By Tim Harfmann
For Sister Neville Christine Forchap and her religious order, the Daughters of Saint Paul, Catholic literature is an essential part of their mission. Sister Neville is the manager at Manhattan’s Pauline Books and Media store on East 29th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. She said she knows Catholic literature is alive and well because the faithful are always looking for new ways to grow closer to God.
“As long as there’s that deep seeking for Christ, there will always be the thriving of Catholic literature, which is the relaying of faith from generation to generation through the media,” said Sister Neville.
The order’s publishing company, Pauline Books and Media, prints about 40 new titles a year and distributes thousands of copies to nearly a dozen stores across the country. The bookstore receives new shipments every week. Shelves are stocked with books in English and Spanish, ranging from children’s themes to biographies of saints.
Peter Vera enjoys reading Catholic literature and just started working at the store this week. “When you read a lot of Catholic literature, sometimes you stumble upon a sentence that makes you go, ‘wow, that’s powerful. That’s a great message.’ Then you want to give that same message to somebody else,” said Vera.
Samantha Smith is a frequent customer and travels from her home in Queens to the Manhattan bookstore multiple times a week. She said Catholic literature is a key component to every day life. “Because there are so many nooks and crannies to the faith life now, literature is almost all encompassing when you think about how it can develop the faith more deeply,” said Smith.
But Vera admits people like Smith are becoming harder to find. “There are people who are falling off and not wanting to read a lot more and get more knowledge on our faith. It’s pretty sad.”
These sisters are keeping the faith that readers will continue to get closer to their savior one chapter at a time.