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The History of Catholic Books and Gifts

Spreading the beauty of Catholicism to all the ends of the Earth.
Now in our 3rd location, a 2600 sq ft building.

Tom and Joanne Peters' story could have come from a chapter in a book off their shelves. It is a testimony to faith, prayer and everyday miracles.

Opening its doors in 1994, Catholic Books and Gifts is one of the oldest family-owned bookstores in Orange County.

Their latest move, a 2,600 square foot location right across the street from the old store and still in Fountain Valley also makes them one of the largest independent retailers of Catholic Bibles, Rosaries, Patron Saint Medals, Prayer Books and Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and Wedding gifts in California.

http://www.catholicfreeshipping.com/ offers fast and free shipping anywhere in the US. Their easy to navigate website and on-line Catholic resources, secure checkout, and fast and free shipping make them one of the most trusted and reliable providers of Catholic merchandise in the US.

"It was God's hand at work."

Spoken like a true practical Catholic family, Tom and Joanne affirm that their success was a direct blessing from Heaven. The measure of their accomplishment is not in dollars but in the graces their family--and their community of customers--has received because of the store. For these, there are no charts. There are stories: those that are fondly remembered and often recounted.

Before Catholic Books and Gifts, Joanne could never find the time to read. The mother of 12 also looked after other children while running a daycare. Tom supported his family with a donut shop. When the opportunity came to take over a preexisting Catholic bookstore in Huntington Beach, Joanne saw this as her chance to finally indulge in her pastime--and at the same time, provide a service to their neighbors. And it just so happened that Tom had the exact amount in funds to pursue the venture.

"We opened our doors on March 8, 1994," recalls Tom. "How fitting it was the Feast Day of St. John of God, who is the Patron Saint of Booksellers." Providence would continue to be on their side throughout, though for some time it would seem they had been abandoned to misfortune.

"We did a lot of praying
during the first few
years," says Joanne.

"We didn't have much inventory to begin with," Tom continues. "On some days no one would come into the store at all. We were lucky to still have the donut shop." Despite having five parishes nearby, people did not know about them, nor did the Peters' carry many items of interest. They opened the bookstore for limited hours and days of the week.

Success did not happen overnight, not with one climactic event, but rather a series of everyday miracles:

  • The distribution of the Catechism of the Catholic Church increased people's interest in the faith as well as igniting a resurgence of apologetic writers interpreting those tenets--along with a new, charismatic faithful willing to read them. This jump-started the Catholic publishing industry that even older titles were reprinted.

  • The 1997 death and 2003 beatification of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the passing ofPope John Paul II in 2005 had more people seeking titles on or by these prominent figures. Not to mention their influence in the spiritual conversions of non-Catholics and the reversions of those who have strayed.

  • The boom of the internet age saw http://www.catholicfreeshipping.com/ reaching customers across the nation. Soon, all of Southern California would know about one of the oldest and largest Catholic bookstores within driving distance.

RosariesPeople have turned to the Rosary more," Joanne adds, who reports selling more Rosaries than ever before. "During times of hardship, people go to the Lord for help."

No, the Peters' do not see it as coinciding world events that turned out beneficial for their family business--that was then experiencing record increases in customers due to their local and national prominence--but God at work on a grander scale. It was parishes and communities, entire countries, the worldwide Catholic family growing together alongside their bookstore.

Tom was soon able to part with the donut shop, relying entirely on Catholic Books and Gifts.

The grand reopening of Catholic Books and Gifts took place on March 19, the Feast Day of St. Joseph, Patron of the Family.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
To keep up with these new demands, the now cramped 900 square foot storefront sought to expand into a larger location. Joanne began a Novena to St. Joseph. They were guided by the Patron Saint of the Family to the 2,600 square foot vacancy in Fountain Valley, just two miles away from their former location. And when the time came for the move, they were surprised to find their family of customers at their doorstep, eager to lend a hand. They were even more surprised to find waiting for them, their contractors: St. Joseph's Construction.
The Peters' pray for many more years to come for the bookstore, which now has the room to expand their inventory even further. New and returning customers can look forward to more Baptism and First Communion gifts, additional titles in Bibles, apologetics and books in Spanish, and an added variety in their collection of religious icons, Catholic music and DVDs.
"Our goal," says Joanne, "is to spread the beauty of Catholicism to all the ends of the Earth." A lofty aspiration, but Tom and Joanne Peters' are already well on their way to achieving it. Plus, they have help from above.

Here are several photos from our new 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
(714) 963-7955

Open 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday-Saturday Closed Sundays--See you in church

or on the web:

Toll Free: (866) 542-6910