Diocesan News

Tablet Readers Line Up for Book Highlighting History of Diocese

Ed Wilkinson had a busy morning signing copies of his book “Chasing Catholic News” for a steady stream of people at his first book-signing event, which took place at Our Lady of Angels Church on Sunday. (Photos: Paula Katinas)

Ed Wilkinson touts paper’s membership drive at signing

BAY RIDGE — No doubt about it, Arlene Jablonski and her husband Tom are fans of The Tablet. 

Arlene eagerly looks forward to getting her copy of The Tablet each week. As soon as it arrives in her mailbox, she opens it to her favorite items in the newspaper, the editorial “As The Tablet Sees It,” and the Readers’ Forum so that she can read letters to the editor.

“I like to read people’s opinions, and The Tablet always presents different points of view. I like that,” she said. But that’s not all she likes about her favorite newspaper. “I also enjoy cutting out the recipes,” she added.

Arlene and Tom were among the folks who lined up in the vestibule at Our Lady of Angels Church in Bay Ridge on Sunday, Jan. 29. They were there to buy “Chasing Church News,” the book by Tablet Editor Emeritus Ed Wilkinson — featuring photos from his 50 years of covering the Diocese of Brooklyn — and learn about The Tablet’s new membership program from John Alexander, the newspaper’s marketing and circulation manager.

Wilkinson said he was pleased his first book signing was a success: “It was great. I feel very gratified.”

“I saw some people I haven’t seen in a while — people I coached baseball with and some of my neighbors — and it was nice to feel their support,” he added.

The event also allowed readers to discuss what they like best about The Tablet. 

Like his wife, Tom Jablonski is an avid reader.

“I love when The Tablet has stories dealing with history. I always find them interesting,” he said.

Ed Wilkinson thumbs through the pages of his book and shows some of his favorite pictures to Arlene and Tom Jablonski, who have been parishioners of Our Lady of Angels Church for many years.

Our Lady of Angels was Wilkinson’s first stop on a book tour of churches in the diocese, where he met readers, autographed “Chasing Church News,” and promoted the membership program.

The book was also published as part of The Tablet’s membership program, a unique opportunity for readers to become an integral part of the newspaper’s mission of covering news from a Catholic perspective. 

The program offers different membership tiers; readers who sign up for the Benefactor Level for $500 or the Founder Level for $1,000 will receive as a gift a copy of Wilkinson’s book, along with other perks. 

Wilkinson, who is a parishioner of Our Lady of Angels, was treated like a favorite son by fellow parishioners streaming out of the 9 o’clock Mass Sunday morning.

He was gratified to see so many people at his home parish express an interest in his book and said he hopes they find something valuable in its pages.

“It gives people a sense of their Catholic identity. This is who the church was this past 50 years,” Wilkinson explained. “We often say we’re Catholic, but we should be proud of it.”

After purchasing her copy of “Chasing Church News,” Elsie Salim thumbed through its pages, stopping to take a closer look at a picture Wilkinson had taken of Mother Teresa in 1992. “Ed takes really good pictures. You feel like you’re getting to know the person in the picture,” she said.

Salim reads The Tablet every week. “I like current events. I always look at the big headline on the front page and read that article first. I like how The Tablet tells us what’s going on,” she said.

Peter Clavin, a lifelong parishioner of Our Lady of Angels, said many of the pictures in Wilkinson’s book brought back memories for him. “You forget how much history you have lived through, but then you see a picture and, boom, you remember that time,” he said.

Clavin’s favorite feature in The Tablet is “Faith & Thought,” the weekly column by Father Robert Lauder. “He’s a terrific writer,” he said.

Clavin took a pamphlet with information about the membership program and said he is serious about becoming a member.

Father Kevin Abels, the pastor of Our Lady of Angels Church, said he was pleased parishioners turned out to support Wilkinson, their fellow parishioner. “He has accomplished so much over the past 50 years,” he said.

Wilkinson, who joined The Tablet staff in 1970 and became editor in 1985, retired from the newspaper in 2018 and from DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology ministry of the diocese, in 2020.