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Our Audio Catechism Story...
...and how we've been able to make and sell CDs
The answer? Our story rests on the grace of the duty of state and listening to good advice. We made sure to teach the First Communion and Confirmation basic Catholic beliefs to our own children, and we wanted to teach them well.
Our story began years ago when our first child was preparing to receive her First Communion. We were told that the date would be in August. Then our pastor was relocated. The next pastor said that First Holy Communion would take place in September or October. So we continued to review the Baltimore Catechism questions and answers.
Then November, December.... Yes, you might have guessed it, the date was finally Mother's Day! We didn't guess it at the time, yet by November we had told our daughter that once she could pronounce and remember each catechism answer well enough, we would add both the question and answer on a cassette.
Then she could keep and review at will even while she played with her sister and brother, colored pictures, or worked on crafts.
Voila. Our first audio catechism!
That same season our pastor asked us to teach the First Communion catechism for our very small mission chapel. It seemed like it would be easy enough.
Wasn't it for very small children?
Yes, the children were small but the responsibility of teaching other people's children was huge.
Just as we wanted to be sure that our own children could answer well, we wanted to help other children do the same. We taught what Father had assigned on Sundays and the children learned well with their own parents' help during the week.
Then we moved. The Sisters there were using a better set of questions and answers from an excellent First Communion book called Jesus Comes from the series Our Holy Faith.
A good many of these answers were the same as what we'd studied as they're all based on the Baltimore Catechism, yet there were some excellent additions, too.
Wow! Time to do another cassette for daughter number two.
At this time we had had even less time available because two of our children were learning from different books, they were away at school during the day, and baby number five was on her way.
Simply, two different catechisms were being used in the same school. No time to look into it. Mom and Dad needed the review help of the audio cassette even more!
Simple answer? Put all of the questions on the same cassette!
Later, we moved to a new home and I lost that cassette. Getting all of the answers recorded became a new priority since we soon had eight children, another child in school, and they all needed more review.
I wish I'd had a tutor, yet with them in school we wouldn't have had time. We needed to get the answers recorded again.
After we taught the children to pronounce the answers and reviewed with them nearly every night, they could remember the answers for Sister's class and more importantly... for life.
We had our task cut out for us, especially to record the answers in a six-year-old user friendly format. Rewinding a homemade cassette was not the easiest task for some of our little ones, and led to the next step in our audio catechism story.
The question was, "How?"
Audio Baltimore Catechism CDs were the answer. Our local computer expert showed us how to produce professional CDs.
The next chapter in our audio catechism story is that we began giving the Catechism CDs to our Godchildren, nieces and nephews, friends and acquaintances.
It was so easy to help the Moms help the children. Soon other people began asking for them as they they could see that they were such a huge help.
Soon we could not afford to continue handing out the audio CDs for free, especially every year. We saw that this was the beginning of a true apostolate, as confirmed by several good priests and religious. At one point a lady came to the door wanting to buy a copy.
We needed a name and the children came up with Saint Anne's Helper. St. Anne is the patroness of those who teach their children. Being mother of Our Lady and grandmother to Jesus gave us great confidence.
We started building our tiny business in 2007 after perfecting our CDs. We worked hard to develop and publish them in a professional format, and to present them to many major Catholic book publishing companies and Catholic book sellers.
Priests, catechists, parents, students and converts have written to thank us for our apostolate; but guess what? We had no venue to reach the larger market for Catholic audio book CDs.
So, long story short, after two years working the usual venues we found that it was hard to convince bookstores to sell our CDs. They already had their supply lines; and few people had heard of an audio catechism - of course. We had a brand new idea.
Then my sister said, "You need a website."
She and her husband had already set up their successful website and knew that a website was what we needed to sell our CDs and build the base for a larger Catholic business.
Gasp! We could barely use email. Aren't websites expensive?....
Well, we saw their success and decided to use their good advice. We began to build this website in December of 2008. At the beginning we had not known much more than how to use email, yet we have learned to do so much more since that time.
Now, after using a step by step tutorial of how to do all that we have done; we have organic traffic and many Catholic companies, parishes, schools, and families use our products.
As an aside this has been a great education for our high school graduates - and we're growing even when we do not "work" on the site.
Also, there are now several of us in our family who know how to build their own successful websites, navigate the internet, and produce beautiful graphics and printables. Except for tweaking and for adding new material, the site pretty much takes care of itself now.
If you're looking to build your own website, you'll like SBI's tutorials.
As a result of the step by step process for creating a website with focused traffic, we also learned how to sell our CDs as downloads.
Visitors now had none of the hassle and expense of shipping and handling; and our visitors could receive their products immediately. Win. Win. We also have international friends as a result.
Let's just say it's so great to be able to help you find a good catechism resources. It is a highlight in our of our day when you write to tell us how you've benefited from using our downloads.
As our littlest ones were growing older we produced other First Communion and Confirmation products:
We hope that you've enjoyed our story and will return for updates and new products like our free coloring pages to print, Catholic worksheets, and other interesting Catholic ideas. We also have a monthly holy day reminder.
Thank you for visiting! If you like what you see, we appreciate your sharing our audio catechism story.
With confidence in St. Anne,
Kevin and Mary Fifer
Proprietors, Saint Anne's Helper
Print these for your Roman Catholic catechism class or Sunday school lesson; Pin a picture to remember Saint Anne's Helper; and share with family and friends on Facebook.
Thank you so much!