We hear constantly nowadays about situations in which the internet is a bad influence, such as in online pornography, or hate-filled or otherwise slanderous websites. (In this regard, isn’t it sad that Parental Control software has become as necessary in some homes as keeping the computer in a “family room”?) Fortunately, we Catholics have access to a truly amazing amount of good solid material on the Web to help us cope with day to day stresses and grow in our faith, such as these links!
These websites cover religious news (including news from the Vatican), writings on church teachings, and a broad range of other topics and issues relating to Catholicism. Some of these might seem a little overwhelming at first, but don’t be afraid to dive in and partake of these excellent resources. Remember that learning about our faith, like growing in it, is a lifelong journey! We’ve included some additional information on some of each site’s features below:
The Holy See (The Website of the Vatican) This is a great site to explore all things related to the Holy See, the governing body of the Roman Catholic Church and Vatican City. You can take virtual tours of the Vatican museum and library and browse through a treasure trove of documents, including homilies, articles and encyclicals from Pontiffs over the last hundred years, from Leo XIII to our Holy Father Benedict XVI. And of course, you can find the official pronouncements here from the Second Vatican Council (better known as Vatican II).
EWTN The website of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) includes an incredible amount of information on Catholic teachings (including over 6000 documents!) and both live and archived broadcasts and podcasts of their many fine programs. It also includes a great selection of “mini-sites” covering, among other things, papal journeys, tributes to various saints, and writings by the station’s founder Mother Angelica.
Catholic Online This site includes many features and news accounts of interest to us as Catholics that unfortunately you won’t find covered this well in the traditional broadcast or print media. In a wonderful contrast to the “if it bleeds it leads” approach to journalism, this site also features some truly inspirational good news stories concerning our faith.
Catholic Culture This excellent site features 2000 years of writings on Catholicism from the early Church fathers in the first century all the way up to homilies by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. The liturgical year section includes calendars for each month’s feast days and other special days in the liturgical year, along with customs, traditions, and even recipes!
Catholic Answers This is one of the premiere websites covering the field of Catholic Apologetics. Apologetics doesn't mean apologizing for Catholicism, far from it! Catholic Answers can help you defend and explain our faith to others and to grow in your knowledge of it as well. They have an extensive archive of radio programs you can download from their Catholic Answers Live series, as well as many good articles, booklets, and tracts.
Catholic Exchange Catholic Exchange includes news items, prayer intentions, and various “channels,” groupings of articles under topics such as Canon Law, Faith and Morals, and Homeschooling.
Catholic Spiritual Direction This site features insightful, informative articles on just about every aspect of Catholicism. It's run by Fr. John Bartunek, LC, author of Inside the Passion and The Better Part, (a guide to Christ-centered daily meditation which includes a thoughtfully thorough examination of the four Gospels) and Daniel Burke, Executive Director of Circle Media. This site is a valuable resource for people who want straightforward, uncomplicated answers to questions covering over 25 categories about our faith. These include Church Teaching, Examination of Conscience, Forgiveness, Prayer, The Sacraments, and Spiritual Exercises just to name a few!
The Real Presence This site is sponsored by the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association and includes an extensive listing of over 7000 churches and chapels all around the country that have Eucharistic Adoration (with dates, times, and even Mapquest links for driving directions!) This site also includes a Catholic Dictionary and a wonderful library of articles about our religion written by the late Father John Hardon, S.J., author of numerous books such as The Treasury of Catholic Wisdom.
Spirit Daily Be forewarned: this site is a wonderfully habit-forming way to keep on top of what’s going on in Catholicism and in how it relates to the world around us. The large links section alone to various Catholic and other websites would give this site great value! Yet Spirit Daily also has links to important news stories about our faith, as well as many inspirational articles, updated daily! The site also has an excellent book-video store, as well an “announcement” section on its home page.
Catholics Come Home Do you know any fallen away Catholics, or those who are lukewarm in their faith? Do you feel that way yourself sometimes? This site is a great antidote to such alienation! It includes a treasure trove of resources for further study about Catholicism, sections on how to share our faith with others, and a wonderful selection of videos from those who’ve “come home!” These pages will make you feel blessed to be Catholic and strengthen your desire to spread the Good News of our faith and of Christ’s great love for us!
Mass Times Have you ever been out of town and wondered where you could find a mass? This wonderful website, which calls itself “a ministry to traveling Catholics” provides names addresses (and in many cases web addresses as well) of churches and parishes worldwide! You can search by place, zip (or postal) code, phone number, or state or province. They even have a convenient section on Holy Days and a mailing list you can subscribe to for site updates.
Mass Schedules For those of you traveling to or residing in the Philippines, this site includes a Philippine Catholic Mass Schedule - a Holy Mass schedule of Catholic churches in the Philippines. It also includes saints' biographies, Catholic videos, and Mass readings and reflections for each day, among other features.
MyConsecration.org Our Lady of Fatima said “God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart and promises salvation to those who embrace it.” This wonderful site offers a way you can help spread this devotion, and it’s simpler than you think! Its authors offer information and materials that you can request from them (free of charge) to make a “Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary” through prayers and readings that take as little as 10 minutes per day. The great Marian champion St. Louis de Montfort, developed this method, as the site puts it, “under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to bring souls to a perfect imitation of Christ by imitating His Mother.” It offers you a great way to advance in holiness in your journey with Our Lord and Our Lady!
The Third Hour This site provides a wonderful reminder of the importance of the Divine Mercy devotion, with some great information from St. Faustina’s famous diary, particularly as it relates to the 3:00 hour, what Christ told her is “the hour of great mercy.” There are also helpful articles here and various web pages for prayer intentions.
The Great Prayer Project - End Abortion This site has a great idea! As the authors put it "The Great Prayer Project is a Pro-Life Prayer Movement that is focused on uniting Christians from around the world in one prayer, in one voice, for one cause. We believe that prayer is a very effective and powerful tool in the fight to save innocent lives...We have set up this prayer movement so individuals can select a twenty minute time slot to pray during. Think 20 minutes is too long to pray? We have come up with some prayer tips to pray for an end to abortions to help you meet this 20 minute goal. You will find out that it's much simpler than you might think.” The site is well-designed and a moving inspiration for all of us seeking to end the tragedy of abortion
And finally, here is an interesting regional website worth noting:
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church This website from the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Picaynue, MS includes an abundance of information not only about their parish but also about Catholicism itself, including an online Bible Study for Sunday readings from the liturgical year! Their online booklet I’m Glad You Asked, answers many common questions about our faith on such topics as the Blessed Mother, the Sacraments, and the Saints and Angels.