Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Forthcoming Altar Missal

Christian bookshops around the country are up in arms about not being able to sell the forthcoming Altar Missals. They have issued the following Open Letter to the publisher of the books, The Catholic Truth Society.

Abbey Bookshop, Buckfast
Lighthouse Bookshop, Swindon
McCrimmons at All Saints Bookshop, London Colney
Mustard Seed Bookshop, Marlborough
Our Lady’s Bookshop, Hessle
Pauline Books & Media, London, Glasgow, Newcastle and Liverpool
Pilgrims Progress, Hereford
St Denys Bookshop, Manchester
St Olav’s Trust Bookshop, Chichester
St Pauls, London, Birmingham, Leeds and York
Sarum Books, Salisbury
The Shrine Shop, Walsingham
Unicorn Tree Books, Lincoln

To the Rt Revd Paul Hendricks, Chairman of the Board of Management and Mr Fergal Martin, General Secretary of the Catholic Truth Society Incorporated.

The imminent arrival of the new translation of the Rite of Mass is welcome news. We write as retailers of Catholic books in the UK to express our concern at information we have received from the Catholic Truth Society (C.T.S.) regarding supply of the new Missals - specifically the Altar, Chapel and Introductory editions.

The C.T.S. state they are offering only a "non-negotiable" 10% discount to trade customers on the Altar, Chapel and Introductory Missals. For any business to run effectively, a more acceptable level of discount is required; all other Christian publishers recognise this and offer every incentive and support to us retailers. However, by their unwillingness to support us, the C.T.S. are effectively imposing a monopoly on the supply of these books.

The implementation of the new translation will place upon all parishes, schools, Religious Houses and other institutions a heavy financial burden. A very substantial income will be generated for the publisher from the sale of these books. It is regrettable that, under the proposed arrangements, a portion of this income would not be available to the Christian retail trade in general. Many customers are loyal to their chosen Christian retailer and it is unfortunate that in making these major purchases under the proposed terms from the C.T.S., this loyalty cannot be exercised. This restricts the customer’s ability to support their local retailer at a time when all are experiencing the challenges of a recession and decline in book sales . We are already aware of considerable discontent on the part of some clergy, and all the retailers we have been able to contact, at the terms for supply of these Missals.
We therefore write to express our dismay and disappointment at the high-handed action of the C.T.S.. Secondly, we ask that you initiate immediate discussion and negotiation with the C.T.S. in order that normal supply terms can be established to the book trade. This would help we Christian retailers maintain the service we aim to offer as we all strive to carry out our ministries in such challenging times and make religious products available throughout the dioceses in the UK.

Monday, 30 May 2011


Due to technical difficulties we have been unable to post items on to our blog. We hope to rectify this within a couple of days. Apologies to our readers.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

From Fear to Serenity

Fr Tom Casey, SJ will be in our Westminster bookshop on Monday 23rd May at 6 pm to promote his latest book From Fear to Serenity with Anthony de Mello.

The book provides an informal, individual retreat with the works of the great Indian Jesuit psychologist and spiritual master, Anthony de Mello, SJ.

There is no charge for attendance. All are welcome to come and meet Fr Casey.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe

It is deeply disturbing how Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, is being blasphemed against at the Oakland Museum of California.

The museum is currently exhibiting a digital portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe wearing a bikini, held aloft by a topless woman dressed as an angel.

Go here to sign the protest.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Christian Resources Exhibition

Our distributors, Redemptorist Publications, were exhibiting at the Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park Racecourse this week and it was good to see that they included some of our books on their stand.

ST PAULS and the Redemptorists work tirelessly to support the Catholic Church. How encouraging it is to see two Catholic charities working together for the mission of the Church.

Some of our publications at the Christian Resources Exhibition.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Blogging for the Kingdom of God

The meeting last Saturday in Westminster Cathedral’s Hinsley Room saw 10 Catholic bloggers coming together, out of the cyber and into the real world, to discuss the idea of forming a Guild of Catholic Bloggers - the initiative of A Reluctant Sinner.

By its very nature, blogging is a very personal, individualistic and, at times, isolated activity. Blogging, the physical act of typing on a PC or MAC, is done in the privacy of one’s home. Yet, as soon as the "post" button is pressed, what has been typed becomes exposed to the world, and the writer becomes part of an entity much larger than his or her self, never knowing the person who reads thier words. The meeting on Saturday was, in a way, a reversal of that process. Readers met writers, and writers met readers. The majority of those present had never met face to face. Some read the blogs of those present and were delighted for the opportunity to put a face to the, until then, anonymous blogger. Some of those present had never even known the other’s blog even existed, but all present shared the enthusiasm that they were blogging for the good of the Kingdom of God. The personal, individualistic and isolated worlds of 10 bloggers came together under a common motive.

The motive for blogging is immensely varied, as indeed is the choice of blogs we choose to follow. If, as sometimes happens, we find ourself on a blog (often having arrived there via a circuitous route of links) which is nothing more than personal opinion or interpretation on matters of faith or doctrine, we navigate away from it pretty quickly. What the meeting on Saturday reinforced was the need for a place where people can find orthodox, enriching and informative articles on the Catholic Faith. Another thing was the common desire for writers of Catholic blogs to come together to support, encourage, inform and inspire one another - things we all benefit from in the real world as we travel our pilgrimage of faith, encouraged and supported by Holy Mother Church.

Nearly a century ago, the founder of ST PAULS, Blessed James Alberione, was inspired by the Holy Spirit to form the Society of St Paul to make use of the media available at that time to promote the Gospel and the teachings of the Catholic Church. For almost 100 years members of the Society (together with a huge number of lay people in all parts of the world who assist them) have kept his vision alive. However, the means at our disposal have greatly increased since the formative years of the Society.

The meeting on Saturday was evidence that the Church needs to wake up to the reality that blogging is a God-given tool for evangelisation. The recent meeting at the Vatican is, hopefully, the start of this. However, the meeting in Westminster was a lay initiative, attended by lay people, with the exception of Fr Sam (whose offer to say Mass for us will, without doubt, be of immense spiritual benefit for us now and in the months to come).

We must await, with eager anticipation, to see what develops from the Vatican’s recent initiative and from that of A Reluctant Sinner, to whom all who attended the meeting expressed their grateful thanks for pressing his "post" button when he did.

The bloggers. Thanks to Fr Sam for the photograph.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A birthday

225 years ago today, in a small village in rural France, a husband and wife gave thanks to God for the safe arrival of their new-born son. Although poor by worldly standards, this family was rich in their blessings from God and love for each other. The family was the Vianney family, and the son born on this day was Jean-Marie Vianney. From the poverty of the village of Dardilly in rural France, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney now rejoices in the riches of heaven.

As part of our publishing programme for the Year for Priests, ST PAULS published Joanna Bogle's book St John Mary Vianney, the Curé of Ars.
In his Preface, Mgr Keith Barltrop says of the book, "Its greatest value... will be to point readers to what the Curé himself said, which, as Joanna Bogle shows, he first lived in an exemplary way in his parish."

A quotation from Joanna's book:

"The Church honours a vast variety of people as saints: heroes and martyrs, mystics, teachers, missionaries, founders of great religious orders, crusaders who helped the poor and downtrodden, and defenders of truth and justice in times of tyranny and oppression. But there is – so far, at any rate – only one saint who was simply a parish priest and that is John Vianney.

He is a well known saint. At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth he was, along with St Thérèse of Lisieux and St Bernadette of Lourdes, a sort of emblem of a revived French Catholicism which had appeared to triumph over atheism and revolution, ushering in a
new era.

The story of his life has already become the stuff of legend – the struggles to be ordained after many setbacks, the challenge of a bleak and apparently godless rural parish, the spiritual battles, the heroic fasting and dedication to prayer.

The problem with such a tale is that John Vianney can seem a remote figure, a priest popularised by statues and pictures, who so rapidly acquired cult status that he never seems quite real, a character from a vanished world who has nothing to say to us now. So, while recognising that he lived in an age before motorways, mobile phones or the Internet, and in a rural France of bonnets and home-baking, where the fastest news arrived at the speed of a galloping horse, we can still reach him across the centuries and recognise in his life something with a profoundly practical message for today."

For younger readers, we also published St John Mary Vianney, the Curé of Ars, written by Jack O'Neill and illustrated by Kati Teague. This illustrated book, ideal for children of all ages, tells the story of his remarkable life.

A story from the book

St John Vianney, pray for us. St John Vianney, pray for our priests.

Friday, 6 May 2011

May Westminster Record Book of the Month

In association with the  Westminster Record (the monthly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Westminster) we are pleased to announce that the book for May is Hail, Holy Queen by Scott Hahn.

In Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God Scott Hahn presents a fresh and surprising perspective on Mary, the Mother of God, that highlights her central importance in the Christian faith.

Upon presentation of the voucher in the May edition of the Westminster Record, you can purchase the book from our Westminster shop at a discounted price.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Sister Wendy Beckett has been sent to Malta

No, she hasn't been exiled to Malta... her latest book Sister Wendy Contemplates The Iconic Jesus, to be published by us, is with the printer.

This latest book from Sister Wendy, like its companion volume Saint Paul in Art, enables us to share some of the great insights into the scriptures that she has gained from a life spent in prayer.

 The Iconic Jesus,as the title suggests, introduces the reader to the meaning and significance of iconography. Sister Wendy has chosen a selection of her favourite icons, from traditional and modern sources, which depict episodes from the life of Christ. As we contemplate these icons, with her as our guide, we are taken out of our own world and drawn into a deeper understanding of the life of Christ and the life He wishes us to live.

Sister Wendy does not allow us simply to look and turn the page. In each chapter her commentary complements the artist’s work and together they provide us with inspiration to live our life of service to Christ, the Church and to each other.

"The tradition of the icon shows that the artist must be conscious of fulfilling a mission of service to the Church." (Blessed John Paul II).

 "If we just leaf through the book, we will miss its potential to change what we are into what God would have us be, that infinitely free and joyful creature. It is not in words that we respond to the icon, but at a level far deeper and more immediate." (Sister Wendy).

The book, printed in colour throughout, contains 42 of Sister Wendy's favourite icons. Publication date is 1st June. If you would like to receive an invitation to the launch celebration of the book and meet Sister Wendy please contact us at our Westminster bookshop via our website. The date of the launch has yet to be confirmed.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Guild of Catholic Bloggers

Our brother blogger Reluctant Sinner has put forward the idea of forming a Guild of Catholic Bloggers, details of which can be read here. A meeting to discuss the idea is to be held this Saturday (7th May) at 2pm in the Hinsley Room of Westminster Cathedral. The meeting is open to all Catholic bloggers.

Writing in 1944, James Alberione, the founder of the Pauline Family, said:
"The press, cinema, radio, these make up today the most urgent, the most rapid and the most effective works of the Catholic apostolate. It is possible that time will give to us other better means. But at present it seems that the heart of the apostle cannot desire anything better in order to give God to souls and souls to God." He repeated these words in 1960, adding "television" to the list of media. Should he repeat these words again today I am sure Blessed James Alberione would now add "internet" and "blog" to the list.

As an organisation committed to promoting the Gospel using the various means of communication, ST PAULS will be represented at the meeting on Saturday and are confident that the prayers of Blessed James Alberione will be guiding and supporting all who attend.

Blessed James Alberione pray for us

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Beatification of Pope John Paul II

To celebrate the Beatification of Pope John Paul II Fr Renzo Sala, a priest of the Society of St Paul, has put together a brief illustrated biography of the newly Blessed. The English edition has been published by us in London. Details of this 16 page booklet can be seen here.

It was Pope John Paul II who pronounced the Declaration of Beatification of our Founder, James Alberione, in 2003 and it is humbling to think the Church now regards both men as Blessed.

Fr Devassy Athalathil, the Director of ST PAULS India, based in Mumbai, was amongst the many Paulines who attended the celebration in Rome. He writes:

"Today was indeed a memorable day in my life.  I had the privilege to participate in the ceremony of the beatification of Pope John Paul II. It was an unforgettable experience. As I had secured a special pass, I could get a seat specially assigned for priests for distributing communion.
St Peter's Square and all its surroundings were filled with people from all over the world. I reached St Peter's Square early in the morning (6.00 a.m.). The ceremony began at 10.00 and concluded at 13.30 hours. Due to the number of people there, it took me nearly an hour to reach the metro station to return to my community next to St Paul's Basilica.
Yesterday was a rainy day in Rome. However, today was much brighter. Blessed Pope John Paul II has truly blessed his people to participate in the ceremony with maximum comfort.
Let us pray to Blessed Pope John Paul II for the reign of unity and peace all over the world."