Our Sunday Visitor, one of our Catholic publishing friends, is celebrating its centennial in Fort Wayne, Indiana, this weekend. I joined the celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Friday (pictured to the left), and at the banquet that followed.
For 100 years—since 1912—OSV has been producing its Catholic newspaper and a bundle of other products that serve Catholics in the United States. As Greg Erlandson, the current head of its publishing division, puts it: “We are not just celebrating 100 years of a great publication, but the vision and mission of a diocesan priest named John Noll, a gifted man with a talent for communications and an entrepreneurial spirit that made the best uses of his talent.”
Fr. Noll sought to form and inform his people and help them defend their faith at a time when they faced bitter prejudice. Catholics then were recent immigrants, often viewed as un-American in their loyalties and seen as an economic threat because they worked for low wages and were thought to be stealing jobs from American workers. There was an anti-Catholic publication in circulation at that time called The Menace, which painted Catholics as papists out to destroy religious freedom in the USA. Noll was an outspoken opponent of such sentiments, and he sought to inform Catholics and enable them to defend themselves from every form of prejudice. Our Sunday Visitor was the means that Fr. Noll developed to fulfill his mission.
Over the years, OSV developed a wide range of products. From pamphlets to bulletin inserts to books and catechetical texts, OSV has carried that same vision and mission forward. As Greg Erlandson puts it, “We are only temporary stewards of OSV. We work knowing that in today’s context of the New Evangelization we must put out into the digital deep.”
Like all publishers today, OSV cannot foretell what things will be like twenty-five years from now; nevertheless, OSV must respond and continue to labor in today’s vineyard—as do we and all of our peer publishers.
Here at Franciscan Media we face the same challenges. We join Our Sunday Visitor in pledging our prayers and our commitment to continue helping Catholics grow their faith and live as evangelizers whose witness speaks more powerfully than words.