When I succeeded Bishop Tobin as the Bishop of Providence on May 1, I also became the publisher of the Rhode Island Catholic. As I said then, I feel blessed that this venerable, nearly 150-year-old diocesan newspaper has survived and thrived when so many other similar publications across the country have shuttered their operations in recent decades.
I consider this paper – along with its Spanish-language edition El Catolico de Rhode Island – to be critical resources for evangelization and chronicling the life of the Church. With a very small staff and limited resources, the Rhode Island Catholic makes deadline every week with a terrific paper. In the past five years alone, both the English and Spanish language versions have garnered more than 100 national journalism awards from the Catholic Media Association of the U.S. and Canada for their professionalism, and this year an additional three awards from the Rhode Island Press Association.
At a time when too much of contemporary media misunderstand or ignore the Catholic faith and a few express outright hostility, we need to maintain and strengthen this mission which builds up the life and faith of the Church. We need a forum where we can connect, inform and deepen our knowledge of the faith. We need a place to keep Catholics up-to-date on the challenges to our parishes and institutions and our shared efforts to meet those challenges. Thanks to our partnership with OSV News, the international Catholic wire service, our newspapers have access to Vatican coverage, as well as daily news and long-form pieces that focus on critical issues of the day within our Church and culture.
It is encouraging to me that subscriptions are on the rise as more of the faithful see the value in being kept informed of news of the Church at the local, national and international levels. But it remains challenging to keep up with the rising costs associated with printing and mailing all those newspapers to our subscribers’ homes, as well as to fulfill our plans to add additional reporting resources, which would allow for more local coverage from across the diocese.
During the Rhode Island Catholic’s annual Christmas Appeal, I kindly ask you, faithful readers, to please be as generous as you can in supporting our diocesan newspaper in its important mission of evangelization. Enclosed in this edition is an envelope in which you can mail your donations to the Rhode Island Catholic. I respectfully ask that you pray for this publication and its vocation of Catholic communications. I would be most grateful if you might be an ambassador for us, encouraging family, friends and neighbors to subscribe. You might even wish to give a gift subscription!
I am most grateful for your generous support. Be assured of my prayers for a Blessed Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year for each of you and your families!
-Bishop Richard G. Henning