We Thank You For Your Support
In Never Hug a Nun, novelist Kevin Killeen describes the weekly Catholic newspaper as an “important source of religious news and ads for honest tree trimmers.” Set in 1966, a scene from the book details a suburban housewife reclining on a sofa and reaching for the diocesan newspaper atop a stack of books and magazines. A longtime subscriber to the paper, she preferred it to be prominently displayed on the coffee table, “but someone could have hidden a five-dollar bill inside, and it would have been safe.” After a glance at the front page, the woman quickly laid the paper aside, instead retrieving an intriguing James Bond novel concealed under a cushion.
Dear Liguorian readers and longtime subscribers, we thank you for glancing beyond the front page of this Catholic magazine!
These days, we publishers take nothing for granted. Some diocesan newspapers are dying. Even Catholic New York—“America’s Largest Catholic Newspaper”—will print its final paper next month. In 2020, the Columbus, Ohio, diocesan newspaper switched permanently from a weekly to a biweekly schedule, and the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, discontinued publication after a ninety-nine-year run. The latter’s website explained, “The declining number of subscribers—and therefore the reach of the publication—is in stark contrast to the number of resources needed to continue publishing.” Likewise, in 2020, periodicals such as Catholic Digest and Catechist ceased print publication. Catholic Digest had been published since 1936; Catechist, since 1967.
For many Catholic publishers, reliance on print journalism is an enormous challenge, due to factors such as the shrinking number of people affiliated with the institutional Church, generational changes in what people read today, and their preferred method of receiving the content—primarily digital.
As you might expect, parishes also are looking hard at their own publications. As my Redemptorist confrere Bishop Bruce Lewandowski points out in his “Plain Talk” column on page 9 of this magazine, parishes feel the financial pinch and are examining changes to the way Sunday bulletins are delivered.
Indeed, in the last few years, the pandemic only worsened matters as soaring paper costs, added fuel surcharges, postal rate increases, and woefully inconsistent delivery service have followed. In fact, the US Postal Service may be raising its rates three times in this fiscal year alone (one happened July 10, another kicks in during the “holiday shipping” period of October 2 through January 22, and a third likely will be set in early 2023).
Some e-commerce consumers think shipping is “free.” In reality, shipping is normally built into the price of the product. In our case, the increased costs of mailing and printing Liguorian are altering the way we go forward with this 110-year-old venerable pastoral publication. Beginning with this edition, Liguorian’s page count has increased, and we will publish the magazine every other month, starting in November. We will still offer a digital subscription as an option to the print edition.
The Way We Were, the Way We Are
“I have been receiving the Liguorian for seventy-two years,” wrote Catherine S. of Michigan in 1989, a subscriber since 1917, in response to a request editors made that year to find the longest continuous subscriber to the magazine. “When I was sixteen years old, I started working for an engineering firm. One of the older engineers gave me a subscription. I have been subscribing ever since. Each Christmas, I send subscriptions to each of my seven children. I am now eighty-seven years old.”
In the past, longtime subscribers like our friend Catherine have sustained this publication. We’re indebted to you, our current subscribers, for your loyalty as we face the need to adapt quickly. In return, Liguorian remains dedicated to “the development of an informed, committed, and devout Catholic laity” in keeping with “the lofty goals of evangelization, catechesis, and Christian formation which inspired the vision of its founders,” words that Pope Benedict XVI wrote in 2013 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Liguorian.
Subscribers, today more than ever, your support means everything to us. From the bottom of our hearts, the Redemptorists and staff thank you. A
The staff of Liguori Publications thanks you for your support over these 75 years!