Spreading The Faith
Converting to electronic prepress is helping the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in-plant keep up with its ever-growing workload.
Keeping up with the needs of some 600 priests and brothers would be difficult for even a large commercial printer. But for an in-plant with a staff of 12, meeting the print production demands of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception—one of the Catholic Church's most successful religious communities—presents a challenge of Biblical proportions.
"We're getting busier and busier," remarks Charles Parise, manager of press operations. "The organization's growing."
Print runs for the Congregation's religious materials have increased dramatically over the years as the Marians—dedicated to Mary Immaculate—have grown and expanded internationally. Since these materials are among the Congregation's key communication tools, their quality must be top notch.
The Marians' in-plant is headquartered in the Marian Helpers Center, a modern religious publishing house in Stockbridge, Mass. The Center is also headquarters for the Association of Marian Helpers, an organization of over one million people who support the Marians in their work. The Center's 100-person staff, in addition to generating and shipping the Marians' printed materials, produces video and audio tapes, responds to prayer requests and maintains correspondence with the Association's members and friends.
The print shop does everything from writing, designing and printing to cutting, binding and shipping. Its projects include prayer cards, pamphlets and brochures, as well as monthly newsletters, monthly magazines in Polish and Spanish, and inserts for the quarterly Association of Marian Helpers Bulletin. The shop also prints greeting cards, enrollment cards and general information pieces.
"Producing religious materials for an active organization like the Marians is never ending," says Parise, who has been with the association for nearly 30 years. "The Marians' ministry is worldwide, and maintaining contact with its friends and associates all over the globe is constant; so the pace here never stops." His staff produces 700 to 800 jobs annually, he says, with print runs up to 600,000.