Wednesday has dawned rainy and dreary here in Chicago. Shortly, I am headed to the annual meeting of the National Church Goods Association. I presented a webinar for this group several weeks ago, outlining some of the history about The Roman Missal, Third Edition. Most of those in attendance will be those who sell church goods - religious articles, books, music, prayer resources, rosaries, vessels for the liturgy, vestments - at bookstores and religious articles stores throughout North America. Often, when I am on the road, a local Catholic book store will set up a booth or table with materials pertinent to my presentation. What I find so helpful about these kinds of situations is the fact that most Catholics in ministry either do not visit Catholic bookstores or simply do not have a Catholic bookstore in their area. At these events, those in attendance just "eat up" the materials.
I remember the days when I was growing up in the Boston area. I would visit the Matthew Sheehan Catholic bookstore and spend hours in the place, thumbing through books, looking at music and LP's, and gazing at all kinds of religious art. When I moved to Chicago, I did the same thing at Alverno bookstore on Irving Park Road. I know it sounds strange, but Catholic bookstores have a similar aroma to them. I guess it's because they sell candles and incense. I always had a sense of "being at home" when I visited these stores.
The digital age has meant that we can do lots of our Catholic shopping on line, which is a good thing. But maybe it's time to visit a Catholic book store or religious articles store again.
Do you have a store like this in your area? Do you visit often? Comments welcome.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.