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Sheed & Ward, Credence Cassettes sold


The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company has announced the sale of Sheed & Ward, its books division, and Credence Cassettes, its audio tapes division.

Publisher Thomas C. Fox said May 1 that he was pleased that Sheed & Ward and Credence Cassettes “have found good new homes and that The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company will move into the future concentrating its resources on our company’s periodicals, led by the NCR newsweekly.”

Fox said the NCR Publishing Company recently signed a letter of intent to sell Sheed & Ward to Theological Book Service, an apostolate of the priests of the Sacred Heart, in Franklin, Wisc. “It is a great match and assures that the Sheed & Ward tradition will live on,” he said.

Credence Cassettes, Fox said, has been sold to Kathleen M. Madden, who has worked for the NCR Publishing Company for the past 11 years, the last nine as marketing director for Credence Cassettes, and Kathleen A. Conwell, most recently employed by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and the Kansas City/St. Joseph diocese as local coordinator of the 1997 National Youth Conference. The name of their new company is Credence Communications, located in Kansas City, Mo.

The moves, Fox said, follow a decision by the company’s board of directors to focus resources on its periodicals, led by the National Catholic Reporter newspaper and including Celebration, the liturgical monthly, and its associated newsletters, and Praying magazine.

“This is going to allow us to live out our mission in a healthier manner and take full advantage of new electronic technologies that will enlarge our reach and improve our periodicals to better serve readers as widespread as the entire global family,” Fox said.

Sacred Heart Fr. Paul J. McGuire, chairperson of the advisory board of Theological Book Service, said, “This is a perfect marriage, and the Sacred Heart Community is excited about the possibilities this will afford us to spread the Good News in even greater ways than we have done in the past.”

Stephen J. Hrycyniak, director of the book service, said, “We feel blessed and privileged to have the opportunity to continue the work of this publishing house with its long and distinguished history.”

Sheed & Ward was founded in London in 1926 by Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward. Sheed, an author, publisher and apologist, was an Australian by birth. He vowed to visit England and Ireland before beginning his law studies. While in London he became active in the Catholic Evidence Guild where he and Maisie Ward met. Ward was a writer, street preacher, social activist and later a publisher. Seven years after the founding of Sheed & Ward publishing house in England, they opened a New York office.

Since 1985 Sheed & Ward has been a division of NCR Publishing Company and, as such, has carried on the tradition of the founders by publishing works of religious writers in the fields of spirituality, pastoral ministry, catechetics, theology, medical ethics and moral theology. Sheed & Ward has been committed to publishing practical resources for the working, ministering church.

The priests of the Sacred Heart, who founded Theological Book Service as a mission of their community at the close of the Second Vatican Council, have a history that goes back to France and the First Vatican Council. The Sacred Heart Fathers currently live out their mission in a number of ways, most notably through their work among Native Americans in South Dakota and the rural poor in Mississippi; through Sacred Heart Seminary, with its emphasis on second career vocations to the priesthood; and through Theological Book Service, bringing the latest in religious literature to the world.

Madden and Conwell said they intend to carry on the tradition of Credence Cassettes, providing a broad selection of materials for personal growth and spirituality as well as resources for ministry. They said they plan to expand in the areas of youth ministry, women’s studies and training programs.

Fox said plans call for Sheed & Ward to move to its new home July 1.

National Catholic Reporter, May 8, 1998