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A Conversation With Father James Martin At The Xavier Society

braille image
Photo: Flickr

By Jim Sliney Jr.

On Thursday, October 10th, at 6:00 PM, Father James Martin, SJ will be the guest at a special event for the Xavier Society for the Blind at Xavier High School’s Keenan Commons, on West 16th Street.

Father Martin is a bestselling author and his books are among the most popular with the patrons of the Xavier Society. Books by Father Martin, including “Jesus, A Pilgrimage” and “My Life with the Saints” has been translated into braille and turned into audiobooks. The very first audiobook released in Spanish by the Xavier Society will be Father Martin’s, “Tender un Puente” (“Building a Bridge”).

In fact, this event also celebrates the completion of transition of the Xavier Society’s library into digital talking books - audiobooks that can be played on devices provided free of charge by the National Library Service. As part of this program, the society has also upgraded its audiobook recording process, recruiting volunteer readers from New York City’s Catholic community through St. Malachy’s Actor’s Chapel and Fordham University’s theater program at Lincoln Center. The Association of Catholic Publishers has awarded several of these newly recorded titles as “best in category.”

Malachy Fallon, the Executive Director of the Xavier Society, told Catholic Charities, “Donor support and fundraising events like this are critical to our mission if we are to continue providing reading materials free of charge to blind and visually impaired people who want to learn about, develop, and practice their faith.”

“We'll demonstrate,” says Malachy, “that even with changing times and technology, we've remained faithful to our mission for nearly 120 years. And this will be a homecoming for us as our mission began on 16th Street in Manhattan, in a single room at the College of St. Francis Xavier” - now the Xavier High School. 

Fr. Martin has appeared on all the major radio and television networks, as well as in venues ranging from NPR’s Fresh Air, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, and PBS’s NewsHour to Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

HISTORY, IN THE PRESENT

The Xavier Society for the Blind was founded in 1900 as the Xavier “Free Publication” Society.  Its mission since then has been to provide the Word of God, and the best of Roman Catholic teaching and literature, spiritual and inspirational material, to blind or visually impaired persons of all faiths at no charge. The Society continually explores ways to make such materials more accessible and available to the widest possible audience.

 “Our mission was envisioned by a blind teacher of blind children, Margaret Coffey, and Fr. Joseph Stadelman, SJ.  In addition to inspiration, Margaret contributed $350 of her own resources. to begin our service.  While not considered a significant sum today, in 1900, $350 was the equivalent of $11,000 in 2019 dollars – a very significant investment for a young blind woman.”  

THE EVENT

Where: Xavier High School’s Keenan Commons entrance at 31 West 15th Street, New York, NY 10011.

When: October 10th, 2019 at 6:00pm

You can REGISTER here.

For more additional please contact Aisling Redican or call 212-502-7607.

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