In Your Midst

A Place for Pilgrims

Fall 2000

In This Issue:
From the middle ages, the great pilgrimage churches of the world have been surrounded by vendors who provide pilgrims with spiritual goods and souvenirs. At the great shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, an essential part of every pilgrimage was a visit to one of these stands for the purchase of the scallop shell, the great symbol and unique souvenir of the visit to the tomb of St. James. The Cathedral bookstore has come to serve something of the same function in this year of Jubilee, providing pilgrims not only with scallop shells, but also with a wealth of good spiritual reading, bibles, rosaries and medals, not to mention our wonderful Cathedral publications, gifts, and CDs.

The bookstore has taken on new life as a stopping place for the hundreds of pilgrims who have come to worship at the Cathedral in observance of the Jubilee. They come from near and far: from Seattle parishes like St. Therese and Holy Family and from distant points of the Archdiocese such as Seaview, Vancouver, Aberdeen and Ocean Shores. These pilgrims almost always stop by the bookstore before beginning the long trip back, and take home an eclectic selection of items: postcards and notecards, our Cathedral book House of God, Gate of Heaven and A Short Tour of St. James Cathedral, coffee mugs and magnets; but also a plentiful supply of books on other subjects: children’s books by Tomie de Paola, books on the saints, anthologies of poems and prayers.

Ministering at the Bookstore. This service to pilgrims is made possible by the hard work of our Bookstore volunteers. Dozens of volunteers open the bookstore day after day, and give up large portions of their weekend to staff the bookstore after Sunday Masses and on quiet Sunday afternoons during Vespers. They not only help customers with their purchases, but also answer questions about the Cathedral and about the faith, keep the bookstore in good order, and secure it after the last customer leaves.

The bookstore manager and mastermind, volunteer Mary Ragen, keeps the bookstore well supplied with titles old and new by coordinating orders from many different distributors. Her excellent instincts, together with suggestions from customers, volunteers, and Cathedral staff, keep the bookstore fully stocked with new books, new rosaries, and new Cathedral items as well as old favorites. Longtime volunteer Jackie Breskovich maintains the schedule, distributing calendars to bookstore volunteers monthly and quarterly, and telephoning the Sunday volunteers to remind them of their commitment.

Make it a Cathedral Christmas. But the bookstore is not a ministry to pilgrims, visitors, and tourists alone! Cathedral regulars shouldn’t miss out on the tremendous wealth of publications and productions that have emerged from the Cathedral in the past few years. In fact (amazing as it may sound) St. James Cathedral has a breadth and variety of publications unmatched by any cathedral church in the United States! Why not make this Christmas a Cathedral Christmas? Share the treasure of your parish with your family and friends by means of a Cathedral gift.

Here are some suggestions:

Other items to enjoy:

Maria Laughlin is a member of the Cathedral staff and author and artist of Saint James the Greater, an illustrated history of St. James Cathedral’s patron saint.

Back To In Your Midst Page