Please take my 5 minute survey about Catholic comic books!

Recently I have been brainstorming new ways to evangelize youth and young adults and the thought hit me: what about comic books? Oddly enough, while the comic book industry took a hit during the past two decades, sales over the past year have skyrocketed. This is due in part to the rise in superhero movies and has resulted in a new audience craving fantastic adventures.

The comic book realm is an interesting one, being a visual format accessible to many different age groups. It presents unique opportunities for evangelization to an audience who wouldn’t typically pick up a book about a saint.

Did you notice the Celtic cross in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

Apparently the first Jedi were Christians...

In preparation for my short book on the Last Monks of Skellig Michael, I watched again the final scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Rey makes her way through the ancient monastery, which in the Star Wars universe is reportedly the first Jedi temple. It is the place of refuge for Luke Skywalker and will play a vital role in the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi.

What’s interesting is that when I paused one of the scenes of Rey walking among the bee-hive huts, I noticed the special effects wizards at Lucasfilm did not erase a Celtic cross that features prominently on the screen. (As a side note, there are a few other interesting details about his snapshot, like what is Rey looking at?)

The moment only lasts a few seconds, but it is interesting to see the first Christian cross embedded into the Star Wars universe. It was likely an oversight, and the decision not to erase it came from the fact that most people would hardly notice it.

Here is a close-up of the cross that Rey walks by and that has been worn down through the centuries. A faint outline of a cross can also be seen in the center.

In The Last Jedi most of the scenes were filmed at a reconstructed set, so it is likely we won’t see this Celtic cross again.

If you are interested in learning more about this ancient monastery and the mysterious monks who lived there, check out my latest book, The Last Monks of Skellig Michael.


Enter to WIN a FREE autographed copy of “The Last Monks of Skellig Michael”

This week I will be giving away an autographed copy of my latest book, “The Last Monks of Skellig Michael.”

The rules are fairly simple. All you need to do is follow the instructions below to gain additional entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest starts TODAY and ends on FRIDAY.

At the end of the contest, there will be one winner randomly selected. This winner will receive a personalized copy of “The Last Monks of Skellig Michael” with a message from me!

There you have it!

And please SHARE this with your friends! 

An inside look at my new book on Skellig Michael for #StarWarsDay

Inspired by the monks who lived there 1,000 years ago

With the release of latest Star Wars films, the ancient monastery atop Skellig Michael has enchanted the world with its beautiful vistas and mysterious history. While much has been written about the architectural feats achieved by the monks on the lonely island, little has been discussed about the daily life of the religious hermits.

What was it like 1,000 years ago?

Why did the monks choose Skellig Michael?

What was their spirituality like? Why did they leave and never return?

My interview with actor John Rhys-Davies and his personal admiration of Saint Patrick

Check out my interview with John Rhys-Davies at Aleteia:

Award winning actor John Rhys-Davies, best known for his role as the dwarf Gimli in the highly successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, recently shared with Aleteia his admiration for Saint Patrick after working on the audio drama, The Trials of Saint Patrick.

He explained how for him, “[Saint] Patrick is giant. I am honored to have had a little part of bringing him to life.”

Far from being an outdated life that has no relevance, Rhys-Davies believes Saint Patrick’s story is an inspiration and can teach us many things in the 21st century.

“I think that what [he] teaches us is resolution and courage. The discovery of that little fire of belief in oneself. By study, by intention, by prayer, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit; it can change a man’s life into such a positive agent for the common good.”

“Of course, [at first] Patrick has ego, yes. But what Patrick does is, through being a slave, he becomes a master of men. He leads those in the darkness to light. Perhaps in our own, maybe smaller way the demons and the idols that he overthrows are some of the demons and the idols we all have to find a way of confronting and overthrowing ourselves.”

Read More…



The first Thanksgiving in America was a Catholic Mass

I bet you didn’t learn this at school! Check out the full article at Aleteia:

Did you know that the first “thanksgiving” meal in the United States was not celebrated by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, but by Spanish settlers, in what became Florida? And that first “Thanksgiving” was Eucharistic!

Historian Dr. Michael Gannon narrates the events that took place on September 8, 1565.

“When the first Spanish settlers landed in what is now St. Augustine on September 8, 1565, to build a settlement, their first act was to hold a religious service to thank God for the safe arrival of the Spanish fleet… After the Mass, Father Francisco Lopez, the Chaplin of the Spanish ships and the first pastor of St. Augustine, stipulated that the natives from the Timucua tribe be fed along with the Spanish settlers, including Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the leader of the expedition. It was the very first Thanksgiving and the first Thanksgiving meal in the United States.”

Read more…