Review: The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Fourth Edition)

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This image is only representative of the review. The actual cover of the reviewed copy has slight differences (see slideshow)

Note: I received a copy of this Bible almost a year ago. Due to its length, it was only until now that I was able to review it. However just recently, April 2018, the fifth edition was released. Therefore, the contents of this review only pertain to the fourth edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible.

I have reviewed many Bibles from Oxford, including Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible. I have never been disappointed with Bible from Oxford, and The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Fourth Edition) was no exception. Straying away from Catholic specific Bibles, this Bible is an ecumenical study bible, meaning that it can be used in more than one Christian denomination. This version I am reviewing contains the Apocrypha.

First, I have to remark about the physical qualities of the Bible. It is a hardcover book, 6 9/16 x 9 inches dimensions, of fair weight, similar to that of a University textbook. I like the fact that it has a sewn binding, ensuring that the book will last for years, especially for those who will vigourously use this bible. The bible lays flat when opened.

Regarding the visual aspect, the type is readable, approximately size 11pt or 12pt with the notes in a smaller font, probably 9 or 10 pt. The font of the bible text is in a font similar to Cambria, while the notes, headings and essays are in a sans-serif font.

The bible text itself is in a two column format, common in most bibles. However, unlike Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible, the footnotes that correlate with a specific verse are all in single column format at the bottom of the page.

As expected by Oxford, there were many different charts, maps and essays. I especially like the chart comparing the Ten Commandments of the different Christian denominations. There is also a timeline at the back which I like. There are many essays that expand on certain dimensions of the scriptures (e.g. The Canon of the Bible, Textual Criticism). You can surf through the slideshow to see some more amazing features.

There is also a detailed introduction to every section and book of the bible, giving the reader a structure overview of the book and what to expect in the section/book.

One thing I always remark about study bibles are the maps. I am never disappointed with Oxford’s maps, considering that they have also published academic atlases. Not only are there maps scattered throughout the bible in black and white, but also a series of coloured maps are available just like Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible.

Finally, to wrap up this review, I have to emphasize that this study bible focuses more on the historical and geographical dimension of the scriptures. Unlike Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible, this Annotated Bible gives the readers a background of the scriptures of the time of Jesus, giving the reader a historical context and give the reader a wider picture of the scripture they read.

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On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★☆ 4/5

Though The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Fourth Edition) is a good study bible in the historical context and biblical geographical context, as a Catholic, I prefer Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible.

Like Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible though, I would prefer if the bible had a bookmark ribbon or ribbons.

Even though this is a review of the fourth edition, I believe that the fifth edition would be better with its supplements.

Click Here to Purchase The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (Fifth Edition) 



Review: The Order of Mass in Nine Languages by Liturgical Press


This review could also be found on

Have you ever travelled internationally and was not able to attend Mass in English or a language you are fluent in? Want to participate actively in the Mass without bringing several missals when travelling? Liturgical Press published The Order of Mass in Nine Languages five years ago.

9780814634561.jpgThe Order of Mass is provided in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese, Tagalog and Vietnamese were compiled into one 80-paged booklet, 7″ x 10″. Honestly, I was surprised that Vietnamese was included as one of the nine languages because honestly, I find Vietnamese is often excluded from multilingual publications.

The texts are laid out as nine boxes on a page (3 boxes by 3 boxes). At first, I thought the the text would be laid out in columns, but having nine languages in one book, I figured that would result in very narrow columns. The text is in readable 11 or 12 pt font. The people’s responses are in bold, while the presider’s parts are in regular text. The rubrics are not present in The Order of Mass in Nine Languages, as it would probably result in a thicker booklet. Some headings though, are printed in red.

Regarding the content itself, The Order of Mass in Nine Languages contains ALL of the dialogue and people’s responses during the Mass, in the nine languages indicated. It even contains the text of the four standard Eucharistic Prayers (EP I, II, III, and IV). In one copy of the Order of Mass in Vietnamese, I only saw Eucharistic Prayer II printed. The booklet however, does not contain the propers such as Collects or Prefaces.

Reading the copyright page of the booklet, I see that the booklet has been “published with the approval of the Committee on Divine Worship United States Conference of Catholic Bishops”. Below the notice, the copyright of every Ordo Missae from the Missale Romanum of each of the nine languages are indicated. Both the notice and copyright assures me that (1) The booklet is simply not a compilation Ordo Missaes of other languages from the internet and (2) The project has the approval of an episcopal conference.

The price of the booklet is affordable, $9.95 USD. I brought the booklet for my pastor to see for his interest, and joked with him, each language in the book would be worth a little more than $1! To me, it is a great deal.

The booklet is softcover, with a matte finishing which brings a really nice texture. I would like to see a hardcover version made for travellers, but I assume that would mean the book would rise in price.

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

This book is probably one of the shortest and simplest reviews I will write on The Catholic Man Reviews as the booklet itself is simple. However, The Order of Mass in Nine Languages is an invaluable resource for those who attend Mass in a foreign language and would like to actively take part in the Liturgy. I will certainly bring The Order of Mass in Nine Languages when I am on my Europe trip next March.

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The Catholic Pilgrim is here!


Dear friends of The Catholic Man Reviews,

First, I thank you all for all the support through your loyal readership and sending review copies or samples of your products. You have given The Catholic Man Reviews life and power to evangelize and gives me the chance to give honest reviews on Catholic products. Many more reviews are coming soon, especially during the summer.

In preparation for my trip to Europe Trip in March of 2019, I have launched a sister-blog with The Catholic Man Reviews, called, The Catholic Pilgrim ( I have decided to register for my school’s 12-day long trip to Europe, including Spain, France and Italy. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and therefore, I want to prepare for this trip not only financially, but spiritually. I hope to blog and give my reflections on the theme of pilgrimage and talk about the holy sites I will visit.

Many of the reflections I write on my personal blog,, and future reviews for will also be featured on The Catholic Pilgrim as preparations for the pilgrimage.

A pilgrimage is also not possible with out finances. I am working this summer to offset costs of my pilgrimage. However, donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.

Financial Donations

Please use this page to donate by Visa or Mastercard: 

Product Donations

Please contact me at and I will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Thank you in advance and may God bless you!

In Christ,


Vincent Pham

The Catholic Man Reviews moderator


Book Review: Our Lady of Fatima Coloring Book and Graphic Novel

Fatima Review

May is the month of Mary and within this month, is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. In honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of the Church (whom we commemorate for the first time this Liturgical Year), my sister Ivy Pham and I will be reviewing another product by Deo Gratias Company: Our Lady of Fatima: The Graphic Novel and Coloring Book. Before Christmas last year, I reviewed Deo Gratias’ Catholic Saint Flash Drives and simply in awe at these cool gadgets.

Our Lady of Fatima: The Graphic Novel – review by Vincent Pham

I was amazed at how beautiful Our Lady of Fatima: The Graphic NovelFirst, I would like to remark at the length of the novel. When one hears the term novel, one may envision that a book would be a couple hundred of pages long. However, Our Lady of Fatima: The Graphic Novel  is only 48 pages long.

The graphic novel is printed on glossy paper and in full colour, similar to that found in children’s picture books. When one opens the book, one may say that it is in comic book style with text boxes and speech bubbles.

Our Lady of Fatima: The Graphic Novel captures the spirit of the message of Fatima through the lens of Lucia, one of the three Fatima Seers. As one reads through Our Lady of Fatima: The Graphic Novel one can envision themselves in the shoes of Lucia, walking with Francisco and Jacinta through the joys, hardships and pain.

The book is beautifully illustrated. I can imagine how much work the illustrator had to go through. Interestingly, the author/illustrator and illustrator who coloured the illustrations wishes to remain anonymous… such an act of humility for a beautifully made graphic novel.

On a personal note, I love the pages recounting the Miracle of the Sun. Perhaps these are one of the simplest illustrations in the novel, but puts one in awe of the miracle, allowing one to see the power of God, especially for those like me, who was never able to witness the miracle.

I like how at the end of the novel, there is a one-page biography of Saint Francisco Marto, Saint Jacinta Marto and Sister Lucia dos Santos. The novel was probably published to coincide with last year’s Fatima Centenary.

This novel is not only for children and teenagers, but emphasize on the cover as, “The Message of Fatima for All Ages”. Indeed, those who have never heard of the apparitions in Fatima, this is a good read that is visual.

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

Great graphic novel, emphasizing the message of Fatima in a beautiful way! However, the publishers in my opinion, get an Imprimatur from the local bishop.


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Our Lady of Fatima Coloring Book – review by Ivy Pham

So it looks like I’m back, but this time for a joint review! Our Lady of Fatima: The Graphic Novel also has a coloring book to go with it by the name, Our Lady of Fatima Coloring Book.  It has a paperback cover with is common for coloring books. The cover is made of a nice cardstock with a glossy finish.  The pages inside are much whiter hat of a classic coloring book. They don’t have that “fuzzy” look or feel that most coloring books have.  The paper is more like regular white printer paper, but possibly a bit thicker.

The drawings are very nice.  They are done in a cartoon style – attractive style.  Because of the style it is drawn in, I think it is well suited for children.  That being said, some of the details can get quite small so I wouldn’t recommend it for a very young child, or one with a lack of patience (although it could be a good way to teach them the virtue of patience).   This should be expected as it is in graphic novel format. I recommend pencil crayons over regular wax crayons. I like to draw, so i couldn’t help but notice how a lot of the people’s hands are abnormally large compared to the rest of their body, but now I’m just nitpicking.  

You may have noticed the coloring book’s cover is the same as that of the actual book.  Well just a heads up – the entire book is the same with the exception of the of colour. Because the content is the same, I find it a bit excessive to have both, but as the buyer, it is your call. I think the coloring book would be a better option for a child who prefers hands on learning and likes coloring.  It would help the child find an interest in Mother Mary and perhaps even the Catholic faith as a whole. I think some adults might like it as well.

Overall I think the coloring book is a good find.  It is a different and more interactive way of learning about Our Lady of Fatima, but I don’t think it is worth getting both for one person.  On the other hand, if you choose to give one of them away, or give each piece to a different person, that might be a good reason to buy both.  Once again, I don’t like rating things, so if you like how this sounds, then it’s all yours to purchase:



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Book Review: A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints compiled by Paul Thigpen

Image result for A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints paul thigpenI have a lot of different types of dictionaries lying around in my house. However, a dictionary that I have found to be inspirational is, A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints compiled by Paul Thigpen, published by TAN Books. I have also reviewed a title from TAN last year, Eucharistic Miracles and Eucharistic Phenomena in the Lives of the Saints for books on anything about the saints, I would run to TAN.

The review copy TAN sent me is the TAN Edition that has been re-typeset in 2016. The dictionary was originally published in 2001 by Servant Publications. I like how this edition is in hardcover with a dust jacket. I believe most reference books should be hardcover to withstand frequent use.

In a world where a quote can be searched up easily, why not just use the Google Search bar?

Br. Casey Cole of Breaking in the habit made a video back in October 2017, he talked about quotes attributed to St. Francis, and how even the Peace Prayer, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…”, may have not been penned by him.

I noticed that the peace prayer was in the Dictionary. Acceptable I would say. I was relieved to find that none of the quotes mentioned by Br. Casey, such as “Start by doing what’s necessary then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible,” did not appear in the dictionary.  I am certain that much research went into the compiling of the quotes.

This Dictionary‘s quotes were not sorted according to the saint, but rather, by theme alphabetically, A-Z. The theme, Abandonment of self to God was first and the last theme was Zeal.

The book also contains a section, Saint Biographies at the end, containing quick facts (birth and death years, nationality, role in the Church and title e.g. Doctor of the Church) about the saints whose quotes are featured.

Talking about the physical aspect of the book, I was surprised at how thin the book was. At first, I thought the book would be thick, on bible paper. However, it was the complete opposite. This Dictionary is only 325 thick on regular, cream coloured paper. The book is hardcover, and comes with a dust jacket.

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints is a very simple but inspirational book. It is not only a reference book in my opinion. It is food for the soul.

Due to its quality and amazing presentation, this would make a good gift, especially for this Confirmation and Graduation season.

Purchase a copy of A Dictionary of Quotes from the Saints HERE from TAN Books


Book Review: A History of the Church in 100 Objects by Mike and Grace Aquilina

It is sort of like a history textbook, but more than that. If the proverb, “A picture is worth ten thousand words,” is true, then the pictures of this book combine to 1 million words, not including the actual texts.

This book, A History of the Church in 100 Objects by Mike Aquilina and Grace Aquilina is the work of a father and daughter. I have never read the History of the Church in such format before and I saw the format appealing.

I received a review copy of A History of the Church in 100 Objects at the end of November of last year. I spent a week reading it. A majority of it was read while I was retreat.

A History of the Church in 100 Objects is a self-explanatory title. The book leads the reader along the timeline of the Church through pictures of various artifacts. Some of the artefacts I have heard of and seen pictures of them before such as the Silver Star in Bethlehem and Michaelangelo’s Pietà. However, there are some objects I have never even knew existed such as St. Thérèse’s curls and the Seton rock. I found reading the book to be very eye-opening about the history of the Catholic Church.

I am amazed at how the Aquilina managed to compile all the artifacts. I liked how everything flowed. I do recognize some Papal artifacts from Fr. Richard Kunst, the curator of a large collection Papal artifacts and relics.

I also like the text accompanying the objects. The passages are very straight forward and easy to understand. I wish though that the passages would be longer. Sometimes, I read the end of the passage, wanting to know more. But the Aquilinas probably understand readers may want more. Therefore, at the end of each object passage, there is a For More section, with recommended titles that will build on what was said in the passage.

To my surprise, the images are in colour along with the headings. At first, I thought that only the cover (like most books) would be in gray-scale. A History of the Church in 100 Objects is an exception. All the images are in colour, and that livens up every artefact and allow the reader to look at the object in more details than a gray scale image (some people may disagree). I also noticed that there are some blank pages. The reason for this is so that the image of the artefact will always be on the left side of the book with the chapter heading on the right. I find this very convenient. The blank pages could be used for notes which I find as a good feature.

A History of the Church in 100 Objects has gained praise from Cardinal Donald Wuerl, George Weigel and other well-known Catholics. I would say, “Simple, concise and beautiful!”

This book was also on Catholic-Link’s 44 of the Best Catholic Books of 2017 list. Indeed, I believe it deserves this honour!

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

Overall, I think A History of the Church in 100 Objects is a good title for those who want to dig into Church History and does not want to much heavy reading. A History of the Church in 100 Objects seems to be a good book for introductory to Church history and good for youth like myself to get to know the Church a little bit more, including its bright and dark moments.

Purchase A History of the Church in 100 Objects here from Ave Maria Press. 

Update from The Catholic ManI will be undertaking a trip to Europe, including Barcelona Spain, Provence and Côte d’Azure, France and Florence, Rome and Sorrento, Italy in March of 2019. In preparation for the trip, I will be starting a travel blog in conjunction with The Catholic Man Reviews, known as The Catholic Pilgrim Reviews, which will hopefully be launched sometime next month. Many of the reviews will also be shared on The Catholic Man Reviews. However The Catholic Man Reviews will still be up and running with its unique reviews of Catholic books and products. A lot of reviews coming in the near future so please visit!










Book Review: SINNER by Lino Rulli


I have only known of Lino Rulli, “The Catholic Guy”, host of “The Catholic Guy Show” on Sirius XM only a little more than two years ago. I learned of Lino Rulli through a video of him and Catholic artist Steve Angrisano singing a newly composed country song, “Lord, You Make Me Smile,” on Facebook in November of 2015. Clicking on Lino Rulli’s Facebook page led me to a whole new window of Catholic media. Since then, I have listened to some Catholic Guy podcasts which not only informed people about Catholicism, but did so in a comedic way. I wish many Catholics could have the same comedic style of Lino Rulli.

Stories aside, I received a review copy of Lino Rulli’s first book, Sinner: The Catholic Guy’s Funny, Feeble Attempts to Be a Faithful Catholic. It just seemed like a very funny and interesting title and indeed it was!

Sinner is a book I think every Catholic can connect with. If not, then contact the Pope to canonize you!

Seriously, we all stumble in the path of Christian life. However, Lino Rulli , like everyone else is a Catholic who stumbles along the way but stand back up again. The question we should ask ourselves is, “When I fail, do I try again or do I give up?”

Sinner is consisted of 26 chapters, each recounting a different story of his life from childhood to his adulthood. Rulli makes it evident that being Catholic does not mean you are automatically a saint. It takes time, patience, virtues and mistakes in order to improve.

Each story allows me to connect to my own life. I have had many funny ecclesiastical experiences throughout my years of ministry at the Church. Reading Rulli’s stories assure me that even though I may fail, I am not alone and that there are people like myself who strive for sainthood each and everyday.

Reading Sinner also gave me more context to what Lino is saying on The Catholic Man Show. Having read Sinner, some of the things I listen to makes sense as Lino often connects aspects of his personal life on the show.

Sinner is not a theologically complex book, unlike some reads such as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Last Testament: In His Own Word with Peter Seewald. That language used in that book seems to be a little more challenging to understand at points. Reading Sinner, I can actually imagine Lino reading the book as the way he writes seems to fit his personality.

I also enjoyed the section Through the Years with Lino Rulli located in the middle of the book. It is a short photo album of toddler Lino to adult Lino. This seems to bring the text alive and to prove that what Rulli is saying, is true.

To sum up this short review for one of the shortest books I have reviewed on The Catholic Man ReviewsSinner is a very relatable book for every Catholic.

On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★★ 5/5

Lino Rulli also has a sequel to SinnerSaint, Why I Should Be Canonized Right Away. Seems contradicting to Sinner? I don’t know… perhaps I’ll get a review copy of it someday.

Purchase Sinner here from Franciscan Media. 

Visit Lino Rulli’s website here.






Book Review: YouCat Bible

YouCat Bible review

Note: Happy New Year! The Catholic Man would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the publishers and companies who have sent review copies and samples of their products this past 2017 year. Each product is a surprise and each one has blown me away. I guarantee you that The Catholic Man Reviews offers the most honest reviews. I am currently reviewing many of the books and products received. Many of them had been read or tested with personal notes alongside. The reviews will be thoroughly written and posted once completed. 

The category of books that takes the longest amount of time to review are Bibles. Though they may be time-consuming but each review copy allows me a chance for me to be immersed into the Word of God. Each Bible reviewed here on The Catholic Man Reviews is unique.

Today, I sit down to write this review of a Bible for youth released last year in its English translation, the YouCat Bible. Based on the 2015 YouCat Bible in the German language, the YouCat Bible in English is based on the Revised Standard Version (RSV) Catholic translation.

But first, let’s find out what YouCat even stands for. YouCat is short for Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church. Eventually, it has become a series of catechetical materials for youth, consists not only of the YouCat catechism, but also a Youth Prayer BookConfirmation handbookDoCat (Social Teachings of the Church) and now a Bible. In the near future, a YouCat Confession book will be released.

YouCat Bible does not lack the elements seen in other books of the YouCat series, inlcluding notes and quotes in the margins and its youthful stick-figure illustrations. However, it does contain many standard Study Bible elements.

As you flip to the second page of the Bible, you find a two page spread of the Overview of Bible History, leading you through the key events and time period of major Biblical Figures of the Old Testament.

The YouCat Bible also contains a preface by Pope Francis. In the preface, Pope Francis speaks a language very close to the youth. “I love my old Bible, which has been with me for half my life,” Pope Francis said. This shows how much love he has for the Word of God and how much meaning there is behind the  Bible in a personal way for him. “Do you want to make me happy?”, he asks, “Read the Bible.”

In the margins, there are very short Biblical commentaries that may (1) Reference a specific quote from another book of the Bible, (2)Expands on the historical context of a Bible text, (3) Define a certain term, or (4) Connects the reader to an event or situation in today’s world to give the reader better understanding. There are also relevant quotes from saints and other religious figures that reflect a Bible text. Coloured photographs are also scattered throughout Bible bringing life to the texts.

The margins also includes notes that lead the reader to parts of the YouCat. Often, in YouCat reference notes, there are actually questions that prompt the reader to reflect and ponder. YouCat catechism is a good companion to have while reading the YouCat Bible.

There are also maps, though they are not as detailed as the ones in the Oxford Catholic Study Bible as this Bible is for youth. These maps are drawn in the same style as the stick figure illustrations which I found quite interesting. I do enjoy the simplicity of these maps. They seem to go “right to the point”, especially the one of The Journeys of St. Paul, a map I have seen in many Catholic Bibles.

Before most Biblical books, there is a short introduction that outlines the main events in the Book and outlines the significance of the events. This gives the reader some context of what the book is about which I find quite helpful. Some smaller chapters like Lamentations of Jeremiah and the Book Baruch contain a very short introduction that do not take up a full page like the other books.

Though there are many good features with the YouCat Bible, unfortunately, I have to honestly say it has drawn to me some disappointment, but it is partially my fault for not reading things carefully. When I requested a review copy, I never paid close attention that ti was only an, “introduction to the Bible with selected biblical texts”. At first when the Bible came to my doorstep, I expected a full thick Bible like the many others I have received to review. I expected it to be at least the size of The Catholic Children’s Bible by St. Mary’s Press, which is a full Bible for children.

Probably the thing that I found misleading was the sub-title, Youth Bible of the Catholic Church. I thought to myself that if it were a Youth Bible of the Catholic Church, then it should be a full Bible. It would be better in my opinion, to put in the cover, “Bible – Abridged”.

John 3:16 is said to be one the most popular Bible verse. It has even been said so by Kyle Heimann (if I’m not mistaken) at Steubenville Toronto 2016 . Curious, I turn to the Gospel of John in the YouCat Bible. I saw excerpt chapter 1, excerpt of chapter 2, but skipped to an excerpt of chapter chapter 4. Chapter 3 of John was simply summarized in a couple sentences. I saw this as a surprise as if John 3:16 is a popular verse, then it must bear significance to people.


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On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★☆☆ 3/5

I really enjoy the appearance of the YouCat Bible, its colours and layout. Honestly though, I was disappointed that the “Youth Bible of the Catholic Church” is only an abridged bible.

The YouCat Bible would be recommended for youth who are new to the Catholic Church or have never picked up a Bible before. The YouCat Bible would be a good beginner’s Bible.

I hope the YouCat foundation and Ignatius Press can have a full “Youth Bible of the Catholic Church” one day with in depth commentaries and features in the margins for youth.


Product Review: Catholic Saint Flash Drives

Image result for Catholic USB

It seems like USB flash drives have become a thing of the past, gearing towards cloud storage. For me, I still prefer the good o’l USB to carry around my files which is good for use in places where there is no internet connection.

The Deo Gratias Company has brought USBs to a whole different level. The company has developed a whole line of USBs with different designs of saints. The USB itself is small, but has a PVC casing to it. There are about 15 different USB character subjects. Each USB is carefully designed. I admired how the USBs were not only designed on the front, but also on the back of each subject too.

Deo Gratias sent me three samples (thank you) which consisted of the Sacred Heart, St. Michael and Our Lady of Guadalupe. I liked how every one came attached to a lobster clasp. I have USBs that came with a small hole to hang it off a jump ring or lanyard. Some, though have a small hole that I had to attach a small ring of wire in order to hang it on a lanyard. The clasp is surely handy to clip it on a lanyard or your keys.

Most of the USBs featured on the site is 16 gb, some are 8 gb but the ones sent to me were all 16 gb. 16 gb I find is more than enough to store files for school and presentations. I have owned USBs that were 8gb and as low as 1gb. I have used them all up over time and haven’t found time to clean them up. With 16 gb, I have more space to play around with.

I really liked how detailed the designs featured on the USBs are. The Sacred Heart USB even featured the wounds of Christ which are small but included. The St. Michael USB is action filled, with Michael defeating Satan. Every time I glance at the St. Michael USB, the St. Michael Prayer (St. Michael, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness…) always comes to mind. That is what sacramentals are supposed to do. They are to serve as reminders of the saints who lead you to God.

A down side I have found is the size of the the USB. The height I don’t find as a problem. However, the width is my biggest concern. A USB, once plugged in can take up to 3 USB slots or 2 slots if I plug it on the outside port (see pictures). The St. Michael USB was not too bad, but a bit difficult to plug in another USB or another USB-powered device on the port beside it, but bearable. However, for ones that have a larger width such as the Guadalupe USB, it can take up to 3 USB slots. That would be of convenience, especially if used the USB ports on my laptop which has limited USB ports. If new stock of USBs were to be made, I think it would be appropriate to somehow make the width smaller.

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On The Catholic Man’s Scale

★★★★☆ 4/5

Deo Gratia’s USBs makes such great stocking stuffers for the Holiday Season!

Purchase some here in time for Christmas Holidays.

Book Review: Liturgy 101

Note: As Christmas draws near, The Catholic Man will be updating this site with a lot of new reviews and ideas for Christmas gifts! Stay tuned for more reviews of books and stocking stuffers!  

Image result for Liturgy 101

The Liturgy is the ultimate prayer of the Church, in which practicing Catholics part-take in some form the the Liturgy at least once per week through the Celebration of the Eucharist. From time to time, we go to confession, attend baptisms, weddings… Sacramental celebrations sprinkled here and there in our calendar. Yet, do we understand what we do? Or do we just go through the celebration of the Liturgy just to party with family and friends after the celebration?

I think it is important for Catholics to understand the actions and the meaning behind all the gestures and sacramentals used at a celebration of a sacrament. Understanding what we do at the liturgy is so important as it draws us closer to the focus of the Liturgy which is Christ Himself.

At first, when I read the title, Liturgy 101, I knew that it was dealing with the basics of Liturgy. To me, any book with 101 in its title seems eye-catching and often a simple read. Liguori Press has several books in its 101 series in including Scripture 101, Mass 101, Trinity 101 and many other 101 Catechetical titles.

Each 101 series book is written by a different author and this one, Liturgy 101 was written by Daniel G. Van Slyke, STL, PhD. He is an associate professor of church history at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He holds a docorate in historical theology from St. Louis University.

Dr. Van Slyke uses very simple language throughout the book. He does not start with anything too fancy or hard to understand. In chapter 1, he discusses about the basics of Catholic Worship including the definition and brief history of Liturgy. Dr. Van Slyke also talks about the components of the celebration of the sacraments. There are of course reference of liturgy from the Bible. As fact I never knew before, Rite and rite means two different things in liturgy and Dr. Van Slyke explained this clear and well.

A feature that I like about this book are the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The book would be great if used as a group such as in a Parish’s Liturgy committee gathering/retreat.

I also like the abbreviations and sources available at the end of each chapter rather than the end of the book. Sometimes as I read, I encounter an abbreviation citing a certain book or document. If they were all at the end of a book (in most cases), I would have to search through a long list. Each chapter only has the abbreviation of that chapter which makes it easy to search for an abbreviation. Beneath the abbreviations and sources, there is a section ‘for further reading’. It includes book and documents in which the reader can read if they would like to learn more as Liturgy 101 only talks about the basic principles of liturgy.

Reading Liturgy 101, I really like how simple the texts are. They are not just pages and pages of 12 pt text but divided with clear headings. Its layout is somewhat like a classroom textbook. In lists, the idea is bolded and then expanded on in a concise format.

The title of the book is Liturgy 101 Sacraments and Sacramentals. I thought at first that the book would include a full chapter on the sacramentals such as blessed candles from Candlemas or the brown scapular. However, it seemed like the term sacramentals only refers to the ones used in the celebration of the sacraments such as the Baptismal white garment or the oil of the sick, etc.

Overall, I think Liturgy 101 is a good read for someone who just want to learn more about the sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is simple in language but will impact the way you celebrate the sacraments.

You may purchase the book from Liguori Press.