About The Team
I’m Jonathan Conrad, the Catholic Woodworker. I grew up Catholic, and when I wasn’t at church I was building things with my dad, my grandfather, or just me. I’m married to my dream girl, and we’ve been blessed with three boys. I always thought it was my job to teach them how to be a man, but I think I learn more from them than they do from me.
My grandfather first introduced me to woodworking when we would spend a week at his place in the summer. I don’t think I ever went there without coming back with some small finished project: wooden rifle, battery-powered boat (that didn’t float), desk organizer, chess board. That was my primary exposure to woodworking until my wife and I bought our first home. It was then that I first started using the skills I had gained from my grandfather to begin creating for my own family. It started with a toy chest for our oldest son, then picture frames, end tables, and eventually led to a full kitchen renovation.
I started getting the itch to find ways for woodworking to actually bring in revenue for the family, especially after we added 2 more boys (“the twins”) to the family. So I started selling picture frames to local businesses, did a few local markets, and spun up an online retail store. It began to consume me and was cutting into time that should have been carved out for quality family time. A year into it I had a garage full of new tools, unpurchased inventory, and credit card debt. Add to that, the twins were now a year old and it’s like I hardly knew them. I knew I needed to make a change, but I wasn’t certain what to do or how to do it.
Fortunately, God knew. All I had to do was get out of the way, and so for the next 2 years, with God’s grace, I spent my time rebuilding my life one brick at a time starting with my faith, then my relationship with my wife, then our boys, then my full-time job, then eventually got back to woodworking. I have less tools, less paying customers, a smaller shop, and less “shop time” today than I did 2 years ago. Yet, somehow the joy I get from the work I do in the shop today is immeasurably greater.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story, and what I’ve learned along the way. I hope that you’ll find value in the stories you hear and hopefully meet some great people along the journey. God bless!
My name is Brian Laspisa. I am a catholic father and husband living in Phoenix, AZ. I grew up going to church on and off at different denominations but never really established a faith identity. It was in my senior year at Arizona State University everything changed. ASU is blessed to have a Newman Center on campus. I started attending RCIA and was initiated into the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil of 2010.
About The Catholic Woodworker
What started as a business has transformed into a ministry of sorts. Woodworking is how I evangelize. As a woodworker I desire the resurrection of heirloom quality rosaries and crucifixes. As a man of faith I desire for every home to be adorned with a crucifix, and every pocket and purse to be sanctified with a rosary. I pray that what I write in these pages and what I build with my hands will inspire men and women to strengthen their prayer life and deepen their faith.
About The Emblem
The Cross is for Jesus. It sits at the top, the head, the most important element and the focus of everything.
The Shield is for protection. The enemy is real, although he doesn’t want you to know it. He is out to destroy us. We must be vigilant, we must be prepared, and we must fight.
M is for Mary. In case you didn’t know this about me, Mary is kind of a big deal to me. She’s the Mother of God, and the more I get to know her, the more she teaches me about her Son. Blessed Mother, pray for us.
J is for Joseph. He was a humble carpenter, a strong father, a loving husband, and a virtuous man. I aspire to be all of these things. St. Joseph, pray for us.
Hammer and Chisel is for woodworking, specifically hand tools. Now, I don’t do everything with hand tools, but I desire for woodworking to be an opportunity for quiet reflection. The more time I spend with hand tools, the more quiet time I get. So I use my table saw for rough dimensions, and hand tools for the rest. It also helps to include my boys when the power tools aren’t running.
Swords and 10 Rosary Beads are a reminder that we are at war with the evil one. The battle is not the one we hear about on the news. It’s the one the devil doesn’t want us to know about, the battle for souls. I have been called into battle. You have been called into battle, and the weapon of choice, the one Satan fears the most, is the most holy rosary.
About The Rosary
“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” ~ Blessed Pope Pius IX
I am on a mission to win souls for Christ through the powerful mysteries of the most holy rosary. The rosary has saved my career, my family, my marriage, and my soul. This is not an exaggeration. Because of the impact it has had on my life, I am compelled to share my experiences with the rosary in hopes that it will change your life in similar ways. The fruits of the rosary are many, and it is the surest way to heaven for 1 very simple reason: The Rosary and evil cannot coexist. If you commit to praying the rosary daily with a contrite and humble heart, Mary will change your heart. Either you will stop praying it or you will stop sinning, but one of them will have to go. I hope and pray that somewhere in these pages, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you will feel the call to join me in the daily rosary. If you are already there, I pray you continue this most edifying prayer routine and draw others to pray with us. Queen of the most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
About the Crucifix
“Never let your home be without a crucifix upon its walls, to the end that all who enter it may know that you are a disciple of a Crucified Lord, and that you are not ashamed to own it.” ~ St. John Vianney
Much like the rosary, the crucifix cannot coexist with evil. Make an effort each day to look upon the cross, touch the wounds of Christ, kiss them, and thank Him for dying that we have life. You cannot do this day in and day out, and at the same time continue living a life of sin. The crucifix will transform your heart.