I had the opportunity to attend a writer’s conference held at the beautiful Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, this weekend, where it was my pleasure to meet a number of Long Island-based Catholic writers whose work I had admired. I had previously recommended Josephine Nobisso’s splendid children’s book The Weight of a Mass (my nieces have loved it!) to Anchoress readers, but to hear Nobisso describe the difficulties of getting faithful, non-ironic Catholic work published, and how she began her own publishing company in order to remain true to her own work, was inspiring, entertaining and informative. The Weight of a Mass, published by Nobisso’s own wee house, has gone into its sixth printing and been translated into multiple languages.
Among others at the conference I also met the very talented illustrator, Ann Kissane Engelhart, who collaborated with Amy Welborn to deliver the charming, beautifully executed Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI Speaks to Children on Their First Holy Communion. The book briefly chronicles the remarkable encounter between Pope Benedict XVI and some children who had recently made their First Communions–an exchange so warm and charming that it seemed almost parental, or perhaps avuncular, to me; Englehart loved it, too:
“The idea of this scholar theologian speaking to eight-year-olds really struck me. They asked him questions about the Eucharist and he answered them off the cuff. He really spoke to them on their level, answering challenging questions with great depth but in a way they could understand.”
You can see more of the book here. It seems like this lovely creation should become an instant “classic” of its genre; it is such an “obvious” gift idea for all First Communicants that one would think publishers would recognize the market and line up for the rights, but unfortunately, no US Publishers are currently making it available. As Ann shared in an email: CTS (Catholic Truth Society) are the publisher’s to the Holy See in the UK, and they wanted to publish it in anticipation of Benedict’s trip in September. It is $15.32 in US dollars, with about $8 oversees shipping. (a lot…I know!!).
Well, it’s gorgeous and I heartily recommend it; ignore the notation about the book being “out of print” at Amazon, and just order it where you can; it’s too good to miss. Another niece will be making her communion next year, and I can’t wait to present it to her!
I also met the very busy Leticia Velasquez from Catholic Media Review and Causa Nostae Laetiteae and writers Lisa Mladinich and Mary Ellen Barrett, and I had my first exposure to the mighty Pat Gohn, of the Among Women Podcasts. If you find yourself with the opportunity to hear her speak, I recommend you take it: she is smart, witty, very fast, and she has the verve and charm of Ellen Degeneres, when Degeneres is really “on.”
It was a pleasure to make the acquaintance of so many dynamic, talented women and men. I might start trying to get out, more!
Deacon Greg has the video!