Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015: Dedicated Issue: Loyola Press

Loyola Press: Pope Francis is Coming. Are you Ready?

Editors' Note

Loyola Press

As the United States prepares for a September visit by Pope Francis, Shelf Awareness, with the help of the leading Catholic publisher Loyola Press, looks at several key books by and about Pope Francis. The four books featured below help explain his background, his character, his views for the future--all of which make for excellent handselling opportunities.

Loyola Press: Pope Francis by Chris Lowney

Books & Authors

Loyola Press and Pope Francis

In little over two years, Pope Francis has electrified much of the world, generating headlines on a near daily basis. Catholics and non-Catholics alike are fascinated by a Pope who seems so different from his predecessors: personally modest and unassuming, indifferent to the trappings of office, dedicated to transparency, showing a rapport and concern about people from all walks of life and, most important, taking positions on issues such as poverty, climate change and modern society that resonate with millions. For believers and non-believers he's quickly become a cultural icon not unlike the Dalai Lama.

Media coverage of Pope Francis will increase dramatically next month: the Pontiff's first visit to the United States takes place September 22-27 and will include a meeting at the White House with President Obama and the First Lady, an address to a joint session of Congress and an address to the UN General Assembly. The Pope will also hold several Masses, a range of meetings, visits to schools and a jail, and he will be at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Americans who want to know more about this special Pope can turn to Loyola Press, which has several important books that examine the Pope's life, his background and his mission. They include two books by the Pope, The Church of Mercy and Walking with Jesus, as well as Pope Francis: Life and Revolution by Elisabetta Piqué, an Argentinian journalist who covers the Vatican and has known the Pope for a decade and a half, and Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads by Chris Lowney, a former Jesuit seminarian and business leadership writer. (For more about these books, see below.)

For the Jesuit press, it's been a godsend of sorts to witness the election of the first Jesuit pontiff. "When it comes to Pope Francis, we are the bestselling Catholic publisher," said Andrew Yankech, Business Development Manager, Trade, at Loyola Press. He noted that Loyola deliberately did not publish any books on the Pope immediately after his election in 2013. "Others did instant books or republished books by or about him when he was still the former Cardinal Bergoglio," but the Press waited and published its first titles "through our lens, sharing the power and the inspiration that is Pope Francis."

Joe Durepos, Executive Editor at Loyola Press, spoke of the Jesuit press's deep connection with the Jesuit Pope, saying, "Everything the Pope is doing and saying flows from his Jesuit training." That approach goes back to Ignatius of Loyola, founder in the 1500s of the Society of Jesus, which has deep traditions of education and social justice. "Ignatius wanted to be engaged in the real world" rather than retreat into monastic life, Durepos noted. In that vein, Pope Francis has said he sees the church as "a field hospital after battle," caring for the broken, the poor, the needy, which is "very much the charism of the Jesuits," Durepos said.

Yankech noted that the Pope's message resonates with a range of people, particularly millenials, who are "tired of bickering and the acrimony of the partisan divide and want to focus on how they can live better and help people."

The Press itself has deep roots among its readers. As a niche publisher, Loyola Press is closely in touch with the community and market it serves, Yankech said, and thus is "more connected with our customers than others."

Durepos echoed that thought, saying that the Press aims to be "vital, vibrant and contemporary" and is "down in the weeds where everyday people live and work. We have conversations that corporate publishers can't have and that we can't afford not to have."

Founded over 100 years ago and once part of Loyola University in Chicago, Loyola Press is the only Jesuit-owned book publisher in North America. Its titles range from books on Ignatian spirituality, which derives from St. Ignatius's classic work The Spiritual Exercises, to books on prayer, the saints, as well as Catholic life and spirituality. Both a curriculum and trade publisher, the press releases 15-20 trade titles a year. Selling with its own sales force, Loyola focuses on the traditional trade, Barnes & Noble, Catholic bookstores, CBA stores (which are selling more Catholic titles as the number of Catholic bookstores has shrunk), direct and to parishes. (Parishes buy one off as needed or make bulk purchases such as for their One Book, One Parish program. Often a parish will buy a copy of a title for each family in the parish, so orders can range from several hundred to 1,000 or more.)

Loyola's trade program has also tried to fill the gap created by major traditional trade publishers, which have cut back on Catholic titles and whose religious publishing currently is focused on evangelical and mind/body/spirit.

For Loyola, the books by and about Pope Francis are a labor of love and align perfectly with its mission, which, as Durepos put it, is "to reach people where they are and bring relevant good news."

Loyola Press: The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis

A Trinity of Timely Titles

The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis
The Church of Mercy is a collection of speeches, sermons and papers given by Pope Francis during the first year of his papacy that reflect the themes that have made Francis so popular even among non-Catholics: selfless service, fighting injustice, bringing hope to the downtrodden and remaking the Church into a force for good after tumultuous years of scandal.

The Pope's popularity has translated into impressive sales numbers for the book: The Church of Mercy has sold more than 100,000 copies since its release in April 2014. The book also has the Vatican's approval. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vatican's publishing house, owns the copyright, which functions as a type of imprimatur, attesting that the book adheres to Catholic teachings, which some Catholics need before they'll buy a religious book.

The book will get another boost later this year, when the next extraordinary jubilee year, which occurs once every 25-50 years, begins December 8. Coincidentally, this year's theme is mercy and its many manifestations, making The Church of Mercy Loyola's go-to jubilee title.

Published by Loyola Press in April, Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church, another collection by Pope Francis, explores how to implement the teachings from Church of Mercy as individuals and communities.


Pope Francis: Life and Revolution: A Biography of Jorge Bergoglio by Elisabetta Piqué
Journalist Elisabetta Piqué has been the Vatican correspondent for the Argentinan newspaper La Nación since 1999 and a friend of Pope Francis since 2001, who was then known simply as Padre Jorge. He even baptized her children.

Relying on more than 75 interviews conducted with lay people and Church officials as well as her insider's perspective, Piqué wrote Pope Francis: Life and Revolution: A Biography of Jorge Bergoglio, a bestseller in her native Argentina and first published in 2013. The book explores the man who would become pope and reveals some of the behind-the-scenes politics that allowed his unlikely ascension to the papacy. She portrays Pope Francis as at once complex and simple, a humble holy servant and effective leader whose popular progressive principles stem from a lifetime of selfless work.

Published last year in the U.S., Loyola's English edition is an expanded version and includes a foreword by Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley.


Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads by Chris Lowney
Chris Lowney, author of the bestseller Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World, was a Jesuit seminarian before he left for a different kind of calling and became managing director for J.P. Morgan Chase. During his financial career, however, Lowney never forgot the lessons he learned as a Jesuit. He found in Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, an admirable leadership style echoing their shared religious backgrounds.

In Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads, Lowney outlines his theory of Jesuit leadership traits as exemplified in Pope Francis. From washing the feet of young inmates to forgoing the papal palace in favor of a small apartment, Francis puts to practice his message of service, hope and help for the poor. Leading by example is just one of the lessons Pope Francis can teach us about leadership. Lowney's book was published by Loyola in 2013. --Tobias Mutter

Loyola Press: Pope Francis: Life and Revolution by Elisabetta Pique

What Indies Need to Know About Catholic Book Buyers

Tres Anderson

Tres Anderson, along with his sister Becky and brother Peter, owns Anderson's Bookshops, two successful independent bookstores in Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., in the western suburbs of Chicago--with a third store opening in August in La Grange. Shelf Awareness asked Anderson a few questions about Catholics, Catholic books, Pope Francis and how independent bookstores can best serve their Catholic customers.

What does Anderson's Bookshops do specifically for your Catholic book buyers?

First, Catholics buy books. They mark occasions that are important to them with books, cards and gifts for Baptisms, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, Easter and Christmas. They buy books for graduations and teacher gifts. They buy books about saints, they love prayer books and they like to buy books that teach them about the Catholic faith. I've found over the years, if you carry Catholic books, they'll make your store a destination and they'll tell their friends about your store.

What are Catholics looking for from Anderson's and other independent bookstores?

Well, this is related to the previous question: Catholics have strong families--culturally, historically, the family unit is very important. Catholic parents are always looking for good books on explaining their faith to their children. Like most people, Catholic adults look for inspirational reading, often from tried and true sources like the saints and more recent Catholic bestselling authors like Fr. James Martin and Fr. Richard Rohr. Talk with your Catholic customers, ask them what kinds of books they'd like to see in your store, reach out to your local parishes, and then let them see you're listening by carrying the resources they're asking for. Not only will they come and buy Catholic books from your store, but they will buy lots of other books and items as well.

Do you think most bookstores do a good job of serving their religious customers?

I find traditional religious books are often under-represented in independent bookstores. You'll often find the "spiritual but not religious" kinds of books in many stores. I understand, but I also believe a general indie should reflect the community it serves. If you have churches, synagogues, mosques and meeting halls in your community, these are your customers. You owe it to yourself to reach out and let them know you want their business.

Has Pope Francis has sparked sales of Catholic books, and do you think his visit to the U.S. in September will provide an opportunity for independent bookstores?

Pope Francis coming to the U.S. in September is a great opportunity for indies to tie in to his visit. Media coverage will be wall-to-wall. Look, I'm not Catholic, but Pope Francis is one of the most fascinating people on the planet today. He is in the news every day, whether you love the guy or not, everybody's paying attention. Bookstores need to make sure they are, too.

Q&A: Elisabetta Piqué, Author of Pope Francis: Life and Revolution

Shelf Awareness asked four questions of Elisabetta Piqué, the Argentinian journalist who is a friend of the Pope, covers the Vatican and is author of Pope Francis: Life and Revolution, a biography published by Loyola Press.

You knew Padre Jorge for many years as a family friend. How has he changed since he became Pope Francis?

On a personal level, he has not changed. He remains the same humble, kind, thoughtful, open, and very humorous person that I have always known. He continues to live a very simple life and is always open to meeting people. He remains in contact with many who were his friends in Buenos Aires. He is a person who likes to be with people, and especially with "the nobodies" of this world. He smiles now like he used do when, as archbishop, he visited the shanty towns in Buenos Aires. He was always a deeply spiritual man, and enjoys great inner peace, and that is so evident today.   

What is it like traveling with the Pope?

It’s a real privilege. At the beginning of the trip he comes and greets each of the journalists accompanying him and is willing to chat or have a selfie taken with those who ask.  All the journalists really appreciate this. When he greets me and my husband he always asks about our children, whom he knows well. I usually give him a kiss, as that is the normal thing to do in Argentina.   

On the return flight home, he gives a press conference, where we reporters can ask whatever we want. He's generous with his time, and on the long trips he gives an hour-long press conference. He tells us really what he thinks about different situations or problems. He’s a master at communication, and is very able at navigating problematic questions.

What is the most unexpected thing that Pope Francis has done since his election?

He has done many unexpected things. For example, there is his decision not to live in the Apostolic Palace, his embrace of the badly disfigured man, his phoning people directly, his decision to hold a synod on the family in two stages, his nomination of cardinals from the peripheries, and much else. In a word, he has changed the style of the papacy; he is pioneering a new way of being pope.

What will readers discover about Pope Francis when they read your book?

My biography will help people understand better the man who is the Pope. It will give them a deeper insight into his character and personality, and it will bring them into contact with the people who inspired and shaped him. Today we see him doing many extraordinary things that people greatly admire, but my book will help them understand that he has always been acting in this way in Buenos Aires, though few noticed it then. My book brings out the human, personal side of the man who is now Pope. I have written about the man I know.

Q&A: Chris Lowney on Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads

photo: Angelika Mendes

Shelf Awareness asked four questions of Chris Lowney, author of Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads:

How would you rate Pope Francis as a leader, given your background as a successful business leader and former Jesuit seminarian?

Leadership is about conveying a clear sense of direction and influencing others to trust your leadership direction. By that standard, I give the Pope pretty high marks: he is very clearly saying that the Church needs to tend to the world's poor and excluded; and people seem to be hearing that message and responding to it. 

If you could share one of Pope Francis's qualities with people who are not Catholic, what would it be?

One thing that jumps out from recent surveys on world leaders is how jaundiced an impression we have of them--in politics, business, and other fields. We tend to think they are only in it for status, ego, power, or greed. In contrast, Pope Francis is so obviously not in it for self-aggrandizing purposes: he didn't go out looking for this job. But once chosen, he has dedicated himself to the mission. I think that authenticity and selflessness are reasons why his global popularity is so extraordinarily high. 

What did your research turn up that surprised you about Pope Francis?

Of course, I found out the fascinating tidbits, like how, as the "boss" of a house of a few dozen Jesuits, he took on the laundry duty. Now that's real servant leadership! But what really surprised me was, when the curtain was pulled back, when the cameras were no longer running, he was the same person. Some leaders are a totally different person once no one is looking. One of the things that was very reassuring about Francis was to see that this is the same guy in public and in private, the same guy 20 years ago as today; there is a real consistency of character and values. 

What will readers discover about Pope Francis when they read your book?

I hope they will discover lots of interesting, down-to-earth anecdotes about the Pope, from back when he was Fr. Jorge Bergoglio, SJ, told by those who had a privileged perspective--seminarians in their 20s who lived with him while he was their superior. They drew deep impressions from him of what it means to be a priest, a Jesuit, a human being. More importantly though, I hope readers will feel challenged to ponder the kind of leadership statement they want to make with their own lives. 

Loyola Press: The Pope Francis Collection

Loyola Press: Walking With Jesus by Pope Francis

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