Our faith is always challenging us to look deeper and go “further up and further in.” No matter how much you may know, there are always more things to discover. That’s the beauty of investigation and discovery and if we are not learning each and every day, we are wasting our potential and not using our God-given intellects to relate to and see the great world around us.
I’ve already done a few lists about 23 Catholic Facts That Will Make You Look Really Smart and 23 More Catholic Facts That Will Make You Look Even Smarter. It’s time for the third edition! I humbly present to you “Even More Catholic Facts That Will Make You Look Like The Smartest Person Ever.”
1. As of January 5, 2017, Pope Francis has canonized a total of 848 saints since becoming pope in 2013
2. Bing Crosby, famous not only for being one of the greatest entertainers of all time, but also for his devotion to his Catholic faith, is the grandfather of actress Denise Crosby who played Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation
3. The world’s smallest Catholic Church, St. Martin’s, is located in Warrenton, TX
4. Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, after she was forced into seclusion, hand-made and sewed priestly vestments until her death in 1536
5. Tom Cruise had considered becoming a priest before his acting career
Pray for him. Really. Do it now, please.
6. Blessed Pope Paul VI was the first pontiff to leave the European continent and was the most traveled pope until the globe-trotting travels of John Paul II
7. Though considered “Church Fathers” for their theological prowess and erudition, both Tertullian and Origen are not officially recognized as saints
8. Thomas More’s quote, “I am the king’s good servant, but God’s first” is often misquoted. His actual words were “I die the king’s good servant, and God’s first.”
9. Contrary to popular belief, Shaun McAfee is not a cradle-Catholic
10. The oldest church building in the the US/territory of the US is the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista in Puerto Rico. The original structure was built of wood in 1521. The current structure, built after a hurricane destroyed the first cathedral and with additions and updates over the centuries, dates from 1540
11. The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, with their convent located in Gower, MO, have released an astonishing 8 musical albums sharing their beautiful voices with the world.
12. John Paul II’s favorite dessert was the Kremówka Papieska or “Papal” Cream Cake
13. The original Carl’s Jr. burger chain, founded by Carl Karcher, a committed Catholic, always started company meetings with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. This practice continues to today
14. The 1917 Code of Canon Law was the first comprehensive codification of Church law in one place. It was revised in 1983 and this revision remains in force today
15. There are a total of 19 cardinals from the United States of America in the college
(8 of the American cardinals)
16. The oldest pope at the time of his death was Pope Leo XIII who was 93 years old when he died in 1903.
17. The largest mass in history occurred in 2015 when Pope Francis visited the Philippines. It is said there were over 6 million people in attendance
18. Ramon “Raymond” Llull, c. 1230-1315, was a Spanish Third Order Franciscan genius and mystic who invented what is considered to be the first computer in human history and is known as the “Father of Computer Science.” He was beatified in 1857
19. The blessed but not consecrated bread distributed after the divine liturgy in those Eastern rite churches using the Byzantine liturgy is known as antidoron or Ἀντίδωρον which translates to “instead of gifts.” The pieces come from the remaining portion of the prosphora or loaf of bread used to confect the Eucharist
20. October 13, 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal
21. The Eucharist has been to space. Astronaut Mike Hopkins was able to take 6 consecrated hosts with him while he was on the space station for 24 weeks in 2013
22. The oldest complete copy of the New Testament is found in the Codex Sinaiticus written over 1600 years ago
23. Thomas F. Wilson, also known as “Biff Tannen” from the Back to the Future trilogy, is also an accomplished musician and devout Catholic who has been associated with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal
24. The largest collection of saintly relics in the world is in Pittsburgh. There are over 5,000 relics in the collection at St. Anthony’s Chapel