Extending Your Priestly Reach
Tips for getting your works published
Wouldn’t it be nice if we priests could extend our effectiveness in serving our parishioners by, perhaps, 40%? There is a way. Provide written material so they can use it to help them live the faith.
For example, every May and October, I purchase up to 1,000 leaflets entitled “Pray the Rosary Daily” from Marian Press. The cost was about $80 plus shipping the last time I ordered. They are available in both English and Spanish. I would then leave 50-100 displayed in the magazine rack and announce that they are available.
I often tell parishioners that Our Lady asked for five mysteries daily to pray for world peace and ask those who don’t say the daily Rosary if they would be willing to try to say two mysteries a day to start, and almost everyone says yes. Then I offer to give one of these leaflets with pictures of each mystery so they can meditate on the mysteries. I encourage them to increase their commitment a little each year.
In our school, I bring in a stack of these leaflets and challenge the students to say two mysteries each day for a month. For any student who does that I give a prize.
Who pays for this? I do, not the parish. It’s a great investment.
When I noticed that some people were having trouble with anger, and when I had trouble finding a good book on the subject, I wrote one myself titled, “Overcoming Sinful Anger,” and was blessed to get Sophia Press ($11.95) to publish it. I order a box at a time (60 copies) at an author’s discount and offer them to people who have anger issues.
I say: “I wrote a book on overcoming sinful anger. Would you like a copy?” They almost always say yes, and I hand them the book right away.
Now, you may think that if you have written a book and have not found a publisher to publish it, you are out of luck. Not so. There is a company named KDP Publishing that will publish it for you for free. That’s right, free. If you want them to typeset it, they will charge you $250 (last time I looked), but that’s it. I have published two books with them and I typeset both myself, using a simple word processor; therefore, it costs me nothing. KDP is owned by Amazon, so they automatically put your book on Amazon for sale. Authors’ copies are very inexpensive. One 300-page book I published with them cost me under $6 a book including shipping for an order of 40. Their books look quite professional.
Of course, the drawback is that they won’t do the marketing for the book as a regular publisher would. But if you would be happy just to have a book to hand out, KDP is ideal.
What if you have a short prayer you’d like to have printed? We used to put out St. Jude novena cards in our adoration chapel. Too often, parishioners would take them home, leaving the chapel with none. So, I downloaded a picture of St. Jude, uploaded that and the text of the novena back to back on a website that prints business cards very inexpensively (gotprint.com). If you ask for a high-gloss surface on both sides, they feel like laminated cards, which would cost more than twice as much. After receiving them I put scores of them in the chapel. Attendees have been unable to exhaust the supply.
At the suggestion of a parishioner, I printed out a confession reminder business card. It reads “CONFESS!” on one side, with the text, “Place this card on the floor of your room or car each month and leave it till you go, as a reminder.” On the back is the Act of Contrition. I leave several of these in English and Spanish in the confessional.
For Divine Mercy cards, prayer cards and any number of other religious cards, the price is very competitive. And the quality is excellent.
For lower quantities, you may purchase micro-perf sheets of glossy business cards to print out from your computer.
Some prayer cards are too large to fit on the size of a business card. If you print prayer cards on the usual 4.25 x 2.5 inch-size cards, the price will be considerably more expensive because that is not a standard size at Gotprint. However, bookmarks are a standard size and are quite inexpensive (2 x 8 inches costs just $37 for 1,000, printed on both sides). I put longer prayers, lists of free books on the saints that are downloadable, and other religious topics on these.
When someone is struggling with chastity or pornography use, I offer them a bookmark with a list of the benefits of being chaste and an explanation of how reading this list three or four times a day can help them convert their hearts and overcome these sins. It’s all based on Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John Paul II. In this situation, I also set it up so they receive a business card with a picture of Christ crowned with thorns to tape on the side of their computer screen, and a copy of my 50-page booklet, “Achieving Chastity in a Pornographic World.”
Leaflets, Folded Cards and Booklets
For large quantities of leaflets (10,000 and more), we work with Catholics United for Life in New Hope, Kentucky. They have been printing our leaflets on the Faith for well over 20 years, producing full-color glossy tri-fold leaflets 8.5 x 11 inches for under 12 cents apiece. Excellent quality.
They also produce our Stations of the Cross and Rosary booklets for a very competitive price. Where do you put 10,000 or more leaflets or booklets — or 20,000? Not to worry. They will warehouse them for you until you need them. You pay for them upon printing and then pay to have them shipped when you need a box, or whatever.
New Hope also prints our folded card, titled “A Brief Guide to The Sacrament of Reconciliation / Penance,” in both English and Spanish, which we leave outside the confessional. Also printed at New Hope is a folded card entitled “Trust!” with a large number of quotes from Scripture on trusting God. One more produced by New Hope is a card containing an adaptation of the Litany of Humility by Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val. All of these are quite popular and are given out without charge.
The same New Hope printers produce our most popular leaflet, “Why Catholicism,” which is a 3,000-word apologetic for the Faith. Legion of Mary groups sometimes order 1,000 at a time to use when they go out doing evangelization. They also order large quantities of our other popular leaflet, “Is Sunday Mass Necessary?”, which explains the Sunday obligation.
New Hope Publications is the publisher and marketer of our short (now out of print) book “Achieving Chastity in a Pornographic World.” Some of our other books produced and marketed by publishing houses are “Christian Dating in a Godless World” (Sophia, $18.80), “Be Holy: A Catholic’s Guide to the Spiritual Life” (Servant, $16.99) and “Who’s Who in Heaven: Real Saints for Families” (Emmaus Road, $16.95).
We have a grant to provide boxes of the “Christian Dating” book (formerly “Christian Courtship in An Oversexed World”) free to any young adult or college groups who request them. We have sent out thousands of these all across the country. If you are a priest or other leader of a group and would like some of these books for your parishioners, please let me know (email@example.com).
In fact, I give out all of our books free to anyone interested. It might seem that this could become expensive in time, but it seems that the more I give out, the more the money comes in to pay for them. We maintain a small nonprofit, and all the income I receive from speaking engagements or book royalties goes directly to it.
We priests can greatly expand our ministry by providing leaflets, cards, booklets and books to our parishioners. We should make use of the many publishers and printers who charge very reasonable prices for their products to get the word out. Many of the saints did just that. We can too.
FATHER T.G. (THOMAS) MORROW is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and has authored several books.
Resources and Publishing with OSV
Are you seeking pamphlets exploring various topics — from saints to encyclicals, from liturgical seasons to relevant family topics? OSV has been a trusted name for generations of Catholics and offers pamphlets for your parish in quantities of 10 to 50. Visit orderosv.com and shop for the pamphlets that best serve your needs.
Our Sunday Visitor serves Catholics of all stages as they walk the road of faith. For generations, OSV has been a trusted Catholic publishing house. We continue to speak the truth in an increasingly polarized world. OSV Books publishes books in a variety of categories including prayer, Scripture, saints, worship, parish life and more.
To submit a query letter to OSV Books, and to read OSV’s submission guidelines, visit osv.submittable.com.