(Remarks of Archbishop John Nienstedt at The Great Catholic Get-Together of 2011, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Bulletin/The Catholic Spirit – January 6, 2011.)
As we celebrate 100 years of The Catholic Spirit, we could point to so many achievements. Imagine the number of words that have been written over that time! The moments of great joy and deep sorrow that appeared on the pages. Life changing events for our world and the Church that were captured by a camera. And the discourse of a few archbishops!
While we cannot minimize these human achievements and the manifestation of the creative talents of so many, what is it really that The Catholic Spirit has meant to the hundreds of thousands of Catholics, and others, who have read its pages week after week?
Above all else, The Catholic Spirit has been and continues to be a tool to bring the faithful into closer relationship with Jesus Christ. The Catholic Spirit is at its best when it unpacks the news of the day through the lens of the teachings of the Catholic Church. It helps Catholics really understand how to live out their faith in the workplace, at school, at play, in the public square. It does this by telling stories – the important stories that are present in our parishes, in our Catholic schools and in places great and small throughout this archdiocese. And the hope is that in each story, column or editorial, the reader encounters Jesus, is strengthened by his presence and brings the fruits of this encounter to those around him.
In November, the Pope himself affirmed the irreplaceable role Catholic newspapers play in forming Christian consciences and reflecting the Church’s viewpoint on contemporary issues. Where the secular media often takes a relativistic and skeptical attitude toward truth, Benedict tells us that the Church must bring the truth of Christ to the world and the Catholic newspapers play in encouraging dialogue among readers as a way to form “critical and Christian consciences.”
The Catholic Spirit strives to be this formative influence in the life of this archdiocese. As publisher of The Catholic Spirit, I am grateful for the care the staff takes in ensuring that the truths of our Catholic faith shine through on the pages of the newspaper – and on the website, Facebook and Twitter, for that matter. And as the words written by those who contribute to The Catholic Spirit will most certainly be delivered in very different ways in the future, the purpose of those words – to bring all who encounter them closer to Jesus – will never change.