Christian Retailing

Ave Maria Press editorial director to retire Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 14 March 2016 10:24 AM America/New_York

RobertHammaAve Maria Press Editorial Director Robert Hamma plans to retire in July. For 25 years, he has served Ave Maria, and prior to that, he was an editor at Paulist Press.

Hamma learned the publishing business at Paulist, where he acquired and edited books, worked with RENEW and developed resources for RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) and college-level theology. In 1991, Frank Cunningham hired him as a book editor at Ave and editor of Spiritual Book Associates Book Club. In that role, Hamma also served as editor of Spiritual Book News. He was promoted to editorial director in 1996. 

Hamma estimates he’s edited about 200 books, including those of such notable authors as Sr. Joyce Rupp, Robert Wicks and Henri Nouwen. 

“Oh, how I will miss having Bob Hamma as my editor,” Rupp said. “He polished my manuscripts with his editorial skills and often restored my confidence. I owe so much to Bob for how kindly he approached my writing and the deftness with which he brought it to fuller life."

Ave Maria Press Publisher Tom Grady believes Hamma's retirement is well-earned.

“After such a long and fruitful tenure at Ave, Bob has earned his retirement, but it will be hard to imagine this organization without him,” Grady said.

Hamma reflected on the state of Catholic publishing, observing that digital technology has opened up new opportunities and changing the pace of the work. Changes in the Catholic Church have also refocused publishing from primarily books for religious leaders to publications for lay Catholics.

“Interest in Catholic identity has really shaped the kind of publishing we do,” Hamma said.

Hamma expects to stay involved in publishing in a limited way, possibly in writing, teaching and working with Spanish-speaking Catholics.

“I feel like I am in place where I have a lot of energy for new things, and I’m ready to make a change and step back from the fast pace,” Hamma said.

Ave will begin searching for Hamma’s successor immediately.