My postulancy in the Daughters of St Paul was not just an introduction to religious life; it was like a master class in All Things Catholic, like the liturgy and papal documents.
|We did a special series of |
reprints for Vatican II
documents, pushing the
tiara over to make room
for an image. But the yellow
continued on for years.
The sisters would do an initial print run of 10-25,000 copies of papal documents (in some cases, a 20 or 30-year supply; they didn't know about inventory management yet). There were a few of those booklets that underwent successive reprints (Humanae Vitae being one of them), but our stockroom had pretty much a lifetime supply of every major papal document ever issued, from Leo XIII through Blessed Pope Paul VI, then gloriously reigning, and judging from the rusty staples, most of them seemed to have been printed during the writer's reign and were thus older than I was. Since I worked in the shipping department, I quickly acquired a working knowledge of the major documents and their Latin and English titles, just from having to fill orders!
|With Pope Benedict, we went|
to a "New Pope, New Color"
Late in John Paul's reign, he began publishing actual books. Suddenly the major publishers were interested: not just in his full-length books, but in the
as well, issuing them with amazing dust jackets and hard covers.
Through it all, the Daughters kept publishing those “chapel sized”
paperbacks, changing the color as the Popes succeeded one another:
red for Benedict XVI, and now green for Francis. Recently we've
introduced "anniversary editions" of major documents: On time for the
World Meeting of Families and Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia, we'll
release the anniversary edition of powerful document from the last
Synod on the Family: "The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern
World" with commentary by John and Claire Grabowski (members of the
Pontifical Council for the Family). (Be on the lookout for it!)
|Sneak peak at the new "Anniversary|
edition" of a super important
document on the family.
Interest in papal writings sparked some abuses, too: a fake papal website; altered documents proffered as the real thing. The Vatican publishing office (which had long given the Pauline sisters open permission to print papal teachings) overhauled its rights and permissions. This means that although for now you can read “Laudato Si” online or download the pdf file from the Vatican website, you will have to wait for a print edition in English. The first copies will be coming from the US Bishops' Conference publishing arm, which administers Vatican copyrighted material. Other publishers (like Ignatius Press, OSV and Pauline) are preparing their editions, but cannot release them for another month. The Pauline edition will be the usual “chapel size,” and the most economical option. Naturally, I hope you will sign up now to reserve a copy as a way of supporting the community that made the paperback encyclical a standard item for the Catholic bookshelf!