Celebration Honors Liguorian’s 100 Years of Catholic Sustenance
Bishop Rice Notes Redemptorists’ Local Contributions and Says Magazine Continues the New Evangelization
Keynote Speaker Margaret O’Brien Steinfels Calls on Catholic Media to Meet “Challenging Demographics”
Liguori, Mo. (Oct. 16, 2013) – A Catholic publication that started with $50 in capital marked its 100th anniversary Wednesday with a look to the future that included a new blog aimed at Catholics who don’t go to church.
Liguorian, a magazine widely known among American Catholics, marked the centennial of its founding with a celebratory Mass and banquet at St. Francis Xavier Church and Ballroom at St. Louis University. Liguori Publications, publisher of Liguorian and a ministry of the Redemptorists, was joined by the order’s priests and brothers, as well as its authors, business partners, and friends
The day began with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Concelebrants included St. Louis Auxiliary Bishop Edward Rice, Very Reverend Harry Grile, CSsR, provincial of the Denver Province of Redemptorists, Rev. Mat Kessler, CSsR, immediate former president and publisher of Liguori, and other priests. In his homily, Archbishop Tobin noted that Liguorian had provided a “century of sustenance” to Catholics.
Fr. Don Willard, CSsR, president of Liguori Publications, described Liguorian as “always on the edge of where the Church is, always relevant, always faithful.”
Bishop Rice addressed the crowd, recalling the long relationship the Redemptorists have had with the Archdiocese. He evoked images of “overflowing buses” bringing Catholics to St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Parish, 1118 North Grand Blvd., for the Redemptorist-led devotions to Our Mother of Perpetual Help during the 1940s and how the devotion continued to be prayed in parishes like St. Cecilia.
“Every time the devotion is prayed or a Redemptorist mission is preached, we are grateful. We are better for having Redemptorists in the archdiocese,” said Bishop Rice. “As you celebrate 100 years, I would say the best is yet to come, as you continue the New Evangelization of bringing Christ to the marketplace.”
Fewer Catholics today are attentive to their faith, yet they still have deep questions, according to keynote speaker Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, writer, former editor of Commonweal magazine, and co-founder of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture. “Catholic books, magazines, and newspapers must raise the issues, print the news, and ask questions that Catholics are not likely to hear about from secular media.”
The biggest challenge for Catholic magazines, she noted, lay in reaching certain demographics: younger readers, especially women, and Hispanics.
Liguori Publisher and CEO Virgil E. Tipton addressed Liguori’s future by looking into the past at a letter written by the founder of the Redemptorists, St. Alphonsus de Liguori. In the letter, St. Alphonsus wrote, “[T]he preacher should employ words that are in common use."
Tipton said, “This means what it sounds like: preach to people where they are. If you’re not preaching to people where they are, you are in the wrong place.”
“The Redemptorist Constitution,” he added, “makes this drive to innovate and connect even clearer: ‘Redemptorists "cannot allow themselves to settle down in surroundings and structures in which their work would no longer be missionary. On the contrary, they will diligently pioneer new ways of preaching the Gospel to every creature.’”
“Liguori is a Redemptorist ministry, so the same documents that guide the fathers and brothers guide us. They tell us that we must pioneer and – pioneer diligently.”
Liguori Publications has been exploring new markets and new technologies while remaining centered on its mission. Earlier this year, Liguori launched an app and digital edition for Liguorian, enabling readers to access the magazine and interact with it using a variety of devices.
Oct. 16 also marked the launch of KindaCatholic.org, a new blog at Liguori hosted by Fr. Willard for people who don’t attend Mass, or at least not regularly.
“You know people like this,” said Tipton. “People who are mostly Catholic. Or somewhat Catholic. Or partially Catholic. You know, kinda Catholic.”
At the site, kindaCatholics “can get answers and gentle guidance and clarity,” he added. “It’s pioneering a new way of preaching the Gospel. It’s speaking to people where they are. It’s employing words that are in common use.”
“It’s our mission.”
About Liguori Publications: Liguori Publications is a Roman Catholic publisher located about 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis. This collaborative ministry of Redemptorist priests and brothers and lay staff spreads the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through its publications, including Liguorian magazine, one of the nation’s leading Catholic periodicals. Liguori also produces catechetical and faith formation materials for parishes, schools, and religious education programs, parish bulletins, devotional and educational pamphlets, books, and e-books. Learn more at Liguori.org or by calling 800.325.9521.
Virgil Tipton, publisher, Liguori Publications. 636-223-1449. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Brockgreitens, publicist, Liguori Publications. 636-223-1534. email@example.com.