Newspapers have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was very young, after Mass on Sunday morning, my father would read me the comics. As I got older there were games, quizzes and other features that attracted me to the newspaper.
In the days when the daily paper sold for five cents, my brother and I were paperboys. Every day after school we delivered the Buffalo Evening News to the homes in our neighborhood. In grammar school and high school, we participated in the annual campaign to sell subscriptions to our diocesan newspaper. Unashamedly, I am still trying to sell subscriptions to our diocesan newspaper!
During my years in the major seminary, summers were filled with teaching religious vacation school or attending summer courses in specific areas of interest. For a few summers, I was privileged to attend the School of Journalism at Marquette University. This was an interesting experience shared with other seminarians and religious men and women who were learning the intricacies of what makes a good story.
Today, even though I get much information and read various “papers” on the Internet, it is not quite the same as sitting down with the daily paper over a morning cup of coffee and being able to return to it later in the day when time permits. This is my preferred way of reading a newspaper. Old habits die hard! I hope there are a number of others who share my affection for a good newspaper that they can hold in their hands or spread out before them and read.
This article, however, is more than my personal memories and experiences about newspapers. February is Catholic Press Month. It is fitting, therefore, to speak about our diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Sun, and acknowledge the dedication and accomplishments of those who make it possible.
Since 1892 The Catholic Sun has been a primary vehicle in communicating and evangelizing the people of the Diocese of Syracuse. Its extensive range of articles is an effective way of helping people to stay abreast of what is happening in the Church, locally, nationally and internationally.
Many advances have been made in the field of communication since The Catholic Sun first appeared. Think of the major advances that have been made in the past 20 years with the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and tweeting short messages, emails, cell phone communication and so many other ways that inform and educate us about happenings in our own country, communities and families. The Church is using all means of communication to get its message into the hearts and minds of Catholic people and men and women of goodwill everywhere.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has taken the world by storm during the past year. He is a master communicator and teacher. The world has come to know his simple and direct method of communication. While using all of the modern means of communication, Pope Francis also depends upon his own newspaper, L’osservatore Romano, to assist him.
In our own diocese, we do not hesitate to use the modern means of communication but we also depend upon our diocesan newspaper to assist us in our ongoing mission of evangelization. The Catholic Sun is an old and venerable member of our family. Since its founding it has been a welcome partner with the bishops of Syracuse in their efforts to pass on our faith and keep people informed about the local and universal Church.
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.
During Catholic Press Catholic Month, I hope you will renew your subscription or subscribe for the first time to our Catholic newspaper — delivered to your home 44 times during the course of the year.
In the weeks ahead you will also be learning more about a new digital edition of The Catholic Sun, which is currently available for all to read at www.thecatholicsun.com. These efforts help us as a Catholic family to know, live and share our Catholic faith and thereby participate in the New Evangelization.
If you have a prayer intention you would like me to consider during the weeks ahead, please mail it to my attention at 240 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13202.