On Saturday, December 13 (St. Lucy’s Feast Day), I attended a very interesting and thought provoking symposium on the Catholic media and the New Evangelization at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, in Yonkers, NY. The symposium was co-sponsored by the seminary and America Magazine.
The day started with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the seminary’s beautiful chapel. The Mass was celebrated by the Most Rev. John O’Hara, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York. Bishop O’Hara’s homily was about St. Lucy; the meaning of her name (Lucy in Latin is “lux”, which means light); and how we can be the light in a world that is quite dark.
After Mass, the day’s talks convened with a welcome address by Monsignor Peter Vaccari, the rector of St. Joseph’s. Father Matt Malone, S.J. (Editor-In-Chief of America Magazine), then took the podium. Father Malone’s opening remarks touched on how Catholic media has to provide fair and balanced news. They can also delve into the Catholic Church deeper than the secular media does. Father Malone also talked a little bit about America Magazine. He explained how the magazine stopped using the terms “liberal” and “conservative” because the Catholic Church should not be separated along political party lines.
Father Malone then introduced the speakers for the day. Each of the speakers are editors of their respective publications. They included Jeanette Demelo (Editor-In-Chief of National Catholic Register), Meinrad Scherer-Emunds (Executive Editor of U.S. Catholic), Paul Baumann (Editor of Commonweal), and R.R. Reno (Editor of First Things). Each speaker talked about their publications, which all have deep roots in Catholic Media in the United States.
All the speakers were very informative. I really enjoyed Ms. Demelo’s talk about the National Catholic Register. The Register, a bi-weekly newspaper, is America’s oldest national Catholic newspaper. I am a subscriber and fan of the newspaper. The articles are always well-written and researched. The other speakers gave interesting talks, too. I also liked R.R. Reno’s talk on First Things. The magazine is not an exclusively Catholic magazine as the others are. Writers of other Christian denominations and faiths contribute to the magazine, as well. The magazine does however take a decidedly conservative stance on many issues, whereas Commonweal‘s editor Paul Baumann describes his magazine as being liberal.
After lunch, we reconvened with a panel discussion mediated by Father James Martin, S.J. (Editor-At-Large of America Magazine); followed by a Q & A session. I really had a great day filled with new information. I also met quite a few very nice and interesting people. I look forward to future events and symposiums that focus on the Catholic Media. It really is a fascinating area that we rarely get to see in our overly secularized mainstream media. It may sound cliche, but Catholic Media has a “higher calling” to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to evangelize; and to be true to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
Pax et bonum,
Anthony “Tony Mangia” Scillia
Tagged: America Magazine, Archdiocese of New York, Bishop John O'Hara, Catholic Media, Commonweal, Dunwoodie, Father James Martin, Father Matt Malone, First Things, Jeanette Demelo, Meinrad Scherer-Emunds, Monsignor Peter Vaccari, National Catholic Register, New Evangelization, New York, Paul Baumann, Pietà, R.R. Reno, Society of Jesus, St. Joseph Seminary, U.S. Catholic, Yonkers