Joseph Sinasac, Publishing Director
January 24 is the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers and journalists. This memorable bishop, writer and advisor of popes and European royalty remains to this day an inspiration for those of us engaged in the vital work of Catholic communications.
At Novalis, St. Francis de Sales is a model in the use of gentle persuasion and understanding of the other as he went through his days proclaiming the Good News. It was not his role to bring down fire and brimstone on those he believed had fallen into sin. Instead, he sought to know why those who disagreed with him believed the way they did. Then he would reply, in his many spiritual letters and publications, in a way that would appeal to his readers’ better instincts.
As we make our way through winter into spring 2017, there are many parallels to the work and times of this great saint. We are into the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a turbulent time for relations between Catholics and Protestants — St. Francis himself was bishop of Geneva and had to live in exile because Calvinists controlled the territory of his diocese.
Today, however, we are making great strides to overcome the effects of the Reformation. No better place to start to understand the Church’s progress in ecumenism would be our newest title, Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years After the Reformation. Edited by Archbishop of Regina Donald Bolen, Nicholas Jesson and Donna Geernaert, SC, this book draws together essays by some of the top names in international ecumenical dialogue, including Cardinal Walter Kasper, the late Margaret O’Gara, Cardinal Edward Cassidy and many others from various religious denominations. The book charts the often halting but nevertheless impressive progress of the last half-century.
Also in footsteps of St. Francis are two other new titles published by Novalis this spring.
The Seven Last Words of Christ, by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, is a tre ore reflection delivered last year at the Catholic Cathedral of St. James in Seattle. This in-depth reflection into the seven phrases and words uttered by Christ during his Passion provide a powerful insight into one of the deepest mysteries of our faith.
Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, rounds out the list with his three-volume reflection on the psalms, titled The Psalms of Our Lives. Originally written for a secular audience, these reflections bring home these ancient prayers to a modern sensibility, inviting us once again to drink deeply at the well of our traditions.
So as you move through 2017, we wish you happy reading and may St. Francis guide you in all your work.