The Friar Who Was Ordered to Skate


Friar Gabriel skated for seven years as a teenager in Australia, but when he began sensing a call to the religious life, he prepared to abandon his skateboarding to live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

He joined the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Toodyay, Western Australia, and for six years he never touched a skateboard.

But then one day his superior gave a surprising assignment. He ordered Friar Gabriel to obtain a skateboard and go to the skatepark once a week, where he would evangelize and witness to the religious life.

“The American Catholic Almanac” Giveaway!


“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” – St. Augustine

Since I’ve built up a large collection of extra books and resources, every week I give some away absolutely free, no strings attached. Each giveaway lasts seven days with a new one beginning every Friday. You can enter any time during the week. Check out my past giveaways here.

Thanks to Image Books, today I’m giving away TEN copies of the new The American Catholic Almanac.

(If you missed it, read my interview with Emily about the book.)

How Catholics Changed America: An Interview with Emily Stimpson


Few writers know the American Catholic Church scene better than Emily Stimpson. As a longtime journalist for the Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly and several other Catholic publications, she’s written hundreds of articles on American parishes, religious trends, and on-the-ground Catholic life.

That made her the perfect writer to pair with Catholic Vote’s Brian Burch to produce The American Catholic Almanac: A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People Who Changed the United States (Image Books, 2014).

I recently sat down with Emily to discuss the new book, the legacy of American Catholics, and which Catholics will be remembered by future historians.

Learning from a Saint who Balanced Prayer and Action Perfectly

Today we continue our regular series called “Learning from the Saints.” Our guide is expert Bert Ghezzi, a dear friend of mine and the author of numerous books including Voices of the SaintsSaints at Heartand Discover Christ: Developing a Personal Relationship with Jesus.

His more recent books are The Heart of Catholicism and Prayers to the Holy Spirit. You can learn more about Bert and his work at

Today, Bert profiles St. Teresa of Avila, the sixteenth-century Doctor of the Church.