The History of Catholic Books and Gifts
Spreading the beauty of Catholicism to all the ends of the Earth.
March 8, 1994, Tom Peters began his daily Butler's Lives of the Saints reading. The saint that day was St. John of God.
St John of God is the patron saint of booksellers and during his earthly life, among many other things, he sold religious goods to the community. Timing the opening of our first bookstore to the feast day of St John of God was not intentional. They say there are no coincidences with God.
Fast forward 15 years and our small 900 square foot store just would not suffice any longer. Though the rent was very reasonable, we decided to look into moving into a larger building. So Tom and Joanne made a 9 day novena to St. Joseph and shopped around, settling on a nearby building 3 times the size. The rent was much higher and seemed impossible to meet, but the location was good.
A few days later they stopped in to check and see how the building preparations were coming. Inside was a painting crew hired by the landlord. They went inside to greet them and noticed that on their shirts in big print was the painting company's name: St. Joseph's Construction. No coincidences, right?
A few years later the city did some soil inspections nearby and came to inform us that 20 years back there had been a dry cleaning business next to our current location. After a few tests, they found that very low levels of some chemicals had leeched into the soil. It would take 9 months or so to "re-soil" the land. So we decided to find another location. Across the street a small party supply store had gone out of business and the spot was open. So we walked over, looked through the windows to see inside, and then called the listing agent. The new location was just a little bit larger and the rent was the same, so we moved to our current location.
We finally met the new owner of the building and come to find that she had been a customer at our store for years. There are no coincidences.
My parents have always entrusted their lives to the Good Lord. Their focus has always been on our family and on the faith and on all the work they do with the church and the bookstore business. They literally met in church. My dad had altar served the Mass and my mom was saying her prayers after Mass telling the Lord that if he did not find her a good man that she would happily become a nun. So my dad walks up to her, interrupts her prayers and asks her on a date...right in church...AFTER MASS!
12 kids (one a priest) and 19 grandchildren later, it's still a funny story. I once asked my dad why the shipping materials inside our outgoing packages were sometimes old church newspapers or last week's bulletins and he joked that we are a "penny business." My dad (Tom) passed away in September 2021 with a rosary in his hands and we were blessed to have 32 priests and the Bishop at his funeral in addition to a fully packed church. His impact was made very clear to all of us present that day. As for Joanne (mom), she is in her 80's and can be found either on the phone with customers or suppliers or straightening up the store shelves, 6 days a week. For us, our business has always been a ministry; never a big money maker.
But we've survived these 28 years with the support of all the good people who come by our store or shop online. Thank you all so much. May we continue to serve the Catholic community for another 28 years
-Steve Peters (1 of the 12 kids)
Here are several photos from our store in Fountain Valley.
(Click on them to enlarge them)
Come visit us at:
Catholic Books and Gifts
18921 Magnolia St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Open 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday-Saturday Closed Sundays--See you in church
or on the web:
Toll Free: (866) 542-6910