Catholic book store has new name

By | February 20, 2013

There will also be special sales, treats and coffee. And that coffee — which is available everyday to purchase and sample — is unique to the area. “Mystic Monk Coffee,” available in several different roasts, is produced by the Carmelite monks in the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., where Bishop David Ricken hailed from prior to coming to the Diocese of Green Bay.


Ann Kieltyka, right, manager of Cathedral Book and Gift, and Sylvia Butchli, a 10-year veteran sales associate, are pictured behind a counter at the Green Bay store. Kieltyka said working at the shop is not just a job, “it’s a ministry.” (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Ann Kieltyka is manager of Cathedral Book and Gift. She is assisted by 10-year veteran sales associate Sylvia Butchli. And as Kieltyka pointed out, working at the shop is not just a job, “it’s a ministry.”

With a storied history that begins in 1946 just after World War II, the shop is in some ways coming home. It was founded in one room in a house next to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on Monroe Avenue before moving to 342 Jefferson St. in 1959. Seven years ago it moved to its current location in leased space at the cathedral.

Fr. Girotti, who sits on the board of directors for Cathedral Book and Gift, emphasized that though the shop and cathedral are not connected, they do have a “common mission.”

The timing is right for a name change, he said. With the growing popularity of pilgrimages to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion there has also been a growth in visits to the cathedral itself for worship and tours of this grand historic site. Visitors are looking for a place to purchase Catholic reading, gifts and souvenirs, he said, and the name change simply better explains what the business is.

In addition, the name change ties in well with the church’s “Year of Faith,” he said. And though he has a very busy schedule serving two parishes, Fr. Girotti said being a member of the board of directors of Cathedral Book and Gift “is very much a labor of love.”

William Griesbach also sits on the board of directors. He is also excited about the name change and the role a quality Catholic book store plays in the community. Because of the Internet, the book business is very competitive, he noted. Targeting its market, as the shop has, for example, through promotions to the Catholic schools and its families has reaped success to heighten its visibility. “That’s really what you need, is more of a niche if you want to succeed as a bookstore,” he said.

“Much of the difficulty in today’s world is selecting the books that are good,” Griesbach continued. Patrons of Cathedral Book and Gift can expect to find books that appeal to “cradle Catholics to converts,” he said, all providing “a better understanding of the faith.”

It’s important, added Fr. Girotti, that patrons of Cathedral Book and Gift know they can expect “trustworthy” books about the Catholic faith.

But there is a lot more to the store than books. The gift items here are specially selected to provide meaningful mementos to celebrate the sacraments as well as special times in an individual’s or family’s life.

If you are looking for a religious medal celebrating the life of a particular saint, the store may very well have it in stock or within a short time can special order it, said Kieltyka. A charming selection of baptismal gifts includes religious items as well as more whimsical things like stuffed lambs. With first Communion and confirmation seasons right around the corner, here you’ll find gifts celebrating those occasions. You’ll also find special items celebrating marriages and wedding anniversaries.

A wide range of rosaries, crucifixes, Bibles, children’s books and gifts, holy cards, greeting cards and music, a special section featuring local authors, educational materials for diocesan programs, a Spanish-language section and more fill the various rooms of Cathedral Book and Gift. There is always a seasonal room which changes throughout the year. Right now, materials focus on Lent.

And there is always a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or cider available for a suggested donation of $1. A comfortable and recently redecorated reading room is available to sit and linger. “A lot of people see it as a peaceful place,” said Kieltyka. Customer service, she emphasized, “is number one.”

St. Catherine’s Book Shop grew up during what Griesbach called the “golden age” of Catholic publishing, from the 1940s through the early 1960s. “Right now,” said Fr. Girotti, “there is a golden age of Catholic publishing again.” It’s allowing a new generation to come to life in the faith, he said.

And when Bishop Ricken came to the Diocese of Green Bay, “Bishop made it known that it was a valuable thing to have a Catholic bookstore in town,” said Fr. Girotti.

Regular hours for Cathedral Book and Gift are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kieltyka noted that the weekday opening time gives employees and visitors the opportunity to attend the 8:30 a.m. weekday Mass at the cathedral. Mass on Saturday is at 4 p.m.

A new website is under construction. Kieltyka suggests “liking” Cathedral Book and Gift on Facebook for all the latest updates. For more information call (920) 432-0078.

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