Four Ways to Nurture Faith through JClub Catholic Book Fairs

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"Four ways to nurture faith through JClub Catholic book fairs" by Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp. All rights reserved.

Lifting Children Up

One of my first memories is of a walk. I was four years old.  Taking small steps I clung to my mother’s hand. “I have something to show you,” she said stooping down to lift me. Suddenly I saw over a brick wall. “Look,” she invited. Beyond the wall was a garden with leaping frogs under mushrooms, dancing fairies, colorful flowers and a flowing fountain. My first thought was how I would have never seen this if my mother had not been so thoughtful. As I grew up it was her faith that she held me up to see in all of its beauty and goodness. Along with my dad she shared faith in her words and actions. Her practices of prayer, attendance at Mass and library of Catholic-inspired books, movies and music were my inspiration.

We all want to lift up children to see the beauty of faith. At a recent JClub Book fair the students were very excited about the “Jesus books.” This is one way JClub provides a way for the parish and school to witness the love of Jesus. It also provides an opportunity to share an important message: there are Catholic books & media for all ages of your life that will inspire, entertain, teach and support your faith journey.

"Four ways to nurture faith through JClub Catholic book fairs" by Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp. All rights reserved.

JClub Book Fair provides the time and space to nurture faith in four ways:

  1. Creates an environment and experience in which to share faith.
  2. Provides a place to speak and learn the language of our faith.
  3. Is an opportunity to deepen faith within the community of faith.
  4. Strengthens and introduces practices that strengthen and nurture faith at home.

How does JClub do this?

Each JClub Bookfair begins in prayer. The Pauline Sisters publish many of the books and choose a selection from other Catholic publishers. Three hours of their day is devoted to prayer especially for those who engage or produce media. Today even children produce media. Another aspect of JClub is the opportunity for a Media Mindfulness Workshop to assist students, parents and teachers as they navigate their way through our media culture.  There is also an online component to JClub.

When a school requests a book fair the sisters provide the posters, letters to parents and teachers and a JClub magazine that contains articles, jokes (Sr. Caroline’s Corner), activities and all of the media available at the book fair. The sister or volunteer from a local Pauline Book & Media Center will assist the school or a school may hold the book fair with their volunteers. In the first instance the school receives 10% of sales and in the second, if used as a fundraiser, 30%. However this isn’t the primary purpose of JClub.

"Four ways to nurture faith through JClub Catholic book fairs" by Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp. All rights reserved.

JClub’s beginning reveals its first purpose

Many Catholic schools were looking for a substitute or supplement for Scholastic book fairs. The teacher’s and librarians realized that they had to review the books before letting the students purchase them. Many themes were unsuitable for children and some were actually harmful to their faith and morals.  Requests for a Catholic book fair that was organized in a way similar to Scholastic book fairs hit the social media channels. Pauline Sisters had been holding school book fairs from their local bookcenters for years. What about the schools the Sisters were unable to reach? Pauline Books & Media is known for the quality of its children’s publications. How might these reach a wider audience? What about including other quality children’s books and media from Catholic publishers (such as Lisa Hendey’s Chime Travelers)? After a two year study JClub Book Fairs (Where the “J” stands for Jesus!) launched.

JClub’s Special Prayer Partner

Sr. Mary Caroline was the special prayer partner for JClub’s birth. Each morning she brought jokes to her table to create a joyful conversation. While JClub was becoming a reality Sr. Mary Caroline prepared for her journey home to God.  At her bedside we were able to tell her about “Sr Mary Caroline’s Joke Corner.” She smiled broadly and recommitted her prayers for this project. Today this is the children’s favorite section in the JClub magazine.

For more about JClub Catholic Bookfairs

  • Visit the New JClub Website http://jclub.pauline.org/ for information and plenty of resources!
  • Read a recent issue of JClub magazine http://jclubcatholic.org/activities/InThisIssue.aspx
  • Hold a JClub Catholic Bookfair by contacting Sr. Lily at [email protected]
  • Visit the original JClub website www.JClubCatholic.org to find more resources and information.
"Four ways to nurture faith through JClub Catholic book fairs" by Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Sister Margaret Kerry, fsp. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Sr. Margaret Kerry, fsp

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About Author

A Daughter of St. Paul for 40 years Sr. Margaret continues to pursue new ways to proclaim the Gospel: sharing the Pauline Charism with the laity, writing books (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross; Prayers for the New Evangelization), & through direct evangelization. She is available for workshops on the Vocation & Mission of the Laity, Media Literacy, and The New Evangelization. [email protected]

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