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Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
Jesuits News Culture The EUM Province launches “Il Pellegrino Edizioni”

The EUM Province launches “Il Pellegrino Edizioni”

La conferenza stampa di presentazione con padre Roberto Del Riccio, padre Francesco Occhetta, Loredana Lipperini, padre Nuno Da Silva Gonçalves, Natale Benazzi

The roots are ancient, even going back to Ignatius and his most illustrious disciples Matteo Ricci and Roberto de Nobili. Instead, they address the present and look to the future of the mission and its development: Qr code is engraved on the cover of literary essays, popular books and classic scripts. “Il Pellegrino edizioni” is the project of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus, which was launched today, 30 January, in Rome.

Resuming dialogue between the secular and Catholic worlds

This is a courageous venture- during times when reading, and printed matter, are not very popular -that, according to the Jesuits, provides for the absence of dialogue on current affairs and spirituality between the secular and Catholic worlds.

“We felt that, among the many cultural works promoted by the Jesuits, especially in Italy, next to APP, which targets a particular niche of readers, there was a lack of a publication aimed at an audience that was not only internal to the ecclesial community. Through Il Pelligrino, in fact, we do not intend to address only the world of believers and practitioners but a new audience. We want to act as an intermediary with many authors who can be fellow travellers to see things in a new perspective,” Fr. Roberto Del Riccio, the EUM provincial, explained during the press conference of the launching of the event, which was held at the headquarters of Civiltà Cattolica, in Villa Malta. The goal is “to grasp the hope that is already present and in action in the world, which, for a believer, is God at work,” Del Riccio explained. “The first pilgrim for us is the God who became man in Jesus Christ and decided to walk with men and women in history.” Central to the publications will be themes that will also be prompted by the many works and activities Jesuits carry out in the EUM Province, starting with welcoming refugees. “The Jesuits are the ones who propose books, give advice for writing them, suggest authors, and who can also be among the list of authors”.

Placing the content in the centre

So, choosing to publish non-fiction, placing the content in the centre, “accompanied by a narrative that makes the temple perceived in profanity,” is the publishing operation with which the new project is confronted, as Natale Benazzi and Chiara Libonati, the publishing directors explain. It is a countercultural choice, at a time when publishing is struggling, and “a slave to the market, gives up content, lowering quality, to favour the current trend. The project was created with the intention of conveying messages of change, in-depth reasoning and studies by experts from various fields.”

The first titles

Authors and editors of the first volumes include Alex Mar, Pierluigi Vercesi, Lorenzo Fazzini, Francesco Occhetta, Anne Lécu, Yann Vagneux, and Mario Pollo. Many will be translations from the foreign market, for a renewed focus on non-fiction and international debate. Twenty-five titles will be offered during the first year of the publishing house’s set-up, promoted and distributed by PDE and Messaggerie, with the goal of reaching forty titles, as a steady publication, by 2026.

A cultural operation, Fr. Francesco Occhetta, – coordinator and director of Community of Connections and author of one of the first books to be released, “Democracy” – says has a threefold theme, expressed in three words:“Connections, because a book is published if there are vital worlds that support it, it is a challenge to say something more and connect themes, reflections, people, because culture is what makes us recognize each other without knowing each other. Epistemology, to be built around the major themes that this apostolate has put into action, such as the environment, fraternity, justice, work, and to attempt to solicit a new paradigm for being together. Bridge: to create communication between authority and the people, using words that can be understood and inclusive.”

A challenge for the future

“The birth of a new publishing house is not a trivial event, it is a gesture of courage and a challenge for the future, to ask questions and to venture to answer,” Fr. Nuno Da Silva Gonçalves the director from La Civiltà Cattolica, said. He then quoted the speech Francis sent to Cop 28, “we ‘are pilgrims placed on this land.’ A pilgrim needs guides and reference points to arrive at his destination, and books are just that: guides and reference points.”

“We have chosen to publish non-fiction in order to focus on issues. We are trying to propose, in a language that can be read by everybody and available to everyone, themes that give food for thought,” Benazzi said. “Our books will be about a humanity on a journey, constantly putting itself out there through literary essays, popular books and classics.”

The first title is Pope Francis’ book “Ricordatevi di pregare per me” published during the Jubilee Year, on the universal theme of reconciliation. The next, by Alex Mar, “Settanta volte sette”, discusses the dramatic and very contemporary issue of the death penalty and addresses the issue of guilt and responsibility on the part of the community. Soon to be published are “Come un testamento spirituale”, seven letters from Simone Weil to her spiritual father, and “Quaderni in ottavo”, by Franz Kafka.

Particularly original and easily recognisable are the covers chosen by Il Pellegrino, with a QR code engraved on them. In addition to being a highly recognizable feature within such a large market, it allows even the weakest readers to have immediate available features to arouse their interest in the content.

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