My Place in the Sun, February 1: The Catholic Sun Celebrates 125 Years

My place in the sunBishop Robert J. Cunningham

Happy Anniversary to The Catholic Sun! Our diocesan newspaper has been delivering the good news into our homes for 125 years. Catholic lay leaders, realizing the importance of a Catholic newspaper, founded The Catholic Sun in 1892, a few years after the founding of the diocese. For many years, it was privately owned. Bishop Joseph O’Keefe, eighth Bishop of Syracuse, purchased the paper for the diocese and became its publisher.

   I enjoy reading a newspaper. As useful as modern means of communication are, for me, there is something special about receiving a newspaper. My interest in newspapers started when I was a paperboy. Every day after school for a number of years, I delivered our local newspaper. I have to admit in those early years it was the comics section and the money I earned that were my top priorities more than the news the paper reported. Over the years, however, this changed. 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. All these experiences helped me to appreciate the importance of newspapers.

   Arriving in homes 44 times a year, The Catholic Sun is the primary vehicle of communication for the people in the Diocese of Syracuse. Allow me to share some of the reasons why we celebrate this landmark anniversary with joy and gratitude. The Catholic Sun

   • is an important part of our evangelization efforts. It brings us the joy of the Gospel and keeps alive our duty to be missionary disciples.

   • provides an avenue to open up the teachings of the Church thus helping us to know our faith better.

   • reports stories of people engaged in living, practicing, and sharing their faith.

   • keeps us abreast of what is happening in our Church locally, nationally, and internationally.

   • is our family newspaper, creating a common bond among the faithful of the seven counties of our diocese.

   • builds a sense of membership in the universal Church, taking us beyond our parish and diocese.

   • offers an extensive range of articles reflecting the Church’s concern for the life and dignity of the human person, marriage and the family, priestly and religious vocations, Catholic education, faith formation, health care, immigration, etc.

   • allows me to communicate weekly with thousands of you on important topics pertaining to our Catholic faith and practice.

   Recent years have seen many advances in the field of communication. Facebook, tweeting short messages, emails, cell phone communication, and many other means inform and educate us about happenings in our family, local communities, country, and world. In our diocese, we do not hesitate to use the modern means of communication. While we think of the newspaper, we must remember that the Catholic Sun is a multiple media entity. It delivers news through social media as well as the newspaper and on its website. We need to be open and use means of communication that will spread the good news of God’s love and mercy. You may have noticed that although I prefer a newspaper, I tweet!

   This past week, Pope Francis delivered his message for World Communication Day. I think His words capture the important role of the Catholic Sun: “Communication is part of God’s plan for us and an essential way to experience fellowship. Made in the image and likeness of our Creator, we are able to express and share all that is true, good, and beautiful. We are able to describe our own experiences and the world around us, and thus to create historical memory and the understanding of events” (Pope Francis, Message for World Communication Day, 1/24/18).

   Happy Anniversary to The Catholic Sun! Thank you for sharing what is good, true, and beautiful about our Catholic faith, for fostering bonds of fellowship, and for keeping us in touch with our diocese and the world! Special words of gratitude also to all who make our diocesan newspaper informative, attractive, and available.

   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.