CE’s Best of 2015

A blessed and happy New Year to you, my dear reader. The Church is wrapping up these last days of Christmas while the world has said good-bye to 2015. As it has for many of you, this year flew by for us at Catholic Exchange and it proved to be another tremendous year for growth. In this past year alone we brought you hundreds of articles, hours of podcasts, and thousands of little reminders on social media about the love of Christ. So it is that I have the pleasure, for the third year in a row, to give you the top articles and podcasts of 2015.

I work personally with our authors and providers and it is thus quite difficult for me to make this list. In one part, this is what was the most-read pieces but I also include articles that I think you all would greatly enjoy if you haven’t had a chance to read them. Of course, you will have your own favorite list of articles and I’m happy to hear what you have to say.

Novenas, Spirituality, and Marriage 

Without a doubt, our most read article this year was my own article The Power of the St. Joseph Novena, which was read by over 100k of you all. That many of you also prayed the Novena and found a new devotion to St. Joseph has certainly excited me. I hope your intentions were answered, in some way.

Kathleen Beckman wrapped up her fantastic book for the Year of Mercy, God’s Healing Mercy, but she still found time to write some fantastic articles for us. Her two most read articles were Christ’s Words from the Cross: 7 Weapons of Victory Over Evil and Jesus to St. Faustina on Spiritual Warfare: 25 Secrets. Likewise, James Day began work on his first book this year but managed to tell us about Pope Benedict’s greatest books in “Father Benedict”: Five Must-Reads.

Our long-time friend Fr. Ed Broom, OMV was gracious enough to provide some great spiritual insights and you all especially enjoyed 10 Ways We Can Fast and 25 Things You Should Know About the Rosary. Another great priest, Fr. William Saunders, told us Why Priests Are Called Father. Meanwhile, our friend and Catholic Gentleman author Sam Guzman shared some insights from a favorite author in Tolkien Speaks: The Secret to a Happy Marriage.

K.V. Turley has shown an unparalleled ability to tell a story in his many articles. He especially shows us this ability in Don Bosco: The Ghost, The Blessed Sacrament and The Devil. My personal favorite of his works, and which you all read and shared in great numbers, was his touching review of Chiara Corbella Petrillo, whose story was made available in English for the first time this year. If you haven’t had a chance to read the wonderful book or about Chiara, grab some tissue and read Mr. Turley’s great article Chiara Corbella Petrillo: 21st Century Witness to Love. He also gives us a fantastic view into spiritual warfare in Who is the Devil? 

We had a number of fantastic people join us at Catholic Exchange and they have shown some great promise with their work. Monica Senz wrote a beautiful reflection in When God Says No to Your Yes. Maura Roan McKeegan also joined us this year with her touching stories in A Note to Parents of Special-Needs Children and Cookies, Cleaning, and Holiness. We were also delighted to welcome Michele Chronister who wowed many of you with Sainthood isn’t for the Strong and The Patron Saints of Embarrassment. Finally, we welcomed Constance Hull who, in addition to being a mother and grad student, managed to write a small book of articles this last year. Among Mrs. Hull’s fine articles are St. Therese Teaches Us to Live Simply in Great Love and Meditations on the Rosary and Miscarriage.

Of course, along with our new writers, we have some great long-time contributors at CE that continued to write some brilliant pieces. Jeannie Ewing is wrapping up her new book, which shall be released next year, but gave us some fine insights in Three Simple Paths to Interior Peace and Three Ways to Teach Children About the Eucharist. Long-time contributor Stephen Beale also brought his strong theological knowledge and writing to his articles Purgatory 101 and Historic Moments When the Church Stood For Marriage.

Podcasts

2015 was the year that Catholic Exchange began to produce our own podcasts. Over 35,000 of you have downloaded and listened to this little venture of ours and finally got to hear my West Coast accent. Our most listened to podcasts are:

  1. Interview with the Catholic Gentleman
  2. The Seven Deadly Sins
  3. Develop Friendship with Jesus
  4. The Desert of Lent
  5. Jeannie Ewing: Grief, Grace, and Lent with Kids
  6. Attaining the Power of Holy Victory in the Lenten Season

Wisdom for the ages

Thanks to our partnership with Sophia Institute Press, we are able to give you some fantastic excerpts from the spiritual classics. This has been a great way to bring practical spiritual practices and encouragement into your life and many of you have found them to be a boon to your life. Our most read excerpts are:

  1. Strive for a More Intense Interior Life by Luis Martinez
  2. Hear God Speaking to You by Fr. Killian J. Healy
  3. St. Francis de Sales’ Five Steps to a Good Morning by Fr. Thomas F. Dailey
  4. Learn to Heal Painful Memories by Fr. T. G. Morrow, S.T.D.
  5. Learn to Recollect Yourself to God by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

Last, but not least

As I said, this list is always hard to make. In addition to our great articles, we had two series that underline our unique vision of being a voice for the whole Church. Jessica Archuleta, a Byzantine Catholic mom and monastic associate, gave us Lessons from a Monastery while Kevin Tierney, a traditionalist Catholic and father, wrote a series that explores the Sunday Propers of the Mass. This two series highlight something that is part of our mission here at CE, but even that doesn’t get to the heart of it.

We exist to make saints in our own time. That is why we put in the long hours and what gets me out of bed each morning. However, even with that motivation, we know everyday that we exist for you, our readers and listeners. Catholic Exchange has experienced tremendous growth and it is an honor to be at the helm of such a fine operation.

That is all to say, as I say good-bye to 2015 and welcome 2016, that you all who are reading this have my full gratitude. I read every comment and email, even if I rarely have the time to respond. All the same, I appreciate each and every one of you and you remain in my prayers. God love you and I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Michael J. Lichens

By

Michael J. Lichens is the Editor of Catholic Exchange, book editor of Sophia Institute Press, and blog editor of St. Austin Review. When he's not revising and editing, he is often found studying and writing about GK Chesterton, Religion and Literature, or random points of local history. He holds an A.M. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a BA from The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. You can find him blogging at Catholic Coffee Drinkers or find him on Twitter @mjordanlichens or facebook.

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  • noelfitz

    Michael,

    I wish you and all associated with CE a happy and blessed 2016.

    I am very grateful for the great contributions I found here and the excellent work of CE, under your leadership.

    I regret I was not able to contribute more to CE in 2015, as I realize that without the help of subscribers the future would be bleak.

    I find the balance here just right for me (the Goldilocks principal??). It is presumably difficult to appeal to conservatives, liberals, traditionalists, fundamentalists, progressives, intellectuals, spiritual, educated, simple, loyal and wobbly, however CE is just solidly Catholic, and gets it right.

    I like to contribute, and to be positive and encouraging, but I want to feel free to express my concerns. So if ever I write anything that does not build-up, let me know and do not publish it.

    God bless you and all dear to you.

    NF

  • Michael J. Lichens

    Noel,

    It’s always a pleasure to hear from you and you usually ask some great questions. Granted, sometimes I’m not sure how to answer all of them so I usually leave it to others, but it’s nice that our discussions are so good.

    And I’m very happy you noticed the “Goldilocks” principal. We strive to be Catholic and faithful in all we do and that often means we have some writers whose background is unusual but their love of God and the Church is what I look for.

    A blessed New Year to you and Merry Christmas!

    Michael

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