Yesterday, I finally had a chance to present my Catholic books to the local Catholic teachers. I have been trying for four years to become a vendor. Others have been trying to help, but I finally got in this year. I am thankful.
It was an interesting day. I got to see, in passing at least, most of the teachers, educational assistants, principals and other employees of the Catholic school board.
There is an area within the board boundaries which is known for its "conservative" approach to the Catholic faith. Some people would just say that these people are faithful to the teaching of the Magisterium of the Roman Church. I suspect this to be true. I could almost tell who these people were by their dress. I could also tell by some of their book choices!
I noticed, of course, that many of the teachers did not come near my table, and I was the only book vendor. Some teachers would likely be near retirement and would feel no need to add to their collections. But I wonder at some of the young teachers...
As it turned out, the line up for lunch wound right in front of my table. Some spent the time they were 'captive' browsing. Some had actually done the 'Judas Shuffle', a phrase which I believe Scott Hahn coined to describe people who left Mass immediately after receiving Holy Communion, instead of waiting for Mass to end. By leaving early, these people beat the line up for lunch. But they missed the end of the "Lamb's Supper", the Eucharist. Hmmm.
I also heard comments as people browsed the books. Some looked at the books on morality with a sneer, or they picked up a book, glanced at it and tossed it down dismissively. This seemed to be particularly evident with the "Love and Life" books by Colleen Kelly-Mast. I only heard one group of teachers all day which considered buying any of the morality or Theology of the Body related books. Of course these books would be at odds with the prevailing societal attitudes on the subject. It would also be a very different approach to the subject than is given in the books published by the Canadian College of Catholic Bishops, who have given us wonderful documents like the notorious "Winnipeg Statement"
It would, sadly, also be at odds with the lifestyles many of these people have. A few years ago when I worked in several schools as an emergency supply teacher, I was quite appalled at some of the conversations that took place in the staff rooms. Teachers were pregnant out of wedlock, or co-habiting without benefit of marriage. I wonder how it is that these teachers can pass on the life-giving Truth our faith holds, when they don't know it themselves.
There were some bright lights though. One teacher, who has known our older children, congratulated me for considering homeschooling our youngest one from the very beginning of his schooling. He also seemed glad to hear that our middle daughter was at home...and this man teaches at the Catholic High School! His own children are homeschooled.
The most involved book conversation I had all day was with a woman who was looking for some sort of devotional herself. We spoke about the varied writing styles of JP II and Pope Benedict XVI. She bought a book which some would consider rather heavy, but which contained some writings of Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales and Thomas a Kempis. Another teacher dashed up to me later in the afternoon and asked me, completely out of the blue, when Mary's birthday was! I think I was settling an argument.
By the way, the birthdate of the Blessed Virgin is on September 8, given that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is on December 8.
I am very glad to have had the opportunity to be at this event, which is held annually. I look forward to next year, when I will bring a bigger float, some different books, and, hopefully, a credit card system that works.
I also hope that perhaps something I sell will help someone to take a second look at Church teachings he or she finds difficult to live by.