Barb Sieminski
Freelance Writer
November 7, 2018 // Diocese

New name of diocesan bookstore revealed

Barb Sieminski
Freelance Writer

Cathedral Books & Gifts was christened with a more inclusive name on Friday, Nov. 2, during a ribbon-cutting and all-day open house. The store is now called Good Shepherd Books and Gifts.

Kara Slocum has managed the store for more than 10 years.

“The bookstore was originally located in one of the classrooms of the old Cathedral School, thus the name ‘Cathedral Bookstore,’” she said. “Because the bookstore is owned by the diocese, we were able to move to this present space, here in the Archbishop Noll Center, when it became available. What a pleasure that was, to move from one classroom to a roughly 3,000-square-foot space!”

Customer Karen Jahrsdoerfer, right, asks about a bronze statue at the newly named Good Shepherd Books and Gifts. Photo by Barb Sieminski.

Several years after that move, however, it was discerned that there was a problem with the store’s name. It no longer made sense, and caused bewilderment.

“When some customers are looking for us, they assume because of the name that we are located at the Cathedral church,” the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, she said.

“Another reason for the change is our desire to serve other Christian faiths. Since the closing of the Family Christian stores, there are very few gift shop choices for Christians. From a business standpoint, but also from an ecumenical one, it makes sense to want to serve all Christians. We offer many gift items that would appeal to any Christian, not just Catholics. So, we were looking for a name that would make non-Catholic Christians feel welcome to shop here.”

Bookstore manager Kara Slocum, left, shows Melinda Shepard a variety of gift items available at Good Shepherd Books and Gifts. Shepard, from Free Methodist Church in White Cloud, Michigan, was impressed with the variety of items for other-than-Catholic customers. Photo by Barb Sieminski

Roughly 200 entries were submitted for a recent diocesan bookstore-naming contest, according to Slocum.

“The staff and I narrowed those down to our top 10, and from there it was Bishop (Kevin C.) Rhoades who made the final decision,” said Slocum. “We hope to attract new customers and eliminate the confusion of people thinking we are located at the brick-and-mortar cathedral.”

Karen Fowerbaugh, a member of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Fort Wayne, was the recipient of a $100 gift certificate to the store for her winning name suggestion. Photo by Francie Hogan.

The new name was suggested by Karen Fowerbaugh, a member of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish. It seemed to be a hit with customers at the open house, where Karen and Stephen Jahrsdoerfer, from St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Fort Wayne, loaded up on T-shirts and a variety of other items, expressing delight with the huge selection of choices the new store offered.

Melinda Shepard of the Free Methodist Church in White Cloud, Michigan, was intrigued by the bookstore’s initiative.

“I love the ecumenism offered by this bookstore, and just had to stop and see it,” said Shepard.

Located on the first floor of the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center, 915 S. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, Good Shepherd Books and Gifts can be reached at 260-399-1442. The new website is

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