Bishop Ricken celebrates Catholic Press Month Mass

By | February 5, 2010

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Clare Sturm | For The Compass Members of The Compass staff and Communications Department are pictured with Bishop David Ricken following a Catholic Press Month Mass celebrated Feb. 1 at St. Joseph Chapel on the diocesan grounds. From left, front row, are Patricia Kasten, Leah Gabrielson, Katie Mann and Barb Gauthier; back row: Renae Bauer, Jeff Kurowski, Bishop Ricken, Amy Kawula and Sam Lucero.

Each February, Catholic newspapers, magazines and book publishers mark Catholic Press Month with special celebrations. It was the second consecutive year that Bishop Ricken has joined The Compass staff for observance of Catholic Press Month.

In his homily, the bishop gave a brief history of the U.S. Catholic press. He noted that the first Catholic publication in the United States was called the Catholic Miscellany, founded in 1822 by Bishop John England. “The Catholic Miscellany continues today as the diocesan newspaper for Charleston, S.C.,” he said.

Even in today’s technological age, with smart phones that make the World Wide Web accessible from anywhere, Bishop Ricken said newspapers are still a viable and vital means of communication.

“In this day and age, when the press is becoming less popular among the population … there’s nothing to substitute for a paper because as you hold that paper in your hands, somehow it connects you to a whole group of people,” he said. “I find, as I read the paper, it really helps to (invite) people to come to the faith.”

Catholic press facts

U.S. National Catholic Newspapers: 3; circulation: 111,661

U.S. Diocesan Newspapers: 143; circulation: 5,240,793

U.S., Canada & International Catholic Magazines: 82; circulation: 5,944,724

Patron saint of Catholic journalists: St. Francis de Sales

Source: Catholic Press Association Directory, 2010

He quoted the Vatican II’s Pastoral Instruction on the Means of Social Communications, which noted that the church press “is a mirror which reflects the world and the light which shows it the way.”

Bishop Ricken said that in an ideal world, all Catholic households would receive The Compass every week.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody subscribed and received it in their home?” he asked. “What a great gift that would be and certainly the ones who do receive it are very involved with it. Most people who subscribe to it quote it to me. They say they’ve seen this article or that article … and they find it very interesting. I think we have a lot to be proud of.”

He commended The Compass staff and the Department of Communications for “outstanding leadership … in getting the good news out there.”

Following the Mass a reception sponsored by The Compass was held for diocesan employees.

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