Making Church Matter


February 22, 2013

About three years ago, my associate Tom started saying we should write a book. I dismissed the idea. I had no idea of how to write a book, or where to begin. The project seemed beyond my reach or ability. But he kept advocating for it.  Eventually he did better than that, he started writing.

He would write a few hundred words and then send them to me. Of course he knew that rewriting or editing someone else’s work is nearly irresistible to me, so I was hooked. The process continued in an unorganized, meandering way for about a year or so. And then, we got serious. For about another year we would set goals for each week and meet to discuss our progress. Then, in the summer of 2011, I spent most of the season in Avalon New Jersey, at my sister’s house, pulling it all together. Some people thought I was taking an extended vacation, but, in fact, it was the hardest work I’ve ever done.

Coming out of that summer, we were ready to look for a publisher. That was hard too. We were told we needed an “agent” but eventually discovered there were none for the kind of book we were writing. We had to approach the publishers directly to market our book. Not an easy thing to do. Many ignored us, some just outright told us “not interested.” One actually agreed to talk to us, which was promising. This turned out to be one of the worst experiences of the whole process. We traveled to the New York area to meet with them, at our own expense and effort. There, they sat us down to explain to us how “irresponsible” our book was. They called it “unpublishable.” We didn’t even know that was a word. But is was demoralizing.

For awhile afterwards, I gave up. I couldn’t even look at the manuscript, it was too upsetting. It seemed like a silly and futile fantasy to think we could actually publish a book. What was I thinking. I was “unpublishable.”

Then in March of 2012 it was suggested to us that we attend a publisher’s gathering, which happened to be taking place here in Baltimore. Reluctantly we did. And there we meet the good folks at Ave Maria Press, who, in their wisdom and great taste, showed immediate interest. They subsequently signed us on and the interval has been filled with editing and other details of publishing. The issues of title and cover design were especially grueling but ultimately quite productive and successful.

Now, finally, we are launching our handsome new book. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and also on display in “A list” Barnes & Noble stores.  Here at Nativity we will be selling (and signing) the book all weekend long too. All proceeds from the books sold here will benefit the Nativity Building Fund.

By the way, as of this morning, we are the #7 seller among all “Christian” books nationally. Not a bad start.

Unpublishable? Guess not.


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  1. Congratulations! I have read half way through and I have to say it is one the best Christian books I’ve ever read.( I have read many!) Maybe because it is personal to me and my family, but I don’t think so. It is very well written…I can hear you both speaking and to me that makes it easy to read. This book is one that will assist in Building the Kingdom of God. Each time our family travels which lately it has been often (boys are swimming away meets)–we pray that we will find a Catholic Church with Friendly People, Awesome Music and a Relevant Message…we’ve yet to find it all! However, we are are always excited to have the opportunity to watch Nativity On Line. I am and so is my family very honored to be on this journey with Church of the Nativity! We’ve been with Nativity for 8 1/2 years and prior to that…we were not attending Mass regularly…You Changed our Mind about Church!! Thank you for being Bold, Courageous and Persistent!!

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