Michael D. O’Brien is a best-selling author at Justin Press. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Tiny Catholic publisher thinking big

By 
  • November 26, 2018

OTTAWA – In a dog-eat-dog book publishing world where many houses fail or get gobbled up by conglomerates, the fact little Justin Press held its 10th annual book launch Nov. 7 is news.

The tiny Catholic publisher, founded and run by volunteers, released four new titles, including its first book of poetry entitled Canadian Sonnets by Christine Schintgen, a professor of literature at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont.

The launch also featured an art exhibit by Joseph Ferrant, whose portraits are included in the slender poetry volume. Among Canadian luminaries featured in the book are St. Br. Andre, Jean Vanier, Catherine de Hueck Doherty and George Grant.

Dr. John Gay, a retired physician and co-founder of Justin Press, told the nearly 200 people gathered in the scavi of St. Patrick’s Basilica he hoped the book launch with its art exhibit, and the tables representing three private Catholic schools, represented a sign of a “revival of Catholic culture.”

The little Catholic press has published 45 books so far, including the non-fiction writings of bestselling Catholic novelist Michael D. O’Brien.  “What you publish is a light in a very dark age,” O’Brien told the launch.

Justin Press released its second volume of testimonies by new Catholics entitled Canadian Converts Volume II, with 15 stories of personal journeys into the Catholic Church.

Gay pointed out how 11 of the 15 stories tell of the spousal influence on conversion. “The spouses alternatively pull each other along,” he said.

Gay also noted the role books played in the conversion story. Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman’s Apologia received the most mentions from the converts, he said, and St. Augustine came in second. C.S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft and G.K. Chesterton each received two mentions, he said.  “Books matter. Old books more than new books, which is not quite as comforting.”

The other new offerings from Justin Press are Engaging the Sceptic by Peter Karl Koritansky, and Art and Sacrificial Love, a Conversation with Michael D. O’Brien, by Clemens Cavillin.

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