Christian Retailing

Christian market reacts to rise of Pope Francis Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Friday, 15 March 2013 03:42 PM America/New_York

Francis.IgnatiusPublishers, retailers and authors are responding to the March 13 ascension of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy, taking the name Francis I. Chosen by the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church, the 76-year-old Argentinian is the first Latin American pope and the only pope in history from the Jesuit order.

Image Books, the Catholic imprint of Random House, was first on the scene to announce a new book on Pope Francis. Robert Moynihan, founder and editor of Inside the Vatican,  offers an introduction to Bergoglio’s life and work in Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope From the Americas, releasing April 30.

Ignatius Press also will be releasing a book on the new pope April 30. Written by Andrea Tornielli, a journalist who works for the Italian paper La Stampa and contributes to the Vatican Insider project, Francis: Pope of a New World will draw from the words, ideas and personal recollections of Pope Francis—including inside material made available right up to the final hours before his election.

Jon M. Sweeney, associate publisher at Paraclete Press, is author of Francis of Assisi (Image) and the St. Francis Prayer Book (Paraclete) and editor of The Road to Assisi by Paul Sabatier (Paraclete), is scheduled to appear March 17 on CBS Sunday Morning to share his expertise. Paraclete also recently published its first graphic novel, Saint Francis and Brother Duck by Jay Stoeckl, designed for children to get to know St. Francis.

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. listed its “Books for a Papal Enclave” ( in light of Pope Benedict’s resignation. With the rise of the new pope, the publisher added two additional Eerdmans titles to the list: Francis of Assisi: Performing the Gospel of Life by Lawrence S. Cunningham and An Outline of New Testament Spirituality by Cardinal Prosper Grech, who gave the meditation before the official opening of the conclave.

Ian Morgan Cron, author of Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale (Zondervan), is an Episcopal priest and expert on St. Francis of Assisi. By choosing to be named after St. Francis, the new pope “has sent a loud, clear message to the global community: The Catholic Church has lost its credibility and he intends to restore it.”

Chris Weickert, director of the Catholic Retailers Association, said he is “planning to order more materials to help our customers understand the life and works of St. Francis. We had a customer looking for a statue within an hour of his appearance on the balcony.”