Archbishop Buti Thlagale OMI of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg left for Rome during the first week of September, and in his luggage were a number of copies of his new book "Pastoral Letters on Mary and Matters Ancestral".
The book was compiled by the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, Fr Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did'ho, and forms part of the Mother of Mercy Marian Shrine project.
It was published by SA Catholic Online Books.
The homilies on Mary were delivered with the intention of promoting the veneration of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, and to gather support for the project of building a Marian Shrine in the Archdiocese, the "Mary, Mother of Mercy" Shrine in the Magaliesberg.
The pastoral letters and articles on Catholicism and African traditional beliefs come at a time when many Catholics find themselves at the crossroads between their traditional practices and their Christian faith. Proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the building of the Shrine.
However, the wonderful content of this book is not the only thing that makes it special - the book was edited, corrected, produced, published, printed and delivered in just 38 days, which included a delay of five days while certain sources were being checked!
"The manuscript arrived in my Inbox from Fr Jean-Marie on July 27, and the books were delivered to the Chancery in Johannesburg on Monday, September 3rd. This is certainly a record for me," says publisher Frank Nunan. "I understand that the trip to Rome was the reason for the very short time-frame, and I must say that my printers, Print on Demand in Cape Town, pulled out all the stops to deliver on time - especially considering the large number of the 268-page book that was ordered.
"While there is no way I can know what the Archbishop intends to do with the books he has taken to Rome, it would be nice to think that a copy could end up in the hands of His Holiness Pope Francis - but that is indeed wishful thinking!"
The Archbishop had these kind words to say in his Acknowledgements in the book:
"I am greatly indebted to Frank Nunan of SA Catholic Online Books for his meticulous editorial work."
He also conveyed his thanks for the way in which SA Catholic Online Books handled the project."Dear Frank, Thank you for the wonderful work done within such a short space of time! Kind regards. Buti Tlhagale."
"I understand that Parishes, groups and Sodalities will receive a bulk discount for orders of more than 10 books," said Mr Nunan.
The book is also available online at www.sacatholiconline.org.