By special arrangement, AD2000 will distribute titles of Ignatius Press, America's largest Catholic publisher, from July 2003.
Ignatius Press was founded by Fr Joseph Fessio SJ in 1978. Over the past 25 years, it has expanded from publishing religious books to periodicals, tapes, videos and CDs, and is known throughout the world for its religious titles and periodicals such as Catholic World Report, Catholic Dossier and Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
John Mallon, contributing editor to Inside the Vatican magazine, said, "Fr Fessio is an entrepreneur who saw a need for the theologians he studied under, such as Cardinal Ratzinger, to be published in English and started Ignatius Press; which ignited a revolution in Catholic publishing becoming the premier publisher of Catholic books in English."
He added, "His extraordinary energy, zeal and intelligence have brought him into prominence in the Church and a household name in Catholic circles around the world."
In an interview two years ago, Fr Fessio said, "Our objective is to support the teachings of the Church." Ignatius Press was originally established to make available to the English-speaking world some of the best works then not available. He said, "We wanted to bring to English readers the finest theologians of the century."
The range of its titles has since expanded exponentially.
In addition to publishing the works of Pope John Paul II, Ignatius has also published works by some of the best known contemporary lay Catholics, including George Weigel, Scott Hahn, Karl Keating and Joseph Pearce, as well as the works of Archbishop George Pell, Cardinal Ratzinger, Aidan Nichols OP, Henri de Lubac, Fr Benedict Groeschel and Mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network.
Since its establishment, Ignatius has published more than 800 books - quite apart from videos, magazines, audio tapes and music CDs.
Its book titles cover the widest range of subjects: from Church history, Fathers of the Church and the lives of the saints, to contemporary moral issues, scripture studies, theology and spirituality. Among its best selling items are books on apologetics and stories of conversion to the faith.
Current titles from Ignatius Press will be reviewed and promoted by AD2000.
The founder of Ignatius Press is one of the best-known Catholic priests in the United States.
Before entering the Jesuit order in 1961, Fr Fessio studied engineering at the University of Santa Clara in California. He later studied philosophy and theology at Gonzaga University, Washington, before taking a Doctorate in Theology under Joseph Ratzinger, now head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He taught philosophy at Gonzaga University, Washington, and at the University of Santa Clara, and later, theology at the University of San Francisco, before founding Ignatius Press.
Fr Fessio is a brilliant controversialist, and a widely-published writer and commentator. In 1995, he co-founded Adoremus, the Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy and, in 2002, founded Campion College of San Francisco. He is also Chancellor of Ave Maria University.
Ignatius Press has a staff of about 20 people at its office in San Francisco, and many others who contribute to the project around America.
The enthusiasm of the staff is crystallised in Mark Brumley, who is Ignatius Press' Chief Operating Officer and editor of its Modern Apologetics Library. He said, "What I find most gratifying about being with Ignatius Press is when I reflect on what I do, I feel like I'm doing what God wants me to do. It's exciting."
Anthony Cappello, who manages AD2000 Books, said, "This is a marvellous initiative, and we are committed to making a success of it. Over recent years, we have expanded the number of books available to readers of AD2000.
"Our appointment by Ignatius Press will allow us to significantly increase the number of titles we are currently distributing in Australia, with obvious benefits to our readers.
"We also hope to make the Ignatius Press catalogue available to readers, offering the same service which Ignatius Press offers to its subscribers in the United States."
Mr Cappello said that Ignatius Press titles are not currently available in book shops, limiting their availability to the wider community. In the United States, Ignatius Press titles can be obtained in book shops, as well as through direct orders and the Internet.
"I plan to make Ignatius Press titles available through both commercial and religious book stores, as is done in the United States," he said.
In the meantime, Ignatius Press titles are now available from AD2000 Books.