WEST HAVEN — People looking for that perfect gift for a First Communion recipient or a prayer journal for themselves may find what they’re looking for at the newly opened St. Mary’s Bookstore and Gift Shop.
The parish in West Haven previously had had a bookstore in the same building as the church, but the space was renovated to such an extent that it little resembles the previous store, said Francie Duncan, the project’s team leader. Much of the furniture that had been in there was removed. The walls were repainted and new flooring and lighting installed. All the work was done by volunteers.
Duncan also brought in new merchandise. An assortment of rosaries hangs from one wall; another wall displays a variety of crucifixes and crosses. A case contains numerous faith-themed books, including different translations of the Bible in English and Spanish.
There are gift sets for baptisms, First Communion and Confirmation; statues, framed pictures and large religious candles. Several shelves hold coffee, preserves and honey from monasteries throughout the United States. The solar-powered angels and windchimes are popular, Duncan said, and “the pet medals are a big hit.”
These medals are small enough to place on a pet collar and are inscribed with a request for St. Francis to protect the animal.
“Our intention really is to be the place where our deanery can come and buy whatever they need,” said Fr. Martin Picos, pastor.
If a shopper can’t find a particular item, they can request that it be ordered; the store also has a suggestion box, Duncan said.
The store is open after every Mass as well as Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon. If no cashier is present, the office staff can assist. Income from the store supports its operation.