It all started when I was a paperboy. Each day after school for a number of years I delivered our local newspaper. Later on, as a high school student, I sold subscriptions to our diocesan newspaper. As a major seminarian, I was assigned to study journalism at Marquette University for two summers. I am sure that all of these experiences helped me to appreciate the importance of a newspaper.
I have always enjoyed beginning the day with a newspaper. Many of you will remember when a newspaper was the primary place where we got our news. While radio, television and the Internet give us news today, in my opinion, there is nothing quite as comforting as sitting down with your morning coffee and newspaper to catch up on what is happening in our world. For me to go without a newspaper for a day is akin to a day without sun.
All of this rambling prompts me to comment on The Catholic Sun. Our diocesan newspaper has been delivering good news into our Catholic homes for almost 120 years. Catholic Press Month, celebrated annually in February, is a fitting time to acknowledge this accomplishment and the dedication of those who make it possible. Arriving at 23,000 homes 44 times a year, The Catholic Sun is a primary vehicle of communication and evangelization for the people in the Diocese of Syracuse. It keeps us abreast of what is happening in our Church locally, nationally and internationally. While I realize, if you are reading this column, you most likely subscribe to The Catholic Sun, I hope you will consider letting others know about our diocesan newspaper and encourage their subscription.
The Catholic Press has an irreplaceable role in forming Christian consciences and reflecting the Church’s viewpoint on contemporary issues. Our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, speaking to Italian journalists in 2010, noted that the foremost task of the Catholic newspaper is giving “voice to a point of view that reflects Catholic thinking on all ethical and social questions.”
In 1911, representatives from Catholic newspapers in the U.S. and Canada met in Columbus, Ohio for their first national meeting. This new Catholic Press Association aimed to keep the public informed on Catholic happenings of vital interest. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the association. Today there are more than 170 newspapers and 130 Catholic magazines with a circulation of more than 11 million. In addition, many publications have Web sites, blogs and other media initiatives.
The Catholic Sun, with its wide distribution and extensive range of articles, is an effective way of spreading the news about local diocesan developments and state and national issues. In addition to all the usual events that will take place during the coming months, we can look forward to articles on our celebration of the 125th anniversary of the diocese; the visit of the bishops of New York State to Rome for their traditional “ad limina” visit; the introduction of the third edition of The Roman Missal and the liturgical changes that will take place.
There will be articles that reflect the Church’s concern for the life and dignity of the human person, the strengthening of marriage, priestly and religious vocations, faith formation with a focus on sacramental practice and respect for cultural diversity.
Pastoral visits to parishes, Confirmations, liturgical celebrations for special events and a variety of diocesan gatherings have given me, and continue to give me, the chance to meet many of you. “My Place in the Sun,” however, offers me the opportunity to communicate weekly with thousands of the faithful. It is an effective way for me to talk with each of you on important issues pertaining to our Catholic faith and practice.
The Catholic Sun is a vital teaching instrument about our faith and worship, our Church’s history, our Catholic moral and social teachings and other critical issues of concern to all Catholic citizens. Each week I hope the Sun finds its way into your home!
Faith is a free gift of God. It is also a lifetime spiritual journey. The Catholic press, including our own Catholic Sun, helps us to grow as disciples. We all need the full truth given to us by Christ. Our Holy Father reminds us that the mission of the Church consists in creating the conditions so that this meeting with Christ, His word and truth, can be realized. “Cooperating in this task, the communications media are called to serve the truth with courage, to help public opinion see and read reality from the viewpoint of the Gospel” (Address to Italian Journalists, 2010). During this Catholic Press month, I hope that you will renew your subscription to The Catholic Sun and perhaps even give a subscription as a gift to a person in your life whom you feel would benefit from reading our diocesan newspaper.
In reading a church bulletin recently, I came across this February Blessing which I hope you will enjoy.
May good St. Bridget keep you warm till spring and fill your head with poetry and song.
May your true heart, with the help of Valentine, love you deeply this month and all year long.
May Blaise protect you from the common cold, sore throat, hacking cough and stuffy nose.
May Mother Mary’s candles light your road and at the end of the day bring sweet repose.
May God, who tells the stories of His love through the Saints, bless you always.
If you have an intention you would like me to remember in prayer, please forward it to me at 240 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13202.