St. Paul is a remarkable individual. Is there any doubt when you think of his accomplishments? First, he is a transformative figure whose life was radically changed by his encounter with the resurrected Christ. “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?” Once transformed by Jesus, his life didn’t become any easier. In fact, it became much more precarious. He went from being the persecutor to the pursued. His life was endangered at almost every turn until his beheading in Rome.
Also remarkable are the journeys he undertook in order to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the availability of modern transportation, Paul covered a territory which would have been challenging for even today’s evangelists. To say that he was a man driven by the mission is probably an understatement. Why am I mentioning St. Paul? Because the message still needs to be proclaimed with confidence — Jesus is the transformative power in our lives and the lives of others. His Catholic Church creates the environment for the encounter.
If you haven’t noticed, the Catholic Herald has a new look. This is not your grandfather’s or even father’s Catholic newspaper. It has been redesigned, and its emphasis is to inform us about the happenings in our archdiocese and the various effects the men and women of faith are making on the community.
With the advent of modern technologies, the national and state news has become instantaneous. No one waits for the news in print any longer; they just turn on their pad or phones, televisions or radios. What is not covered is the local news and features. Many of our print news agencies are not interested in the “good news” generated by people of faith. Instead, they are interested in controversy or contentions. As a result, our stories are not covered and certainly rarely proclaimed.
We have often said, we need to be intentional evangelizers and motivated by the stories of those who have taken the mission of the Gospel to heart, living and sharing the “good news” with others. The Catholic Herald is the local coverage of our local community. We are telling the stories that our secular media will not cover. In the pages of our print, you will be informed by the teachings of the Church, and formed by the good works and profession of our faith leaders.
We need your readership and promotion of the Catholic Herald. Through you, we can establish a true connection to the work of the Church being performed in our archdiocese. Two thousand years ago, if they had print, you can be assured that the newspapers would not have been reporting on the messages and travels of St. Paul. So instead, he preached and wrote letters. He told the stories of the local communities, the understanding and witnesses of the faith. We have a window of opportunity to refocus our attention on the good news of those living and professing the faith. The Catholic Herald can unite us in a new and exciting manner that truly helps us to understand that we are one.
Print is only one piece of the overall communication vision for the archdiocese as we move forward. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: (2493) “Within modern society the communications media play a major role in information, cultural promotion, and formation. This role is increasing as a result of technological progress, the extent and diversity of the news transmitted, and the influence exercised on public opinion.”
The Church has an obligation to engage the public and to share the stories and information that shape public opinion, as well as to integrate the knowledge into faith formation. It’s a massive undertaking — think of all the competition in the secular arena. Yet, we must make our voice heard.
Therefore, we must use the other means of communication effectively to reach our faithful and engage the public. On June 1, thanks to a generous contribution from Fr. Ted Schmitt, we will be dedicating the Fr. Ted Schmitt (FTS) Studios. Fr. Ted worked in Hollywood and had a promising career until God intervened and called him to the priesthood. He was committed to the importance of messaging and the use of all the modern means capable of producing an outreach to the public. He was convinced, like St. Paul, of the transformative message of Jesus Christ and believed in using whatever means available in order to reach those in need of Christ and His Church.
I had the privilege of interviewing Fr. Ted on my weekly radio show on Relevant Radio. We talked about his interesting story and the need for the Church to use various modes of communication. We both lamented that the Church is often behind the times, yet the world needs what it has to offer. Tragically, Fr. Ted died a year and half ago, but in his will left a gift to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to further the ministry of communication.
Under the direction of Amy Grau, Director of Communications, and her staff, we used his gift to create a television and radio studio, which I believe, will enhance our ability to produce quality productions for our archdiocesan offices and parishes. Quality visual and audio productions frame our messages so they might be received in a manner pleasing to the eye and ear. The great look of our website and the easy access to information, is all a part of our outreach and the creative sense of our communications office.
In addition, the Communications Department has supported my LOA (LOVE ONE ANOTHER) message, which is emailed to thousands of people. Recently, the staff also produced a popular podcast — “Two Guys and a Gospel” — which feature Frs. Phil Bogacki and Ricardo Martin reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel in a conversational manner. One person already told me that they are hooked and anticipate their 10-minute conversation every week.
Our mission statement: “To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through his saving death and resurrection by calling, forming and sending disciples to go and make new disciples.” We will use every means available to us to fulfill this task.