It is a well known fact that we have entered the age of instant communication. Most people want to be “connected” to learn instantly what is taking place not only in their own backyard but also in the four corners of the world. Pope Benedict XVI has given a new impetus to the necessity of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the language and through the media of today. In his recent message for the 44th World Communications Day which occurred this past Sunday, May 16th, our Holy Father noted that responding adequately to the Church’s responsibility to preach and teach the Good News “necessarily involves using new communications technologies.” He personally has chosen to use new technologies and new ways of bringing the Gospel to everyone. The Holy Father’s efforts to adapt to new communication strategies and to encourage others to do so demonstrate a sensitive pastoral care to the needs of the men and women of our day.
For over 2,000 years, the Church has proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ. St. Paul, the master communicator, led the way. On his ambitious missionary journeys to the world of his day, he preached the message of Christ and instructed his hearers on its meaning. Through his letters, Paul maintained contact with the newly-formed Christian communities and continues today to instruct us in the truths of our faith.
The Church needs to use every available means of communication to spread her message. The message must be told in many ways using various venues. Hopefully, by the use of these means, many will come to know Christ and His Church. In our own diocese, we are working at a redesign of our web site with the intention of making news available more quickly.
Although we recognize the need to use a wide range of multimedia options to communicate the Good News, we continue to rely also upon tried and true methods of communication. We therefore look to The Catholic Sun to bring news from all seven counties of the diocese into our homes. The Catholic Sun remains an important source of uniting our diocesan family and making us aware of the teaching and activity of our local Church and the Church universal.
The Catholic Sun was founded in 1892, making it one of the earliest Catholic publications in the U.S. Interestingly, it had its roots in the laity of the Diocese of Syracuse and not the clergy. A group of businessmen and merchants founded the newspaper and, although Bishop Patrick Ludden was on the newspaper’s board and it was endorsed by the diocese, it was also clear that the newspaper was not an “organ” of the diocese.
Successive owners of The Catholic Sun continued to publish it through both World Wars, the depression and other difficult times. In July 1988, the paper was sold to the diocese and Bishop Joseph O’Keefe became its publisher. In looking at the history of the diocese, especially in the past 22 years, we can see that the paper has been an outstanding instrument for spreading the Good News throughout the 5,749 square miles of Central New York that comprise the Diocese of Syracuse. It also reaches beyond our geographical limits and is read in the homes of people who appreciate its message and who use it to keep in touch with Church teaching.
What does our paper do that makes it an important means of communication? The Catholic Sun tells the story of Catholic life in our diocese. It unites our people from north to south and east to west. While a variety of newspapers, magazines, and other means of communication give an appreciation for the Church universal, The Catholic Sun tells the story of the Diocese of Syracuse. It comes as a friendly visitor to our homes 45 times a year. It strengthens our faith and reinforces our membership in the Church with each succeeding issue. It helps families know and understand their faith and reinforces lessons learned long ago in Catholic schools and religious education programs. The Catholic Sun enables me as your Bishop, to reach you and strengthen the bonds of affection that unite us as a diocesan family.
While I enjoy being “connected” through instant means of communication, there is nothing quite like a newspaper, available in my home, for thoughtful reading when time permits. I suspect it may be so for many of you as well.
Please help me spread the Good News of Jesus Christ by subscribing or renewing your subscription to The Catholic Sun. And perhaps as part of our common responsibility to evangelize you might consider a gift subscription for a family member who is away from home at school or in the military. A subscription to The Catholic Sun might also become the means for bringing someone back to the Church who has drifted from the faith.
The continued success of The Catholic Sun depends upon us working together as one family. The Catholic Sun is our family newspaper. I count on your continued support to help me achieve the widest circulation possible. In a special way I invite the young people of our diocese, so attuned to instant communication, to use all means at their disposal, including our diocesan newspaper, to learn about and to spread the Good News. We are all called to be heralds of the Gospel!
Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse