Prior to its closure in the 1980s, North Central Publishing printed a limited run of Christmas books each year as gifts for its best customers. The books varied on theme from the Gospel of Mark to seasonal short stories set in Minnesota.
We've come across a few curious volumes that have a connection to James P. Shannon, former auxiliary bishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Shannon resigned as auxiliary bishop in 1968, because he objected to the encyclical Humanae Vitae. He left the priesthood and wrote the book Reluctant Dissenter. Before he was bishop, he was president of the University of St. Thomas.
We were surprised to find that one copy of Worship for Christmas contains Shannon's bookplate. The plate bears the image of the UST's Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, designed by French architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray.
Another of the Christmas books, All Men Seek God, contains the text of one of Shannon's Christmas sermons. It bears a note from Shannon in the front:
This little book contains my sermon at the Midnight Mass at St. Helena's on Christmas 1966. I am sending it to a few of my friends in the hope that it might be of some interest to them.
Finally, one of the books published outside the Christmas season presents a collection of Shannon's writings as a college president. The book is titled Shannon: A College President Speaks His Mind.
We feel as though we are being haunted by the ghosts of bishops past.