I’m really excited to announce that All Saints Museum is proud to present the Dear Saints Podcast, available on Spotify November 28th. I will be reading entries from my Dear Saints book series. The podcast will begin with my Christmas devotional, taking you through Advent, Christmas, and into the New Year over 40 days. The Dear Saints books are written in the voice of the Saints, and they incorporate plenty of Scripture and practical advice to inspire you through each day. Although I highly recommend purchasing your own copy of the Dear Saints books, my wife really urged me to do this podcast for those who don’t necessarily like readying, or may not have time to read – but who would be more apt to listen to a podcast while commuting, etc. I really hope you will enjoy.
Where to even begin? This is a dream. And like dreams, I’ll just lay it all out here without any order, unsure of the beginning, and even less sure of the end.
If you’ve ever seen Hotel Transylvania, it’s a cute family film about Count Dracula building a hotel for monsters, so they can be themselves without fear of humans – very top level summary… ha! This is my dream for All Saints Museum. A place where people can enjoy their faith without fear. It just so happens that I also really love the hotel that Dracula builds – a castle, with trap doors, hallways, secret rooms. I’d make All Saints Museum the same – a place where people can wander around and get lost – and yet actually want to get lost! I’d model it after St. Michael Castle (St. Michaels Mount – in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall England). I really want it to be in the Bay Area, because I do believe that California, with such a rich Catholic past, needs to be brought back to the faith – I’m thinking Santa Cruz would be ideal (Santa Cruz meaning Holy Cross – after all, it was St. John of the Cross who I wanted to honor originally).
I want this Museum to include four (4) integrated yet unique “parts” for lack of a better word. I want it to be a theme-park, hotel, basilica, and conference center – collectively All Saints Museum (of course the church would be distinct).
The theme park (more properly the museum) will be dedicated to St. John of the Cross (since he recognized the importance of ordering our senses toward God). It will be an interactive park (mainly indoors) and include combination of rides, displays, shows, and presentations. While it may include pictures and art, I want it to be virtually indestructible – so that kids of all ages can enjoy the displays, etc.
Imagine flying with Saint Joseph of Cupertino on a sky-line across the top of the museum to have a view from above. Taking a relic-coaster tour of the Catacombs, or around the Museum – like the Disneyland train that goes around the park, dropping off guests at different areas. There could be a St. Pio “bilocation” ride. Gladiator ride on chariots around an arena. A boat ride of course – after Noah or Jonah, or with the Apostles when Jesus was walking on the water. An ascension ride. There are so many great ideas around the Saints that lend themselves to rides and entertainment.
Walk with Adam and Eve through the Garden of Eden. Or come face to face with Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Walk the Villa Dolorosa while saying the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary. This can be done by an actual physical sets and props, or using Virtual Reality (VR), which is the wave of the future. I do want to have all the Saints life-size in a wax museum – or throughout the park. There would be displays of the Saints in their most famous moments – perhaps an exhibit with St. Stephen on knees about to be stoned with caption on the bottom – last words “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Or St. Catherine of Siena advising Pope Gregory XI. St. Joan of Arc. The Annunciation. Have fun in the St. Teresa of Avila’s “Interior Castle” escape room, where guests have to answer trivia about saints to unlock the clues and doors. Again, there are so many things that could be done.
Experiencing an IMAX theater view of the Creation account in Genesis. Planetarium for viewing and researching the solar system. Learn about the lives of the Saints with holographic images of the Saints (like in Jurassic World). Catholic movie presentations for seasons (like the Passion of the Christ on Holy Week, etc.).
There are many ways the Museum could be organized – by type of Saint (Married, Widowed, religious, Virgins, Martyrs, etc.). Could also have one side of museum be the Old Testament and the other side the New Testament.
The Hotel would be dedicated to St. Martha (although maybe St. Andre Bessette since he was the humble door keeper). It would be themed so that rooms are dedicated to Saints and include time-period appropriate décor, etc. St. Philomena Room, St. Dymphna Room, St. Gerard Majella Room.. etc. The Saint name instead of room numbers ?
The Basilica would be dedicated to St. Gemma and St. Francis. I’d model the church after St. Dominic’s Church in San Francisco (highly recommend visiting if you’re in the area). I want it to have various niches with altars for different Saints. Would love to have Relics displayed throughout for veneration and devotion. Mass on Sundays of course with a bell tower to let visitors know when Mass is going on. – Park would shut down Sunday during Mass to make sure all guests do not miss their Sunday obligation. This is a MUST!
Conference Center dedicated to St. Francis de Sales or St. Thomas Aquinas – one of the Drs of the Church – since it will be state of the art and devoted to studying, research, and exploring the faith, etc. This Conference Center will include a retreat house, a library, a lecture hall / auditorium for speakers and shows, and perhaps work with Rome to have “US” divisions of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Vatican Museum, and other Pontifical Committees so that research and partnering can be easier for those not able to travel to Rome
I want an enclosed parking structure that is seamlessly integrated to the Castel. Parking, therefore, would be part of the experience of visiting the Museum. Would have levels similar to Dante’s levels, where the base level would be themed like hell, up to the very top level that would be themed as heaven, and all the various levels – there would be a spiral turn up the middle for traffic to enter and exit, and the center spiral would have giant statues of Angels ascending and descending. Outside walls would have stained glass so that from the outside you wouldn’t know it was a parking structure, and from the inside you would have the beauty of the light coming through.
The Road Ahead:
I’m a family man, with a beautiful wife of 20 years and three (3) lovely daughters. I’m devoted to my family, and I do have a day-job that I’m quite loyal to as well. Therefore, as much as I really want to just dive into this Museum project, it does actually scare me a bit. I want to make this happen, but I don’t quite have the support I need to really make a go at it yet. I know God wants me to manage my domestic church first. And so until I know what God really wants the next step to be, I’m at least casting this net out.
Our core goal and motto is – Venerating Saints of the Past, Inspiring Saints of the Future. No matter where I’m at in this project, this is what I hope to do. Day by day, brick by brick, I pray that one day this dream Museum will become a reality.
Dario Sattui built his dream castle – he used real authentic Italian stone (like 1300 century building materials). I would like to do the same. I want All Saints Museum to be built with noble materials, and as much as possible not simply pre-fabricated and raised up quick. I think an awesome fundraiser would be to sell the building blocks for the Museum, literally. And each stone / block would have the donors info on it – kind of like the central walk-way of Disneyland that has pavers with names on it. The structure of All Saints Museum would be a monument to those who contributed to building it.
If you want to reach out with any words of encouragement, any prayers (or prayer intentions I can pray for), any thoughts or ideas you’d like to share – please reach me at [email protected].
I’ve put out a few books, and sales go toward All Saints Museum – as well as future book projects. You can check out the Dear Saints book collection on Amazon (Dear Saints: Lenten Edition, Dear Saints: Christmas Edition, Dear Saints: Catechesis on Saints, and I’m currently writing Dear Saints: Catechesis on Sacraments to be released next year).
Financial or other contributions are tax-deductible. All Saints Museum is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Funds will go toward our mission, and ultimately to fulfilling this dream.
Either way, please reach out, we need each other as fellow workers in God’s Vineyard.
Thank you so much, and God bless!
As I had stated before, relics play a central role in this Museum, and I want to continue this. Over the years it has become more difficult to attain relics, and I attribute this largely to the misunderstanding and abuse of them. They are bought and sold on websites like eBay, which is extremely scandalous. Many good Catholics buy them attempting to “rescue” the relics – but this only exacerbates the issue because it creates and solidifies the demand. Sellers take advantage of buyers who will do anything to “rescue” them. And many of these relics are counterfeit to begin with anyway. True relics are authenticated by Postulators and Bishops in charge of the distribution of them, and they cannot be sold. They are given. And they are not owned either. Those who posses relics are the stewards of them. Relics are meant for public veneration by the faithful. They are meant to be exposed and venerated, not horded away for private devotion. Therefore, Bishops now are cracking down on even sending relics out for legitimate use. I encourage people to NOT buy them online, no matter your intentions. Pray, and let it go. That’s all you can do. But in the mean-time. I also encourage people to learn about relics. They are an extraordinary gift to us. They are a testament to the fact that our Saints aren’t just legend or myth. They are true. These were real people who truly lived on earth. They ate, slept, suffered, had fun, smiled – they were human!
You know, we don’t get grossed out or even question when a famous basketball player gives a fan their shoes or jersey, or when fans risk life and limb to catch a foul ball or hockey puck. We don’t seem to be phased when a famous actor’s clothes are sold at auction for millions, or when fans fight over the pick tossed into he crowd by a famous singer. It’s human nature to want some token or memento of someone who we look up to or admire. We all have special sentimental attachments to things passed down to us from past generations in our families. It’s natural to want this connection to the past, to stay close physically to our loved ones. We visit graves for the same reason. Even in biblical times, the tombs of the kings were well known, and the bones of relatives were always buried close so that their memories wouldn’t perish with them.
Relics are sacramentals, because they have their end goal in leading us to a greater faith. They bring us closer to the Sacraments. It is by venerating relics, the Saints they represent, where we receive devotion and inspiration in our faith – to live heroic lives just as they did! This is really what faith is all about – faith is the substance of things unseen as St. Paul teaches us. And it doesn’t get more substantial than a physical part of the saint!
I always feel bad asking for signs from God. It’s not usually a good idea, because God desires our confidence in him. However, he also understands our human weakness. He knows that even when he reveals things to us, our minds sometimes are too small to really comprehend which direction he’s pointing us in. And so God does give us the grace of miracles many times. Nevertheless, most times we don’t even take the time to realize that they are miracles. Sometimes we pass them off as coincidences, too stubborn to accept that God is offering his help to us in our time of need.
Several miracles have happened that I can recall, two of which are noteworthy here.
I love all the Saints very much. St. Francis is my patron Saint, and he holds a special place in my heart of course. However, while I was searching the web for Saints I came across one that looked a lot like my daughter, and her incredible, beautiful, innocent look just pierced me. St. Gemma Galgani – what an wonderful Saint. I was drawn to her, and she spoke to me through her eyes. Now, there is website dedicated to her (www.stgemmagalgani.com), operated by Glenn Dallaire who is such a nice person. I reached out to Mr. Dallaire in regards to acquiring a relic of St. Gemma, the first relic I ever sought. He gave me some advice on how I might write a letter to the postulate for her cause. I wrote the letter in early March of 2015. In an age when we can send and receive emails and text messages instantaneously, to send letters via traditional “snail-mail” takes a lot of patience. But it also is a lot more rewarding to receive something physical that you can touch – almost as if those letters themselves are relics – even sacramental in nature. I sent the letter with high expectations, yet with a sense of peace that either way at least I was trying. I didn’t necessarily have a sense of urgency for a response. Like a fishing line cast into the lake, I set my pole and was content to wait. Now – if you know anything at all about St. Gemma, this is one of the few Saints to have received the Stigmata (the wounds of Christ). She was a victim for sinners, offering her own suffering united to Christ for the salvation of souls. St. Gemma was particularly devoted to Good Friday, and in fact it was every Friday that she herself bore the wounds of Christ. Her Stigmata was particular to Fridays. So it was no small miracle when, behold, a package from the Passionists in Rome arrived in my mail on none other than Good Friday – only a few weeks after having written. It was a 1st Class Relic of St. Gemma. Of all the days! The package wasn’t sent express, it wasn’t guaranteed. So there was no way for them on their end to coordinate it arriving exactly on Good Friday. And the fact that St. Gemma was Passionist at heart, dedicated to Good Friday and the Passion of our Lord. There really is no other explanation, other than to admit that Our Lord willed this to be so. I’m forever grateful for this consolation – a hint by our Lord that this Museum, this mission, is something he desires.
The other miracle that stands out to me on this journey is the All Saints name. As previously mentioned, it was Ms. Cox who had recommended the name to me. It’s worth mentioning here that in my first call with her, she told me to “build my museum brick by brick, just like St. Francis”. This was before she knew that my Patron Saint was St. Francis – so this was already a wink by God that he was present in this situation. But I took her advice to heart. A few days later on my way to work, as was my custom, I stopped by Our Lady of Peace to pray before the Blessed Sacrament about this. As I knelt in prayer, a holy card caught my eye in the pew in front of me. It was very early in the morning, and hardly anyone was there. So I picked up the holy card. It was a prayer card provided by All Saints Church – a church I had never heard of before. Coincidence… I think not. I knew at that point that God had answered my question. And All Saints Museum was official.
If you have a hard time understanding the Catholic practice of praying to the Saints, or want to learn more about why Catholics believe what we do about Saints, then my new book – Dear Saints: Catechesis on Saints – is for you.
Written in an easy Question and Answer format, this book is full of scripture references and practical advice that explain and defend Catholics devotion to the Saints. It is divided into 5 sections, and covering a total of 40 questions, which makes this book is ideal for a 40 day devotion.
My prayer is that this Catechesis will be a source of answers for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike in understanding the Saints and their important role in our lives.
“After I had eaten, I didn’t feel at all well so he (her guardian Angel) brought me a cup of coffee so good that I was healed instantly and then he made me rest a while” – from the diary of St. Gemma Galgani.
There you have it. Coffee. The drink of choice given by Angels.
Just a quick break from work to get some Spiritual food from the Imitation. Such a profound book. Thank you Lord for Thomas a Kempis. May he be enjoying the eternal vision of Your Beauty.
“Many have lost devotion, whilst they would search into lofty matters… If thou dost neither understand nor comprehend those things which are beneath the, how mayst thou comprehend such as are above thee?” – The Imitation of Christ
All Saints Museum is all about promoting an understanding of the Saints, in particular with regards to our relationship with them. Here is a book I highly recommend by Author Dr. Scott Hahn.
Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God’s Holy Ones
There is a promotion going on right now, and you can purchase this book for just $1.99 for your ebook.