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.
In the meantime, while I was praying I was also researching. I wrote letters, reaching out for advice, guidance, anything. Just trying to find that next door. Where was God leading me? From the earliest moments of this calling I had a special spot in my heart for relics, and I started to learn more about relics and really loved the idea of having something physical present to drive home the reality of the Saints – more on that to come – and so an early “version” or stepping stone to All Saints Museum was “Triumphant Tours”. As I began to receive some relics, I wanted to try to make these accessible to people in hospitals and prisons – people who couldn’t come to a Church to see them. This lead me to meeting a few people. It also lead to some doors being closed. And, like I said, some other doors being opened. I found Treasures of the Church, and we were able to host this at our local parish. I wrote the Knights of Columbus. I wrote the founder of Domino’s Pizza and Ave Maria University (Thomas Monaghan). I wrote Dario Sattui who had built a veritable castle in California (Castello di Amorosa – highly recommend a tour of this amazing work) . I wrote numerous Bishops. And I wrote several people about how to start a business – needing a business plan, having a feasibility study done, etc. I gathered as much information as I could.
In my research, I found that it is a good idea to gather as much intel about competing or similar businesses. Therefore, I tried to find other museums, and other theme parks, that I could compare and learn from. I found that there are a few very successful religious museums with a similar flavor – Creation Museum is one, and the other is the Museum of the Bible. Both demonstrate the interest people have in learning their faith. They also demonstrate that such businesses can be successful. I also learned that there were religious theme parks that had seen some success. One such theme park was The Holy Land Experience, which was massively successful until the founder essentially fell in love with the money (you know what they say about the love of money – sadly). But this validates that there is a market for such family enjoyment – there simply needs to be someone at the helm who truly is interested in the benefit of the guests.
During this time of research, I also wrote to Ms. Christina Cox, Foundress and president of The National Museum of Catholic Art and Library (NMCAL). Ms. Cox took an interest in me right away, taking me under her wing as it were. She was the one who encouraged me to make a leap of faith and incorporate my Museum. She told me that if I do this, it will be a concrete step forward to making this dream a reality. And she was right. I went on to incorporate and establish my Museum as a tax-exempt non-profit. She also advised me to consider re-naming the Museum “All Saints”, since my focus was the Saints – and she felt like “The Dark Night Museum” was… well… too dark. I had to pray about this because I really wanted to honor St. John of the Cross. However, as I went to pray about this, God gave me a miraculous sign that she was right again. One miracle among many that have given me faith in this project.
I knew from my love of the Saints and my Catholic faith that when one receives a calling in their heart from the Lord the best thing they can do is pray and listen more intently. Most of the time God doesn’t just lay out the whole plan for people – otherwise we would get cold feet and back away entirely, because God’s plans are always greater than our own minds believe we can achieve. Rather, God lays down one section of the road at a time, leading us through the labyrinth one leg at a time, one foot in front of the other, step by step. If we are attentive to the voice of God, and we follow his lead and his promptings, then we find that where one door might close, another one opens up. We just have to keep knocking, asking, seeking. He will honor our feeble attempts at stumbling around in the dark. He shines the light where our eyes need to focus.
And so with this, I prayed. I listened. I dreamed. I imagined what could be done. I poured my heart out to our Lord. I spoke to him about the pros and cons of a museum. I talked to him about how this idea could really help a lot of people grow closer to their faith. I also talked to him about how I don’t like working weekends, especially Sundays – and that I would want this museum to honor the Lord’s day. I brought to the Lord all my feelings and desires, all my thoughts and ideas, and I just laid them all at his feet.
I also sought spiritual advice from several priests I knew. One priest in particular (Father Michael Pintacura) was also in the process of making his own museum (I encourage everyone to pray for him and the museum dedicated to Blessed Anna Maria Taigi http://taigivision.org/). God speaks to us in many ways – mostly through Scripture, but also through other holy men and women. He also speaks to us through the voice of his Saints.
This is what prayer really is. It isn’t so much about me asking this, and God granting my wishes. It’s a dialogue between a Father and a son, between family. I have to constantly remind myself of this, because it can feel very one-sided at times… me doing all the talking. I have to learn to listen more. I’m still learning. Still praying. And I’m still listening.
Amidst the scandals and the news that has left many of us grieving – trying to process how those we trust as the heads of the Bride of Christ, His Church, have stooped so low -, I was also rocked by some more acute personal news that our Parish School will be dropping 8th Grade Confirmation. Our oldest daughter being in 8th Grade this year has left me digging deeper on what this Sacrament really means, and if there is any significance to when one should receive it. And I would like to share my findings with you.
Now first of all, our Parish isn’t the only one that has punted this Sacrament out to the high school years and beyond. It has been general practice in our Diocese – which is one of the reasons our School felt so special when they adopted an earlier Confirmation practice.
Nevertheless, the reasoning behind our Parish’s decision is that the 8th Graders are not yet mentally mature enough to know what it means to live a fully Catholic life in the faith, and that they should gain some real-life experience before they make this leap into full initiation.
Right off the bat this didn’t sit right with me, because after-all the Sacrament itself is in aide to maturity. And secondly, taking the same stance with other Sacraments, why do we let 7 year olds recieve the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament when they can’t even tie their own shoes let along grasp the concept of our God in the appearance of bread? But yet, they somehow are mature enough to receive this Sacrament. So what gives with Confirmation?
Here’s what I’ve come to understand –
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1290), “In the first centuries Confirmation generally comprised one single celebration with Baptism…” this was done on infants. Furthermore, in CCC (1307) “For Centuries, Latin custom has indicated ‘the age of discretion’ as the reference point for receiving Confirmation. “
The age of discretion of course being around 7 years. This is around the same time we traditionally give children the Sacrament of Holy Communion (the Body of Jesus Christ). – and as noted, we allow Children to receive Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe! For many years, and for this very reason, Holy Communion wasn’t given until after Confirmation, if not given together.
In other words, for the better part of the entire Church history Confirmation has been given to children – not to young adults. And additionally – in CCC (1308): “Although Confirmation is sometimes called the ‘sacrament of Christian maturity,’ we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need ‘ratification’ to become effective.” And CCC (1314) “Indeed the Church desires that none of her children, even the youngest, should depart this world without having been perfected by the Holy Spirit with the gift of Christ’s fullness.”
In general, the Catholic Church doesn’t tent toward the idea of waiting. On the contrary, the caveats and exceptions in the CCC all lean toward giving the Sacrament even earlier – i.e. especially if there is danger of death as an example.
And this is because Confirmation isn’t supposed to be “the end” so to speak of our Christian development in maturity. It is merely the beginning! This Sacrament strengthen and Confirms a faith – fortifies it for battle. The Sacrament of Confirmation allows the recipient to receive the full spectrum of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit – weapons that they can use to do real battle in the Spiritual life. These are tools they absolutely need in order to have the best chance of retaining their Faith through high school and into adulthood.
Sacraments are a gift, freely given. And therefore, whether the child receiving it is ready at that moment or not, sooner or later they will be.
Although I understand pastoral concerns for the children’s readiness of the 8th graders, I just cannot agree with the thought of withholding this Grace at such a precarious point in a person’s life. How many souls could be at stake. Just as a couple might be waiting until they are “ready” to get Married…. Or a Married couple waiting to be “ready” to have children.. There is a sweet spot where readiness cannot be measured. We’re never ready to be Married, but if we are called to it, then God provides. The same is true for having children. If we waited until we were ready, then no one would ever have children. And the same is true for the Sacraments. How can we ever be ready enough to live Divine Life!? But His Grace is sufficient.
Our children need this Sacrament in order to live their Christian life to the fullest. Before high school is where this counts the most, because in high school it may be too late. Why would we wait for them to enter into high school – the time where they will be the most tempted and tried in all aspects of moral question – without first fortifying them and giving them this Grace?
I can guarantee that many children by their first year in high school will have lost any hope of being Confirmed, and for those that do get Confirmed after that first year it will have been too late in some cases of sin. (Think of these major points – who they make new friends with, after school activities, will they start to work, starting to drive, starting to date). Why would we allow them this chance at sullying their Baptismal gowns?
In a sports related example…, it would be like giving a football player all the training he needs to go out and play a game, but yet withholding the pads until he gains some experience in playing. The athlete needs all of the training and the equipment in order to play the game without getting injured. A coach can’t put a player out on the field and say – when there are ready to get hit, then they can come get the helmet. They go out on the field with all the equipment already in place, whether the helmet is needed or not!
It is a mystery to my why Dioceses has done this for many years – that is to wait. It may have developed more out of a sense of availability for the Bishop to get around and perform the ceremony. It may also be a way to offer opportunities for those who are converting to the faith later in life to have that. And dare I speak the more cynical – perhaps its a way of creating more “classes” so that the customers… err… I mean candidates can register for a small fee… Praise God, as I understand it, the trend now is actually swinging back the other way. And there are other parishes and articles on line that talk to this revival of the order of the Sacraments.
Now my final point of the matter is the question on where our Catholic elementary Schools stands. If we want our schools to stand apart from the rest, then we cannot simply chase after academic prestige. That is what the schools seem to be doing. We should be offering a rigorous Religious Education, providing all the Sacraments of Initiation, raising and sending off well educated – yet more importantly – well-formed young adults. This is the gift that Catholic education can give which will distinguish us from the others. Kids get bombarded with Math homework, Science projects, English papers to write, and yet Religion is a touchy feely – basically pass or fail – class that has no deep content. I’ve never seen any children pushed to their limit to understand the Sacraments, the Virtues, the Seven Deadly Sins, Angels or any such article of our Faith. I totally understand that parents are the first educators. But that’s the case as well for all the other subjects, and we don’t use that excuse to push the burden of education for math on children. Yes, parents should know their faith, and we should pass our faith on. But as we rely on the “experts” to help them with math and science, we should as well for our Catholic faith. This is in fact the ministry of the Church to help our children learn the faith from the experts.
I encourage you all to please learn about this Great Sacrament, and urge our Schools and Dioceses to offer it earlier rather than later. Our future generation of Saints depends on this.
God bless from your family here at All Saints Museum
This is the final part of a talk I recently gave to a Youth Group. I split the talk into 3 parts – Sacraments, Sacramentals, and Relics. Check out Part 1, and Part 2, if you haven’t already. I really hope you enjoy.
This is what All Saints Museum is all about. Bringing the Saints and our Faith in a very special way to people. Our motto is “Venerating Saints of the past. Inspiring Saints of the future.”
Please say a prayer with us that talks like this will touch souls and bear much good fruit.
Also, please check out our website, and subscribe to your YoutTube Channel to stay up to date on our latest.
This is the 2nd in a 3 part talk I recently gave to a Youth Group. I split the talk into 3 parts – Sacraments, Sacramentals, and Relics. Check out Part 1, if you haven’t already. I really hope you enjoy.
Please check out our website, and subscribe to your YoutTube Channel to stay up to date on our latest.
I was blessed to be able to give a talk to a Youth Group recently. I split the talk into 3 parts – Sacraments, Sacramentals, and Relics. I really hope you enjoy.
Please check out our website, and subscribe to your YoutTube Channel to stay up to date on our latest.