Joyful congratulations to all concerned with the production of Today’s Catholic, on the 20th anniversary of the paper’s first issue in April 1988. I remember well the joy and relief of that occasion when, after waiting two years for a publishing permit, our own Archdiocesan newspaper was finally born. I am of course proud and happy to have been associated with it ever since.
For some time it had been felt that a Catholic newspaper was needed to help build a sense of community and solidarity among the growing and diverse population of the Archdiocese, to share news of events in our different parishes and organisations, to inform people of happenings in the universal Church and to provide a means of ongoing adult faith formation for our young local Church. A key factor behind the launch and success of the paper was the encouragement and support of Archbishop Peter Chung in those early days and of Archbishop John Ha ever since.
The Church is above all a community of faith, the People of God. Vatican II stressed the importance of the means of communication, including newspapers, in building a sense of unity, solidarity and support in this community. Over the past 20 years Today’s Catholic has done much to promote the objectives listed above and thus build up a thriving Christian community. Personally I look forward eagerly each month to the arrival of the latest issue, bringing news of the Church of which I still feel very much a part, joyful news of celebrations and progress, sad news of old friends and associates passing on.
An extraordinary aspect of Today’s Catholic is that it has always had only one paid, full-time office staff! The paper is produced by volunteers, giving generously of their time and skills, month after month. In fact nearly all of the present production team have been there since the early days, working quietly and faithfully, largely unknown, behind the scenes to ensure that each issue is published in time. This is heroic, selfless service and, with fond memories of our times together, I want to pay them the highest tribute for their ongoing production of a quality newspaper.
As Today’s Catholic looks back and celebrates its achievements, it is also a time to look forward and ask what the future holds. The paper exists to serve the needs of the Catholic population of the Archdiocese and its future depends above all on the support it receives from every parish and organisation. Unlike other papers it doesn’t have journalists or professional reporters to provide news. It needs the cooperation and support of our parishes and Church bodies to do this. I know how frustrating it can be as publication date approaches to have little or no news available!
The 20th anniversary should also be an occasion to promote sales and distribution of the paper. Ideally every Catholic family should have its own copy to read, reflect on and discuss. People can also be encouraged to purchase gift subscription copies to be sent to family members and friends living elsewhere, an excellent way of ‘keeping in touch’.
Today’s Catholic has improved greatly over the years in size, presentation and quality, from the simple black and white format of the early issues. I am delighted to learn that another major step forward is at hand, as the paper prepares to set up its very own website. It is a site I shall be visiting very often! Congratulations again to all concerned on a wonderful 20 years’ progress, with prayers and best wishes for God’s abundant blessings in the years ahead.
Bro Columba Gleeson