer for the Mass in honor of Bl. John Paul:

"O God, who are rich in mercy and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II should preside as pope over your universal church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole redeemer of mankind. Who lives and reigns."

For more information, please visit the Catholic News Service article.