‘Tis the season for online shopping.
With pandemic-driven e-commerce retail shopping expected to continue through the holiday season, the online Franciscan Store has launched a Christmas catalog that offers an extensive assortment of gifts and stocking-stuffers. Its products range from rosary beads, medals, bracelets, nativities, and other religious articles handcrafted in Assisi, Italy, to books, religious cards, and other spiritual resources written and designed by Franciscan friars and religious sisters.
Proceeds of all catalog purchases help support the care of elderly friars, the formation and education of new friars, and the Province’s vast outreach among the poor, hungry, and homeless in ministry sites across the South and Northeast that provide food, clothing, medical care, and other assistance to more than two million people annually.
“The Franciscan Store’s Christmas catalog contains great merchandize and unique gift ideas with amazingly affordable price tags for everyone on your holiday shopping list – whether it’s mom and dad, grandparents, a college student, co-workers, or your spouse and children,” said David Convertino, OFM, executive director of the Holy Name Province Development Office.
“We are adapting to the times of a pandemic. Consumers are still leery about in-person shopping at malls and retail stores even with reduced capacity. We are providing shoppers with the opportunity to check off their holiday gift list from the safety and comfort of their home,” added David, noting that although the e-commerce website was established last year, the publication of a printed catalog is a first for the Development Office.
Treasury of Gifts
The new catalog, which was mailed in October to supporters of the Province, contains a treasury of Christmas gifts such as:
- Impeccably detailed Christmas nativities beautifully handcrafted, making each stable scene one of a kind.
- A collection of gold over sterling silver and sterling silver round and oval medals of St. Francis and St. Anthony, San Damiano crucifixes, and St. Francis Tau crosses.
- Badge medals of St. Michael, the patron saint of paramedics, police, and military personnel, and St. Florian, the patron of firefighters.
- Wooden Tau and San Damiano pendants and beaded bracelets.
- Exquisite Rosary beads with marble-effect, Italian glass translucent beads – among the offerings a unique silver-linked metal Christmas Rosary handcrafted in Italy, featuring round vibrant red and green wood beads, and a silver shooting star, guardian angel, Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus in the manger, shepherd and sheep, and the three kings.
- An extensive assortment of Christmas greetings, all-occasion, and memorial cards designed and/or written by friars and nuns. This year’s assortment introduces new sets of greeting cards, including a Christmas candle card, and a “friar humor” collection of thank-you, birthday, and “missing you” cards – the latter inspired by pandemic-induced social distancing. Also available in boxes of 12 is “Francis, Lover of Nature,” a stunning collection of all-occasion cards printed in Bergamo, Italy, that feature inspirational messages and gorgeous artwork. A free box of these cards is included in purchases of $50 or more.
- A library of fascinating books written by Franciscan friars and women religious, among them “Coffee with Mary,” “Coffee with St. Anthony,” and booklets from the “Simply” series that includes “Simply St. Francis,” “Simply St. Anthony,” and “Simply San Damiano.”
To request a Christmas catalog from the Franciscan Store, or to place an order from the catalog, call 646-398-5957, visit TheFranciscanStore.org or mail the Franciscan Store, 144 W. 32nd Street, New York NY 10001-3202.
Recipes, Short Features and More
The Christmas catalog is also peppered with other interesting information – including recipes, an Advent prayer calendar and other seasonal prayers, a toll-free prayer hotline to St. Anthony (sponsored by St. Anthony’s Guild) in which friars pray for special intentions, and an invitation to join the friars in lighting a virtual candle on “Blue Advent Day” on Dec. 21 (also the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year) to join in universal prayer for the light of life to enter lives and hearts.
“This year’s ‘Blue Advent Day’ takes on greater meaning with all of the darkness of loneliness, pain, illness, and loss caused by the pandemic,” said David. “We want everyone to know that if you are struggling with loss, grief, depression, or any type of suffering, the Franciscan friars are praying for you, and with you, during the Advent season.”
Featured in the Christmas catalog are summaries and photos of the Franciscan food pantries and Thanksgiving and holiday season outreach provided by the friars.
— Stephen Mangione is a frequent contributor to HNP Today.
- “Ministry Outreach Intensifies in a Changed World” – April 9, 2020, HNP Today
- “It’s Not Merry and It’s Not Happy” — Dec. 11, 2019, HNP Today
- “Tis the Season .. for Last-Minute Christmas Shopping” — Dec. 18, 2018, HNP Today