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Catholic Press Month, special time for Catholic Spirit
January 25, 2018
February is National Catholic Press month. It is during this month that almost every diocesan newspaper seeks financial support from its readership. Having joined the staff of The Catholic Spirit last year, I have had the luxury of participating in a collaborative network of individuals who make print media dynamic, on the cutting edge, accurate and current.
Though you may see periodic changes in the layout, there are three facts about The Catholic Spirit that have, and will, remain constant. It is a vehicle of evangelization. It is a tangible medium of communication for Catholics to know what is happening within the diocese. Last, but by no means least, The Catholic Spirit is the conduit through which the Shepherd of Metuchen corresponds with his flock.
The Catholic Spirit seeks to illustrate through articles and photos how the New Evangelization as defined by Pope Francis is taking root and bearing fruit in the counties of Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset and Middlesex. With a Catholic population which, at last count, exceeds 600,000, the Diocese of Metuchen needs an easily accessible medium through which the words and deeds of Jesus can be identified in the selfless service of the faithful who inhabit this area of central New Jersey.
While the paper does bring you the voice of the Holy Father, the topics discussed by the Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops, emphasis at the paper is placed on informing readers as to what is happening locally — in our parishes, Catholic schools, among the elderly and the youth, in campus ministry, in prison ministry, at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, in our assisted living facilities, in religious education for public school children and the programs of Catholic Charities that benefit refugees, migrants, immigrants, the homeless and the working poor.
At the same time, The Catholic Spirit envisions itself as a tangible medium of communication through which Catholics, regardless of where they reside, can learn about what is happening around the diocese. In this fashion, then, print media becomes this compendium of stories and images which articulates the good things which merit recognition, applause and gratitude in this four-county-vineyard of the Lord.
The Catholic Spirit is the official newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen. For all intents and purposes, it is also the newspaper of the Bishop of Metuchen. He is its publisher. Open any issue, and you will find pictures and captions, articles and columns which illustrate where Bishop James F. Checchio has been, what he has done or plans on doing. The paper not only shadows the bishop’s ministry around the diocese, it is the conduit through which he corresponds with the people entrusted to his pastoral care.
Since his installation as the fifth Bishop of Metuchen in 2016, Bishop Checchio has written a column for just about every issue. In it, he may choose to clarify a teaching of the Church. He may remind the faithful about the importance of a ministry, an institution, a liturgical season or devotion. Bishop Checchio may share his thoughts on his role in the USCCB or the NJ Conference of Catholic Bishops. Often, he reflects on one of his many pastoral visits to parishes in the diocese or he may paint us a picture of a trip which took him to another state or abroad. Last year, The Catholic Spirit was pleased to publish the first pastoral letter of Bishop Checchio in which he assessed the pastoral landscape of the diocese after one year in office and spelled out his aspirations for the future.
As its publisher, Bishop Checchio appreciates the role that the newspaper plays in the life of the diocese. It is with his permission that a collection is taken up each February in all the parishes to subsidize the work of this ministry in print media. It is the hope of this managing editor that you, the people who are the Diocese of Metuchen, will give as generously as your means allow in this year’s Catholic Spirit donation envelope, so that this vehicle of evangelization, this tangible medium of communication and the bishop’s conduit of correspondence to his people may continue to provide you with comprehensive coverage of global, national and local news through the eyes of Jesus and the heart of his Church.
by Father Glenn J. Comandini, S.T.D., Managing Editor at The Catholic Spirit