There are about three dozen significant Catholic publishing houses in North America, each with its particular niche within the overall evangelizing mission of the Church.

While we don’t try to compete directly, there is no doubt some friendly rivalry. And we certainly do compare notes about who is publishing what title and on what subjects. In addition, each year most Catholic publishers submit their best work to various book awards.

This year, I’m happy to announce, Novalis has done particularly well in the annual Catholic Media Association Book Awards, representing Catholic communicators across the continent. These were announced June 10 in a virtual conference attended by more than 450 people.

Seven Novalis titles won nine honours, including four first-place finishes. These were:

  1. Promise and Hope: Pastoral Theology in the Age of Mercy, by Bill Huebsch: First Place, Theological and Philosophical Studies; First Place Pastoral Ministry – Catechetical.
  2. Healthy Caregiving: Perspectives for Caring Professionals in Company with Henri J.M. Nouwen, by Michelle O’Rourke: First Place, Caring Professional; Second Place, Healing and Self-Help.
  3. The Joy of Keeping the Faith: Thriving in the Church After RCIA, by Christine Way Skinner: First Place, Pastoral Ministry — Parish Life.
  4. There Must be a Pony in Here Somewhere, by Michael Way Skinner and Christine Way Skinner: Second Place, Marriage and Family Living.
  5. Written on My Heart: Classic Prayers in the Modern World, by Michael Swan: Third Place, Books about Prayer.
  6. Northern Light: A Canadian Prayer Book, by Les Miller: Third Place, Collections of Prayers.
  7. Amazing Friendships Between Animals and Saints, by Greg Kennedy, SJ, illustrated by Kerry Lyn Wilson: Honourable Mention, Children’s books, age 0-10.

You can see the full results here.

In seeking to fulfill our mission, we at Novalis are working constantly with experts across North America and beyond to publish excellent resources drawing on all the richness of the Christian tradition. Over the years, we have developed strong relationships with many of them, who in their professional lives are university professors and administrators, bishops, clergy, educators, spiritual directors, psychologists, nurses, doctors, bioethicists, retreat leaders, religious contemplatives, parish priests and others. We think of them as more than just publishing partners; to us, they are close friends.

None of them gets rich writing books for the Catholic world. But they all have in common a deep faith and love for the Church. They want to share with others the joy and abiding comfort they have experienced in their own spiritual lives. It is our role here at Novalis to help them do just that.

We also feel a particularly important responsibility to help Catholic writers in Canada to find an outlet for their creativity. Given that we are a for-profit publisher and have to keep commercial considerations in mind, of necessity we cannot publish everything that comes our way. But we strive in our marketing to give our titles as much exposure as we can to help them find their audiences.

I’d like to congratulate our award winners today, and all those in the past. There have been too many to count. But I also want to extend a thank-you to all of our authors for their work. Writing is not easy and, for many, it is not a full-time vocation. It is done out of love.

Joseph Sinasac is Publishing Director at Novalis. He has been involved with religious communications for more than 40 years as an author, journalist, editor and TV and radio commentator on all things Catholic. He continues to be excited by the commitment and passion of the Catholics he meets in his daily work.

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