THEY WANT TO READ ABOUT FRANCIS
During this year’s Fair of Catholic Publishers there was a record of attendance. Over 20 thousand visitors took note of the offer of 140 publishers, presented in the arcades of the Royal Castle in Warsaw
Biographic novelties, especially books about pope Francis, books of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, as well as the books about exorcisms and history of the Church, religious journalism of known journalists, and also testimonies of famous people – these publications were very popular during the XIX Fairs of the Catholic Publishers.
Potentates exposed a several dozens of books, smaller publishing houses – only a few. There was a big choice, although this year there was a lack of the indisputable best-seller.
Flowers of pope Francis
Books concerning the new pope were very popular and met with much interest. – It is natural because pope Francis is a kind of a ‘novelty’ for us and we want to get to know him more – says priest Roman Szpakowski, the chairman of the Catholic Publishers which is the organizer of the fairs. As he estimated, there were a several dozen publications of ‘Francis’.
The Cracow Publishing House ‘M’ arrived in Warsaw with 90 titles, including 3 books connected with Francis, and published together with the Catholic Information Agency. Two of them represent the teaching of cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio: ‘Flowers of pope Francis’ and ‘I would like the poor Church, for the poor’, and the third one – a biography ‘The Holy Father Francis. At the threshold of the pontificate’.
Among other publications, the attention of priest Roman Szpakowski was drawn by audiobooks of the Publishing House Rajmedia.pl. – Especially those about 12 steps of getting out of an addiction – says priest Szpakowski. – This book is very necessary, similarly as the book by Robert Tekiel ‘I will manipulate you, darling’ of the Publishing House ‘M’, as addictions and manipulation are the suffering of our world.
A various offer was presented by Publishing House of St. Paul from Częstochowa, including the ‘ABC-book of theology of the body according to John Paul II’, as well as very popular autobiography of the converted model Anna Golędzinowska – Rescued from the hell’ and computer games for children ‘Noah’ and ‘David’.
Phoenix for the Półtascy
A significant role of the fairs in convincing everybody (especially young people !) of reaching for a good book was emphasized by cardinal Kazimierz Nycz during the inauguration of the fairs. He reminded that nearly three-fourth of Poles do not read books at all. Hence it is important – also through the fairs – to promote them, and raise human interest in books.
The apostolic nuncio in Poland, archbishop Celestino Migliore emphasized that the fairs are inscribed in the Year of Faith. – In the Year of Faith we need a personal, intellectual deepening the motives of our faith. We take a risk without it, which may make our faith miserable.
The event was accompanied by authorship meetings, projects of films and concert. The annual prizes of the Association of Catholic Publishers - phoenix were given. The main prize Phoenix of 2013 was given to Wanda and Andrzej Półtawscy. Phoenix prizes were given to bishop Antoni Długosz and Ernest Bryll. It was the first time when the prize ‘A book of life’ had been given to the president’s wife, Karolina Kaczorowska.
There were more ‘first’ things. It was the first time when one of the days was the Day of the Youth, and workshops were prepared for young people, as well as meetings about problems, and everything was intended to emphasize the message of John Paul II addressed to young people. The novelty was also the elongation of the event by 4 days.
Queues to get an autograph
There were also famous people to whom people were standing in queues to get an autograph. Books were signed by: Wojciech Cejrowski, Fr. Leon Knabit, a prominent Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli, Krzysztof Ziemiec – a journalist of the Polish television TVP.
On the last day of the fairs, the metropolitan of Częstochowa, archbishop Wacław Depo was at the stall of the weekly ‘Sunday’, very popular among readers. As the chairman of the Council for Mass Media of the Polish Episcopal Conference, he had presided over the Holy Mass in the basilica of the Holy Cross in Warsaw broadcast by the Polish Radio. The Holy Mass had been celebrated in the intention of Catholic publishers and the starting Biblical Week.
It was possible to receive the latest edition of the weekly ‘Sunday’ at the stall, as well as occasional publications, and also many books by the chief editor prelate priest Ireneusz Skubiś (among the others, the collection of talks “Did we pass the exam of regained freedom?’), present on the last day of the fairs in Warsaw. He was signing them and talking with readers. As he explained to us, the talks were very friendly.
The manager of the fairs – priest Roman Szpakowski did not hide his satisfaction about their course. As he emphasizes, lectures, testimonies, symposia ‘Magic – the whole truth’, met with a good approval, and which were held under the auspices of the fairs in one of the Warsaw churches, and also meetings with authors, held in a special tent, papal films and a concert of a pop star of the Christian rap music.
This was the record of the fairs – priest Szpakowski admits. – But we do not mean breaking records. If we do, we only mean richer and more interesting fair every year.